Best Practices for Revit Management - DOC by joj13098

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									Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z
Todd M. Shackelford – Alvine Engineering

MP322-1             This class will outline a framework for transitioning to Revit MEP. From setting expectations and
defining goals for Revit, building information modeling (BIM) and integrated project delivery (IPD) to plotting the
construction documents, we will walk through the checklist of elements required to help Revit really work in your office.
Along the way, this class will demonstrate how to defuse the landmines of a Revit implementation, and some clever
Revit tricks will be exposed to smooth the transition.

About the Speaker:
Todd currently serves as the BIM/CAD Administrator for Alvine Engineering in Omaha, Nebraska. He teaches
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture at Metropolitan Community College, and Design Processes at the University of
Nebraska. Todd is an Autodesk Architectural Desktop (now AutoCAD® Architecture) Certified Expert, and has been
published in CADalyst Online, AUGIWorld magazine and AUGI‟s AEC Edge. He authors three blogs, CAD Shack,
Revit Basics, and The Lazy Drafter. He has 20 years of CAD experience in customization, MEPT engineering, and
CAD management specializing in AutoCAD and Revit MEP implementations and administration.
                                                                       Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Whether a firm is being progressive or clients are demanding Revit collaboration; when it is time
for a firm to make the jump to Revit MEP, the CAD/BIM Manager is expected to just to make it
happen. It can be difficult to be an expert without experience, and with years of AutoCAD
experience there is a real fear that changing things now will have a serious impact on
productivity. This class will lead you through a phased; results based approach that will get your
firm benefiting from the use of Revit MEP while avoiding back tracking, missteps and unrealistic

Creating a plan

A common answer to the question “Why are we doing this?” is BIM. As a MEP consultant it is
important to understand what building information modeling (BIM) and integrated project
delivery (IPD) is. If a client asks for BIM, there are more answers than Revit. Revit is not BIM or
IPD or IP. Revit is a tool used in these processes and there are other tools. A good analogy is if
BIM is like the internet, Revit may be like an internet browser. There is plenty of information
about BIM, IP and IPD out there and being an expert is a must. It‟s a good idea to understand
the new AIA 202 document and the Consensus 301 documents. Owners, architects, and
contractors are all working very hard to define new contracts to quantify the responsibilities and
ownership of virtual building information.

Implementing a Revit product can be overwhelming, so creating a plan is essential to success.
Just like planning a trip, not knowing the destination, only leads to not getting there. Every firm
may want or need different results with Revit MEP. There are more than enough functions,
capabilities and advantages of using Revit MEP. There are all kinds of claims as to what Revit
MEP is capable of. It is important to accurately describe what the pros and cons of Revit MEP
are, and agree on and how they fit into any firms‟ implementation plan. See below for a
preliminary list.

Pros                                                     Integration with Third Party software like
                                                          Trane Trace 700, IES, Carrier‟s HAP
   Compatibility with clients and partners               and Green Building Studio for
    using Revit.                                          engineering calculations.
   Improved collaboration and interference              Cons
    detection using 3 dimensional objects.
                                                         Steep learning curve.
   Increased accuracy using properties
    stored in objects to instantly report to             Software upgrades.
    customizable schedules.
                                                         Hardware upgrades.
   Engineering calculations data can be
    used as a graphical tool to speed the                Productivity loss.
    design process and highlight trouble

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

The complexity of Revit combined with required modifications to workflow and the
wildcard of people‟s attitude toward change all point toward phasing as a solution to
gradually introduce the software. The focus should be on discovering the easiest
benefits to Revit to include early and minimizing the impact of the cons, while planning
future phases.

There should be continuing conversations between the IT department, the CAD
management and the senior staff to clearly separate wants from needs. Keeping
everyone in the loop will help staff feel secure and informed about this change to their
everyday work life. There are many conversations to have up front, below are a few.

What is the best method to upgrade to Revit software?

No one is better prepared to help here than an Autodesk reseller. There may be more
than one choice depending on a firm‟s location(s). Autodesk lists available resellers by
zip code and product at this web page.

Not all resellers are the same. Some will have PSP (Preferred Service Provider) status
and some will not. In any event, feeling comfortable, listened to, and well taken care of
are essential to a good relationship.

Are the current PCs capable of supporting Revit projects?

A good IT department should know exactly what is in inventory. Compare that with
Autodesk‟s recommendations.

Revit is a big dog. Think about the size of the projects that will be completed in Revit
and do more than you have to. Cutting corners here can lead to a failed implementation
caused by an unresponsive Revit slowing projects and frustrating users.

What project should be first?

There are a lot of considerations. Pick something the firm has good experience in. Pick
something of a manageable size and scope. Most importantly pick something that has
the right people assigned to it. People that are willing to embrace this change and are
excited about the project will adapt and overcome where other will quit. The right people
are the most important thing toward a successful implementation of Revit.

How should training be done?

Resellers and consultants can provide canned training as well as custom training on
site or off site. Training can be done by completed in house by advanced users or CAD
management. Revit training can be accessed at local community colleges for low cost
and quick turn around, even if it is architecturally based; the basic interface, edit, and
modeling tools are the same.

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

How long will this take?

Any implementation of this scale will be a moving target. Priorities will change and
challenges will continue to appear. Keeping the focus on the succession of goals rather
than “are we done yet” will help keep expectations in line with the reality of a major
software shift. Long term, it is not uncommon for a medium sized firm to take 1 to 2
years to fully convert to the Revit platform.

What can the firm expect?

Any implementation of this scale will be a moving target. Priorities will change and
challenges will continue to appear. Constant communication is a must to keep all
parties on the same page. It is a good idea to communicate from the beginning that
there will be set backs and that the team is planning for them.

Configure the software
No matter how Revit is implemented, to use the software at a basic level, certain things
must be addressed right away. Below is a list of the items that must be dealt with for
any implementation of Revit MEP with the details and best practices following.

      Create Templates
      Plotting Configuration
      Custom Content
      Shared Parameters
      Deployment Creation
      Establish and Document Procedures

Revit Templates
Creating a good template will make a world of difference to Revit users. Revit MEP
comes with standard templates. It‟s a good idea to review the differences in these
templates. They hold default object line weights and styles, system definitions, view
templates, plotting defaults, and browser organization configurations. Some firms may
use a single template and others may want different template for different disciplines or
different types of buildings. Best practice is to share templates from a network location
where users can access the templates but not change them. Start a template from
scratch by selecting New and Template from the application browser, or by copying an
existing template. Below are items to customize for a firms template file.

                                                            Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

                        Line Weights
                        Coming from an AutoCAD based system, it is possible to check
                        the CTB or STB file to gather current line weights used and
                        recreate those line weights inside of Revit. Revit supports 16
                        line weights and allows those to be applied differently at
                        different scales for model objects. Access the line weights by
                        selecting Settings from the Manage tab of the Ribbon.

                        Object Styles
                        Object styles dictate how objects look by default in Revit.
                        Objects are divided into 3 categories. Model objects are physical
                        items that usually have 3 dimensions, Annotation objects are
                        usually 2 dimensional and imported objects come from items
                        imported into Revit like CAD layers. You can assign colors to
                        objects. This helps quite a bit with mechanical pipe from
                        different systems, but it is easier to control with a filter.

Discipline Settings
Mechanical and Electrical Setting can be accessed by selecting MEP Settings in the
Manage tab of the ribbon. The mechanical settings control defaults for duct and pipe
and also contain fitting information along with calculation information for fluids. The
example below shows Supply mains defaulting to rectangular with taps at a height of 9‟-

                                                                 Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

The Electrical settings control wire sizing and types, voltage definitions, distributions
systems and demand factors.

Browser Organization
The Project Browser is the main method of navigating view and sheets in any Revit
project. The example below shows the project browser sorting by sub-discipline. This is
allowing Electrical to be grouped together but still separate lighting from power.

To change the default sorting method of the project browser right click on the words
“Views (Discipline)” at the top of the browser, then select the edit button for filters in type
parameters then select Sub-Discipline in the Group by drop down.

                                                                 Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Revit Filters 101
Filters are used to control if and how objects are displayed in Revit. A template should
include filters to change the display color and line types for objects according to the
system type or user defined parameters. These filters can be pre-applied to standard

To create or apply a new filter type “VG” to open the Visibility/Graphic Overrides
dialog and select the Filters tab. Any existing filters to the current view will be displayed.

Click the Add/New button to invoke the Filters Dialog. This dialog has three parts.
Filters list the available filters in the project, Categories displays what types of objects
are associated with each named filter, and Filter Rules which is used to fine tune the
selection of objects.

In the example below the filter E-Po Panel Solid is associated with Electrical
Equipment with description of SOLID.

Click OK to exit the Filters dialog add return to the Visibility/Graphic Overrides dialog.

Use the ADD button to add the new filter to the Filters tab.

Select the Override button for Projection/Surface patterns and choose Solid fill as shown

Select a panel in the current view and add the comment SOLID to change its
appearance. Panels without the comment SOLID will remain unfilled.

Another Example

                                                                Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Here is a filter used by electrical to filter out mechanical equipment that does not require
an electrical connection.

The filter settings above finds all of the mechanical equipment without the comment
“ELEC”. Once the Visibility box is un-checked no mechanical equipment without the
word “ELEC” will display in that view.

View Templates
View templates are the best way to apply a view configuration to many views at once. To
create a view template, start with an actual project and configure the view appropriately
setting filters orientations, scales, visibility overrides, detail levels and more. Select the
View Templates tool from the View tab of the ribbon and pick Create template from
current view. Give the template a name and unselect parameters that are not required.

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   Custom Content
   Every firm will need custom content in one form or another, annotation families like
   logos and title blocks, model families like custom receptacles or diffusers. Autodesk
   has created a document and help files containing tutorials on the family editor and
   family basics. It can be accessed at;

   Custom content should be stored in a way that allows users to easily find it and allow
   for easy upgrade to new versions of Revit. A copy of the Imperial library on a network
   drive is helpful with folders created for custom content. Because there may be
   project using different version of Revit and Revit is not backwards compatible, there
   should be a separate Imperial library for every version of Revit in use. Under that
   folder create one or several company folders. Those folders can be copied and
   pasted into a newer version when the time comes and the folder structure of
   company families can be maintained over time. This will make life and training of the
   users simpler.

Revit Family Creation
Families are created in the Family Editor and saved as separate files with an .rfa
extension. Most families will be one of three types

                                                                Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

       Model Family
       Symbolic Family
       Annotation Family

Model Families

Model families represent a physical object in a building like a duct, light fixture, camera
or keypad.

Symbolic Families

Symbolic families only have 2D geometry to represent an object which does not
require a 3D shape. Examples could include a fire/smoke damper, turning vanes,
or a junction box.

Annotation Families

Annotation families are 2D line work used as annotation. Examples could include
a flag note, progress stamp and logos.

The Family Editor

Families store all of the necessary geometry to display the two-dimensional (2D)
and three-dimensional (3D) versions of particular objects. Family element
visibility can be dependent of your viewing direction, such as plan, elevation, or
3D, as well as the level of detail associated with that view.

General procedure for creating a standard component family

   1.  Select the appropriate family template.
   2.  Define sub-categories for the family to aid in controlling visibility of the object.
   3.  Lay out reference planes to aid in drawing component geometry.
   4.  Add dimensions to specify parametric component geometry.
   5.  Add label dimensions to create type or instance parameters.
   6.  Flex the new model to verify correct component behavior.
   7.  Add appropriate connectors.
   8.  Specify 2D and 3D geometry display characteristics with sub-category and entity
       visibility settings.
   9. Define family type variations by specifying different parameters.
   10. Save the newly-defined family, and then load it into a new project and see how it

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   Company Log Family
   As an introduction to families, this explanation of how to create an annotation family
   of a company logo with visibility parameters is included. To build a logo for a title
   block, create a new annotation family. Select the application browser, then New and
   finally Annotation Family.

Revit offers many templates for annotation families. Revit template families have a RFT
file extension. For this example select "Generic Annotation.rft". This template contains
two reference planes and a note to the users to specify the type of family. The
intersection of the reference planes is the origin for the family. Select the "Category and
Parameters" button near the end of the ribbon to change the category. For this example
use "Generic Annotation".

This logo was created with a combination of text and a filled region.

                                                                 Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

A parameter needs to be added to the text "Omaha" so it can be turned on and off based
off which office title block this logo is attached to. First select the word Omaha. In its
instance properties to the right of the word Visible is a grey box, click it. Now select the
Add Parameter button. Name the parameter "Omaha", make it a type parameter and
Group it under "Graphics". See below.

Create a Las Vegas Parameter the same way as the Omaha parameter and place the
Las Vegas text on top of the Omaha text.

Now create two types under this family, one for Omaha and one for Las Vegas. The type
will control visibility of the text so only the appropriate city name will appear in each type.
Create types by selecting the Family Types button near the end of the ribbon.

On the right-hand side of the Family Types dialog box select New under the family types
header. When prompted for a name, type "Omaha". With the Family name set to
Omaha, check the Omaha visibility box.

                                                                Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Create and configure a Las Vegas type the same way and load this logo into a project.

Model Families (Devices)
The majority of device families are electrical and telecommunication devices. This
tutorial will step through standard practices for these devices. Individual devices will vary
but the basic for each are shown in this example.

 Before starting a new family, carefully consider the best way to group similar devices. In
this example a telecommunications outlet family is created. Contained in this family are 3
types of wall mounted outlets.

             Outlet Rough In

              Data or Voice outlet

              Combined Voice and Data outlet

 Ceiling and floor mounted devices must be created in a different family because of a
different orientation to the hosting face.

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Device families are comprised of two main parts, annotation line work and model solids.
The Model view or 3D components are created directly in the RFA file containing the
family. The symbology for the 3 types of outlets (2D components) will be created as an
annotation family and linked into the main RFA file.

Revit Families can be created by picking New from the application browser and then
Family, and finally selecting an appropriate template.

Alternatively, an existing family can be modified to accommodate the current needs.

Prepare the RFA Family

   1. Copying the default data symbol rfa file found at \\Imperial Library\Electrical
      Components\Data Devices and paste it to a new location to work from. Name it
      T-Tc Outlet.rfa.

   TIP: This naming convention uses the CSI/AIA layering convention as a basis and
   works quite well for keeping families sorted and searchable. The first letter defines a
   discipline followed by a 2 letter sub-discipline and finished with a descriptor. Define
   standard disciplines and sub disciplines like;

   M Mechanical              Hv HVAC         Pi Piping

   E Electrical              Li Lighting     Po Power

   T Technology              Tc Telecom      Sc Security

                                                             Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   2. Open T-Tc Outlet.rfa.
   3. Switch to the Ref Level view by double clicking on it in the Project Browser.
   4. Select the 2D data annotation shown below. The Type selector will indicate that
      the Data Annotation has been selected.

Select the Edit Family button on the Modify generic Annotations tab of the ribbon.

   5. Save As to add it this family the desired network location and name per company
      standards. If the annotation symbol is adequate as is, load it into T-Tc Outlet.rfa,
      if not make adjustments here then load it into T-Tc Outlet.rfa.

   TIP: Have a plan on how to store Families on a network drive and consider that most
   firms will have multiple versions of Revit products installed at a time. Because Revit
   is not backwards compatible, these files will need to be kept separate and modular
   for ease of upgrading. Below see the Acme‟s company structure for families. The
   2010 Imperial Library has Acme folders underneath which are broke down into
   disciplines and sub-disciplines. Each sub-discipline has a folder just for the
   annotation symbols required for the parent folder. There is also a folder for the 2009
   Imperial library with the same structure for projects done to be completed in Revit
   MEP 2009.

Create Annotations for each family type

   1. Create a copy of the annotation family used for the data rough in.
   2. Modify the rough in line work to look like the voice or data symbol.
   3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the voice and data symbol.

                                                           Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Add Annotation Types to the RFA family

   1. Open T-Tc Outlet.rfa.
   2. Use the Symbol tool to load each of the three annotation family types.

   3. Use the Family Types tool in the Design bar to invoke the Family Types dialog.
   4. Select the New button shown below and name three new types; Rough In, Voice
      or Data, and Voice and Data.

   5. A parameter must be created for each family type. Invoke the Parameter
      Properties dialog by selecting the Add button in the Family Types dialog.

   6. Create the Voice or Data parameter as shown below. Repeat for Rough In and
      Voice and Data. Ensure the parameters are grouped under Graphics and they
      are Yes/No and Type parameters.

                                                            Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Associate annotation Graphics with Parameters

  1. Select one of the annotation symbols in T-Tc Outlet.rfa using the tab if
     necessary and open its properties.
  2. Click on the tiny blank button to the right of the Visible instance parameter, see

  3. This will invoke the Associate Family Parameter dialog. Select the appropriate
     parameter and pick OK, then repeat for each annotation symbol for each family

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Save and load into a new project to test the family. This is known as “flexing the family”.

Adding Shared Parameters

In AutoCAD attributes are used to attach information to blocks. Revit uses parameters
which come in two types Family parameters and Shared parameters. Family parameters
will not show in schedules or tags. A family parameter has been used to dictate what
type of outlet is shown in this example. A shared parameter can be used in schedules
and tags and will be required to tag this family with mounting, jack type, rough in type
and station number information. Follow the step below to add shared parameters.

Open T-Tc Outlet.rfa.

   1. Select Family Types on the ribbon. The Family Types dialog appears.
   2. Pick the ADD button under Parameters. The Parameter Properties dialog
   3. Select Shared parameter then pick the „Select‟ button shown below.

                                                        Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

4. In the Shared Parameters dialog select Edit.

5. Create a new group by clicking on Edit in the Edit Shared parameters dialog.

6. Name the new group Telecommunications.

7. Pick New under the Parameters group to create a new parameter grouped under

8. Add a text type parameter for Station Number in the Common discipline.

9. Repeat for Jack type, Rough In type, and Mounting. Select OK when done.

                                                             Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   10. Switch the parameter group to Telecommunications. In the Shared Parameters
       dialog and pick Jack Type. Pick OK to add the Jack Type parameter to this

   11. Ensure that Instance is selected in the Parameter Properties dialog. This will
       enable each instance of this family to have a different Jack Type.

   12. Repeat for the other newly added shared parameters. Verify all exist in the
       Family Types dialog. Select OK to close the dialog.

Create a Tag

The tag for this telecommunication device needs to display any or all of the 4 parameters
created above. To create this tag, follow the instructions below.

   1. Click New then Family from the application browser and then Annotation
      Symbol. The New dialog opens, select the Data Device Tag.rft template to
      open the Family Editor. You must use this template to associate this tag to data

   2. Select the Label tool on the Create tab of the ribbon, and click in the drawing
      area. The Select Parameter dialog opens.

                                                        Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

3. Click Add to open the Parameter Properties dialog.

4. Click the Select button to open the Shared Parameters dialog.

5. Select Jack Type and hit OK 3 times to exit each dialog.

6. Repeat steps 2- 5 for the other 3 parameters.

7. Arrange the labels as required.

8. Tags can be added to projects by selecting the Tags button on the Options bar
   when the Tag by Category tool is in use.

                                                             Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Plotting Configuration
With weights of lines dealt with already test plots must be made to confirm the output is
acceptable. Every plotter and set of lines weights will react differently to the plotter
configuration, so prepare to send quite a few test plots and compare them to the existing
setup. The Print Setup dialog can be opened from the application browser. In the
example below the setting required for a 30x42 inch plot have been saved to a
configuration using the Save As… button. Do this in the template for easy plot setup.

                                                              Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   Shared Parameters
   A shared parameters file should be located on a network drive. This file is what will
   allow Revit to schedule custom content. A great starting place is current schedules.
   Information in current schedules should be added to the shared parameters file by
   selecting Shared Parameters from the Manage tab of the ribbon. The next step is to
   add required parameters to the families used. Lastly, a schedule can be created that
   will pull those parameters, in effect automatically scheduling components. It is best to
   pick one schedule to practice with like a lighting fixture schedule and apply the
   parameters to a single fixture for testing purposes. Below is a screen shot showing
   Parameter groups created for my office and some of the parameters used in HVAC

Deployment Creation
Once the details have been settled and folders have been created on shared drives,
creating a deployment that reflects those changes really helps keep a consistency
between users, which in turn helps keep company standards in places. The deployment
configuration process is similar to the AutoCAD deployment. Speak with your reseller for
more help on creating deployments.

                                                                  Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

   Establish and Document Procedures
   If a standard or procedure is not written down, it is not a standard. Especially when
   people are first learning a software, having written documentation makes all the
   difference. It is not hard to use Microsoft Word and Paint to create a usable standard
   that means sense. This manual will also force a consensus among users.

   Easing Change for Engineers

   Change can be hard. Switching to Revit MEP from AutoCAD or AutoCAD MEP may be
   even more difficult. There have things that helped people in our firm to get over the initial
   shock of Revit MEP and move forward to reap some of its benefits.

   Back in Black

   Invert Revit‟s background color to black. The more it feels the same, the easier it seems
   to be to accept. To do this, invoke the Options dialog from the bottom of the application
   browser. Select the Graphics tab and check the “Invert background color” check box. A
   word of caution, some architectural walls will incorporate a solid black fill which will not
   invert on the black background giving the user the impression that there are two lines
   representing the wall until the wall is plotted solid black.

   Embrace the Rainbow

   Change the default colors of all Revit components to match your AutoCAD standard.
   Select Object Styles in the standard template. Changes made here will reflect in all your

   Key it in

   Revit supports single letter key-ins when followed by the space bar. Many die-hard
   AutoCAD users use the spacebar as the enter key. Out of the box here is what you get;

   A - Array                        G - Create Group

   C - Copy                         O - Offset                        T - Thick/Thin Lines

   D - Door                         P - Pin                           V - View Properties

   E - Edit Requests                R - Reload Latest                 W - Wall

   F - Flex Duct                    S - Shade                         Z - Zoom Window

These shortcuts are based off C:\Program Files\Autodesk Revit MEP 2010\Program\
KeyboardShortcuts.txt. The first short cut (alpha-numerically) for each letter is the default that
the spacebar will fire. In the example below the KeyboardShortcuts.txt file has been edited to
use the letter E + spacebar for delete.

                                                                      Implementing Revit MEP: A to Z

Check your PGP file and have at it.

Bonus Material

Dealing with visibility graphics in linked Revit files

Revit MEP load calculations

Interference Checking with Revit

Revit Worksets

Revit Shortcut key-ins


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