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Defining requirements for systems/elements

For each technical object (a system or spatial element: see here for an introduction), it is possible to formulate requirements on the detail page. The detail page features a number of tables where you can fill in/select different kinds of requirements. Below we will go through each of the tables.

Please note that you can the hide tables that you are not (yet) interested in. To do so, just click on the icon in front of the table’s name.

Don’t forget to check out our 5 min video on how to define requirements for systems and elements.

Description

This is the place to enter a general description of a system or spatial element, explaining its general purpose or function.

Example of a description of a cold-water service system, which describes its general purpose/function.

Please note: it is not always useful or necessary to add an description. Specific technical solutions, however, can benefit from a description. The same is true for systems or elements that are referred to by an abbreviation.

Properties

The table Properties is the spot where you add requirements concerning the system’s or element’s qualities or properties.

Properties can cover anything from performance, capacity, flexibility, material or warranty periods.

See the example below of the property requirements for a floor finish (a spatial element). It is a pretty detailed example. Whether that is necessary/useful depends on the nature of the project and the type of tender.

Example with detail properties for a floor finish. Such detailed requirements are a way ensuring that you get the quality you want (in this case a floor that is easy to clean , anti-static, etc.), but there is a risk that detail requirements hinder the design team’s ability to come up with alternative solutions.

Below there is an example of the properties of a cold-water service system. As systems can be seen as an assembly or collection of smaller parts, these properties may concern different aspects of the system, such as the pipework or metering.

Worth noting is the use of the note field in the example below. It is being used to add some more explanation to the stated requirements. See the example below: the water temperature has to comply with the “L8” standard – but what is that? The note field can be used to explain or elaborate on that.

Example of properties for a cold-water service system. Both the value and the note fields are well used.

If you have a list of properties, you can also insert a property between two existing ones by clicking on the icon that appears when you hoover with your mouse near the starting point of the table’s separation lines.

Standard properties

Just like with spaces, it is possible to pre-define standard properties for systems and elements via the standard properties menu.

This is highly useful when properties are relevant for the majority of systems or elements (e.g. ‘warranty period’ or ‘maintenance condition’).

It should said, however, that the properties of systems and spatial elements tend to differ from object to object. A property like ‘flow rate’ makes for example sense for a water tap, but not for a lighting fixture or furniture item. That is why it is for systems and elements often easier just add properties ‘by hand’ in the aforementioned property table than by making standard properties.

Placement

The table Placement allows you to link systems and elements to the spatial break down structure, indicating where they need to be placed. In this it is important to note the following:

  • Systems can be linked the building or civil structure as whole, or to space groups.
  • Spatial elements can be linked to specific spaces (buildings) or specific segments (infrastructure projects)

The reason for this difference is that systems are overall functions (e.g. a HVAC system), with lots of parts, that cannot be linked to a particular space. In contrast, spatial elements are tangible, typically countable items (e.g. a power socket) that have a distinct location in a room or space.

To link a system or element, you have to click Select, you will be able to choose locations to add from the space tree.

Quantities
In the case of spatial elements, you can also add a quantity to the location relation. For example, when selecting spaces for a power socket, you can input that you need six of them in the meeting room. See example below.

Example of a location table. Note that it is not always necessary , or yet possible, to indicate a clear quantity. In this example, there is no clear quantity for the required number of power outlets for the print/copy space. The note just says “sufficient for equipment” as the client may not yet know what kind equipment will be used.

Interfaces

The interfaces with other systems / elements table allows you to define an interface relationship or link between one system or element and another. In a building project, you may for example want to specify that the fire alarm system should be connected to the building management system (BMS) or the UPS system.

Once you click on Select, you will be able to choose systems or elements to link to from the systems & elements tree. You can add notes if necessary to further specify or explain the requested interface.

Notes will show in the exact same manner on the detail views of the related objects, no matter the direction of the interface relation. So notes should be formulated in such a way that they can be understood from both directions.

You can also access a visual representation of the interfaces you have defined for your project by using the interfaces diagram or by making a cross table (which will give you an interface matrix)

Uploads

The last table on the detail page is the one for Uploads. This table will allow you to upload files you feel are relevant for this particular system or element.

Uploads can be things like cable diagrams to installation guidelines or specific parts of a standard. Be careful, however, not to ‘hide’ any requirements in these files.

Once you click Upload File, you will be able to choose from any file on the device you are currently on. Upload the file of your choice and add notes if necessary (e.g. reference to a particular page or chapter).

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