November 15, 2011

T.O.S. vs. F.F.E. – What’s your pleasure?

Top of Steel (T.O.S.) or Finished Floor Elevations (F.F.E.) Why do you ask? A recent debate has been going on with architects and engineers on what is the typical datum level to reference from.

There are pros and cons potentially to setting up levels at FFE vs TOS. The first would be coordination and the chance for human errors. Also depending if you are an in the architectural discipline as an Architect vs. the structural industry as a Structural Engineer.

What is the industry standard?
An architect would say FFE. This however does not include carpeting, tile, etc. This is the floor to floor heights.

An engineer would say TOS. This is what is usually built first and erected in the field. Even if the steel is sloping, the TOS reference datum plane is still established.

So how can we, from a technology, computer BIM application benefit, or should I say coordinate this industry dividing quandary? Constraints are a wonderful option when looking at Revit (Architecture, Structure, and MEP) for a solution.

Using Existing data
What if we are using the other discipline's file and linking them in the model, and the levels are already established? Linking and Copy Monitor tool. Copy monitor allows users of different disciplines to do just what the name implies “copy” the existing levels, and then allowing the user to move/offset the level to their specific location, for their needs. The levels can then be constrained so if there is movement from either disciplines, a notification will be presented.
Which ever method you choose, Revit has the tools built-in to help you accomplish you needs and coordinate other level references, allowing you to focus on your project.

BIM floor level datum lines should be:

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