Revit Tutorial – Back to Basics – Creating Structural Content for Revit

It’s always a good idea to review the basics of what we do daily just in case we are missing a trick! It is all too easy to do the same as we did last week, last month, last year… In this post we look at some basic structural elements and consider how custom Revit content could be created to save time and make detailing more consistent and robust.

I often think of Revit as a digital Lego set, you have a certain number of pieces to assemble a structure, but the limitation is the variety of ‘bricks’ that are provided. For example, the three bricks below can only build simple, box like structures.

Revit Lego Bricks

The great thing with Revit is that we can create our own parametric families that are either bespoke to a project or for use in many projects. The custom families give Revit the flexibility needed to create any type of family with fast and efficient placement into projects.

Revit Lego Bricks Complex

A simple example to start with is the humble pile family. All too often, the default out of the box single pile, Pile-Steel Pipe.rfa is used for most projects. Whilst this is perfectly functional for most applications it may not deliver the best output and placement options. For example, the two images below show some typical ways of depicting piling in a plan view. The first image is perhaps appropriate when showing a piling layout, ideal for scales 1:100 where the pile may want to be displayed as a symbolic symbol. The second is useful for general arrangement plans and shows the pile in hidden detail under the pile cap. You can also see the pilling on the third image displaying the hidden detail for the embedment and the break symbol to curtail the full piling length.

Revit Foundation Details

The default pile family, when opened in the family editor, shows us the default Reference Planes which only run through the centre of the pile. This means that you cannot dimension the pile in elevation in a project. The default method of placement is to place the pile on a plane which is quite slow when multiple levels are required. The other issue is that you cannot snap a spot coordinate to the centre of the pile! This is simply due to the default family’s behaviour.

Revit Pile Steel Pipe

Once the piles are placed you will need to detail these manually in a section or elevation with the break symbol. If the pile moves, you will need to also move the details! Whilst you may eventually get the model and detail created it is far more efficient to create better content.

So, how can we make this more efficient?

One method is to create a face-based pile with all the relevant detailing built in. This will mean that if the pile cap, ground beam or foundation slab changed level the piles will automatically move. The 2D details such as the symbolic view and pile break symbol are automatically added as the piles are modelled. You will also be able to snap a spot coordinate onto the centre of the pile with confidence.

You can start by creating a new family using the Metric Generic Model face-based Revit family template. There are quite a few steps when creating the family, so I have provided a video with step by step instructions for the creation of the pile family. Feel free to use this example as a starting point, obviously you can add your own functionality and graphics as required.

You can make improvements to many of the default families which will save time, increase your detailing efficiency and improve drawing consistency.

LawrenceH

4 thoughts on “Revit Tutorial – Back to Basics – Creating Structural Content for Revit

  1. Hi. This family looks very good.
    After I load pile family to a project I have a problem with visibility of Pile break symbol.
    I can change between Show Pile and Show Pile break symbol but after that I cannot see my pile.
    Could you please explain in deatils how to create Pile break symbol in revit family

    1. The pile break symbol contains the 2D pile and totally replaces the 3D view in elevations and sections. This also fixes the issue of when a section partially cuts a pile.

      1. Right. When I turn off Show pile and turn on Show pile break symbol, Pile disappears.
        I can send you my revit family file if that helps

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