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ATP176

Understanding Revit Building


(Beginning)
Segment 1

Date: April 09, 2007

Instructor: Eric Wing


Level: Beginning
Category: Autodesk Revit

Web: www.AUGI.com

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Understanding Revit. This is the topic I choose to tackle. Just when I found my little niche in the world with
AutoCAD, along comes a new love. Ahhh! The fond memories of spending days on end…which turn into weeks
on end just figuring out how to program my favorite drafting program to do what I needed it to. And it was like
Christmas every year when Autodesk invented a new way to insert a block!
Blocks. They were so cute and simple. It was so fun when they were hiding! All those convoluted file structures
that nobody in the office followed. HA! Dragging in all of the old layers you don’t use anymore.
Layers! I remember those. Do you use a CTB or an STB? Is Cyan used for text or thick lines? Thick lines? How
thick, and specifically which lines are you using it for?
Raise your hand if you are scared to death of messing up the CUI!

Ok, I could go on all day. The point here is this: Bosses, senior architects and senior engineers are finally starting
to notice something. It’s the incredible waste of time and money it takes to have an architect or an engineer
actually mark up a sketch and hand it to a production drafter using…a production drafting program. They are also
noticing the errors and misinterpretations inherited by this antiquated method. Now, don’t show up in my front
yard with pitchforks and torches just yet, or burn me at the stake as a heretic. I have been on both sides of the
design / drafting fence. Mistakes come from both angles. It’s not the fault of either party. It’s the void created
when your design physically leaps out of the software, onto a piece of paper, into the brain of a drafter, and back
into the computer.

Let’s summarize the things that can go wrong with this “application to finger to brain to application” method. A
condition commonly known as AFBA.

So the designer sketches a crude (or sometimes quite painstakingly meticulous) design on a piece of paper. She
hands it to the drafter. The drafter interprets it with his best ability, and a project is born. He prints it. She marks it
up and sends it back. All the while another designer in another firm is changing it. He finishes the mark up, and
she shows up with a new background that needs to be cleaned up and referenced into the CAD drawing.

This happens 45 times in the life of a project.

PLUS! CAD standards need to be maintained. File structures need to be maintained. Schedules need to be
produced, estimates need to be…estimated. The project manager is going back and forth between this and that.
The phone is ringing AHHHHHH!!

If you are thinking Architectural desktop, you are getting close. Unfortunately, Arch. Desktop produces about one
in every one hundred true, 3D drawings capable of rendering, scheduling and efficiently maintaining.

Think again. Think about placing a wall instead of drawing a meaningless line. Think about placing an actual floor
instead of a note that just says…Floor.

In Revit, this is what you do. And you pretty much do it in 2D plan. But, once the plan is done so are the
elevations and sections. Schedules and estimates are just a few clicks away as well.

Let’s see how this all works shall we?

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Revit wrapped up. (What is a Revit Project)?
A Revit project is one file. That’s it. Yep. One file which contains the entire project from foundation to high roof.
There is no folder or file management involved.

That one file is broken down into views. Revit will produce as many views as you wish. This is controlled by the
project browser. Each category and name (shown below) is a view. You double click a view to open it.

Each floor plan you see has a live link with levels in elevation. If a (plan) is renamed, or added, and level is
renamed and added to the elevations. This can also occur when a level is added in elevation.

Open Revit Building.


Double click on Level 1 in the project browser.
Double click on East under the heading Elevations (Building Elevation).
You will see two level markers.
With the wheel button on your mouse, scroll in on them.
Double click the Level 1 text.
Change it to Basement.
Click yes to rename corresponding views. This is basically saying “Yes, I want my plan to have the same
name as my level”.

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Notice the Level 1 in the project browser has updated. Get used to this type of automation. This is how
Revit works.
Rename Level 2 to say Entry Level.
Save the file as: AUGI-REVIT

Note that this is not just text sitting there. Not only will the names of the levels update throughout the project but
the numeric elevations play a major role. We will soon be assigning walls to start and end at these levels. When
we change the height of the level, the walls and everything placed on that level will change as well.

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Elements
As I keep saying, Revit is a modeling application. Instead of drawing brain-dead lines, we place elements.
There are (5) different types of elements:
1. Host
A host element can stand alone in a project. Other elements can be imbedded within them. Host
elements are:
• Walls
• Roofs
• Ceilings
• Stairs
• Ramps

2. Component
A component needs a host to live. You cannot place a door without a wall. You can place a desk without
a floor but it is not practical. Component elements are:
• Doors
• Windows
• Railings
• Furniture
• Structural items
• Architectural items
• Site items

3. Views
We have discussed views. Views are the “file structure” of a project.
Views consist of:
• Plans
• Elevations
• Sections
• Details
• Sheets
• Callouts
• Legends
• Schedules

4. Datum
Datum will assign its numeric value to the value of the component’s level assignment. So if a footing is on
Level 1, and Level 1 is at 10’-0”, a datum symbol will reflect that elevation. If the level height changes
anywhere on the project, then so will the datum.

5. Annotation
Text. One of the things that I love about Revit is the fact that text will resize its self based on a specified
scale. No more charts and different text styles based on a line type scale, no sirree! We will get into text
in detail in the next segment!

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Families
Since Revit is element driven, it would be impossible for every element available, for every situation, to be in
existence. Therefore Revit uses what are called families to deliver elements. Families are parametric
components that can be inserted into a model. An element is broken down into these families. If I wanted a wall
for instance, I would select the wall icon, and choose from a list.

This list is a wall family. Or, I should say…A family of walls.

Of course, you will need to create your own walls. This is made very easy. But let’s hold off on that for the
moment. We have more to learn about the topic of how Revit works.

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The Revit Graphic User Interface
Revit is not AutoCAD. Nor does it pretend to be. The interface takes some getting used to. The first time I opened
it I reached for the only button that was familiar to me.

But seriously, it only took me a couple of days to get used to how it works. Just like AutoCAD, it’s a feel you need
to get used to. With Revit, the pain in learning a new program is almost shelved because what happens is this:
when you open Revit, there aren’t all that many buttons and there is NO command prompt. When you pick an
icon to insert a wall, Revit reacts to that and adds the toolbars and choices you need only for the placement of
that component. Once the wall is placed, Revit goes back to its original form.

Let’s break down the interface:

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Working with Revit
Open the file AUGI-REVIT.rvt or click the icon below to get the file.

Double click on the Entry Level Floor plan in the project browser.

On the design bar, go to the Basics tab, and click Wall.

Under the type selector, select Basic Wall: Exterior – Brick and CMU on MTL. Stud

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Click the properties button adjacent to the type selector drop down.
In the properties, set the base constraint to Entry Level, and the top constraint is unconnected. The
default for the actual wall is 20’-0”.
Click OK
In the view window, pick a point to start the wall. Move your cursor to the left. Notice there is no Ortho.
Revit will automatically align the wall. Notice also that you have temporary dimensions. You can either
“eyeball” the length or type it in. See below:

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Draw another wall up 80’-0”.
Draw a wall back to the right 100’-0”. Or, if you are paying attention to your alignments, you can align the
walls visually.
Draw two more walls, both at 15’-0”. Look at the illustration on page 11.

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Object Selection
One thing that is similar to AutoCAD is the window method for selecting objects. To complete our building, we
will need to mirror the two 15’-0” walls to the south wall. Revit uses the AutoCAD noun / verb selection
method for executing some of the modify commands.

Start the selection from left to right and you get just a box.

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Start the selection from right to left and you get a crossing window.

Mirror
Select the two walls illustrated above.
Click the Mirror icon in the edit toolbar.

For the mirror plane, select the midpoint on the west wall. Remember to ALWAYS watch the options
toolbar. As you choose different commands, this is what changes to aid you in carrying out those
commands. In a way, it’s your new command prompt.
There will be two icons in the options toolbar; one which allows you to select an object for the mirror plane,
and one to draw a line for the mirror plane.
Select the draw lines option. See page 14. Also, be sure to keep the Copy choice selected.

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Select the inside finished face of the west wall, and draw a plane straight to the right.

This will mirror the two walls. Of course the intersections will be cleaned up automatically!

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Your building should look like the illustration below.

On the Design toolbar, select the Basics tab, and select wall.
In the type selector on the Options toolbar, select
Basic Wall: Exterior – Brick and CMU on MTL. Stud

In the Shape selector on the Options toolbar, select Arc Passing Through Three Points.

Draw a radial wall from the ends of the 15’-0” walls. This will close off the building. Notice that when you
get a certain distance away from the origin, Revit will snap to the tangency of the geometry you are trying
to complete. This can be very helpful.

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Once you see the green alignment circle, pick a point anywhere. The new wall will be modeled tangent to
the opening.

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Levels
Levels are one of the main elements that control Revit, and set this
program apart from .dwg based applications. Once levels are set, the
tops and bases of walls can be constrained to these levels. If the
height if the level changes, so do the walls and all items places at these
levels.

In the Project Browser, double-click the South Elevation.


This will open up an elevation view. Notice the elevation lines are not
aligned with the building.
Zoom in on the datum and text of the level markers.
Select one of the markers. Notice there is a blue circular grip. Pick it.

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You can now drag the elevation markers to an area where you can see them. Also notice that if you drag
one, all the others will drag with it.

Double-click on the 0’-0” below the basement level.


Change it to -10’-0”
Change the Entry Level elevation to 0’-0”
On the Basics tab on the Design Bar, click the Level button.
On the Options toolbar, select Pick Lines.
Make a Plan view.
Offset 15’-0”

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Move your cursor over the Level called “Entry Level”.
Notice that if you move the cursor up, a green alignment line appears above the line. If you move it
towards the bottom, the green line shows up below.
Create a new level 15’-0” above the Entry Level.
Rename it to Level 1
Make the following additional levels:
- Level 2 (30’-0”)
- Level 3 (45’-0”)
- Level 4 (60’-0”
- Roof (75’-0”)
- Parapet (78’-0”)
Once the levels are created, select one of the walls and right-click.
Select All Instances.
Once all of the walls are selected, click the properties button.
For the Top Constraint, Select Up to level: Parapet

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Hosted Walls (Curtain)
One type of wall can be imbedded within another. Curtain walls are a prime
example of this. In the intermediate class, we will examine curtain walls in
depth, but for now we will imbed a simple pre-defined curtain system into a
previously drawn wall.

Go to the Level 1 plan view.


On the Basics tab on the design toolbar, start the wall command

In the type selector, select Curtain Wall: Storefront

Click the Properties button

Click the Edit / New button

Click the Duplicate button


Change the name to 4’-0” square curtain wall

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For the vertical grid pattern, change the spacing to 4’-0”
For the horizontal grid pattern, change the spacing to 4’-0”

Select OK
Change the base to Entry Level, and the offset to 3’-7”
For the top constraint set it to Roof, and offset it -1’-0” (To compensate for any roofing)

In the Options toolbar, select the arc passing through three points button.

Trace the radial wall (I’m letting you determine how to do this. It may take a couple of passes).
You can close the warning that says the sweep is outside of the wall.

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This concludes segment 1 We have so much left
to do I would burn up another 1,000 words just listing
them. Please post your questions (and comments), and let’s team
up on this Revit thing.

Remember that this material is only a portion of the class; support is always available online in the private course
forum. I encourage you to visit the course forum and ask any questions that you may have about this segment or
simply join in the discussion. The ATP Mantra is: the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Thanks again
for attending this course!

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