Thursday, March 31, 2011

Revit - Understanding Parameters

I recently replied to a post on AUGI regarding parameters in Revit and the difference between the types, I realised I was yet to write about this and as a result, I bring you the post below. Hopefully after reading, you will have a better understanding of parameters, and how you can gain from the use of shared parameters in your projects.



Is a setting that determines the appearance or behaviour of an element, type, or view.

Project Parameters
Are user-defined fields that you add to multiple categories of elements, sheets, or views in a project. These parameters are specific to the project and cannot be shared with other projects. For example: You can create a project parameter named “Approved By” for views. In the properties for each view you can enter a value for this parameter to indicate who approved the view. You can use a project parameter in multi-category or single-category schedules. However, you cannot use project parameters in tags for model elements.

Family Parameters

Are user-defined fields that you add to families. They are stored in the family file, and cannot be used in any other element or environment apart from the family it was created in.

Shared Parameters

Are user-defined fields that you add to families or projects and then share with other families and projects. They are stored in a file independently of the family file or Revit project; this allows you to access the file from different families or projects. In addition, shared parameters can be used in tags for model elements, and they can display in schedules.

Type Parameters

Are settings that control the appearance or behaviour of all elements of a particular family type. Type parameters are common to many elements in a family. A type parameter affects all instances (individual elements) of that family in the project and any future instances that you place in the project.

Instance Parameters

Are settings that control the appearance or behaviour of an individual element in a project. The instance parameters and type parameters of an element combine to establish its element properties. Instance parameters can vary with the location of an element in a building or project. An instance property affects only one selected element, or the element that you are about to place. For example: Suppose that you select a beam and click (Element Properties). You change one of the instance parameters and click OK. Only that beam is affected, even if the project contains other instances (individual beams) of the same type.

Another example: The dimensions of a window are type parameters, while its elevation from the level is an instance parameter. Similarly, cross-sectional dimensions of a beam are type parameter, while beam length is an instance parameter.

In terms of what type of parameter to use when, that all comes down to what you want to use that parameter for.

For example: If you are creating a structural connection family, let's say a simple face based plate, you will add parameters for the dimensions of the plate, length, width, thickness. If you use a family parameter for this, the parameters will flex, and do everything that a shared parameter will do apart from one key thing, a family parameter cannot be used anywhere else but in the family where it is created. If you were to use a shared parameter instead, these parameters can be scheduled, and because the parameters are stored in your company shared parameter .txt file, they can be used on future structural connection families you create. You can now create a structural connection schedule and add these shared parameters to the schedule.

You can also add these to a custom made structural connection tag. The tag will automatically read the dimensions of the plate, and with appropriate prefix / suffix details in the tag, this can make annotating steelwork details extremely quick.

Below - The element properties for the plate above, showing the information the tag is using from the model element.

Below - the shared parameters added to the label in the structural connection tag, with appropriate prefix / suffix where required.

Shared parameters are powerful, and part of the concept of using the 'information' from the Revit model.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revit Structure 2012 New Features Videos.

I have found some videos on YouTube for Revit Structure 2012 new features. Below are videos that show;

  • Revit Structure 2012 - New Features

  • Revit Structure 2012 - Reinforcement placement and enhancements

  • Revit 2012 - Construction modeling and assemblies

Revit Structure 2012 - New Features

Revit Structure 2012 - Reinforcement placement

Revit 2012 - Construction modeling and assemblies

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RUGLeeds Meeting No.1

What a way to kick off RUGLeeds, last night was the first Revit User Group meeting in Leeds, UK. After 4 months of planning with Chris Senior of Revit Elemental the time had arrived to launch the user group. We had almost 50 attendees with people travelling from far and wide to see what we were doing.

We had a number of people make the short 10 or so mile trip across West Yorkshire from places such as Wakefield and Bradford, a couple of people travelled 40 miles from Sheffield, and one guy travelled 42 miles from Manchester.

We had a group of attendees who travelled 72 miles from Nottingham, and the guys from _Space travelled a massive 97 miles from Newcastle to present at the opening meeting!

RUGLeeds managed to cover a wide area in the opening meeting, and if we are honest, we were quite surprised by the turn out.

The night started with an introduction from myself and Chris Senior, we gave a summary of our background, and why we formed RUGLeeds.

Moving on to an open floor discussion - 'What do YOU Want from RUGLeeds?'

The main talking points were sharing best practice, collaboration and setting up a wish list, something that could perhaps be done in conjunction with the other UK user groups, so we become a UK voice and try to build a relationship with Autodesk.

That was followed by an overview of Revit Architecture 2012 by Simon Dickinson of MicroCAD.

Simon covered the key improvements that have been doing the rounds since Autodesk lifted the NDA on Revit 2012.

The grand finale was excellent, James Austin and Adam Ward from _Space Architecture gave us all an insight into their BigBim approach in designing, manufacturing and constructing the _spachus modular eco home. Focusing on how parametric modelling techniques have enabled the process.

The detail that went into some of the nested families used in this process is nothing short of incredible, and the formulas built into the families were very clever, a simple example is a timber beam that would increase it's size relative to the distance it was spanning. The concept of using Revit in for manufacturing, paying special attention to the process involved was fascinating, and issuing information to site in a set of 'ikea' style animated assembly instructions that were viewed on an iPad or iPhone is a different level of thinking.

For more information about what _Space are doing with BigBim visit the Big Bim Website

The night finished in the Adelphi pub in Leeds, with a few people (myself included) staying until closing. I eventually made it home at around 1am. (That is what I call networking!)

I would like to thank Buro Happold for providing the venue and refreshments, as well as everyone who attended and had some input into the evening, and a big thank you to the speakers, and a pat on the back for myself and Chris for making this happen.

We have certainly set the bench mark high with the first meeting, the standard of presentations were excellent, and the number and variety of attendees was perfect. The challenge now is to continue in the right direction.

In the coming weeks me and Chris will be looking at the formation of a committee, I will keep you posted.

A testimonial from one of the attendees is below

"That came together very well last night. It was well organised, focused and gave everyone quite a lot to take away. Thank You."

Remember to search RUGLeeds of Linkedin or Facebook to join the group.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Revit 2012 To Include Revit Server.

Revit 2012 is set to 'include' the Revit Server, meaning it will no longer be a subscription item, it will be built in to the Revit 2012 install.

What is the Revit Server?

Revit Server is the server application for Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, and Revit MEP. It is the foundation for server-based worksharing for Revit projects. A workshared project is a Revit building model that multiple team members can access and modify at the same time. Revit Server uses a central server and multiple local servers for optimal project collaboration across a wide area network (WAN).

Central server: A server that is accessible to all team members over the WAN. When you enable worksharing for a Revit project, you can place the central model on the central server. The central server hosts the central model of a workshared project.

Local server: A server that is accessible to all team members in a local area network (LAN). The local server hosts a local, up-to-date copy of the central model. Team members are typically unaware of the local server because it is transparent in their daily operations.

How does the Revit Server work?

The Revit Server network architecture consists of a single central server that connects with multiple local servers.

Upon opening a server-based workshared project, a team member is working in a local copy of the central model. This local copy, called the local model, is stored on the team member's computer. The central model is stored on the central server.

As a team member works, the local server silently requests updated information from the central model on the central server, using available network capacity to transfer data over the WAN. The updated version of the model is stored on the local server, so the updates are readily available when a team member requests them.

Reload Latest: When a team member starts Reload Latest, the local model is updated with information that is already stored on the local server. In addition, the local server makes another request to the central server for any additional updates. Because much of the updated information already resides on the local server, the local model is updated quickly. The team member does not need to wait for all of the update information to be transferred over the WAN.

Synchronize with Central: When a team member starts Synchronize with Central, a Reload Latest operation updates the local model with changes made by other team members. The central model is also updated to reflect changes made to the local model. First, the current version of the local model is saved on the local server. Then the local server sends that data to the central server.

Revit 2012 - David Light's blog.

David Light at Revit - Everything Autodesk Revit and BIM has gone into great detail about the new features of Revit 2012.

It is a good read.

Thanks David!

Revit Structure 2012 - Top features slide.

Above is an image posted by Steve Stafford at Revit OPED showing the 'top features' of Revit Structure 2012.

As said earlier, my top feature is the ability to tag in 3D!

Revit Westok Beams - OOTB

I don't know about you, but the parameters in the OOTB Westok beams are a pain to understand, so I have decided to list the important ones!


Do - Hole Diameter

S - Hole spacing

h1 - Hole Radius (1)

h2 - Hole Radius (2)

d1 - Total beam depth minus h1 Hole Radius (top)

bf1 - Beam 1 Flange width (top)

tf1 - Beam 1 Flange thickness (top)

tw1 - Beam 1 Web thickness (top)

k1 - I am open to suggestions on this one....?

d2 - Total beam depth minus h2 Hole Radius (bottom)

bf2 - Beam 2 Flange width (bottom)

tf2 - Beam 2 flange thickness (bottom)

tw2 - Beam 2 Web thickness (bottom)

k2 - Once again.... I am open to suggestions?

Using the parameters above (or should I say understanding the parameters above) allowed me to consult my steel stock book, and accurately model 30 types of Westok beam in a project.

Hopefully this post will help you use Westok beams within Revit Structure.

Autodesk Revit 2012 - Press release.

An Autodesk webcast press release was made yesterday regarding the 2012 suite of products.

Below is from the Autodesk Press Release;

Autodesk software products for building design and construction support a more complete BIM workflow, and includes Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012, Autodesk Revit MEP 2012, Autodesk Revit Structure 2012 and Autodesk Navisworks 2012 . Enhanced with a new point cloud tool, the Revit Family of software can now connect directly to laser scans as a part of the BIM process. Revit-based products are now Citrix XenApp6 ready*, supporting working from remote locations using a single server, and Revit Server to support collaboration on shared Revit models across a wide-area network (WAN). Revit Architecture 2012 and Revit Structure 2012 offer a new construction modeling tool to help users derive better construction insight from design models.

Improved conceptual energy analysis tools** for Revit Architecture 2012 and Revit MEP 2012 help support sustainable design decision-making early in the design process.

Additional AEC software-specific updates include:

Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012 enables users to create material appearance libraries to help standardize materials across projects and improve collaboration within the project team. Visualization enhancements give users the ability to display edges with more realistic views and shadows in consistent colors mode.

Autodesk Revit Structure 2012 offers analytical model enhancements to help userscreate and manage the structural analytical model, enabling greater control and betterconsistency with the structural physical model. Reinforcement enhancements help usersmore easily define and visualize concrete reinforcement.

Autodesk Revit MEP 2012 now enables users create custom systems, assign systems toducts/pipes without requiring them to be connected to equipment, assign color andlinetype by system without filters, as well as see total electrical load, air flow or pipe flowat any point within the system. New placeholders give users the ability to createconceptual level single line ducts and pipes early in the design process, and later convertthem to 3D geometry.

Autodesk Navisworks 2012 accelerates BIM project review through integration, analysis,and communication enhancements. File interoperability improvements help boost productivity by supporting workflows between the latest enhancements in Autodesk Revitproducts and third-party applications. New user interface and API (application programming interface) for the Timeliner tool provide greater control and flexibility when working with 4D simulations. New multi-sheet 2D DWF support enables users to open, review and explore 2D data sets alongside 3D models.

The packages have also been rebranded into the following categories.

Standard, Premium and Ultimate.

Standard (includes)

AutoCAD 2012
AutoCAD Architecture 2012
AutoCAD MEP 2012
AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2012
Autodesk Showcase 2012
Autodesk SketchBook Designer 2012


Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012
Autodesk Revit MEP 2012
Autodesk Revit Structure 2012
Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2012


Autodesk Navisworks Manage 2012
Autodesk Quantity Takeoff 2012
Autodesk Inventor 2012

Revit Structure 2012 - My wish came true!

As my earlier post I made a wish and it came true.

Revit 2012 will support 3D tagging, ideal for those who
model connections in 3D

Monday, March 21, 2011

RUGLeeds Meeting No.1 - Reminder

Reminder - RUGLeeds Meeting No.1 this week.

We are pleased to announce the date for the first Revit User Group Leeds meeting. Buro Happold have kindly offered their Leeds office as the first venue.

Details of the event including agenda for the first meeting can be found by following the links below.

RUGLeeds Meeting No.1 Facebook

RUGLeeds Meeting No.1 Linkedin

Members of the RUGLeeds Linkedin page are encouraged to RSVP via the above link so we can gauge interest.

Details of the event are below.

Date: 23rd March 2011

Time: 6pm for 6:30pm Start. Duration: 2hrs. Refreshments kindly provided by Buro Happold

Welcome (5 mins) Introduction to the User Group (20 mins)

Open floor Discussion – What do YOU want from RUGLeeds? (30 mins)

15min Interval

Presentation – Guest Speaker (45mins) – Space Architecture.

James Austin and Adam Ward from Space Architecture will be demonstrating how they have used their BigBim ( approach in designing, manufacturing and constructing the _spacehus modular eco home. Focusing on how parametric modelling techniques have enabled the process.

Any Other Business – Drinks / Networking (Pub/Bar TBC)

We also have a surprise in store, a bonus presentation. Make sure you attend!

Over 10,000 Hits - Thank you.

Today I finally broke the 10,000 hit mark.

10,000 hits in 10 months, 1000 hits a month on average is beyond my expectations when I set up this page.

Thank you all for following my blog, and I look forward to doubling the hit count in half the time!

I want another 10,000 hits in the next 5 months!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Off Topic - Cancer Research U.K.

My other half is going to tackle the Great North Run in aid of Cancer research UK, 13.1 miles in support of something that almost everyone can relate to.

I for one have had a bad start to the year, I lost a very close family member in January to cancer, so this is something that is close to my heart.

Where ever you are reading this around the world, if you can find it in yourself to make even a small donation (every penny helps) it will be appreciated, this is a great cause, and your support is needed!

All donations are made online, through a secure server on the following link

Donate here.

Once again, every little helps, my fiance's target is £1000.

You can also access this information by clicking the widget at the top right hand side of the page.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lost an Object / Element in a View? 33 Possible Reasons and Solutions.

This is a great little tip I picked up at the Revit Forum.

33 possible reasons why you may of lost an element in a view, and how to find it. I have added possible solutions below most of the reasons (in red).

Checklist: 33 steps to being able to 'find stuff'

Check to see if:

1. The object or category is temporarily hidden

Reset temporary hide.
2. The object or category is hidden in the view
Press reveal hidden elements (light bulb) to check.
3. The object is being obscured by another element.
Set the model to wireframe to see if this is the problem.
4. The object's category or subcategory is hidden in the view
Check the visibility graphics for category and sub categories.
5. The object is outside the view's view range
Cut a section, if the object is visible - compare the levels with view range.
6. The view's far clip depth is not sufficient to show the object
As above.
7. The object resides on a work set that is not loaded within the project
Check the objects workset in the originating model.
8. The object resides on a work set that is not visible in the view
Check visible worksets in the visibility graphics.
9. The object resides on a work set that is not loaded in a linked file
Check the worksets in the linked model, move the object to another workset.
10. The object resides on a work set that is not visible in a linked file
Check visible worksets in the visibility graphics of the linked file.
11. The object resides within a group (detail model) and it has been excluded from the group
12. The object is part of a design option that is not visible in the view
Check design options.
13. The object is part of a linked file that is not visible in the view
Check visibility of linked files, view range, etc.
14. The object has one or more of its edges overridden to display as
Check the objects projection and cut line overrides.
15. The object is a family and none of its geometry is set to be visible in the view
Check the families visibility settings in the family editor.
16. The object is a family and none of its geometry is set to be visible at the view's detail level
Check the families visibility settings in the family editor.
17. The object is set to not be visible at the category's detail level
Check the families visibility settings in the family editor.
18. The element has been placed outside the view's crop region (visible extents)
Click Do Not Crop View, and zoom extents to check the location of the object.
19. The element is an annotation object & does not reside entirely within the annotation crop region Turn off annotation crop region to clarify.
20. The object's phase settings or the view's phase settings prevent the object from displaying in the view
Check what phase the object is in, this can be found in the objects element properties.
21. The view's discipline is prohibiting the visibility of the object
Set the view to coordination in the element properties.
22. The object is affected by a filter applied to the view
Check what filters are applied under the filters tab in the visibility graphics.
23. The object is subject to an element override, set to background color
Change the background colour (from black to white or vice verca) to clarify.
24. The object is subject to a category override, set to background color
Change the background colour (from black to white or vice verca) to clarify.
25. The object style is set to background color
Check under visibility graphics, or follow the step above.
26. The object is constrained to a scope boxes that is not visible in the view
Click reveal hidden elements (light bulb) to see if any scope boxes are hidden.
27. The extents of the object itself don't permit it to be seen
Is the object too big (zoom extents) or too small...?
28. The object is a mass, and 'Show Mass' is turned off
Turn on show mass
29. The object's host view has been deleted (area boundaries)

30. The view's scale is prohibiting the object's visibility
Check the settings for the object in element properties under 'hide at scale coarser than.'
31. The object is a linked instance with coordinates too great for Revit to handle
32. The user has incorrectly identified the link instance to which the element belongs
33. The object is in a link that is not in its correct position
Zoom extents to locate the linked model, and reset it to it's correct location.