Tag Archives: BIM Standards

Managing View Templates with Revit links that are set to “By Linked View” per level

One of the biggest challenges of dealing with large Revit models is working with outside consultants’ linked Revit models. You may need to use a linked view to easily match said consultant’s floor plan views. In that case, you should use the By Linked View V/G setting of your RVT Link. The problem you will face is that you cannot control the linked view with a View Template unless you have a View Template for each level.

I’ve seen a number of projects that actually had a view template per level. Don’t do this! In my opinion, this is improper usage of templates because if you have to make a change to a template, you would actually have to do it several times (once per floor). Keep in mind that for large Revit projects, the less templates you have, the better.

So, how would you solve the issue of having linked models with their Visibility/Graphics set to “By Linked View” on multiple levels without managing a template per floor?

First of all, in your View Template settings, uncheck the V/G Overrides RVT Links.

You cannot use this setting if you have linked views that point to specific levels unless you have a view template for each linked level.

View template settings for levels that use By Linked View in Revit.

Second, create a view template that ONLY controls the V/G Overrides RVT Links.

Think about how you would like to apply the linked views in batch and set your linked view in that template. For this example, I needed to create a template per level.

I realize I seemingly contradicted myself by having a template per level, but keep in mind that these templates are never assigned to views themselves – we will use them to apply the RVT Links settings only. So in the rare event that you need to changed your By Linked View settings, you are still saving an enormous amount of time by using these templates to manage your “backgrounds”.

Using Revit View Templates to manage linked models with V/G set to By Linked View.

Managing view templates when you need to use a linked view from a linked Revit model


Lastly, apply the template properties to all views that need to display the linked view in your template.

Select the multiple views that you need to have the same linked background (most likely every view per level) and right click and select Apply Template Properties from the menu. Note that applying a template’s properties to a view does not assign the template to that view. It will only apply the properties that aren’t controlled by the assigned template.

Apply view template properties to all views in Revit.

Power-user tip: Change your Project Browser organization to group the views by Associate Level so that you can easily select all views for each level easily.

Revit tip to group all views by level to easily apply view template per view for linked views.

Best Practices: Managing Sheet Lists in Revit

The task of managing drawing lists has typically been a daunting one; Particularly on large projects. With the dawn of Revit adoption, we now have some options to make document control a little easier.

Avoid Two Sets of Data When Possible

You’ve heard this one a hundred times when using schedules on your drawings. If you have an itemized VAV schedule on your drawings, would you rather manually input that data into Excel or let Revit create a schedule for your automatically?

The same school of thought should be applied to drawing lists. The sheets exist in Revit, why not let Revit automatically create a sheet list for you? This will save you the step of comparing your sheets in Revit with  an Excel spreadsheet that is manually maintained.

Use Project Parameters to Create a Matrix of Sheets for Multiple Drawing Packages

There are several uses for Project Parameters in Revit. In this case, we find that a Project Parameter assigned to the Sheet category works great for this task.

Using project parameters to manage drawing lists in Revit.
Use Project Parameters assigned to the Sheets category to manage drawing sets.

We use a Text type of parameter, so that you can decide if you want to use an “x” or even a “•”. I’ve seen some cases where a yes/no parameter had been used. I do not personally like this method because by default the parameter is neither a yes nor a no, it is displayed as a grey checkbox on the schedule which can be confusing.

Assign an x for sheets being submitted per drawing set.
An example of what the sheet parameters look like in the Revit Properties window.

Once you have your Sheet project parameter(s) created, you can generate a sheet list by going to your ribbon under View > Schedules > Sheet List.

For a simple sheet list, you can simply add fields for the Sheet Number, Sheet Name, and any parameters you created to document which sheets are going into which package.

Add fields to your sheet list schedule in Revit for a matrix type of sheet list.

Revit sheet list in schedule view.
A Revit sheet list as a schedule.

Once you have the sheet list schedule created, you can then export to Excel (via a CSV file) or drag the schedule onto a sheet.

Use Dynamo to Create a Sheet Set for Printing Directly from a Sheet List

Dynamo is a visual scripting software which taps into the Revit API. If you don't know about Dynamo yet, check it out: http://dynamobim.com/

Creating Sheet Sets (for printing) in Revit has always been a manual and tedious process, forcing you to scroll through dozens, if not hundreds, of sheets. Ticking the boxes of each sheet you want to print can lead to errors.

With Dynamo, we were able to create a workflow that creates a sheet set in Revit for printing. The workflow is somewhat simple to understand, but I will go into detail on a separate post. In a nutshell, the workflow looks for any sheets that have an “x” in the relative drawing set package parameter. If the sheet is marked with an “x”, it is added to the sheet set.

Using Dynamo, you can then print directly from a sheet list in Revit.

Dynamo workflow to print a sheet set based on a sheet list in Revit.
Dynamo workflow to print a sheet set based on a sheet list in Revit.

Download the Dynamo Workflow:
Dynamo - Create Sheet Set Based on a Parameter Value (470 downloads)

Managing Multiple Models in a Single Drawing List

With multi-trade offices (like an MEP firm), it is common to maintain a single drawing list. On large projects, you are most likely to have multiple models, typically one model per trade.

I created a method to create a single drawing list of all trades from multiple models simply by creating an empty project and linking all models into it. After that, it was a breeze to create a sheet list of all disciplines by adding the appropriate field. The key is to make sure you check the box that says “include elements in links”.

Use an empty model to link in all disciplines and then generate a sheet list.
Use an empty model to link in all discipline models and generate a master sheet list within Revit.

Using a filter to show a future phase in Revit

If you are at all familiar with Revit’s phasing capabilities, you have undoubtedly run into an issue with showing future phasing. Revit currently does not allow you to do so. As of Revit 2016, future phases simply do not appear in your views and there is no way to show a future phase.

Fortunately, we have a work around and it does not involve using worksets to control visibility. It does still require some manual parametric input, however it is still a better use of visibility/graphic overrides than creating a workset.

Create a Yes/No Parameter

Revit shared parameter

The first step is to create a Project Parameter with the following settings:

  • Name: Future
  • Type/Instance: Instance
  • Discipline: Common
  • Type of Parameter: Yes/No
  • Group parameter under: Graphics

Be conscious of where you group the parameter so that it is easy to find in the Project Browser.

Personally, I would select only the categories that you need the parameter to apply to. For example, if you're in a mechanical model, you should only select Ducts, Duct Fittings, Duct Accessories, Duct Placeholders, and Flex Duct. You wouldn't want this parameter showing up on your Sheets and Views.

Check Yes for Elements That Should be Considered in The “Future Phase”

Revit parameter showing future phase

In the above example, we select the duct (highlighted in cyan) and check the box next to the “Future” parameter that we created.

Note: the checkbox will appear grey making it look disabled, however you can still tick the box.

Create a filter.

Defining rule for Revit future filter phase

In this case we will call our new filter “Future as Dashed”. In the Categories column, check the boxes of the categories in which you want this filter to apply to.

Note: If you select categories that do not have the project parameter assigned to, you will not be able to use the "Future" parameter under Filter Rules in the next step.

Modifying Revit Filters

Revit Filter - Future equals Yes

The Filter Rules should should Filter by: Future equals Yes

This tells Revit that any element that has the “Future” parameter ticked will be effected by the filter.

Add the new filter to your View or View Template.

Add a filter in Revit

Even though you’ve created the filter, you still need to add it to your View or View Template. Go to Visibility/Graphic Overrides and click Add.

Revit Visibility/Graphic Overrides Filter Future Phase as Dashed

Visibility graphic overrides with filters

Once the filter is added to your view, click on the Override button under Lines and  change the pattern to your desired linetype. In this case we will use Dash 1/8″.


Your view now successfully shows a dashed linetype for the duct we ticked as future.

Revit Ductwork dashed as Future Phase


While this is not the most ideal way to show future linetypes, it is a workaround. Until Revit offers a future setting in their Phase Filters, this is the best solution I have come up with.

I am open to discussions of why this works or doesn’t work for you. If you have a better suggestion, please don’t hesitate to comment so that we can discuss.

We should all be using Revit’s worksets for efficient worksharing, not visibility / graphic overrides.

More and more I’ve had debates regarding worksets being used for visibility. My stance is to avoid using worksets to control visibility and graphic overrides – save this task for filters. Using worksets for visibility graphic overrides will completely strip your ability to use works sets the Revit way, which is to efficiently share work.

This post isn’t about why you shouldn’t use worksets for visibility and graphic overrides in Revit, this post will be focused on how to increase Revit’s performance when using worksets in a large central model.

The Problem and Solution

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to test some techniques on a large 500,000 square foot healthcare project in which we had multiple engineers in the model and in multiple offices. You can imagine the slow performance of Revit in this type situation. Connecting a pipe to a system would take 20 seconds or more. Does this sound familiar?

When I had set up this project I never relied on using worksets to control visibility of elements and everything was modeled on Workset1. This may seem odd to most of you, especially the AutoCAD users, but you must remember that Revit worksets are not the same thing as AutoCAD layers and should never be treated as such.

So, I sat down with the engineers and asked how they were sharing the workload load. They were splitting the workload by working on a single floor each. Too easy.

The first step is to create a workset per level. That was the easy part.

Reduce your workset usage in Revit.

I then drew a 3D section box using Rushforth‘s 3D section tool. This allowed me to create a 3D view of each floor individually. I then selected all of the elements on each level. I was careful not to select pipe risers in shafts because I wanted to leave them on Workset1 so that others will still be able to connect into them.

All pipes, pipe fittings, and pipe accessories were then moved to their respective level’s workset.

The next step was to check out the workset to the engineer who was working on that level. Now that he had ownership of the entire workset, connecting a pipe to a system was back to normal which was about two seconds to connect a pipe!

The beauty of this method is that once you split your model using worksets, it is extremely easy to merge the elements back with Workset1. Simply delete the workset and Revit will prompt you to choose a workset to move the elements to. No elements will be deleted in this process.

Deleting a workset in Revit and moving elements to Workset1

Why does checking out worksets help with efficiency of the central model?

Let’s get into some technical details about how this works.

When you are working in a local model and using the Borrow Elements method, every single time you modify an element, Revit has to communicate with the central model and check if someone else is borrowing that element. Furthermore, communication to the central model is needed when you claim ownership of an element.

The other method of worksharing in Revit is to Make Worksets Editable (or “checking out worksets”). This means you claim ownership of every element that is assigned to that workset. That means your local does not communicate with the central model until you synchronize with the central model. You are truly working locally.

Use worksets for worksharing purposes only.

Again, if you use worksets for V/G overrides, you will not have the ability to bifurcate your model because you don’t have the freedom to move elements between worksets on the fly.

Questions or comments? Drop us a line in the comment box below.

Overlapping Grid Bubbles in Revit and How to Fix Them Globally Across Multiple Views

Revit grid bubbles overlap when gridlines are too close.

How do you deal with overlapping grid bubbles? Whether you use “elbows” on your gridlines or offset your bubbles, you should never have to go to each view individually and manually change them.

Revit has the ability to apply the visual adjustments to your gridlines across multiple views using “Propagate Extents”. It seems as though this should be a relatively easy task, however there are a few tricks to getting this to work for your project.

1) Turn off the Crop View property of your view.

First of all, your “Propagate Extents” button will do absolutely nothing if your crop regions are ticked in your view. Ensure that this is not checked on the view your are adjusting your gridlines in.

Remove crop regions in your Revit views first

2) Adjust your Gridlines.

Once you’ve turned off the property which crops your view, you may adjust your gridlines to include elbows by clicking on the tiny break symbol near the bubble. This gives you a grip to freely move the grid bubble. Note that by default, Revit has grid overrides set to 3D, but it is worth looking for the small “3D” text next to your gridlines when you select them.

Add grid elbow for overlapping grid bubbles.

3) Turn off the Crop View property for all views you need to apply the grid override to.

Another key step in getting Propagate Extents to work for you is ensuring that the crop region is off for all views that you would like to apply these grid overrides to. Otherwise, they will not show up as an option to apply them to in your “propagate extents” dialogue box. You can select multiple views in the Project Browser by holding shift or control on your keyboard as you select views.

Revit - Select multiple views and adjust properties to crop.

4) Select all grids.

Once all of your grids are adjusted and all of your views have their crop regions turned off, you need to select all grids. An easy way to do so is to right click on a gridline and choose “Select All Instances” > “Visible in View”.

Select all grids in view in Revit

5) Apply Propagate Extents

With all grids still selected, click the Propagate Extents button on your ribbon under Modify | Grids (it will be a contextual tab on the far right when you have grids selected).

Use Revit to Propagate Extents across multiple views

A window will pop up showing all of your views. Remember, only views with the crop regions OFF will appear in this dialogue box.

Select views you would like to apply grid visibility to.

6) Don’t forget to turn your crop regions and/or scope boxes back on!

Revit - Select multiple views and adjust properties to crop.

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) Defined

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file format was developed by buildingSMART®. The format maintains standards to import and export BIM elements and their parameters between software platforms. In many ways, an IFC is like an intelligent version of a DXF.

The IFC Wiki defines IFC as:

The Industry Foundation Classes IFC specification is a neutral data format to describe, exchange and share information typically used within the building and facility management industry sector. IFC is the international standard for openBIM and registered with the International Standardization Organization ISO as ISO16739.

The NBS defines IFC as:

IFC is an industry-wide open and neutral data format that is fast becoming the de-facto standard for rich data exchange.

IFC is clearly defined on Wikipedia as well:

It is a platform neutral, open file format specification that is not controlled by a single vendor or group of vendors. It is an object-based file format with a data model developed by buildingSMART (formerly the International Alliance for Interoperability, IAI) to facilitate interoperability in the architecture, engineering and construction(AEC) industry, and is a commonly used collaboration format in Building information modeling (BIM) based projects.

Professor Arto Kiviniemi (University of Liverpool) and Barie Hasib (BIM REC) Present The True Meaning of Open BIM

An excellent webinar by Professor Arto Kiviniemi from the University of Liverpool. In this session, Professor Kiviniemi discusses the concepts of data sharing with BIM. He covers how building designs are currently exchanged, how the industry theorizes it will be exchanged, and his views on the reality of how building information model data will be exchanged in the future.

How to show a custom scale as “None” or “N.T.S.” in Revit

Revit - Plot Scale on View Title

For those of you who are new to Revit, there are many hurdles to overcome when working with documentation. We’ve all run into the issue where we want a drafting view title or titleblock to say “SCALE: NONE” or “SCALE: N.T.S”. This is a simple task, however not very obvious in Revit.

Click the scale menu (it most likely currently says 12″ = 1′-0″). It is the small button on the bottom left corner of your view window. Select Custom… at the top of that menu.
Revit - Change Custom Plot Scale to None or NTS


In the Custom Scale dialogue box, you will see the ratio field, typically set to 1:1 for diagrams and details. Check the field below to enter a custom display name.

Revit - Change Plot Scale to None or NTS


Now your titleblock and view titles will show the custom display name that you set.

Revit - Plot Scale on View Title as None or NTS

BIM Levels: As explained by The NBS

BIM Levels is a new concept to most of the building industry. Not to be confused with Level of Design (LOD), BIM levels are compliance standards in which projects may (or may not) adhere to. Below is an excellent write-up by The NBS of The UK describing what to expect from each BIM Level.

The NBS considers Level 3 BIM as “the holy grail” of building information modeling, however I believe there will be conflicts between disciplines if all trades have direct access to a single model. In a perfect world it would be amazing to have the ability to collaborate in real-time on a single model, but I believe there needs to be some sort of approval process of proposed changes between trades. I don’t see this being possible on the Revit platform in its current state, so let’s just hope that AutoDesk develops a solution for this BIM Level. I believe that Autodesk’s BIM 360 Glue is an attempt at this level of collaboration, although it is in its infancy stages.

BIM Levels Explained
The concept of ‘BIM levels’ (and ‘BIM level 2 compliance’) has become the ‘accepted’ definition of what criteria are required to be deemed BIM-compliant, by seeing the adoption process as the next steps in a journey that has taken the industry from the drawing board to the computer and, ultimately, into the digital age.

The government has recognised that the process of moving the construction industry to ‘full’ collaborative working will be progressive, with distinct and recognisable milestones being defined within that process, in the form of ‘levels’. These have been defined within a range from 0 to 3, and, whilst there is some debate about the exact meaning of each level, the broad concept is as follows:

Level 0 BIM

In its simplest form, level 0 effectively means no collaboration. 2D CAD drafting only is utilised, mainly for Production Information (RIBA Plan of Work 2013 stage 4). Output and distribution is via paper or electronic prints, or a mixture of both. The majority of the industry is already well ahead of this now (source: NBS National BIM Report 2014).

Level 1 BIM

This typically comprises a mixture of 3D CAD for concept work, and 2D for drafting of statutory approval documentation and Production Information. CAD standards are managed to BS 1192:2007, and electronic sharing of data is carried out from a common data environment (CDE), often managed by the contractor. This is the level at which many organisations are currently operating, although there is no collaboration between different disciplines – each publishes and maintains its own data.

Level 2 BIM

This is distinguished by collaborative working – all parties use their own 3D CAD models, but not necessarily working on a single, shared model. The collaboration comes in the form of how the information is exchanged between different parties – and is the crucial aspect of this level. Design information is shared through a common file format, which enables any organisation to be able to combine that data with their own in order to make a federated BIM model, and to carry out interrogative checks on it. Hence any CAD software that each party used must be capable of exporting to one of the common file formats such as IFC (Industry Foundation Class) or COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange). This is the method of working that has been set as a minimum target by the UK government for all work on public-sector work, by 2016.

Level 3 BIM

Currently seen as the holy grail, this represents full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model which is held in a centralized repository. All parties can access and modify that same model, and the benefit is that it removes the final layer of risk for conflicting information. This is known as ‘Open BIM’, and the UK government’s target date for public-sector working is 2019? Current nervousness in the industry around issues such as copyright and liability are intended to be resolved – the former by means of robust appointment documents and software originator/read/write permissions, and the latter by shared-risk procurement routes such as partnering. The CIC BIM Protocol makes provision for these.

Source: http://www.thenbs.com/topics/bim/articles/bim-levels-explained.asp