Via email the other night, he writes...(edited a little)
We use Revit MEP. I’m doing some research on Room separation lines, as to how and why architects use them, and when is appropriate. The problem I am consistently running into is that room separation lines divide spaces as well. These divisions, while relevant to the architectural model, are ruining the possibilities of creating gbXML files without extensive work on the part of the engineer to remove the room separation lines, and then repair the damage done to the room names and numbers.
For example, imagine open library stacks with dedicated study areas. In the architectural file, they used room separation lines as a rectangle to create rooms and tags for these study areas. They were also used to define a corridor along one side of the stacks (but still in the same open area). For MEP these are really all part of one big room. We won't need to add dedicated air terminals to these areas, nor special lighting just for these areas. So any of the analysis tools in Revit using spaces will be wrong, as most of them use an average over the entire area, (CFM/SF, Average illumination levels/SF etc..). Further, we are unable to accurately or efficiently create a gbXML file for use in Green Building Studio, HAP, Trace, etc. This complication is greatly hampering many of the benefits of using Revit for engineers.
I’m not saying that room separation lines should never be used, there are perfectly good places to use them. Rooms or spaces that are actually going to be treated as a separate room, not a room with in a room.
I initially thought that architects were using these (in addition to the obvious) to check for programming requirements, and code compliance for areas and such but it turns out a lot of architects are using the area tool for those purposes. They were however using them for the room finish schedules.
From a program standpoint, I was surprised to find out that while room separation lines can be assigned to a workset and that workset can be unloaded (through a linked file) from the MEP model. However the Room Separations still existed. We just couldn’t see them. And even if that did work, we engineers would still need to correct/edit the space names and numbers manually now since the spaces wouldn’t match the rooms (Space naming tool wouldn't work).
He closed wondering if I could offer any advice, ideas or a solution.
The essence of my response via email:
HVAC Zones are meant to combine spaces into larger more coherent collections for engineering purposes. The example given above for the library is pretty common place, need to know how much area is dedicated to carrels as well as a corridor within the open space of the library. From the HVAC engineer's perspective irrelevant but not from the client's or the architect trying to satisfy them.
If room separation lines are "off the table" then the architect would end up using something else like actual walls and hiding them. They might end up asking Autodesk to make more elements room defining? Area plans could help document such things but then floor plans would be "ignorant" of what these kinds of "areas" are, no tagging possible, just "dumb text". Not ideal either. My greatest concern about room separation lines is when they are used as "band-aids" to try to fix room area issues, where rooms aren't bounded properly and not generating area values.
Regarding the workset comments. Worksets unload information but that doesn't mean Revit isn't aware of the elements that are assigned to the unloaded workset. When we unload a workset the walls are still there and that means so are Room Separation lines.
Any comments from readers??