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.

http://youtu.be/xQuQLl0K310

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.

Constri

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:

http://youtu.be/xQuQLl0K310

Place on Face or Workplane

lawrenceH

About lawrenceh

I am currently employed by Excitech, one of the largest Autodesk resellers in the UK, to provide training and other services such as implementation and project support to our clients. The main products I get involved with are Autodesk Revit Structure & Autodesk Inventor. My personal interests include aviation, engineering and walking.
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4 Responses to Revit Structure Tutorial – Structural Opening Families

  1. Tony says:

    How can monitoring openings from a linked model work using this method?

    • lawrenceh says:

      Hi Tony, I would suggest that you monitor the opening but then create your own. This way you will still know if an opening has moved or changed. This also allows you to have more control on the actual opening size.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Roundup – 2015.04 | The BIMsider

  3. This is quite helpful. The annotations/symbol part is also a time saver when it comes to the documentation. This is much more beneficial than editing a wall profile so as to have openings. I recommend this as the best way of creating openings, so far.

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