Revit Structure Tutorial – Create Parts and Divide

Link to YouTube Tutorial:

Quite often in structural projects you may be required to turn an in situ element into multiple pre cast elements, a typical example is perhaps a wall. In this short tutorial we will take a look at the use of parts to divide an in situ wall into pre cast sandwich panels that Revit can then schedule and tag.

Revit Precast wall division

In the above example I have created a composite wall style by creating some additional layers and assigning a precast inner and outer face to cavity filler.Revit - Edit Wall Assembly

As you know, when this wall is used within the project you will generally see the wall as if it were one single object in 3D but if you section the wall it is possible to see the layers.

If parts are used then the wall can be ‘split’ into individual layers and then these layers can be manipulated. To create parts first select the wall/walls and then click the Parts icon on the contextual panel.

Revit Create Parts Icon

The wall will then appear similar to the lower left image. The individual layers are clearly visible in the 3D view.

Wall with Parts Created

The parts can then be further manipulated by selecting the ‘Show Shape Handles’ option within the instance properties of the selected part. This will then give you control to edit the physical size of the object. Other information is also shown here such as Volume and area of the part as well as its new physical dimensions.

Revit Parts Instance Properties

This method of manipulation is suited to individual elements but if you wanted to divide panels and also add options such as joints and gaps then the Divide Parts command will be utilised.
First you will need to create some reference planes to control the division of the wall. A wall can be divided by named reference planes, levels or grids. In the below example I have created some named reference planes and then made these equal.Reference Planes to Divide Wall

In the 3D view select the three parts of the wall and then click the Divide Parts command from the ribbon. Then Click the intersecting References tool.Divide Parts - Divisions

You will now see the Intersecting Named References Dialog box. Select the ‘All’ option from the Filter and you can then select all  your named Reference Planes as well as any Grids and Levels that may be relevant.Intersecting Named References Dilog

You will then see a preview of the divisions and also you can select a division profile and gap if required. You can of course create your own profiles which you can then use to split the wall. Note that you can select individual parts and then select the ‘exclude parts’ command from the context ribbon to hide these objects.

Division Profile and Gap Properties

It is worth noting that you will only see the parts in a view if you have set the ‘parts visibility’ to ‘Show parts. In most views the ‘parts visibility’ setting is set to show original. Of course if you make any edits to the original wall then the parts will automatically update.

Parts Visibility - Show Parts

Once the parts are created then you can start to add data to each panel. The first task could be to give each element a unique number. This can be achieved by using the Element Positioning command from the Extensions Ribbon (Note that you need to be a subscription customer and you will then have access to download these tools.)Revit Element Positioning

You can then add your own data as Project Parameters such as Panel Type, Mould Type etc. A schedule can then be generated based on this information which could be very useful for a contractor to understand quantities, repetitive natures and areas.

Panel Schedule

Bear in mind that a very similar set of tasks can be performed on the following objects as well as in place families.

  • Walls (excluding stacked walls and curtain walls)
  • Foundation Walls
  • Floors (excluding shape-edited floors of more than one layer)
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Structural slab foundations
  • Slab Edges
  • Fascias
  • Gutters
  • Structural Framing
  • Columns
  • Structural Columns

Take a quick look at my YouTube tutorial for step by step instruction.

Have fun,


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SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing and Autodesk Revit Structure

Reinforcement Drawings and bending schedules have traditionally been prepared in semi-automated 2D applications such as CADS RC or manually in 2D CAD applications and while this has served the industry for over 25 years the traditional drafting techniques are becoming obsolete and disconnected from the emerging BIM processes and client requirements. The deliverables are most likely to be 2D drawings and schedules but increasingly also a 3D information model which has benefits to all the project teams including the consulting engineers, contractors, fabricators and steel fixers. The 3D model is particularly useful to all team members in highly congested, complex areas where clashes and pre fabrication issues are often only discovered whilst on site which leads to increased cost and project delivery creep. As with any construction project, communication and understanding is always improved when a 3D model with the relevant information is shared with all relevant parties.

Some of you may already be aware of the new features of Revit Structure 2016 for 3D Reinforcement modelling and detailing. Many of these improvements were in relation to the production of an RC schedule and a new tool to allow the use of shapes within a reinforcement path. However, although these improvements are most welcome there are still a few limitations, deficiencies and annoyances when it comes to efficient modelling, detailing and scheduling of reinforcement within vanilla Autodesk Revit.

3D Rebar - Revit and SOFiSTiK

Autodesk Revit 2016 gives the primary reinforcement modelling functionality and allows the efficient handling of thousands of 3D rebar’s in a model via specialist elements. The SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing tool takes these core modelling tools and adds an additional level of sophistication to the modelling, detailing and scheduling of concrete projects. The main SOFiSTiK ribbon is show below.SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing Ribbon

SOFiSTiK Reinforcement detailing’s main advantage is that it drastically speeds up the detailing of rebar by overlaying Revit 2D detail components over the various views and hiding the Revit rebar. The big plus with this technique is that all the supplied families are completely customisable allowing for RC drawings that exactly match your traditional 2D CAD output. For example, if you want to show a UBAR in plan with a dot or perhaps a cross or tick and tag bars in elevation or section then this is just a simple case of editing the supplied family to suit your requirements.

bar tick and tagUBAR Dot

The efficiency of the process is demonstrated below with a slab with some openings and angular faces. The rebar was added with the Area Reinforcement and path reinforcement commands and then the layers are automatically recognised by the SOFiSTiK layer tool. The split Rebar command has then been used to divide the bar into standard stock lengths.

Split Rebars

The view is then added to a drawing sheet, rebar numbers automatically assigned and the bar is then hidden, tagged and detailed. It is also worth noting that varying ranges and skewed bars can be detailed with a new Rebar Container objects.

Rebar ContainersRD Detailing - Slabs
In the next view I have created some reinforcement for a column detail and added some couplers to the model. A separate schedule can then be generated showing the configuration and location of the couplers.

Rebar Couplers and Schedule

I have also found that when the Autodesk Extension Reinforcement Macros are used then SOFiSTiK Reinforcement Detailing will recognise the correct shape code, the original shape codes are not to standard and hence cannot be used with standalone Revit.

Here is an example of the slab opening macro.

Slab Openings

Some of the main new features for the 2016 release are:

  • Rebar Groups – Used for grouping of bars such as varying ranges and skewed bars
  • Bent Fabric
  • UK Content Pack
  • Rebar Chair Spacer – Shape Code 98
  • Rebar Mechanical Couplers

In summery I would recommend that you download a trial of this software and perhaps take a look at some of the tutorial videos that SOFiSTiK have created.

We also have a Revit Structure course designed for existing users that will lead delegates towards the creation of reinforcement within Revit Structure.


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Revit 2016 to Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2016 – New bi-directional load transfer

The Autodesk Structural Analysis Toolkit 2016 has been released for a few weeks now and I have been testing and using this during training and consultancy days and have discovered that the workflow now supports loads modelled in Robot and then transferred to Revit as well as a host of other documented features.

Revit to Robot Graphic

If the loading that is added via Robot is not supported in Revit, for example a thermal load, then you will see the following warnings when transferring the model.

Robot - Revit Warning List

When the transfer is made from Robot to Revit all the load combinations are also now transferred across. With this new functionality it is now much more realistic to add all the loads and load/code combinations in Robot and then transfer to Revit.

Revit Load Cases

The following enhancements are available in version 2016:

  • Gravity analysis: Apart from static analysis, you can perform gravity analysis. It is the analysis type which by deducing the flow paths of loads lets you determine how vertical loads are transmitted from the top to the foundation of the model.
  • Result Explorer: You can display and explore types of results for gravity analysis.
  • Perform analysis: You can perform a batch of analyses simultaneously. In the Analyze in Cloud dialog, you can specify a type and parameters for several analyses.
  • Website – 3D Structure Viewer: You can display results for static analysis and gravity analysis in 3D Structure Viewer. Moreover, you can display detailed results. Results for members and surfaces are presented in the Local Coordinate System (LCS).
  • Website – 3D Structure Viewer: On mobile devices, you can zoom in/out, pan, and rotate a model using gestures.
  • Website – project page: You can share an analysis with collaborators. Collaborators cannot edit results and cannot download them to the Revit project. They can view analysis results, view a report, and download the Robot model with and without results.
  • Website – dashboard: You can open the Autodesk® 360 Structural Analysis dashboard on the website clicking Analyze tab > Structural Analysis > Open Dashboard.
  • List of messages: You can toggle on and off the list of messages containing information about performed analyses by clicking Analyze tab > Structural Analysis > Messages.
  • Revit – Robot Integration: When updating a Revit model with changes in section sizes, the link checks compatibility between the section size from Robot and family types loaded to the Revit project. If it identifies a family type compatible with a Robot section, it updates the Revit model with it.
  • Revit – Robot Integration: You can specify which levels to transfer as story levels and which levels as structure axes to the Robot model.
  • Revit – Robot Integration: During the Revit – Robot link process, orientation of loads is transferred. Loads are presented in the Local Coordinate System or Global Coordinate System, depending on how they are defined in Revit.


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Revit 2016 Quick Reference Card

Here is an updated version of our popular Autodesk Revit Quick Reference Card for download!

Revit 2016 Quick Start Guide

Download from this Link:

Revit 2016 Quick Reference Card


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Autodesk Revit, Dynamo and Microsoft Excel for Drawing Sheet Creation

When Dynamo was first released for Autodesk Revit I assumed that this would just be used for computational geometry and complex architectural forms. However, I recently took a deeper look into Dynamo and started to realise that this has many uses for the everyday management of models, manipulation of data and the automation of typical time consuming tasks.

Dynamo Program and Revit Browser
I have created a small Dynamo program to create drawing sheets by reading data from an Excel Sheet and also generate parameters for each view to aid the view categorisation.  I was surprised at how quickly this visual ‘code’ came together! Let’s take a look at the process from the start.

First you need to make sure that you have Dynamo installed, this is installed automatically with Revit 2015 R2 and Revit 2016 but can be installed separately for older releases. The versions are changing very rapidly so in this tutorial I am using Dynamo V0.8.

In the future I can see Dynamo appearing in many other Autodesk applications as it has a very flexible and intuitive interface for the average Revit user that is not a coding expert.

Let’s now look at the steps required to create this visual application. This of course can be scaled up to meet more demanding procedures as required!

  1. Start a new Revit Project and then launch Dynamo from the Add-Ins Ribbon as shown below.Dynamo V0.8 Icon
  2. Start Microsoft Excel and create a document that contains the following columns, you can of course use your own names, numbers etc. Microsoft Excel is particularly good for this type of work as the drawing number can be created from specific entries in other columns.Microsoft Excel for Drawing Numbers
  3. Next you rename the Excel sheet to the following. Save the Excel file in a location of your choice.

Microsoft Excel Tabs

4. Switch to Dynamo and start a new Dynamo File.

Dynamo Application

5. You will now see the main Dynamo interface. The Dynamo application is split between     the node library on the left and the Workspace on the right. You will also notice that           Dynamo has a search function at the top of the node library for locating specific nodes.     Note that older versions of Dynamo may not display icons.

Dynamo Application screen

Start by searching for the File Path node as shown below.

Dynamo - File path Node

Click the File Path node once and it will be added to your workspace. The workspace can be zoomed and panned in the same way as Revit and you can drag the node to any location within the workspace.

Click the Browse button and locate your Microsoft Excel file. This node will allow you to select any type of file on your PC.

Dynamo - Browse

6. Next you add File from Path node. This should appear in the node library as it contains      the File Path search string. Click this node to add it to the workspace.

Dynamo - File from path Node

Next you ‘wire’ the nodes together as shown below. This is the primary method of building a visual program within Dynamo. At any time you can select the small grey square below the file node to display a watch window to show the current output.

Dynamo - Wire Nodes Together

7.  Using a similar process you can search for the Excel nodes and add                           Excel.ReadFromFile and a String Node. These should look like the following as shown below. The String entry is used to select the correct sheet in Microsoft Excel, in our case we named it ‘DRAWING NUMBERS’. Note the Watch window now shows the data from the Excel File. If any boxes show in Yellow then there is an error in your inputs.

Read Excel File Dynamo

8. Next we need to split the data into separate columns from the list. Note that the watch window shows [0], [1] and [2]. These are the column headers in Excel.

9. Type List.Transpose in the Search nodes and then add this to the workspace. Wire the Var[][] node to the List node. You then search and add a Number node and also the List.GetItemAtIndex.

Wire these together as shown below. Again click the grey Square box to show a Watch window of the data. Notice that this is now reading the first column of the Excel Sheet.

Dynamo - List.GetItemAtIndex

10. You then repeat this process to create three separate lists. Note that you can copy and paste the nodes for speed. Select the nodes with the Ctrl Key and then Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V and then rewire. Your workspace should now look similar to the below image.

Dynamo - List.GetItemAtIndex Copy and Paste

11. Next we create a new node to create the drawing sheets in your Revit project. In the search field type ‘Sheet By Name’ and then add the ‘ByNameNumberTitleblockAndView’ node to your workspace. You can then wire the Sheet Name and Sheet Number and connect these to the relevant lists as shown below.

Dynamo - Sheet By Name

12. The next step is to tell the node what titleblock to use. In this example we will use the default A1 Metric title block. Type ‘Family Types’ into the node search and add this to the work space. Also search for ‘Views’ and add this to the workspace as shown below. You can of course use your own settings for the title block and view. In this example I have used the North Elevation for the first view and A1 metric for the Title Block.

Dynamo - Create Sheets

That should be your code. The Running of this code is probably set to Automatic by default but you can select run in the bottom left of the Dynamo interface as shown below.

Dynamo - Run

I hope that this has shown how useful and simple Dynamo can be for automation of tedious operations. I will showcase some more uses for Dynamo in future tutorials.


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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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