Revit 2021 – What’s new in structures

So, it’s that time of year again to review and comment on the new features and improvements in Revit 2021, as always, I will focus on the structural features and mention a couple of core platform features which will be useful. Don’t forget to check out the new features in 2020.1 and 2020.2 as I will not be reviewing these in this blog post.

Before I take a look at the structural features lets look at a platform feature which many have been waiting for a very long time! The ability to rotate section heads, elevation heads and detail callouts. I think every time I create a template or train Revit; someone always asks if the sections can be rotated. Having said that, most now simply accept the standard way in which sections are presented but if you want to change the section heads then you simply open the family and check the ‘Rotate text with component’ option.

Revit 2021 - Rotating Section Heads

Another useful platform feature is the ability to enable filters that are setup in the filters tab of the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog. This is particularly useful as in previous releases you would need to remove the filter to return to the default view but now you can simply deactivate and reactivate with a simple checkbox.

Enable in View for Visibility Graphic Overrides

Another welcome addition is specific categories to support structures such as bridges and tunnels. These new categories have been created to support workflows with Autodesk Infraworks but I am sure will be put to good use with all sorts of structures. In the past I have been using the generic model category with subcategories for items such as bearings, abutments etc. However, in testing I did not see a method of creating your own families and applying these categories. Hopefully this was just a glitch!

Revit 2021 - Infrastructure Bridge Workflows

Anyway, let’s move on to the new and improved structural features of Revit 2021! I will break this down into two separate areas, concrete and steel.

Concrete New Features and Improvements

I don’t think a single release has passed when a new feature or improvement for rebar has not been implemented and the same is true for this release. Let’s start with the improvements to shape codes. Autodesk have now implemented a method of generating shape code 98 (the chair) which will be very useful for contractors and some consultants that want to show this detail. In the image below you can see two chairs placed to separate the top and bottom layers of rebar.

Revit 2021 - Shape Code 98 - Chairs

The new shape is part of the structural template that is shipped with Revit 2021 but you can easily make the new shape be overriding the hook lengths. Autodesk have now configured all rebar shapes to have a rotatable hook that can be overridden for each instance. In the image below you can see Shape Code 98 in the shape browser.

Revit 2021 - Shape Code 98

Lets now move on to an improvement to an existing command, rebar constraints. You can now place and edit multiple rebar constraints in the same command. For example, if you are constraining the new chair to the top and bottom layers and also constraining the width of the chair, this can now be achieved in the same constraint command. A huge improvement.

Revit 2021 - Place Multiple Rebar Constraints

Fabric reinforcement has also been improved by having the same view visibility states as ‘standard’ rebar. This means that you can now view the fabric reinforcement as solids in 3D. Another issue with older releases was that the fabric would not display correctly when viewed in section. The fabric now sections and behaves perfectly in all views! In the example below, you can see the fabric viewed as a solid with flying ends displayed.

Revit 2021 - Fabric Sheet Reinforcement

Steel New Features and Improvements

The steel tools had a huge leap in the last two releases, strengthening the ability to place standard connections, design the connections to EC3 and create custom connections. To really make a useful set of tools for steel fabricators, who will get maximum use from the connection tool, Autodesk need to implement a documentation tool like Advance steel for the production of drawings and CNC code for the machine tools. Whilst we can transfer the Revit model to Advance Steel for fabrication, in reality, many fabricators will not want to take on the risk of directly using the consultant’s model.

However, there are a few new steel modelling tools that will help with the production of drawings for consulting engineers.

Revit 2021 - Structural Stiffeners

Stiffeners can now be placed using the same style of connection tool. You can place a single stiffener at a point or place multiple stiffeners along beams or down columns. In the image below you can see the new connection type.

Revit 2021 - Structural Stiffener

To allow correct documentation of the setting out of stiffeners, Autodesk have implemented the ability to dimension to plate centres. This will allow the stiffeners to be set out and dimensioned as below.

Revit 2021 - Dimension Stiffeners from Plate Centre

All in all another strong release for Revit, particularly for the concrete workflows and interchangeability with infrastructure.



Back to Basics – Tagging Revit Elements

In my last post on Revit content I showed better methods of creating Revit families that perform well in both the 3D and 2D environment by automating detailing and facilitating faster modelling and setting out.

In this post we will look at the humble tag family and see how these can decrease errors in drawings and reduce the amount of text that you use to embellish your model views. In the image below you can see a beam and foundation both tagged and displaying the type name.

Revit Beam and Foundation tagged

There is a fundamental flaw using the type name as, if the user edits the dimensions of the element the type name will need to be added manually and you also run the risk of forgetting this or making a typo! In the image below you can see the Type Name and, in the case of the footing, the Foundation Thickness, Width and Length.

Revit Foundation Type Properties

A more productive method would be to actually read the dimensions of the element. In the image below you can see, in this case, a Structural Foundation Tag being edited, and the Type Name replaced with the parameters that control the size.

Revit Tags - Edit Label Dialog

Of course, you could use this technique for any Revit element. If the parameters do not exist, then ensure that you create these as shared parameters so that these can be tagged and scheduled. In the example below, a face-based model has been used to cut a penetration through a Revit element, the opening is detailed in plan with symbolic lines and a tag is calling up the dimensions and use for the opening. This is very useful if you want to change the use as all the tags will update at once.

Revit - Tagging Structural Openings

Please take a look at the YouTube tutorial where you will see these examples in action!