Recent Articles By Task

Conceptual Massing Conceptual Massing

Articles that apply to all Revit discipline versions

Conceptual Design Environment

August 2011

Small Mass

Small Concept Environment

The list of possible Revit 2012 New Family templates does not include a Mass template. Revit expects you to click the Family > New Conceptual Mass > Metric Mass family template. This template opens with a very large default environment ready for a large building mass. The Reference plane grid illustrates an area of approx 100 metres x 100 meters !

So when a user wants to develop a complex curved mass for say a fixture, the Draw linework placed in this environment doesn't suit a 1m x 1m x 1m Create Form item. You can unpin and drag reduce the work planes but then when a reduced environment is developed you cannot SaveAs to a Family Template. The work around is to save this reduced environment as a 'small' dummy family, that can then be used as the start of a new small mass and just immediately do a SaveAs... on Open, to clone it as a new Family.
Delete the sample Form and Model Lines inside.

Don't forget you can always use an old Revit 2009 Mass template (Metric-Mass.rft) in the Revit 2012 Family Editor and the Ribbon reverts to classic Extrusion and Sweep Form tools.

Revit mOdeling Modeling

Articles that apply to Revit Architecture

Why Worry About the Revit Project Origin

July 2014

Many Revit users just start a project by placing elements anywhere in the blank/empty Floor Plan view. No consideration is made for where the model is in 'space' - the model world space.
To help Revit handle all the mathematics required for a 3D model, it is best to start and keep your model near the mathematical Origin of the project and placed them in the +ve quarter of the model world.
Revit does not show or ask for X and Y axis values, elements are just assembled near or connected to each other. But the maths when calculating Modify actions like Move and Align will be easier for Revit if they involve +ve values.

When using Linked Models there is an option to link based on Origin to Origin. So sometimes you need to know where the Origin of a Project is. (See Revit FAQs: Revit Platform, August 2014 Subject: Revit - Project Origin.)

When CAD linework is way outside of the origin (or in AutoCAD the Limits) things like Fill (Hatch) patterns have been know to not be created or trimmed properly.

Texture Direction

June 2014

Materials Direction

Texture Mapping

Revit does not provide a UV material mapping tool so that users can control the direction of a material texture.

The initial direction of the texture is set in a number of different ways, depending on the Revit element type or should I say Category!

With a Floor or Roof the material is mapped to the Floor/Roof surface. The material is run along the face when you look at any of the edges. This mapping method is known as 'Boxed' mapping. If you have a license of Autodesk Navisworks check out it's help topic Adjusting Material Mapping, an excellent explanation of material mapping techniques.

A Floor has it's surface material applied parallel to the direction of the longest edge of the initially drawn sketch. (If you edit the Sketch later the material direction does not change.)
A Roof has it's material direction set by the 'slope defining' edge of the footprint sketch, but if the roof is flat (no slope) then the direction is as defined by the material texture image. If the Roof is defined by extrusion, then the material direction is set to along the extrusion of it's profile.
Beams and Columns are basically extrusions or sweeps along a path, but the material or texture is repeated on all faces including the ends, 'boxed' relative to the member.
So for a raking Structural Framing beam with the horizontal wood planking material applied, the planks follows the incline of the beam!

To turn the texture around say 90 degrees, you need to turn the original image and obviously rename it, then create a new material with that image. You can use applications like Paint, Photoshop, Fireworks or GIMP2 to clone the original image.

Revit installs the Autodesk supplied images in three Mats folders: (...\1\...\2\...\3\...)
  C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Materials\Textures\1\Mats

Oh yes, and remember if your material texture has a bump map image, don't forget to duplicate and rotate that image too.

Autodesk Revit LT

April 2013

Revit LT

Revit LT

Revit LT (previously named Project Spark) is now released as a 3D building information modeling (BIM) solution.
Based on Revit Architecture it allows you to create designs as if with full Revit, be it with some features missing. There is no Work sharing tools to allow multiple users to work within the same file. Materials can be defined and applied to elements but there is no Rendering capability. Beware that you cannot gain cloud rendering credits to render in the Cloud.
There are a few other features missing like Parts & Divide, Trusses and Reinforcing, Conceptual Massing, In-Place Modeling and Point Cloud tools.

So it is available in NZ now and provides a suitable application for those doing documentation.

[V] Read the full announcement »

Resene Paints Library

January 2013

Resene Paint Library

Resene Adsklib Library

Revit Materials Libraries are being developed by manufacturers for a wide range of products. Resene has recently announced in it's January 2013 newsletter that Autodesk Materials Appearance Asset files are available for all of their paint color ranges.

There are lots of predefined Paint RGB specs ready for the Paint tool, or for inclusion in full Materials definitions.

[V] Resene Paint Library Files »

GWA Bathroom Fixtures

August 2012

GWA Library

GWA BIM Library

Revit Component Libraries are being developed by manufacturers for a wide range of brands. GWA has recently expanded it's website covering well known brands such as Caroma, Fowler, Stylus, Dorf and others.

There are lots of Plumbing Fixtures on the Caroma pages, intended for Architectural work they just need Connectors added and would also suite MEP users.

[V] GWA BIM Library »

NBS BIM Library

March 2012

NBS Library

NBS BIM Library

Revit Component Libraries have or are being developed in many countries around the world. A recent addition is the
UK National Building Standards (NBS) Library.

Like our RVT Pacifica Component and Detail libraries, the NBS Library is focused on Revit building component definitions that are suitable for their local UK geo construction methods and standards.

It is in it's formative stage of development, but is still worth a visit.

[V] NBS BIM Library »


Revit Documentation Documentation

Articles that apply to Revit Platform

Kiwicodes Project/Family Browser 2013

April 2012


KiwiCodes Project Browser

KiwiCodes has created a new product called Project Browser.
It is based on their previously popular Family Browser application for Revit. In fact it is a combination of both the Family Browser PLUS a new Project Browser. It is due for release in late April 2012 to co-incide with Autodesk's Revit 2013 release.

This will be a great addition for users handling large projects.

Awesome to think that a NZ developer has done what was long overdue by Autodesk!

[V] Read the full announcement »

Revit Families Family Making

Articles that apply to Revit Platform

Revit Family Type Catalogs

October 2014

Family Catalogs

Built-In Types v's Catalogs

Creating a custom Loadable Family is not a hard task for a new Revit user. But knowing how to save them into an efficient Library retrieval system, is not often understood or known.
A recent new feature in the Revit Family Editor Application menu, is the ability to Export Family Types from an
existing RFA Family file.
This is especially handy for updating old Families that require lots of size or parameter variations.

[M] Read the full Built-In Types v's Catalogs article »

Materials v's Finishes

October 2014


Material v's Finishes

In the Revit user interface you see references to the two terms: a Material and a Finish. Sometimes they are combined as in the Property Group named: Materials and Finishes. So how should these terms be used ?

Obviously a material can have a finish; as in when we say "Concrete has an 'Off the boxing' finish."

BUT when you are looking for a Revit Material to apply to a building element or surface of that element, how should we expect to find them in a library ?
In my experience it is best to think of a Material as having 'substance'; solid piece of concrete, timber or clay tile. It will then possibly require BIM data such as it's Material Aspect Properties; Identity, Physical, Thermal followed by it's documentation Graphical and rendering Appearance properties. It is the latter two aspects that get involved in the materials particular Finish.
Sometimes the surface finish is refered to as a Texture. That can range from smooth and glossy to rough and non reflective ie. bumpy and matte.

[M] Read the full Materials & Finishes article »

When is a Line a Line

October 2012


Revit Line Elements

You can create two types of Line elements in Revit.
They are called Model Lines and Detail Lines in a Project environment.

BUT when you are creating a Family (including an In-Place Component inside a Project) the Ribbon shows a Symbolic Line in the Detail tab. Confused ? Don't be.
A Symbolic Line in a Family works the same as a Detail Line from the Project > Annotate > Detail tab in the Project environment ribbon.

What is different in the two environments is the types of Detail, aka Symbolic lines.
In a Project the OOTB types are typically named Thin, Medium and Wide; but in a Family environment they are named by their Identity Data Subcategory name; Generic Models [Projected], Generic Models [plan], or Door [Projection], Elevation Swing [cut], etc dependant on the Family template you started with.

In an In-Place family environment OOTB Revit has numerous 'hardwired' Symbolic Lines with names like: Spouting Accessory [cut] and Chimney Stack [plan] !
These are assumed names that might be useful for an In-Place piece of construction. I call them hardwired because you cannot make more Subcategories of Family Symbolic Lines.

When creating a Detail Line in a Project environment you can use the OOTB Line Style names AND create [New] ones in the Manage > Additional Settings > Line Styles dialog.

[M] Read the full Line Styles & Weights guidelines »

Family File Naming Conventions

July 2012


Naming Convention

Revit Families come in two main forms; System Element Families and Standard/User Loadable Families.

Families to be loaded into a Project need to be named and found in a folder on your drive system somewhere.

The debate about what is the best File Naming Convention for naming Revit Family files has been active for a number
of years. There are a number of conventions now being aired in the CAD design industry at present. So which is the 'best' method to adopt ?

There is no best method at present, so the best recommendation we can make is that you make sure you set the rules to be followed and stick with them, so as to be clear, consistent.
RVT Pacifica conventions have been re-structured for the forth-coming RVT Pacific 2010 Release. Basically the rule has been set to separate all Loadable family file name fields with a hyphen (dash) and have no spaces or underscores in the name.

[M] Read the full article »

NZ Timber Grading Changes

August 2011 Rich

Timber Grading

Framing Pine

New rules have been issued for timber framing used in the New Zealand construction industry.

The previous MSG and VSG system of identifying grading types has been changed to a single SG (Structural Grade). This ID is now adopted by the latest NZS3604:2011

Revit designers will need to update their Families to reflect the new identification coding and descriptions.
We recommend you add them to you Type parameters.

For more information go to the DBH web site

Revit BIM BIM Collaboration

Articles that apply to using Revit for BIM

NBS National BIM Library

October 2014


NBS-UK Standards

Although UK based, this site has published a comprehensive Object Standard and has some interesting content that is applicable to NZ Construction. Note the Family naming convention promoted is not in accordance with the recommended RVT Pacifica Family File naming convention.

As their intro says... "The NBS National BIM Library website has been refreshed following detailed consultation with specifiers and designers. We’ve introduced a new and powerful search tool together with intelligent product filters, designed to help you filter objects by platform and quickly find the exact BIM content you need."

[V] Visit the site »

NBIMS-US Standards

August 2012


NBIMS-US Standards

The National BIM Standard-United States™ (NBIMS-US™) provides consensus based standards through referencing existing standards, documenting information exchanges and delivering best business practices for the entire built environment.

Lachmi Khemlani editor of AECbytes has recently given a good overview of the development of international (US based) BIM Standards. Worth a read for all the various collaborative work done over the last 10+ years including the contribution of IFC Standards and the BuildingSMART Alliance.

[V] Read this review of NBIMS-US Bim Standards »