This year I have decided to review the new structural features of Revit 2018 in two separate posts, Steel Detailing and Concrete. The structural features have been quite interesting in the last few releases and have taken a prominent position over architecture and MEP. Autodesk have a very strong position in the Architecture and MEP markets but have competition in structures market with Tekla Structural Designer. Tekla has transitioned from a steel detailing tool, clearly aimed at fabricators to a multi material BIM modeller with integrated structural analysis (Trimble acquired CSC) that is useful for structural consultants, steel and concrete detailers and engineers. Autodesk are well aware of this and hence are bolstering the steel and concrete features and workflows within Revit. With the above points in mind it is difficult to guess where Revit may go in the future. We could see the integration of cloud based analysis that will completely replace Robot Structural Analysis and perhaps also a full steel detailing capability that would absorb AutoCAD Structural Detailing. I think we have a very exciting few years ahead and will be interesting to see what path Autodesk take. One great strength Autodesk have is a huge portfolio of products and technologies from a wide range of industries and I am sure we will see further integration and consolidation.
Revit 2017 introduced steel connections with just over 20 connections that you could apply to ‘approved’ steel members. Revit 2018 now adds over 120 connections that can be used on any steel section, a huge improvement. A Structural consultant can now show indicative connections and convey design intent to a fabricator with the inbuilt connections. Most of these connections can be designed to EC3 with forces and moments taken from a Robot Structural Analysis model.
The main advantages are to enable structural consultants to be able to produce models to a higher Level Of Detail (LOD 350) or LOD 4 in the UK. In my opinion the structure and drawings do look more complete with the connections added and can be marked for design intent/information only.
Another advantage is that the connections can be seamlessly transferred from Revit to Autodesk Advance Steel for full fabrication detailing and production data.
As mentioned above you can now add steel connections to any steel section provided that you add the required data. To place a connection, Revit needs to understand bolt spacing’s, section depths, fillets, shapes etc. This information is added to the family by clicking Family Category and Parameters. In the below image you can see a connection added to a custom purlin C section.
The section shape and parameters are added when you select the Section Shape from Family Categories and parameters. In the below example you can see an L profile with Lips selected. Revit will then add all the required parameters automatically allowing a connection to be hosted onto the section.
Certain structural connections can be placed in multiple rotations which will affect which members are cut. In the example below you can see that Revit 2018 now shows the order of the connection selection.
Hopefully you will get some time to play around with the new features and start to use them in your next project.
I have created a video that you may want to watch showing the new steel connections and drawings.