Creating ADSK Files in Revit Architecture for Civil 3D

As part of the design process for a building project, it is very important for the Architect to collaborate with the Civil Engineer on the site design.  As part of that collaboration, it is not uncommon for Architects using Autodesk Revit® Architecture to provide files to Civil Engineers for their use in Autodesk® Civil 3D.  In this article, we will take a look at the Autodesk® Exchange file (.ADSK) that is used to get data from Revit® to Civil 3D.

Autodesk® introduced the ADSK file in the 2010 release of its various products to enable interoperability between its software products.  Since a Revit® file cannot be directly imported or referenced by Civil 3D, some intermediate file format is needed and the ADSK file is the solution.  While this new file format is not ideal, it does help interoperability and is better than using IFC files or DXF files.  A nice feature of the ADSK file is that it opens directly into Internet Explorer (or other browser) so that you can see a 3D view of the exported model, as well as non-graphical information such as a listing of building components in the ADSK file and the Gross Building Area.

The Process:

In preparation for creating the ADSK file, in Revit® you will want to create a 3D view that is specifically used for the ADSK file export function.  This is because the ADSK export function exports a 3D view versus any other types of views.  Any information that is included in this 3D view will be included in the exported ADSK file, so you will want to streamline the information that is visible in the view.    By reducing the amount of information in the view, the Civil Engineer will receive a smaller file and not have to fight with information that is unimportant to them.  This includes hiding any categories or elements that you do not want visible, especially interior items.  This can take some time to do the first time, so creating a 3D view specifically for this is important for saving time in the future.  I will create a view named “ADSK Civil Export” so that I know the exact purpose of the view.  Depending on the size and complexity of the building, it may be advantageous to create a 3D Section View to minimize the height of the building being exported.  You can check out my previous blog article on creating 3D Section Views.

After creating my custom 3D view, I check to see if I have at least one Gross Building Area Plan view in the model.  This plan is required as it will be used as the building footprint when the ADSK file is imported into Civil 3D.  Don’t worry if you do not have one created, though, as you will be prompted to create one when actually exporting to the ADSK file.  This area plan should be based upon the level that most accurately reflects the building footprint that is needed by the Civil Engineer.

The ADSK file is created using the Export function by going to Application Menu -> Export -> Building Site.  When the Building Site Export Settings dialog box appears, select the desired 3D View for export from the lower left portion of the dialog box.

In the lower right portion of the dialog box, select the desired Gross Building Plan that will be used as the Building Footprint in Civil 3D.


(There are many other settings that can be addressed at this point.)

Select the Next… button at the lower right corner of the Building Site Export Settings dialog box.   Save the file to the desired location as a file with the .ADSK extension.  If you place a checkmark in the “View Export in Default Browser”, you will see the report after saving the file.

Each time that you desire to provide the Civil Engineer an updated file, you will need to export a new ADSK file for them.

(Note that this process is described using Revit Architecture 2011, but is similar in Revit 2010.)


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