Revit Structure 2016 – New Features

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the host of new features and product improvements to Revit Structure 2016 and today we have finally reached the date where we can showcase the array of new platform features as well as the specific structural tools to Revit 2016. Rather than just simply listing all the new features we will explain how these help on a day to day basis and understand where these new features may be heading in the future. A video will be coming tomorrow! (16/04/2015)

Link to Video:

Revit Structure 2016 Banner

Here is the list of the Major Structural Improvements

  • Structural Steel Profiles
  • Elevation Parameters
  • Release and member forces
  • Truss chord rotation
  • Local coordinate system
  • Area loads
  • Rebar display performance
  • Rebar placement
  • Rebar shapes in paths
  • Rebar scheduling
  • Structural Analysis Toolkit for Autodesk® Revit® (NOT AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW)

Structural Steel Profiles

The integration between Autodesk Revit 2016, fabrication and analysis software is getting more comprehensive and opening wider possibilities to the various disciplines for data transfer, collaboration and reuse of intelligent, data rich models. One of the key requirements here is to have a central, robust set of data relating to the section shape, structural performance and other important properties such as fabrication data for bolt and weld sizing.

Steel Profiles

This is now provided by the structural Section properties and an extended set of framing families that carry more detailed information such as section shapes, a logical set of dimensions as well as information found in the Blue book relating to structural performance.

UB Section Type Properties

The section Shapes have templates for the various hot and cold rolled elements which make it very quick and simple to define a new section. For example, if you start a Structural Framing family and assign a section shape then all the required dimensional and analytical parameters are created automatically and can then be populated with the relevant data.

Release and Member Forces

Member end forces can now be set to aid integration, communication and collaboration with fabricators to facilitate the design of connections. The member end forces can be scheduled and tagged and are based on the fixity of members. In the image below the analytical model for a beam has been selected and the release conditions are set for each end of the beam. The member end forces can then be manually entered.

Member End Forces - Properties

I would imagine that this will, in the future become automated based on analysis results either from Autodesk Robot Structural analysis or from third party tools via the API. The forces will likely be rationalised and then automatically populated to each steel member. It goes without saying that the End forces can be tagged and scheduled.

Member End Forces Dialog Box


Another small but useful change is a new graphical method to set the Structural Framing Ends.

Flip Framing Ends

Loads on Curved Members
Loads can now be hosted on curved analytical objects such as walls and beams. The loads can be set to the global coordinate system or the host’s local coordinate system.

Loads Hosted onto Curved Surfaces

Whilst placing the loads a new preview is given showing the local axis. This is very useful to predict which axis to apply the force.

Trusses – Rotate top and Bottom Members

You can now control the orientation for the top and bottom chords in relation to the rotation of the truss.

Truss Chord Rotation

Extended Elevation Parameters

You can now add the following parameters to your tags for the following:

  • Elevation at Top (beams, braces, structural floors, and foundation slabs)
  • Elevation at Top Core (multi-layered structural floors, and foundation slabs)
  • Elevation at Bottom Core (multi-layered structural floors, and foundation slabs)
  • Elevation at Bottom (beams, braces, structural floors, and foundation slabs)
  • Reference Level Elevation (beams and braces)

The elevation at top will be particularly useful for rotated beams at this tool will give the exact levels at the Top and Bottom of Steel. The Elevation parameters are also exposed to the schedules for Floors, Structural Framing and Foundation slabs.

Extended Level Parameters - Steel Profiles

One of the main issues with this is that it currently only reads the levels from the Project Base Point so for those of us utilising Shared coordinates I would image we will have to wait until Autodesk implement the option of taking the levels from the Survey Point. The below example is showing the tag applied to a floor slab, however, the floor does have to be structural for this tag to work.

Extended Level Parameters - Floor

Reinforcement – New Features and Improvements

There have been several improvements and new features added to the Revit Structure  2016 release which brings us even closer to a viable solution for RC detailing. I will start with the improvements to the scheduling capabilities.

The Reinforcement Settings Dialog box has a few new additions to allow the rounding method to be set, for example the Bar Length can now be rounded up to the nearest 25mm as opposed to rounding to the nearest. This is available for the Bar Length, Bar Segment Length and also the Fabric Sheet dimensions.

Reinforcement Rounding 2016

Autodesk have provided us with three new parameters which are:

  • Host Mark
  • Host Category
  • Host Count

These three new parameters make producing RC schedules much easier. The below image is an example I have put together showing the three parameters that have been utilised.

RC Schedule 2016

The ‘Number of Members’ is generated by using the Host Count, this was one of my biggest issues in previous releases as you had to start to add manual data which can add errors into the otherwise automated process. I have also used the Host Mark for the ‘Member’ column which works very nicely. The Host Category could perhaps be used to filter foundations, structural framing and floors for separate RC schedules.

Rebar Performance Improvements

When Autodesk first implemented Reinforcement into Revit a few people were wondering how feasible it really would be to model every single rebar in an entire project. Autodesk created a special element for rebar that had very good performance but consequently behaved a little different from standard Revit objects.

So for the Revit 2016 release Autodesk have added some very smart tools that adapt the views based on zoom levels and view extents. For example, if an element is very small on the screen then the bar will display in a course detail level regardless of the detail level settings. This does make large improvements to the handling of large models with reinforcement.

RC Performance

Rebar Placement

Please see my post on Revit 2015 R2 for these new features.

Some other placement improvements are holding down the shift key to ‘snap’ to a cover face whilst placing rebar. This can be useful when placing rebar that is required to be parallel to a distant face.

Place Rebar Parallel to face

Using shapes in Structural Path Reinforcement

It is now possible to use the Structural Path Reinforcement tool to place other rebar shapes along a path, for example a U bar along a slab edge. This is certainly a huge improvement but we still need the capability to skew the bars rather than having the rebar perpendicular to the host face.

Path Reinforcement

This is a basic summery of the most significant features to Revit Structure 2016. Look out for a video in the next day or so, I will add a link and update my post.

I will also review other areas of Revit Structure 2016 as they become available, for example, the structural Analysis Toolkit was not available for this post as well as any improvements made to extensions and the integration with other Autodesk Software products.


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Tips and Tricks – A Complex model in Autodesk Building Design Suite Ultimate

I thought I would share an interesting challenge I recently had for creating some complex geometry and being able to transfer this geometry both to Revit Structure and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional. I have used my own data just to verify and test the procedures required.

The software used within the Building Design Suite Ultimate package is:

  • Autodesk Inventor 2015
  • AutoCAD 2015
  • Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2015
  • Autodesk Revit 2015

I modelled a Stadium within Autodesk Inventor and used the split command to create the various positions for the truss sections that I wanted to produce. The Inventor model is fully parametric and capable of change relatively quickly.

Autodesk Inventor - Stadium Concept

I then used the XEDGES command in AutoCAD to extract all the wireframe edges. The other option is to output the model to ACIS and then explode the geometry.

Stadium with Rational Geometry

This model was then taken into Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis by opening the dwg file. The lines are automatically converted to bars. I then assigned the relevant members and the model was ready to design.

Robot Model

Finally you can then create the Revit model from the Robot model! A lot of Autodesk software used here but if you have the Building Design Suite Ultimate then this could be a viable workflow.

Stadium in Revit

Have Fun,


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Revit Structure – Using Load Take Down for Internal Dead Loads

Here is a very quick tip and trick for modelling dead loads from internal walls to your analysis programs. You will first need to ensure that you have the Load Take down tool added to Revit which can be download from Autodesk Exchange Apps

Once this is installed you will need to add your internal walls and make sure that these are structural and have an analytical model. In the image below I have created a filter to show these in Red.

Revit Analytical Model with Filters for Internal Walls

You also need to add Boundary conditions for the slabs, walls and columns and set the fixity for these. You can then start the Load Take down tool from the Extensions Ribbon.

Revit Load Takedown - Linear Loads

Click the Structural Analysis command and then you can see the linear loads on either the entire structure or just the stories where the loads are applied. These linear loads can then be added to the Revit model (A manual process at the moment).

Line Loads added to Revit

The model can then be transferred to your Analysis application.



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Revit Structure Tutorial – Structural Opening Families

Many of you will be using the Shaft Opening command within Revit to produce vertical openings within your models. Whilst being fairy efficient they have the following limitations:

  • Can Only be used to cut vertically
  • Can only cut floors
  • Analytical model cannot be adjusted

Perhaps the biggest issue here is the results on the analytical model and the fact that this analytical model cannot be adjusted. This can result in gaps from the floor slab to a structural wall as shown below. I would suggest that you set the analytical model of walls to the outside faces which will eliminate the gap.

Gap in Analysis model

To solve the other issues of placement I have created a tutorial video which explains how to create your own structural opening family with step by step instructions which can be viewed here.

We start by creating a Metric Generic model.rfa family template to develop the mail opening.

File - New - Family

  1. Create the parametric framework by using for Reference Lines to control the length and width of our opening. On the Create Ribbon click the Reference Line command and create the four Reference lines as shown below. The Reference Lines enable the shape handles to be displayed in a 3D view.

Opening Symbol - Reference Lines

2. Next you add two parameters to control the opening length and width. Create an Aligned dimension for the length and width and add the parameter as shown below.

Add Parameter

3. In the Parameter properties  box make sure that you select the Instance radio button to enable the shape handles and allow individual control of each structural opening.

Add Parameter Dialog Box

4. Repeat this for the Opening Width parameter. Your family should now look similar to the image below.

Opening Symbol - Reference Lines

Next you create the void extrusion. On the Create Ribbon click the Void Extrusion command as shown below.

Void Extrusion

Sketch a Rectangle and lock all four padlocks to ensure that the geometry is constrained to the Reference Lines as shown below.

Rectangle Constrained

Click the green tick to finish the void extrusion. In the Project Browser switch to the front view and align the top and bottom of the Void Extrusion to the Reference Lines as shown below. You will also need to create a parameter for the opening height; this will also be an instance parameter.


5. Next you configure the Family Categories & Parameters, on the Create Ribbon click the Family Categories & Parameters command. To ensure that you can use the void extrusion in any plane you select the Work Plane-Based option. The void will not be able to cut families unless the Cut with voids when loaded option is switched on. Lastly you can uncheck the Always vertical command to enable the family to be placed on any plane.

Family Categories & Parameters

The main part of the structural opening is now complete; you will now need to create a 2D opening symbol that will appear on each section or elevation that projects the opening. Save your Family as Structural Opening.rfa. Do not close the file as you will load your 2D detail into this family in later steps.

2D opening Symbol

6. We start by creating a Metric Detail Item.rfa family template to develop the 2D opening detail.

File - New - Family

7. Create the four Reference Planes as shown below. I have mirrored the reference planes to initially make the planes symmetrical.

Reference Planes

8. Next you create two Aligned Dimensions and then add instance parameters to control the 2D detail called ‘Opening Length’ and ‘Opening Width’. Both of these parameters need to be instance parameters. Your family should now look similar to the image below.

Opening Length and Width Parameters

Next you create a sub category to allow control of line weight and visibility. On the Manage Ribbon click the Object Styles command.

Object Styles Icon

In the Object Style dialog box create a new Subcategory named ‘Structural Opening Symbols’ and click Ok on both dialog boxes.

Object Style Dialog Box

9. On the create ribbon click the Line command to start the place line mode.

Detail Line Icon

Draw the two diagonal Detail Lines as shown in the image below and ensure that the Structural opening sub category is selected. There is no need to lock the detail lines to the Reference Planes as Revit will assume that the lines should be constrained to the Reference Planes.

Strcutural Opening Sub Category

Flex the family by selecting the Family Types command on the Create Ribbon to check that the Detail Lines respond to the changes. Save the Detail Component as 2D Structural Opening Symbol.rfa.

10. Next you load your 2D Structural Opening Symbol into your Structural Opening.rfa. On the Create Ribbon click the Load into Project command as shown below.

Load into project Command

If the Load into Projects Dialog box shows then ensure that you select the Structural Opening.rfa. Depending on your last view you may get a warning, you can ignore this.

11. In the Project Browser make the Floor Plans, Ref.Level view active. On the Annotate Ribbon Click the Detail Component tool as shown below.

Detail Component Button

You should now be able to place your 2D Structural Opening Symbol onto the active view. Make sure that you lock the 2D Detail to the Reference Lines.

Your Family is now ready to test!

When inserting the family into a project you use the Place Component command on the Structure Ribbon. It is also worth remembering that you can control the placement mode to be on a Face or on the active Work Plane. Remember that a YouTube Video is published at:

Place on Face or Workplane


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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

imageStructural Tree modelled with a Revit Mass and Structure Generator to provide automatic framing.

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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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