Autodesk Revit 2018.1 Precast Concrete Solutions

In the early stages of a design the decision to use precast or In Situ concrete on structural components may not have been fully considered. There are many factors that could influence the design and ultimately the construction processes that are implemented. Some typical benefits of precast is Quality control and speed of construction since we are not working with ‘wet’ materials and not having to wait for the concrete elements to fully cure before other structures can be assembled. However, designing with precast elements is a little like a Lego set, you can only create certain forms with economy!

Revit 2018.1 Precast

Autodesk Revit 2018.1 now incorporates a precast module that was acquired from IDAT a few years back. This solution allows for the conversion of planar walls and floors to precast elements which is perfectly suited to the design workflow as outlined in the above paragraph. We can take the initial design and then at a later stage decide to convert these into precast elements.

Shown below are the new precast tools found on the Revit 2018.1 Ribbon.

Revit 2018.1 Precast Ribbon

As you can see from the image above the tools are focused around the division of singular elements such as walls and floor slabs. The splitting of the walls and floors are governed by Configuration settings. For example, you can set a maximum weight and maximum set of dimensions for lifting and transportation. These tools automate the creation of Revit Assemblies which enable the detailing of each individual precast element and the output of CNC code for UniCAM (Unitechnik) and PXML (ProgressXML). There are many settings that the user can tweak and change and below you can see the configuration for the walls maximum dimensions, weight and jointing.

Cast Wall Settings

Another task that the precast module automates is the placement of anchors, bushings and connectors. These are standard Revit families that can be replaced with specific manufactured parts for full coordination and costing.

Precast Anchors and Loop Connectors - Revit Precast

The reinforcement bar is also added via intelligent macros that allow the end user to configure typical arrangements of reinforcement bar. There is not currently an automated way of placing reinforcement bar around openings such as doors and windows but this bar can be added to the part with the standard reinforcement tools. In the below image you can see that the Area and Edge reinforcement can be customised and also have a library of types configured.

Revit Precast Reinforcement configuration

One of the most powerful features of this software is the ability to generate automatic drawings to detail the precast elements as well as the cast in connections and other placed objects such as electrical voids and similar.

Precast Wall Details - Drawings Sheet

The above image shows a typical drawing that is fully automated. Note that the centre of Gravity is also located to allow for the planning of lifting. The panels also support the tilt method of construction which is also useful.

Check out the 10min Tutorial video below.


Revit and Dynamo – Finding the Centroid (CoG) of Revit elements

I was recently asked by a contractor if Revit could report on the centroid of selected objects to facilitate crane lifts. For those of you that know Revit well the answer if normally no. However, Dynamo is really useful for this sort of task. I have created a simple family to represent the Centroid and added three shared parameters to report on the X,Y and Z coordinates.


As you can see from the above Dynamo graph the method is fairly simple and can be really useful for a number of scenarios in construction planning.

Here is a quick video showing the use of the Dynamo Graph.


Revit Structure Tutorial – Create Parts and Divide

Link to YouTube Tutorial:

Quite often in structural projects you may be required to turn an in situ element into multiple pre cast elements, a typical example is perhaps a wall. In this short tutorial we will take a look at the use of parts to divide an in situ wall into pre cast sandwich panels that Revit can then schedule and tag.

Revit Precast wall division

In the above example I have created a composite wall style by creating some additional layers and assigning a precast inner and outer face to cavity filler.Revit - Edit Wall Assembly

As you know, when this wall is used within the project you will generally see the wall as if it were one single object in 3D but if you section the wall it is possible to see the layers.

If parts are used then the wall can be ‘split’ into individual layers and then these layers can be manipulated. To create parts first select the wall/walls and then click the Parts icon on the contextual panel.

Revit Create Parts Icon

The wall will then appear similar to the lower left image. The individual layers are clearly visible in the 3D view.

Wall with Parts Created

The parts can then be further manipulated by selecting the ‘Show Shape Handles’ option within the instance properties of the selected part. This will then give you control to edit the physical size of the object. Other information is also shown here such as Volume and area of the part as well as its new physical dimensions.

Revit Parts Instance Properties

This method of manipulation is suited to individual elements but if you wanted to divide panels and also add options such as joints and gaps then the Divide Parts command will be utilised.
First you will need to create some reference planes to control the division of the wall. A wall can be divided by named reference planes, levels or grids. In the below example I have created some named reference planes and then made these equal.Reference Planes to Divide Wall

In the 3D view select the three parts of the wall and then click the Divide Parts command from the ribbon. Then Click the intersecting References tool.Divide Parts - Divisions

You will now see the Intersecting Named References Dialog box. Select the ‘All’ option from the Filter and you can then select all  your named Reference Planes as well as any Grids and Levels that may be relevant.Intersecting Named References Dilog

You will then see a preview of the divisions and also you can select a division profile and gap if required. You can of course create your own profiles which you can then use to split the wall. Note that you can select individual parts and then select the ‘exclude parts’ command from the context ribbon to hide these objects.

Division Profile and Gap Properties

It is worth noting that you will only see the parts in a view if you have set the ‘parts visibility’ to ‘Show parts. In most views the ‘parts visibility’ setting is set to show original. Of course if you make any edits to the original wall then the parts will automatically update.

Parts Visibility - Show Parts

Once the parts are created then you can start to add data to each panel. The first task could be to give each element a unique number. This can be achieved by using the Element Positioning command from the Extensions Ribbon (Note that you need to be a subscription customer and you will then have access to download these tools.)Revit Element Positioning

You can then add your own data as Project Parameters such as Panel Type, Mould Type etc. A schedule can then be generated based on this information which could be very useful for a contractor to understand quantities, repetitive natures and areas.

Panel Schedule

Bear in mind that a very similar set of tasks can be performed on the following objects as well as in place families.

  • Walls (excluding stacked walls and curtain walls)
  • Foundation Walls
  • Floors (excluding shape-edited floors of more than one layer)
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Structural slab foundations
  • Slab Edges
  • Fascias
  • Gutters
  • Structural Framing
  • Columns
  • Structural Columns

Take a quick look at my YouTube tutorial for step by step instruction.

Have fun,