Thursday, October 30, 2014

Revit Curtainwall Doors

One of the frustrations that I have always had with Revit curtain walls are the doors.
When I started using Revit and wanted to insert a door into a curtain wall I always wanted to just go to insert door button and insert a door into the curtain wall, but that isn't how the curtain wall system likes to work.

What the Revit curtain wall system wants you to do is select the panel and switch the panel type from a glass panel to a door panel. The door panel is great it stretches with the size of the panel, which means if you have a panel that is 3'-0" wide and you need to make the Curtain wall a foot longer you know have a door panel that is 3'-3" or some other crazy dimensions. I have actually had a door that becomes 6" wide.

Last year I went to Minnesota University which was put on by the Cad Technology Center. The CTC make a lot of great tools for Revit among them is a super door system. To say the least they know about the door systems in Revit. I was talking with them and they told me about away to place a normal door in a curtain wall.
Since I got back from MinU I've tried placing doors within curtain walls like they suggested, and I will say it may be just as complicated as just replacing the curtain wall panel, but I like it. What I like about this system is that the doors don't change sizes as the curtain wall adjusts.

To insert a normal door into a curtain wall system you need to have a door that doesn't have a frame,unless of course you want to have two frames.

  • Build a curtain wall
  • Select the panel you want to insert the door
  • Change the type of the panel to a wall
  • With Curtain wall panel now a wall select the door button
  • Select door type and place door in the panel you changed into a wall
  • Adjust door placement and curtain wall so that the curtain wall grid is correct
Here is a short Video demonstrating this.

Color Fill Walls

For Schematic Design presentations, Construction Documents or even Model Management, there are times when we want to fill walls with a color or a pattern. There are several ways in Revit to fill walls with a color or a pattern. Today I am going to talk about five of these methods.

The first way is a method borrowed from when we worked in Autocad. Using a drafting fill pattern to poche the walls. To do this go to the annotation tab and draw a fill pattern. This is by far the worst and most time consuming way to fill your walls. The reason why I feel this is the worst way is that if there are any changes (which there will be) you have to remember to go back to the documentation views of the model and correct the fill pattern so it continues to fill the wall correctly.

The second method is to edit the properties of each wall and change the course view. When the design changes the pattern will automatically update. When you use this method the fill patterns only occur in the course view, which means if you change the view from Course to Medium or Fine the fill patterns go away.

The third method is to change the properties of the wall material. Within the properties of each material there is a cut property that controls what a material looks like when it is cut. When looking at a floor plan in Revit the visibility range usually has the walls cut at 4'-0" above the finish floor line. Since you are usually looking at the walls in section the pattern that is defined by the material's cut pattern is visible. What is good about this is that when ever you cut the wall the pattern is seen no mater what view you are in. What is bad about this is that whenever you cut the wall the pattern is seen no mater what view you are in, which means some of flexibility can be lost.

The forth method is to override the visibility graphics of that view. In the Visibility Graphics dialogue you can change the pattern of not only the walls or any of the Revit objects. This method is good for color plans but also for sections as well. With sections you can fill in any cut object, ceilings, floors, or roofs.

The fifth method is building off the fourth method only now you use filters. With filters you can make different types of the same object category display differently in the view. As an example of this lets say you want to see which walls are 1 hour rated, and which walls are not rated. By creating a filter that filters all of the 1 hour walls you can apply a graphic over ride just to the filtered objects.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Area Lines

Last month I wrote about Area types. In that blog I talked about the rules Revit uses to try and automatically define Areas.  One of the things I remember learning in my first year of collage was that you need to learn the rules before you break them and that was why I wrote last months article. In some cases the rules Revit uses gives us the areas we want, but in many of the cases those rules do not.

On a recent project I had to calculate the gross square footage of a building. Seems like a no brainier right. Take the exterior edge of the building right, and Revit has a rule to automatically calculate that square footage. Well in this case the architect I was working with found (in the IBC 2009) that the gross area calculation he wanted was based off of the interior face of the building not the exterior. Revit does not have a rule that calculates gross square footage to the interior face, and when it does it takes out the windows so still the area calculation was wrong.

This is an instance in which you can not rely on the rules Revit uses to define areas. So instead of creating your area boundary lines by selecting the walls you need to draw the area boundary lines. The lines can be locked to the wall but can not be defined by the walls. If they are defined by the walls Revit rules will take and you will get the wrong area numbers.

Another instance where you need to draw your lines is within a space that is defined by net square footage like a classroom or a lab. With net square footage any piece of equipment that is permanently attached to the floor will be taken out of the square footage of the room. To take that square footage out of the calculation you use the drawing tools.

Monday, October 13, 2014


As someone I know through Autodesk University and the National CAD Standard would say, I have final traveled to the darkside. Last month I passed my final Architectural Exam. Today I got my certificate, so I am officially a Registered Architect in the state of New Mexico.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Color Plans

What is a color plan?
What do you use a color plan for?
How do you create color plans in Revit?

The answer to the first question is that a color plan is a plan that uses fill patterns to convey information about the plan. It doesn't really matter if the fill pattern is a solid color fill or if it is a black and white dot hatch the basic use of the fill pattern is the same.

We use color plans to create presentation drawings. These presentation drawings can convey information like what department does where in the plan or code occupancy information. We also use color plans as a model management tool. As an example of a model management tool you can create a view that highlights all of the 1 hour rated partition to verify that a rated enclosure has rated wall on all sides.

There are about multiple ways to create a color plan in Revit.

  • From the visibility graphics dialog you can add a fill pattern to one of the model category. Along with this if you use filters you can make different objects within that category a different color as well. The main use I have for this is with walls and doors to verify their fire ratings. MEP engineers use this to color code the different pipes going through a building, among other things
  • Using either rooms or areas you can apply a color legend that creates a fill pattern to different information of the color plan. In the example of a code plan you can assign all areas of the plan that is a Classroom occupancy one pattern, all vocational occupancy's another and all storage occupancy's yet another.
  • As a management tool you can see what objects are on what workset thereby verifying if the objects are on the correct workset or even who is in control of those object within the model.
  • Using your old Autocad thinking you can go to the annotation tab and create a fill pattern. In most cases I would say do not do this. The other two methods are conveying information and when the information changes the pattern changes. This method means you need to be on top of the coordination of the information. As much as I say don't do this there are times when you have to create a hack to convey the information you want and this is how you would do that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Area types

Area types is one of the parameter of Areas. Area types define measurement rules that Revit applies to area boundaries.

There are two Area plan types where Area types can be defined differently, Gross areas and Rentable or you could just say all other area types that are not Gross. On a Gross area plan you can define area types by either Gross building area or Exterior areas. On all other types of area plans you can define the areas by six area types, Building Common Area, Office Area, Exterior Area, Floor Area, Major Vertical Penetration, Store Area.

The Area type measurement rules work only if you define area boundaries by selecting the walls. If you draw lines to define the areas the area lines will not move according to the measurement rules.

Measurement rules
Building Common Area to Building Common Area -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Office areas -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Store areas -Area Boundary measured from wall centerline
Building Common Area to Exterior areas -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Building Common Area
Building Common Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Building Common Area
Office Area to Exterior areas -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Office Area
Office Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Office Area
Exterior Area to Store Area -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Exterior Area
Exterior Area
Floor Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Floor Area
Store Area to Major Vertical Penetration -Area Boundary measured from wall face bordering Store Area

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lego House

Last summer my son and I were watching BBC America where they where James May was wondering if you could build a real house from Lego. As a Lego fanatic my boy was enjoying watching them building a life size Lego building. I was enjoying watching them try to build a structural beam out of Legos. We didn't get to watch the end of the show so we didn't know if they he had actually built the house or not. Tonight I was surfing the web and found this article from Daily News where they shows a finished Lego building with running water.

Here is also a short video on youtube about it.