The future of BIM and plumbing specifications.
BIM (Building Information Modeling)
BIM concepts and software are evolving and are being provided to a
design industry in transition. Cultural issues stand in the way of many
firms attempting to convert their design processes to BIM. Users are
forced to deal with changes to old processes, and are being asked to
work with new technology that is often outside of their comfort zone.
While BIM is a very powerful tool, enabling overall savings in design
and construction, its learning curve is steep. As the design and
construction industry learns how to utilize this tool and begins to
recognize the great potential of this design platform, the challenge will
be to effectively share and standardize that knowledge.
One of the biggest issues users have with BIM is the availability of
good, usable and light weight product content. Most families available
to the industry are currently 900KB+ in size, not user friendly when
inserted/used in projects, and either have too many lines, or not
As we go through the BIM learning process, one critical aspect
with BIM will be managing the enormous amount of data and detail
within BIM models. As such, how does the ATS Spec System and
BIM Library aid in this transition from 2D CAD systems?
ATS has been hard at work creating Revit® files that architects,
engineers, and interior designers find light and usable. ATS’ Revit®
families support the creation of visualization and incorporate the
parameters necessary for use further along in the construction
ATS’ BIM Initiatives
- Our individual 3D BIM families are a maximum of 500KB* in size
- Our combined nested 3D BIM families are a maximum of
800KB* in size
- All files only include the details necessary to increasing project
productivity and efficiency, while maintaining manufacturer family
- All files are created from scratch in Revit® in order to minimize
lines and unnecessary detail
- Objects imported are not “blocks”, and can be easily edited
(“Block” files are created when files are initially converted from
PRO-E to Revit®)
- ATS’ BIM files contain an extensive amount of parameters
- ATS flexes all files prior to posting, ensuring that they work
appropriately when inserted into projects. This process enables
our files to work better with other families/files
- Our models are flexed for geometry daily to ensure consistency and
*File sizes vary depending on the Plumbing Equipment being created and the
level of detail it contains.
Plumbing Spec Development
With the recent growth of construction technology, and the green
movement, specifications and available product selections are
now required to be more diverse. Engineers are now expected to
provide innovative solutions to reduce environmental impact and
encourage sustainable practices. Rainwater harvesting, BIM, and
LEED certification are all relevant topics today. ATS has continued
to address these design concepts through the implementation of
tools such as a LEED contribution calculator, and system
schematics and algorithms for sizing and packaging various
plumbing equipment, like rainwater harvesting. By doing so, ATS
truly provides tools and solutions requested by, and built for, the
In conjunction with these advancements, ATS has recently also
introduced a new ‘rule-based’ system and specification building
selection process. With over 5 million spec combinations and
data packages’ populating the first version of their systems,
functionality was impacted as over 1000 engineers per day would
query all of this data, slowing down response time. As such,
ATS’ new rule-based system was developed, in order to deliver
an improved user experience and give users the freedom to
specify all possible and compatible product combinations most
suitable to their application. The ATS Spec System now also
accounts for major building code nuances, and enables users to
further understand the “whys” of specifying certain products. For
example, “what” is a MaP test rating, and “why” a stainless steel
toilet is recommended for a bariatric application.
In order to write a cleaner, more accessible plumbing specification,
an engineer must carefully consider the following:
- Building application — Everything from building occupancy,
project budget, and other special needs for the project.
- How the specification is structured — include all required
equipment, parts fixtures and fittings.
- Applicable building codes and other government or
corporate design requirements.
The ATS Spec system simplifies this process by automatically
compiling specifcations built on the ATS Spec website, available
to be shared with all users within your firm’s account, or via email.
All products are also updated automatically, eliminating out-ofdate
project specs and office masters.
Why Designers Use ATS?
ATS offers a variety of time-saving tools such as LEED
contribution calculators, budget pricing, and various System
Schematic Designs, to assist with the specification process. By
allowing engineers and designers to build complete, customized,
and accurate plumbing specification packages through a
guided step-by-step specification process, ATS helps ensure all
specifications are detailed, precise, and code compliant. Having a well
constructed spec allows engineers to hold their spec, reducing the
chance of re-opening a specification, and potentially damaging the quality
of a job, for ill-advised cost savings.
Upon building a plumbing specification with ATS, users can
conveniently download their specifications in multiple formats
including plumbing fixture schedules, long spec with drawings,
CSI, Division 22, and many more. The advantage with these
packages is that no additional text editing is required, and they
can be further customized to include items like a firms’ logo and
ATS Today And In The Future
With a free-to-use model, sponsored by the leading
manufacturers of the plumbing industry, the ATS Spec online
specification system is an invaluable tool to save time and money.
ATS has continued to expand its service offerings, and include
new product categories, to allow greater flexibility and a wider
selection of equipment during the specification process, giving
users more options and flexibility.
Moving forward, ATS is currently developing the next evolution
of its specification platform, the Visual Spec Builder (VSB), set to
launch in Q3 2012. VSB seeks to revolutionize the specification
process, by allowing users to create complete, fully customized,
and accurate specifications, in real time, visually. ATS’ VSB
gives designers the ability to see their color palettes, fixtures,
fittings, and product selection decisions, instantly come to life.
All products specified are building code compliant, and complete
with budget pricing, written specifications and available BIM
models, ready for download, all for free.
By simplifying the specification process of code compliant, and
compatible products, and providing the user with the ability to
build a complete, customized and accurate specification ‘visually’,
ATS is confident that their VSB platform will continue to increase
communication and simplify the workflow between architects,
designers, and engineers, further streamlining the process from
design, to specification.
ATS contact Info
To find out more about ATS and their services, visit: