Revit 2016 R2 – A look at the new features

Just like last year, Autodesk have opted for a mid-life release in the form of Revit 2016 R2 but a few less structurally orientated tools than last year’s Revit R2 release! Never the less, some of the Platform tools are very useful and make the user experience even better.  Let’s take a look at some of these new features in a little more depth. I have opted just to show the most relevant tools for the structural workflow. Before we start here is a list of all the new features.

Multi-Disciplinary Enhancements

  • Global parameters
  • Cancel Print and Export
  • Family visibility preview
  • Filter Voids and Solids
  • Performance Enhancements
    • Occlusion Culling
    • Export to DWF/DWFx
    • Colour Fills
    • Background Processes
    • Object Styles
  • Revisions
    • Sheet Issues/Revision Dialog Box
    • Revisions on Sheet Dialog Box
  • Revit Links
  • Work sharing

Architectural Enhancements

  • Perspective Views
  • Spot Slope
  • Wall Joins
  • Railings
  • Autodesk Raytracer Rendering
  • Energy Analysis

MEP Enhancements

  • Fabrication
    • Insert Part
    • Connect as Tap
    • Rotation Tools
    • Show Service
  • Electrical Settings
  • Assigning a Distribution System

Global Parameters

This is probably the most interesting of the new features as it now allows control of multiple elements with a single parameter. In the example below I have used two Global Parameters to control the floor to floor levels in a structure. I have the typical Floor to Floor height of 3600mm and a service level of 4000mm.

The first stage is to create the levels and dimension these levels with Aligned Dimensions.

Revit Global Parameters - Floor to Floor Height

You then select the dimensions that you would like to assign a Global Parameter and then click the Label tool on the Options Bar (Similar to the creation of parameters in a family)

Global Parameters

You can then control the various values of each parameter by first selecting the dimension and then clicking the small ‘pencil’ icon or using the Global Parameters Icon on the Manage Ribbon.

Global Parameter - Edit Parameter Icon

Revit 2016 R2 - Global Parameters Icon

You will then see the Global Parameters Dialog where you can create new parameters, edit existing parameters or delete parameters. What is quite interesting is that you can use Reporting Parameters to control your own user parameters.Revit Global Parameters - Floor to Floor Height Change

A good use for this is possibly setting steelwork to the base of a floor slab. In the image below you can see that a reporting parameter has been added to the floor slab (225) and this has been referenced by a Global parameter (Beam Control). You can then assign this parameter to the beams offset in the Properties Palette.

Revit Global Parameters - Beam Offsets

Linking Revit Models

A simple but useful new feature is to link Revit Projects from Project Base Point to Project Base Point. This can be useful when each model has set the geometry out from this point.

Revit 2016 R2 - Link Revit File by Project Base Point

Some of the other features are more ‘cosmetic’ in nature but all add to a good user experience in the day to day use of the software.

Here is the reworked View Range dialog box which is ideal for new users who wonder about the various settings such as View Depth, Top Range etc.

Revit 2016 R2 - View Range Dialog

The Filters dialog box has had a bit of reorganisation by separating Rule Based and Selection Filters to reduce the amount of filters displayed in the dialog box.

Revit 2016 R2 Filters

Reference Planes can now be renamed directly within the graphics screen for ease of use.

Revit 2016 R2 - Reference Plane Naming

You can also select multiple sub categories in the Object Styles dialog box which increases productivity when creating project templates.

Revit 2016 R2 Filters

So there’s a very quick ’round up’ of the new features. Again, not too bad for a mid year release.



Introducing Autodesk Advance Steel 2016

With the release of Autodesk Building Design Suite 2016 back in June Autodesk announced that AutoCAD Structural Detailing was to be discontinued from the suite but would still be made available to clients that had subscription. One of the main catalysts for change was the acquisition back in 2013 of the Advance Steel product which gives the much needed fabrication and structural detailing capabilities to the existing Autodesk structural suite of products. Autodesk Advance Steel now completes the portfolio giving BIM workflows and capabilities to Steel Detailers, Fabricators, Manufacturers and Contractors.Autodesk Advance Steel Workflow

In the workflow shown above the structural engineer can design the steel frame in Robot and then import the model into Autodesk Revit with the design results, the Revit model can then be transferred and synchronised with Autodesk Advance Steel. The steel detailers can then add any secondary steel, cold rolled systems as well as the required connections and check these to the required design codes, create fabrication documents and output CNC code. The Advance Steel model can then be federated into the main Navisworks model allowing contractors to plan the logistics and construction. Finally, Autodesk Point Layout can be utilised for the creation of points and then the data exported to Robotic instruments for setting out.

A major strength of Autodesk has always been integrating tools to give users good workflows and the transfer of intelligent models and data. Autodesk Advance Steel can import and output to the following neutral formats.

  • IFC
  • CIS/2
  • SNDF

The NC data can be output via the common DSTV format or to certain bespoke machine tools. Another option is to output profiles to DXF to interface with LASER, plasma and similar automated cutting machines.

Other intelligent synchronised links are possible with Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Robot. The interface with Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis will also output the design forces directly into the Joint Design tab. There are also workflows with AutoCAD Plant 3D and Autodesk Inventor.Autodesk Advance Steel Import and Export Tools

A huge advantage of Autodesk Advance Steel is that it runs on top of AutoCAD giving a very familiar feel to existing AutoCAD users and good resourcing potential when looking for steel detailers with CAD experience. Although the main drafting and modify tools are shared with AutoCAD 2016, Autodesk Advance Steel brings many more bespoke tools to aid the modelling of structures, analysis and drawing outputs. The tools work in a very intuitive way and are used in logical workflows to provide full control of your digital model.

The steel frame can be produced either by placing elements at specific points like drawing lines in AutoCAD or you may prefer to create AutoCAD lines and convert these to Advance Steel structural elements. Plates, holes, welds and bolts can then be added to the steel elements to complete the required details.

In the image below you can see the Advance Steel connection Vault allowing the automated modelling of over 300 joints and connections. Additionally, each joint can have a library of common sizes and types stored for future projects. Custom connections can also be generated and stored within an Advance Steel Palette. Many of the standard connections support design and analysis to EC3 directly within the joint dialog box with a full design report that can be exported.Autodesk Advance Steel Connection Vault and tool palettes

The vast majority of the Advance Steel commands are all transparent which makes previewing and navigating very straight forward. For example, in the below image the railing tool has been started, the user can manipulate the display, make changes within the dialog box and instantly see the results in the context of the model.Autodesk Advance Steel Railings

Another interesting feature of Advance Steel is with its Multi User technology allowing many users to work within the same DWG model. This is achieved in a similar way to Revit by utilising a master model and then each user connecting to the master model and checking out elements as required. This becomes a very useful feature when working on very large steel projects.

Autodesk Advance Steel Multi User Tools

The Advance Steel Document Manager is the central location to manage and view all 2D output such as drawings, schedules as well as DSTV files. All documents can be previewed and managed from this simple dialog. A major strength is the ability to change any model element and instantly see which documents need revising. The revisions are then applied and revision data and clouds are automatically added to the relevant drawing frames and views.

Autodesk Advance Steel - Document Manager

The various drawing and detailing processes can handle the output of all single part drawings, assemblies and NC output with a click of a button. This is achieved by creating pre-configured drawing styles that control every aspect of the drawing from view placement, object visibility through to dimensioning strategies and intelligent labelling.

The Autodesk Advance Steel drawing output is among the best in class with fully customisable templates and styles that can be applied via simple tool palettes. The image below shows a typical Elevation and 3D Isometric detail.

Autodesk Advance Steel - Typical Elevation and 3D Frame

Here you can see a fully automated drawing output from the model. Each plate has been detailed on a separate A3 sheet with required quantities, weights and even lotting information added to the sheet. When detailing large amounts of components such as plates, beams and columns Autodesk Advance Steel has a very useful set of tools called Drawing Processes. This is based on a complex set of styles that will generate all documents with the correct templates for each view and sheet.

Autodesk Advance Steel Typical Drawing Output - Plates

Other output can be automated such as various Bills of Materials for plates, bolts, and even saw lists based on images. Like the drawing Styles each schedule is based on a template that can be fully customised as required.

Autodesk Advance Steel Saw List

In summary Autodesk Advance Steel adds a much needed set of tools to the existing Autodesk portfolio and being based on AutoCAD will instantly have a familiar look at feel to most potential users. As I mentioned previously, another very strong benefit is workflows and integration with other software tools such as Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD Plant 3D, and Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis.

For those of you that would like a little more information and a live demonstration feel free to drop in to our webinar on Thurday 26tt Novemeber 11:00-12:00GMT

Hope to see you there!