Revit 2015 – Structural Framing Enhancements

This will be a very interesting year with regards to steel detailing, fabrication and Autodesk software. A few months back Autodesk purchased Graitec Advance Steel and Advance Concrete to extend their offering in the steel detailing & fabrication industry. The only other Autodesk product was AutoCAD Structural Detailing which I would imagine will start to disappear from the various Autodesk suites that included this as there have been very few developments with this software for the past couple of years

Revit 2015 Splash Screen

This year Revit 2015 has seem some great interface improvements with regards to the justification points on steel and precast members and member offsets. We will begin by looking at the justification point tool.

Revit 2015 - Justification Points

This is essentially an ease of use improvement to an existing set of tools to offset steel, timber or precast member both laterally or vertically from the original position to predefined points. This will only reposition the physical position of the member and leave the analytical model unchanged.  The tool can be used equally well in plan, elevation and sections as well as 3D views.

Revit 2015 - Beam Justification points

The offset command will reposition the framing member graphically in the Y and Z axis. This is a much easier way of offsetting the structural framing members.

Revit 2015 - Y and Z graphical Offset


The change Reference tool is perhaps my favourite new framing tool in Revit 2015, this tool allows the user to select a new reference for the end of a joined beam and then cycle between these references by using the Change Reference command. See the image below.

Revit 2015 - Picked Reference on Structural FramingRevit 2015 - Change Reference

Another interesting feature is an existing tool from Revit 2013, the humble shape handle. For those of you that didn’t use Revit 2013 or earlier releases the shape handles allowed a steel, precast or timber framing member to have its physical length changed graphically. Revit 2014 omitted this tool and instead relied on the user inputting values into the Properties Palette which was slightly frustrating!

Revit 2015 - Shape Handles

Structural Framing members can now also carry more information about the members physical dimension as well as analysis properties. Each Framing family now has a new category called Section Shape Property.

Revit 2015 - New Section Shape parameter

Once again I will create a detailed tutorial video on these features when I have access to the final shipping release of Revit 2015.



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Revit Structure 2015 – New Reinforcement Tools

As with all my blog posts about new Autodesk releases I will break down each new feature in separate posts and show the full scope of the new tools and features with a UK focus. Those of you that regularly read my posts will know that I keep a very close eye on the reinforcement tools and any new features or extensions that come to market. This year Autodesk have again focussed on the reinforcement and analytical tools for the specific structural enhancements for 2015. The primary goal with reinforcement is to give the RC detailer a better set of tools for the production of 2D RC drawings and accurate schedules.

Revit Structure 2015 Rebar

In previous releases the RC drawings would show every bar but the user now how the choice of selecting the first and last bar in the set, a middle bar or user selected bars. This feature allows the correct presentation of bars in plan and elevation using a similar system to AutoCAD Structural Detailing.

Revit 2015 - Rebar Presentation Panel

The Reinforcement descriptions have had a complete overhaul and can now detail bar with a range indicator and the correct terminators and leaders. This has been achieved by combining a dimension style with a rebar tag.

Revit 2015 - Typical Foundation Detail

The other issue was with bar marks, Revit 2014 would allow multiple bars with the same dimensions to have the same bar mark! In Revit 2015 the bar mark is automatically generated and can be sequenced with a variety of differing options. Partitions are for setting bar marks for each element, you can also see the feature for removing gaps in bar marks and once this is enabled the process is automatic.

Revit 2015 - Reinforcement Numbers

Another interesting concept is that parts can now host rebar, this has some potential but I do really think that families should be authored with parametric rebar, this would make more sense and give a huge amount of flexibility.

All the information and data can now be compiled into a full RC schedule that’s compliant with BS8666-2005.

Revit 2015 RC Schedule - Revit Structure 2015

When the ‘shipping’ version of Revit 2015 is released I will produce a full video showing the capabilities.

Hope this helps,


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Tutorial – Conceptual Massing and Revit Structure

Link to YouTube Video:

In this tutorial I will take you through some of the tools you can use to create a mass within Revit and then apply structural elements to the form. I will also outline some other possible workflows with other Autodesk software. Our target will be to produce a similar model to the one shown below. In future tutorials I will also talk about correcting the analytical model and preparing this for analysis.

Revit Structure Roof Framing

The first step is to create the conceptual form, on the Application menu select the Conceptual Mass command.

Conceptual Mass Family

The Conceptual Mass family does look a little different to the normal structural families that you may create. You will see that the Reference Planes are visible in the 3D view which makes them much easier to work with.

Conceptual Mass Reference planes Visible

In the Project Browser double click the Level 1 Floor plan and create the Reference Planes as shown below.

Conceptual Mass - Refernece Planes

Once the Reference Planes are created then switch to the 3D view to view the planes in 3D. You will now set one of the Reference Planes as the active Work Plane. As shown below, click the plane command and then select the front Reference Plane. You can also switch on the visibility of this Plane by selecting the Show button on the Work Plane Panel.

Conceptual Mass - Set the current Work Plane

Next you create the first profile, Click the Line command as shown below and draw the three required lines. Next choose the Start End radius arc and create an arc for the curved roof, use any radius you want for this. Note that you may need to use the Tab key to select individual lines and arcs within the profile.

Conceptual Mass - Creating the First Profile

Repeat this for the second profile using the image below.

Conceptual Mass - Creating the Second Profile

Next you create the 3D form, Select both the profiles and click the Create Form command as shown in the image below.

Conceptual Mass - Creating the Form

Next you add an intermediate cross section to create a double-curved roof. Select the solid by using the tab key to cycle to the solid form. On the contextual Ribbon you will see the add profile tool, select this and add a profile roughly in the middle of the solid as shown below. You may also want to enable the X-Ray command which will enable you to visualise the cross sectional profiles.

X-Ray Mass

Select the middle arc and drag this up the Z-Axis to form the geometry as shown below.

Conceptual Mass -Drag the Z-Axis

You will now divide the top surface into a number of divisions. This is achieved by selecting the top surface and clicking the Divide tool as shown on the ribbon below. Note that you will need to turn the X-Ray model off to see the divided surface.

Divide Surface Ribbon

In the Properties Palette you now set the pattern to a Rhomboid form and then set the Maximum Spacing to 2000 for the U and V Grids.

Revit Divided Surface Properties

You have now successfully created the basic mass. Save this as ROOF MASS.rfa

Start a new Structural Project and ensure that you open the Site Structural Plan, this already has the View Range set to unlimited.

Make sure that you have also switched on the Mass Category within Visibility/Graphics overrides dialog box.

Visibility-Graphic Overrides

On the Structure Ribbon, click the Component Command and then browse for your ROOF MASS.rfa file. You can then place this on the Work Plane.

Component Button

Create a new 3D view and ensure that the Mass Category is enabled. You should now see your mass within this view. Next you create the structural framing.

Click the Beam Command and select a CHS section of your choice from the Type selector as shown below. Note that you need to ensure that the sections are placed at the centre of the divided lines as shown on the Properties Palette.

Revit Pattern Properties

You will now set up the Options for the beam placement. On the Contextual Ribbon and Options Bar, set the following as shown below.

Strcutural Framing Settings

You can now start to select the divided lines and Revit will now add the 3D beams to the divided surface lines. Note that you can use the Tab key to select panels to speed this process up a little!

Beam Cutback Issue

You will notice that the CHS sections appear to ‘spring back’ from the nodes. This is due to the Start and End Extension calculations. You will now edit the CHS family to rectify this.

Select one of the CHS sections on your roof and click Edit Family on the Contextual Ribbon as shown below.

Edit Family Button

Switch to the Floor Plan – Ref Level and then use the shape handles to drag the extrusion from the inner Reference Plane to the Outer Reference Planes. This will then remove the ;Spring Back’ that occurs in the project. Ensure that you lock the geometry to the outer planes. Load the family into your project and the frame should update.

CHS New Constraints point

Hope that this has been useful for you.


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Revit 2014 UK Quick Reference Card

This handy Quick Reference Card has now been updated to Revit 2014 paths and includes many new useful file paths to assist you when creating templates or centralising content on your server. We generally hand this out with our Revit 2014 essentials training but this can be useful even for the more seasoned user.

It has been designed to be printed onto an A4 card or sheet and folded down the dotted line.

Revit 2014 Quick Start Reference Card

Revit 2014 Quick Start Guide

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Autodesk Revit and Text Heights

Recently while producing a Revit template for a customer I had noticed that the fonts in Revit may vary in height and in some instances can be vastly different from your intended height. For example, within AutoCAD, if you choose the font Calibri and set a text height of 3mm then this text will print approximatly 3mm high but in Revit this text would be 2.55mm high. This is due to all fonts being designed differently and having differing ascent and decent heights, this is perfectly normal in word processers and desktop publishing tools. AutoCAD will scale the height of a captial letter to be correct, see the example below.Font Height and varing width

To give some sort of background to this, on a drawing board you may well have used lettering templates for consistent, clear printing or if you were really posh perhaps Letraset! This then became fairly standard and was also expected on Engineering CAD drawings. Before AutoCAD supported True Type Fonts (Pre Release 13) it used Shape Compiled Fonts,(SHX) fonts that closely simulated the lettering templates, see the example below.Technical Letter Guide

To help with this I have created a font height conversion table that you can download here.

Revit text Conversion Heights

The Revit Conversion Factor is a simply multiplied by your intended text height.Revit Font Height Conversion Table

For example, you would like to create a text style for 3mm Calibri which has a Revit Conversion factor of 1.1757, so


Hope this helps,


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Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Modelling piled wall systems

Link to YouTube Video:

I thought it was about time to produce a post and tutorial on piled wall such as sheet piling, contiguous and secant piled systems. On a recent customer project we had to model some sheet piling and in previous projects I had used curtain systems to produce the layout with mixed results. I have found that the best current system for the modelling of sheet piling is to use adaptive components and then apply this to a divided path.

Revit Piled Wall

The first stage is to model your pile family. The Pile family is modelled within a column family template. I downloaded a profile of a sheet pile and then used this to create a simple extrusion with a parameter to control the pile depth. Make sure that you set the pile to always be vertical within the Family Categories & Parameters otherwise you may find that you have horizontal piling!

You then create a Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rfa family and insert the pile family into this. Place a normal Revit point and make this adaptive as shown below.

Revit Adaptive Component

Start a new Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rft family and then draw your intended path for the pile component. It’s worth remembering that you can of course import a CAD file or an image into his family to help with the layout.

Metric Generic Model Adaptive CAD import

Start a new Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rft family and then draw your intended path for the pile component. It’s worth remembering that you can of course import a CAD file or an image into his family to help with the layout.

Divide Path Icon

You can then configure the divided path within the Properties Palette. Note that I have set the layout to Fixed Distance and the Measurement Type to Chord Length. In this example the width of the sheet pile is 900.

Revit Divided Path

Next you load in your adaptive pile family. On the Create Ribbon use the component tool and insert your pile at the end of your path making sure that you snap it on one of the points. Select the pile and then choose the Repeat command as shown below.

Revit Pattern along a path

You will now see your piling layout. You can now load this back into your project. The piles can be scheduled if you have set the family to use the Shared property.

Pile Layout

Here is another example where the path is travelling through 3D space. Very useful for infrastructure projects. Form more information see my YouTube Video:

Revit 2014 Sheet Piling


Hope this helps,


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Revit Structure 2014 – New selection tools

Sometimes the smaller, less significant features are the best. In Revit 2014 you now have the access to the following selection tools which are located in the bottom right of the interface.

Selection Toolstrip - Revit 2014

These tools are very simple but can drastically increase productivity while working with linked CAD models, Linked Revit Architecture or MEP models. Below you can see the selection tools and their use.

Selection Tools - Revit 2014

Selecting elements by face is really useful whilst trying to select and edit a floor in a plan view. When enabled, this simple tool allows you to pick the floor by face.

I tend to pin objects such as grids and levels and the selection of pinned elements is another good one to manage.

As I said, simple but really useful!

Hope this helps,




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