Revit 2020 Family Offset Parameter

With each release of software, there seems to be little things that change, but are either not documented as a change or the documentation on being a change is buried and difficult to locate.  In Revit 2020, there are some changes in the built-in parameters for families when they are placed in a project file.  These changes can come into play when using automation, such as Dynamo.  While they may or may not have much impact on your particular usage of Revit, it is important information of which to be aware.

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Opening with Varying Widths Throughout Revit Wall

It is common to have openings in walls that are not of a consistent width all the way through the wall.  An example of this is when a door is recessed into a brick wall and the brick opening is wider than the stud/masonry wall opening or the door.  The following illustration shows a door opening in a stud and brick wall with the brick opening wider to allow brickmould casing around the door.

Revit doors and windows, by default, have an opening that goes straight through the wall with a completely rectangular opening.  If you just use the default Door.rft or Window.rft with the default opening to create your doors and window families, you will not see the above jogged offset opening.

The secret to getting the walls to cut as you desire is to NOT use the Opening Cut that is in the family template, but use Voids instead.

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Component Elevation Changes with Wall Base Offset

When placing components on the face of a wall in Revit, the same component may move differently when the wall base offset changes.  This can cause frustration to the user by not understanding why it is happening.  No one wants to see their component change elevation when they don’t expect it.

Walls can have the bottom offset either up (positive dimension) or down (negative dimension) to raise or lower the base of the wall.  While the majority of the time the wall will be at the floor level, there are many times when the wall needs to be above the floor.  A couple of examples are a wall that sets on a concrete curb, or a wall which serves as a soffit.  The Base Offset parameter for the wall is modified in the Properties palette when the wall is highlighted. Continue reading

Revit Section Bubble Placed In Text

I get asked about how to place a detail bubble or a section bubble amongst text notes where the actual leader for the bubble is not desired.  The user still wants to have the information within the bubble to auto-update, so the bubble needs to be an actual callout. This is a very common situation,   The following image is an example of a typical situation.

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Control Visibility of Plumbing Fitting Tick Marks in Revit

Single line drawings in Revit plumbing plans (Coarse and Medium displays) show the tick marks for fittings by default.  Some design firms prefer to not show tick marks for the elbows, tees, and other fittings.  Revit has a setting that allows users to adjust the printed size of the tick marks, but this affects all tick marks for all fittings.  I see situations where the designer wants to see tick marks for reducers and couplers, but not some other fittings.

Pipe fitting families can have a parameter added that controls the visibility of the tick marks.  This allows the user to specify which fittings should show the tick marks and also allows tick mark visibility to be different for different projects.

Each Pipe Fitting family will need to be modified, but we will take a look at one family here.

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Automatic Updating Electrical Symbol Legend in Revit

Electrical symbol legends are a critical part of electrical design documents and everyone wants to have a Symbols List which automatically updates to show the actual electrical symbols that are placed in a project.  That way, the only symbols that are on the list are ones that are actually placed in the model and the list does not include many unused symbols.  It is actually possible to do this.  When an electrical item gets added to the model, the symbol gets added to the symbol list.

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Create Type Catalog from Existing Revit Family

There are times that a Revit user will come across a family where the family creator added many types to the family.  I recently talked to someone that had a family with over 100 types defined within the family.  This has the following ramifications:

  • It increases the size of the family.
  • It creates many family types in the project that are not needed.
  • It displays a long list of types in the Type Selector for the family making it confusing finding the desired type.

Fortunately, Autodesk Revit has provided us with an easy way to create a Type Catalog that contains all of the types contained within the family.  This eliminates the need to have a family with a huge list of types within it.  We can create the Type Catalog directly from the family, so we do not need to recreate the data contained in each family type.

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Starting View Using Parameters

It is pretty typical for organizations to utilize the Starting View function within Revit and use that view to show project information.  That information often includes project name, project number, project address, and other important data.  Ideally, some of that information would be displayed using the same project parameters as used in title blocks to maintain consistency.  It can.

I believe that using a starting view is “good BIM” and good utilization of the starting view is very important.  It can help the model load more quickly and give the user important information about the project since it will be the first view seen when opening the project file.

Many organizations use a drafting view as their starting view.  When using a drafting view, project parameters cannot be used since labels are not allowed in a drafting view.  A “Label” is needed in order to use a parameter and are used in families.  If a drafting view is used, regular text needs to be used for the information.

A good method to use project parameters in your starting view is to utilize a sheet with a custom title block for the starting view.

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Personal Section View in Revit

Creating sections in a Revit model is key to creating a quality 3D model, and that includes creating sections that are simply used for design verification.  Construction documents typically include sections, but users also use a lot of temporary sections for coordination and verification.  A problem with temporary sections is that you don’t know who created the section and the purpose for the section.  As a result they tend to stay in the model because no one really knows if they can delete the section.

I previously wrote a blog article about creating Working Sections which helps with this situation.  However, the working section can be further enhanced.  This article will address 2 key features for improving the working section:

  1. Who created the working section.
  2. Apply a user’s specific settings for the working section.

Note that this article will build upon that previous blog article.  You can find the article here.

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Year End BIM Evaluation

It is now the end of another year, with all the experiences of life that comes with that year.  As such, we tend to evaluate the past year and look forward to the challenges and experiences of the new year.  That includes all different aspects of our lives, including the personal and professional sides.  However, in additional to individuals doing this, organizations need to do the same thing.

Since this is an building industry oriented blog, I am going to touch on what I believe to be an important component of AEC firms in the technological age in which we now live.  That is the evaluation of Building Information Modeling (BIM) within your firm.  While there are still many AEC firms that have not moved into the world of BIM, it is becoming more common and more important in the industry.

It is extremely important to evaluate BIM within a firm.  There are costs associated with moving toward BIM integration and it is important to understand whether your firm is getting a return on that investment and how it can be improved.

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Stop Revit Double-Click For Family Editor

When using Revit, do you ever get irritated with a family opening up in the family editor when you accidently double-click on the family while working in a project?  I do (when on a different computer than my own).  Revit added this great feature a few releases ago to enable easier access to modify families so that you don’t have to select the family and then choose the Edit Family command.  However, I have found this feature to be more annoying than helpful when in production mode.

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Revit Electrical Panel Information

If you are utilizing Revit for electrical engineering design, then you are using electrical panels and likely electrical panel schedules.  While the process of inserting electrical panels and connecting basic circuits to them is pretty straightforward, there are some items that are good to know to help you better utilize panels and their associated schedules.

First off, a requirement in this process is to make sure that after you place an electrical panel in the Revit model, you set the Distribution System for it.  Otherwise, you will not be able to connect any electrical device or other electrical equipment to the panel.  The Distribution System is shown in both the panel’s Properties palette, and on the Options Bar on the ribbon.

Panel Schedules in Revit are a report of the information that is contained in the electrical panel, and schedules cannot be created without having a panel family placed in the project file.  They are not like a spreadsheet where the numerical values are entered into the spreadsheet.  The values shown in the panel and on the panel schedule are a result of connected loads to the panel and are only as good as the information in the items connected to the panel.

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