Revit 2015 Tutorial – Creating Filters for Structural Modelling and Documentation

Link to YouTube Video:

In this tutorial we will take a look at the use and creation of filters that can be used specifically for structural consultants, as usual there is a link at the top of the post to a YouTube video showing the various techniques used. If you are currently not utilising filters within Revit Structure then these can dramatically improve the quality, speed, consistency and appearance of your models and associated drawings. There are many uses for filters within a structural model which can assist with some of the following design and modelling tasks:

  • Floor Loading Diagrams
  • Construction Methods
  • Analysis tasks and results
  • Piling and Foundations

In the below image you can see an example of filters applied to a plan and 3D view showing the construction methods used in concrete structures. This data can of course be used in a wide range of outputs including schedules.

Revit Filters - Wall Construction example

Another method below is showing the analysis state of a steel framing model, the engineers simply state if a member is designed by checking a box in the instance parameters of the relevant structural members, a filter then colours the model based on this selection.

Filter and Override working

Nearly all of these filters rely on the use of Shared Parameters and Project Parameters which will also be included within this tutorial.

In this tutorial we will look at adding a designed parameter into structural objects and then creating the various filters that are required. This technique can then be used for many other applications as desired.

  1. Creating the Shared Parameter File (SPF)

The first step is to create the shared parameter. This would normally be added to your existing shared parameter file but for this example we will create a new one.

On the Manage ribbon click the shared parameter button as shown below.

Shared Parmaeter Icon

In the Edit Shared Parameter dialog click the Create Button as shown below.

Shared Parmeter Create Button

Save the Shared Parameter File somewhere safe as you may need to reference this file later to add additional items etc. In this example I am saving this to the desktop. Note that this is simply a text file.

Save the SPF file

The next stage is to create a group where the new parameter will be located. Click the New command and Label the group as Analysis as shown below.SPF - Create New Group

Next you click the New Parameter button as shown below and create a new parameter labelled ‘Designed’, the discipline should be Common and the Type of Parameter should be set to Yes/No. Click OK to both dialog boxes.Create the Designed Parameter

This has now created a shared parameter but we now need to tell Revit what to do with this parameter, this is done with a Project Parameter.

  1. Creating the Project Parameters

Next we select the categories that we would like to use our ‘Designed’ parameter in, for example you may want to use this for Structural Framing, Structural Columns, Floors etc. On the Manage Ribbon click the Project Parameters Icon as shown below.

Project Parameter Icon

In the Project Parameters Dialog click the Add button and then select the Shared Parameter radio button and then the Select button as shown in the image below.

Parameter Properties Dialog Box

Select the ‘Designed’ Parameter and then click Ok.Shared Parameter 2

Next you specify the parameter to be an instance as each structural member requires its own instance of the ‘Designed’ parameter. This parameter should be grouped under Structural Analysis. You then select all the Categories that this parameter should appear in; in this example we will select Floors, Structural Columns, Structural Foundations & Structural Framing. Click OK to the Parameter Properties dialog box.Parmaeter Properties Dialog Box 2

You will now see that our ‘Designed’ parameter in ‘burnt’ into any new or existing member within this project. You would ideally add this to your project template to ensure that all future projects have this parameter embedded. It is also worth noting that it is possible to add two identical Shared Parameters with differing data so be aware of this!Revit Structural Framining - Designed Parameter

  1. Filters and View Templates

 A View Filter will simply allow control of a view in Revit by utilising common properties and then applying colours, patterns and shading combinations to identify objects.

You now create a filter and save this into a view template for use in other views. Select an existing 3D view and draw a few columns, beams etc. to test the filter.

On the View Ribbon, Click the Visibility/Graphics Icon as shown below or use the shortcut VV.

Visibility Graphics Button

You will now see the Visibility/Graphics Override dialog as show below. Click the Filter Tab

Visibility Graphics Overrides dialog - Filter Tab

In the Filters Tab you can now select the Edit/New button to create or edit existing filters that you may have.

Visibility Graphics Overrides dialog - Edit-New

The Filter Dialog Box

 The Edit/New Filter dialog is Split into three zones, the first zone is for the creation and management of new and existing filters. Here you can copy and rename filters to create new versions. In the image below you can see that I have already created several parameters to control shading and hatching of a floor slab for loading diagrams, this has been simply copied from existing parameters.

The central zone allows the selection and filtering of categories, ensures that you only have the Structural Filter selected to reduce the quantity of items in the Parameter list.

The right hand zone is used to define the rules for filters, notice that you have three filters so that numerical zones can be created for structural loading values and other similar scenarios.

Revit Filter Dialog

Click the New Filter Button and name the Filter ‘Designed’. Click OK.

Filter Name Dialog

In the Categories Section, select Floors, Structural Columns, Structural Foundations & Structural Framing. You may want to set just the structural category to make the list shorter. In the right hand side of the dialog you can now select our Designed parameter, set the Filter to Equals and the value to Yes. The Filter Dialog should now look similar to the image below. Click OK

Filters Configured

Next you add this filter and configure the required graphical overrides, click the Add button and select the Designed Filter.

You will now have complete control over the visibility, colours of lines and patterns both in Projection and Cut, see the image below.

Revit Design Parameter added to Dialog

You now add a pattern and colour to the graphical override to show all designed members with a solid fill in green as shown below. Click OK to the Dialog box.

Adding Colour and Patterns to the Filter

The filter will now be operating within your 3D view. Make sure that the view is shaded to see this override; if the view is set to realistic the filter will not override the graphics. Your view should now look similar to the image below.

Filter and Override working

  1. Creating and Applying a View Template

You may have more than one view that you want to utilise theses filter within your project so the best approach is to create a View Template from the current view and then edit this template so that it applies the filter and a visual style to the selected views.

On the View Ribbon Select the View Templates drop down and then select the Create Template from Current View Icon as shown below.

Create Template from Current View Icon

In the View Template Dialog box you will now notice that the Designed Template has been created based on the settings of the current view. This has captured all the settings including the visibility status, scale, detail level etc. You will need to uncheck all the check boxes under the Include column and just select V/G Override Filters and Model Display. Unfortunately there is not a check or uncheck all option here!

Link to YouTube Video:

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Revit 2015 2D Detail Components – Download PDF Catalouge

A very quick tip to help you locate 2D detail items from the standard Autodesk Revit 2015 library. I have uploaded a 30 page PDF document that outlines each detail component and where it is located within the folder system.

Revit 2D Detail Items

Here is the link:

Autodesk Revit Detail Items



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Revit 2015 R2 – A Mid Life Upgrade

Autodesk has just launched a major mid-life update to Revit 2015 for Autodesk desktop subscription and maintenance customers. The update is much more than the usual service packs and updates, this is a completely new release which adds additional functionality to the Revit 2015 platform as well as service pack fixes.

The update also incorporates a site designer based on the former Eagle point site works tool which I will review in a separate post.

This update can be installed both on stand-alone and network products and also on all suites that contain Revit 2015. This update does not change the file format so you can upgrade Revit 2015 mid project if required.

As always I will focus on the structural related enhancements and new features but will include a full list of what’s new.

  • Colours section: The new Background Colour setting replaces the Invert Background setting in the Graphics section.

Revit 2015 Options - Background Colour

  • Wall joins: To simplify the control of wall joins in a plan view, you can now select multiple intersected wall joins with a single click, and choose to allow or disallow joins on all the selected walls with a single click. If you choose to allow joins, you can then specify a Display option (Clean Join, Don’t Clean Join, Use View Setting).

Revit 2015- Multiple Wall Joins

Reveal constraints: To see all dimension constraints and alignment constraints in a view, use the Reveal Constraints mode, available on the View Control Bar.

Revit 2015 - Show Constraints

Revit - View Control Toolbar

  • Rebar: When reinforcing concrete elements, you can now place rebar in any 2D view. Place rebar in plan views, elevation views, and section views using the new placement plane tools. Here is the Context ribbon shown below.

Rebar - Near Face Far Face

This enables the placement of rebar on the following faces or a named Reference Plane in plan or elevation.

Revit Rebar - Placement faces

  • Alignment reference: When changing the alignment reference of beam end geometry in a join, you can now select multiple framing element instances and change their alignment to a common join reference. You can also reset multiple changed references.
  • Structural framing orientation: When refining your model, you can flip structural framing elements and maintain joins, as well as setback, geometry, and justification modifications. Right Click over existing members and choose ‘Flip Structural Framing ends’ from the context menu.

Revit 2015 - Flip Structural Framing Ends

There has been a number of UI changes to tool positions such as Beam Justification and placement of analytical properties in the Properties Palette.

Beam Justification - Offsets

Here is the full list of changes to the Revit 2015 Platform.


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Revit Structure Tutorial – Attaching Structural Objects Together

When modelling Structural objects such as walls, columns and trusses it is sometimes very useful to attach the top or bottom of these elements to other structural objects such as roofs, floor slabs and foundations etc. This technique will maintain a parametric relationship between the elements and accommodate edits such as slope and elevation.

Attach Top Base Columns and Walls

You can attach the following families to the references in the table below:

Revit Attach Top Base table

We will start by looking at attaching structural columns to Floors.

In-Situ Concrete Column to Floor

Select a column and then click Attach Top/Base from the Context panel as shown below.

Attach Top Base on Contect panel

On the Options Bar below the Ribbon you will see the followingOptions Bar - Columns

You can of course attach either the Top or the Bottom of the column to a floor slab, the attachment Justification allows for the following processing of the In Situ Concrete columns:

Revit In Situ Column Join options

As you can see the in Situ Concrete members will join as expected but the Steel, Timber and Precast columns will prove more problematic. These columns will not cut and a Reference plane will need to be utilised to create the required detail.

Revit Steel Column Join options

If a Structural Column is attached to a non-structural target such as a roof or ceiling then you will see the following warning, the column is still attached but the analytical model will have no connectivity and behave like a mast!

Error - Non-Structural Target

Walls have a similar workflow where you can attach either the top or base of a wall to a roof, floor, ceiling or another vertical wall. The below image shows a simple example of attaching a block work wall to two structural slabs.

Attach Wall to Floor

Things can get a little more challenging where you have a situation as shown below where your wall needs to attach to the underside of a beam. In this situation you will need to select the wall and then edit the profile and then use the pick lines tool to create the required geometry.

Revit Pick lines to edit wall profile

Also note that if you edit the profile of a wall then this will disassociate the constraints that the Attach Top/Base command adds.

Trusses can be attached to roofs and floors and enables the user to attach the top or bottom boom to various floor shapes. The below example shows a steel truss with the top chord attached to a sloping floor.

Revit - Steel Truss

Here are some more examples with a timber truss attached to a roof and a steel truss attached to a roof that was created as an extrusion.

Revit Roof with Trusses Attached

If the Top and Bottom chord are drastically different then you may have to make use of the Edit Profile tool on the contextual ribbon. This allows the user to create a sketch for both the top and the bottom chords. Also notice that once the truss has been created you can effectively ‘explode’ the truss to structural framing with the Remove Truss Family command.

Revit - modify Truss Ribbon






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Revit Structure 2015 – Commands and Shortcuts

I have now uploaded the Revit Structure 2015  commands and shortcuts for this release. I do plan to include the context ribbons and panels in a later post but here is the main ribbon ready for use.

Revit Structure 2015 Commands and Shortcuts – Structure Tab

The new 2015 commands are marked in Salmon whilst the 2014 new commands are marked in Light Green

Revit 2015 Commands and Shortcuts medium

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Autodesk Revit 2015 to Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis 2015

A small change has been made to the method of transferring models between Autodesk Revit 2015 and Autodesk Robot 2015 which is a little different from the 2014 products.

This change will only affect users that need to transfer data via a .rtd file, if you have Revit and Robot installed on the same machine then the transfer method is the same.

In the dialog box below you can see that the .rtd file has been removed and you now need to use the intermediate file (.smxx). This has been implemented to improve the data that can be shared between applications.

Intergration Dialog from Revit 2015

When importing the .smxx into Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis you will need to use the following method shown below. You cannot directly open the .smxx file.

Autodesk Robot 2015 to Revit 2015 .smxx

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Extended Revit Pile and Pile Cap Families

Here is a sneak preview of what will very soon be available as part of our Excitech Revit Toolkit, these familes have been designed to work with our toolkit to facilitate the scheduling of levels and piles.

Optimised for use with our Excitech Revit Toolkit, this extensive library of Pile and Pile Cap families will operate seamlessly within your structural projects and offers many new parameters to facilitate the creation of pile schedules and associated documentation. The range starts from singular piles up to groups of 14, supporting both round and square piles with differing configurations and presented using standard UK pile spacing and edge clearances in conformance to BS8110 and Eurocode 7.

Extended Revit Pile and Pile caps

We are also pleased to offer full integration with the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) and our schedules can be imported into the FPS Microsoft Excel spread sheet.

These are now live and available in 2013,2014 and 2015 formats.



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