Worksets used to control visiblity and graphics are a big no-no.

Can we, as a community, agree that using worksets to control visibility of elements is a horrible idea? There have been a number of models in my recent years where elements’ visibility are controlled based on the workset they are modeled on.

Yes, it is easier to turn off multiple worksets based on your personal preference, but on a 500,000 square foot project with over 30 MEP engineers, designers, and BIM Specialists working simultaneously on it, you are asking for trouble.

Unfortunately, there have been more than a few models that I’ve seen set up this way and I will chalk it up to lack of experience. Below are a few reasons you should not use worksets to control visibility. Please take this advice into consideration before you set up your first Revit MEP model.

  • HUMAN ERROR: You are risking someone putting something on the wrong workset and it showing up on a view that you did not intend it to.
  • INABILITY TO USE WORKSHARING PROPERLY: Worksets were designed to help users share a model by checking entire worksets out. If elements’ V/G settings are controlled with worksets, you lose the ability to check worksets in and out using a workflow that makes sense.
  • THERE ARE NO LAYERS IN REVIT: If your views’ V/G settings are reliant on worksets, then it appears that you have successfully created AutoCAD-style layers in Revit. This is not a good thing! Layers have always been a struggle and do not contain intelligence in the true BIM fashion.
  • YOU ARE USING A SINGLE PARAMETER: Visibility and Graphics should be controlled using filters so that you will have the ability to utilize the infinite number of parameters to turn things on or off, change colors, customize line weights, and more.

Revit has extremely powerful visibility and graphics control right out of the box, without having to create any extra steps other than the initial setup of your templates. Revit was designed to control elements by categories, filters, and phases (more on each of these topics later).

While it is somewhat easy to assign a workset with each element in your model you are trusting that all of your users will put elements on the proper workset. Think about it this way, how often have you seen AutoCAD objects drawn on the wrong layer?