Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Modelling piled wall systems

Link to YouTube Video:

I thought it was about time to produce a post and tutorial on piled wall such as sheet piling, contiguous and secant piled systems. On a recent customer project we had to model some sheet piling and in previous projects I had used curtain systems to produce the layout with mixed results. I have found that the best current system for the modelling of sheet piling is to use adaptive components and then apply this to a divided path.

Revit Piled Wall

The first stage is to model your pile family. The Pile family is modelled within a column family template. I downloaded a profile of a sheet pile and then used this to create a simple extrusion with a parameter to control the pile depth. Make sure that you set the pile to always be vertical within the Family Categories & Parameters otherwise you may find that you have horizontal piling!

You then create a Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rfa family and insert the pile family into this. Place a normal Revit point and make this adaptive as shown below.

Revit Adaptive Component

Start a new Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rft family and then draw your intended path for the pile component. It’s worth remembering that you can of course import a CAD file or an image into his family to help with the layout.

Metric Generic Model Adaptive CAD import

Start a new Metric Generic Model Adaptive.rft family and then draw your intended path for the pile component. It’s worth remembering that you can of course import a CAD file or an image into his family to help with the layout.

Divide Path Icon

You can then configure the divided path within the Properties Palette. Note that I have set the layout to Fixed Distance and the Measurement Type to Chord Length. In this example the width of the sheet pile is 900.

Revit Divided Path

Next you load in your adaptive pile family. On the Create Ribbon use the component tool and insert your pile at the end of your path making sure that you snap it on one of the points. Select the pile and then choose the Repeat command as shown below.

Revit Pattern along a path

You will now see your piling layout. You can now load this back into your project. The piles can be scheduled if you have set the family to use the Shared property.

Pile Layout

Here is another example where the path is travelling through 3D space. Very useful for infrastructure projects. Form more information see my YouTube Video:

Revit 2014 Sheet Piling


Hope this helps,


Revit Structure 2014 – New selection tools

Sometimes the smaller, less significant features are the best. In Revit 2014 you now have the access to the following selection tools which are located in the bottom right of the interface.

Selection Toolstrip - Revit 2014

These tools are very simple but can drastically increase productivity while working with linked CAD models, Linked Revit Architecture or MEP models. Below you can see the selection tools and their use.

Selection Tools - Revit 2014

Selecting elements by face is really useful whilst trying to select and edit a floor in a plan view. When enabled, this simple tool allows you to pick the floor by face.

I tend to pin objects such as grids and levels and the selection of pinned elements is another good one to manage.

As I said, simple but really useful!

Hope this helps,




Revit 2014 – Structural Stairs from Architectural Stairs


Link to YouTube Video:

I have been asked a number of times during training and project work how you would create an In-situ staircase within Revit Structure. If you use an Architectural Staircase then the object will not join to structural walls. Often you may need to change levels and positions of rises and tread levels to accommodate architects finishes which is also not easy with the standard stair tools.

Plan and Elevation of Stairs


The answer is to create an In-Place model of the stairs using a category such as Floors. This will allow the user to adjust rises and all geometry of the stair case and join to slabs and walls where necessary.

The first stage is to create an architectural stair as a place holder and a guide for the new geometry. You will also need to create a suitable 3D sectional view to create work planes and project the edge of the existing stair flights.

Stair core 3D View


You then create an in-place family and choose the floor or wall category and then set a work plane on the correct face. The key then is to pick the lines and make sure that you lock the lines to the stair faces (Check the box on the options bar!)

Pick lines and lock geometry


You can then assign a structural material to the new staircase and join it to existing walls and floors.

In Place Staircase Joined to wall and Slab


Anyway, if you haven’t tried this work flow I suggest giving it a go.

Link to YouTube Video:



Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Shared Parameters, Schedules and Tags

In this tutorial we will look at the advantages of creating Revit families that utilise shared parameters rather than project parameters. Project parameters are fairly flexible and allow the user to create any information required and attach this information to many Revit objects and categories; however, you cannot tag or schedule this data which can of course be a big limitation. In this simple example we will look at a rectangular pad foundation. We will first modify the family, then create some shared parameters and then use this within a project.

  1. Start a new Structural project and then place a few default rectangular footings on Level 1 as shown below.Isolated Foundation - Pad Foundation
  2. . Select one of the Rectangular Footings and then edit the family from the mode panel as shown below.  

Modify Structural Foundations

3. On the Manage Ribbon select the shared parameter command as shown below.

Shared Parameter Icon

4. Create a new shared parameter file and save it to your desktop. Name the Shared Parameter file Foundations. (Note that you would normally save this somewhere safe for future reference but for this exercise the desktops fine.)Edit Shared Parameters Dialog Box

5. Create a new Group and Call the group Foundation Dims as shown below. By using groups this keeps our shared parameters neatly organised.Shared Parameter Dialog - New Group

6. Create a new parameter called Foundation Length as shown below. Ensure that the Discipline is set to Common and the Type of Parameter is set to Length as we are going to use this to control the Pad Foundation’s Length. Click OK

New Shared Parameter

7. Repeat these steps and create a further two parameters called Foundation Width and Foundation Thickness. Your Edit Shared Parameters Dialog should now look like the image below. Click OK

Completed Shared Parameters Dialog

8. Next you assign these new Shared Parameters to the dimensions controlling the Pad Foundation. Open the Floor Plans – Ref.Level to display the foundation in Plan as shown below.

Foundation Plan - Ref Level

9. Select the Length Dimension and then click edit Label from the pull down menu on the Options Bar as shown below.Pick Dimensions and add Label

10. In the Parameter Properties Dialog box select the Shared parameter option, ensure that the Type option is selected and that the Group parameter under option is set to Dimension (this is the default). Click the Select button to choose the Shared Parameter. Pick the Foundation Length Parameter and click OK. Also Click OK on the Parameter Properties Dialog.Parameter Properties Dialog Box

11. Repeat steps 9 & 10 for the Foundation Width Parameter by clicking the Width Parameter and replacing this with the Foundation Width.

12. Open the Front View by expanding Elevation on the Project Browser and repeat the above steps for the Foundation Thickness parameter.Foundation Thickness Parameter

13. On the Create Ribbon select the Family Types icon as shown below.Family Types Icon

Review the parameters within the Family Types dialog; it should now look like the image below.Family Types DialogYou will also notice that the Structural Material in the Materials and Finishes group is currently an instance parameter meaning that each pad foundation could have a different grade of concrete. It’s recommended to change this to a Type Parameter for ease of use. Click the Modify Button and swap the parameter from Instance to Type. Change Material from Instance to Type

12. Save your new family as Pad Foundation.Rfa in a location of your choice.

13. Click the Load into Project command to load the family into our project as shown_below.Load Into Project Icon

14. You should now be back in your project and have the Pad Foundation at your cursor location. Place a few pads on the Level 1 plan.

15. Next you add tags to the Pad Foundations that you have placed. On the Annotate Ribbon, click the Tag by Category command and place tags on the pad foundations as shown below.

Add tags to the Pad Foundations

You will notice that the default tag is reading the Type Name. This can be dangerous as the user could change the Foundation size but not update the Type Name. We will now edit the default tag to read the Length, Width and Thickness of our foundations.

16. Select one of your Foundation Tags and click edit family on the ribbon as shown below.Edit Foundation tag

17. You will now be editing the default Foundation Tag. You will see the ‘1t’ which is the sample text for the label. Select the ‘1t’ and click the Edit Label command as shown below.Edit Label

18. Next you add the Shared Parameters to the Edit Label Dialog Box. You will notice that the list of parameters does not include the three Shared Parameters that you previously created. Click the New Parameter icon in the bottom left of the dialog box to add the Shared Parameters. You now pick the Select Button and add your Shared Parameter ‘Foundation Length’. Click OK twice to return to the Edit Label Dialog.Add Shared Parameter for labels

Repeat the above steps to add the remaining two shared parameters. Your Edit Label dialog should look similar to the below image.

Edit Label Dialog After Shared Parameters Entered

19. You now add the Shared Parameters to the Right hand panel to compose the label. You will notice that the Foundation Thickness parameter has a duplicate entry. (Note that Revit has a bug which allows to Parameters of the same name to exists.) Make sure that you add the parameter that shows the edit icon as shown below, the other label will cause the edit button to grey out as this is the default parameter.

Foundation Thickness SP Bug

20. Configure the Edit Label dialog with the following settings. This will ensure that our new tag reads <Foundation Length>x<Foundation Width>x<Foundation Thickness>. If you require any data on a new line then select the break option by ticking the relevant box. Click OK when finished.

Label Configuration Dialog

21. Drag the Labels grip to control the text wrapping as shown below and then Load this family into your active project as shown below. (Note that if you see the Load into Projects Dialog Box then choose your project and not the Pad Foundation)

Drag Label and load into Project

22. Click over write the existing version and you will notice that your foundation tags now show the Length, Width and Foundation Thickness. Experiment by editing and creating new types of your Pad Foundation and note that the tags always show the correct information.


TIP: If you want to change the Pad Foundation Type then select a Pad Foundation, Click the Tag and then add your required sizes into the dialog as shown below.Control Foundation Type by changing the label

Continue the exercise by creating a Structural Foundation Schedule of your choice. Note that your Shared Parameters are in the available fields by default.






I hope that you enjoy this tutorial, If you have any ideas or requests for further topics or subjects then add a comment.


Revit Structure 2014 Tutorial – Analytical nodes

Link to YouTube Video:

When transferring models from Revit Structure to structural analysis tools one of the biggest issues is often that the original analytical model within Revit Structure has inconsistencies, these being isolated nodes, beams not connected etc.

Isolated Nodes

Trying to identify these issues can be time consuming and a little tricky but Revit Structure 2014 has some great new tools that can help with these issues. By Default, each node now has a read only property which enables the user to see the connectivity of the node.

Node Read Only property


Autodesk have also included two filters within the standard template which will enable you to very easily identify issues with a Revit model.

Nodes - Filter Applied


Take a look at my short tutorial video, I think this is a really useful tool for those that are transferring from Revit to Analysis.

Link to YouTube Video:


Revit Structure 2014 Beams & Braces – Geometric Positions

In a previous post I outlined a procedure and method of offsetting beams both in the horizontal and vertical planes whilst leaving the analytical model unaffected. In the new Revit 2014 release Autodesk have included some interesting new tools to control these offsets more effectively. Of particular interest is the new behavior of roof bracing.

2013-2014 properties

In Revit 2014 these new tools are grouped under the Geometric Position section on the properties ribbon. You can see that these positions relate to the Y and Z axis. To understand this, refer to the image showing the plan view of a beam.

Beam - Plan View

The key thing to remember is that the Y axis is the offset in plan and the Z is the offset in the vertical direction.

The offsets can either be uniform or independent. For most examples you will likely want to keep a uniform offset but I have found that the independent offset is really useful for offsetting bracing on roof members of differing depths. Notice the below image and the offset of 76mm on the end offset value to maintain a horizontal position for the CHS bracing. At last, a workable solution!


Anyway, have a play with these new tools, I am sure they will help you all.



Revit Structure 2014 – Concrete Join Order

Over the next few weeks I shall be showcasing some of the new features within Revit Structure 2014 and some of the platform enhancements of Revit 2014. One of the key new tools is the ability to change the join order of concrete elements.

Link to YouTube Video:

I always found it very annoying when the slab took priority over the columns, the main reason was that when you produce a graphical column schedule the columns appeared broken at each floor! You can now finally choose your intended join order.

Join Order Icon

Below are two images showing the two possible results based on the Switched Join Order.

Join Order 1 Join Order 2 Graphical Column Schedule

You can now also see that the graphical column schedule is displaying correctly, of course, this was only an issue with concrete members.