A recent change to the methodology of Revit structural analytical modelling has enabled new workflows and capabilities when representing the Revit design model. However, automation is now more relevant than ever, as the analytical model is not generated automatically while the physical model is being built.
The massive benefit of this new workflow is that engineers can now create early structural design models in Revit without having to worry about the actual physical members. For example, an early design of a building structure may need some columns and framing to support a floor. However, at an early stage the materials and geometry may not be known. As the design progresses, the analytical members can be associated with actual physical elements. This allows Revit to be used much earlier in the design process and, importantly, to reuse and develop the design model right to the completion and handover of the model.
When representing certain structural systems and configurations, the analytical model can easily be defined and edited and then associated with the physical element. A great example of this is when an in-place family has been used. Previous releases would not allow an analytical representation to be defined, however, you can now define an analytical model for in-place families which is useful for complex foundations.
In future releases we will hopefully see more Revit categories supporting an analytical model, an obvious addition would be the recently added bridge and infrastructure categories. It would also be useful to create panels from façade elements for wind loading.
In the image shown below, the Analyze ribbon is shown with the new member and panel tools to generate a structural analytical model that can be transferred to multiple design and analysis tools without having to invest time in modelling an actual physical structure.
When defining the analytical members, there are different methods to model beams and columns, namely, top point definition for columns or start/end point definition for beams and braces. Of course, the members can be modelled in a 3D view using ‘enable 3D snapping’ on the options bar. The properties of each element can then be defined and set.
Revit provides two types of analytical elements, a member and a panel. The members can be used for beams, columns, and braces. The panels would be used for wall, floors, foundation slabs and similar planar elements. It is a good idea to create a series of view filters to differentiate between the various elements. In the image below you can see simple frame with columns shown in magenta, beams in blue and bracing in yellow. This has been setup with simple view filters that colour each element based on the structural role.
Another new feature is the ability to show the section on each member, very similar to Robot structural analysis. This is simply enabled by switching on cross sections within the visibility/graphic overrides dialog.
Of course, once the analytical model has been built you can transfer it to Robot Structural Analysis Professional directly from Revit or other analysis tools with dedicated interfaces.
The image below shows the model and results transferred back into Revit. Each load case and the various results can be plotted directly on the analytical model and presented in Revit along with other typical views.
So, in conclusion, Revit 2023 allows engineers to work with Revit at an earlier stage, define a flexible analytical model that is controlled by the engineer. The analytical model can be suitably simplified and has the potential to represent many more structural conditions than previous versions.
A great step forward!