Wall Based Families-Controlling their Height and Project Placement

March 19, 2011

Things to know in order to control the height of wall based families such as light fixtures are as follows:

  1. The family should have a defined origin.
  2. The family should have an elevation parameter to control post placement height.
  3. Revit 2011 likes to use the last value used for “Elevation” and subsequently overrides the default elevation for the particular family. (an annoying idiosyncrasy).

Item #1  Typically you want to define a critical reference plane in your family as the origin, this may be the light source as in the image example below or the top or bottom limit of the family.  Select the preferred reference plane and in the properties dialog to the left check the “Defines Origin” box.

Item #2   To add a height control parameter place a dimension between your floor reference to your critical reference plane.  With the dimension selected click the drop down “Label” in the Options Bar, select <Add Parameter>, Give it a name and set it to “Instance”.

Item #3  Occurs in the project during the placement of the family.  Select the wall based family and drag it over to the wall you want to place it on. Click it down and immediately go to the “Elevation” parameter of the “Properties” dialog and set the elevation you want subsequent wall based objects to set themselves to.  You can change this during the placement of any wall based family using this same process.  Just be aware that it will become the default elevation for all subsequent wall based families.  An annoying little quirk I hope they resolve in the 2012 release.

I found the Origin control and Project Elevation issue while trouble-shooting my wall based families which were not placing properly inside my rooms and subsequently were not scheduling in the luminaire schedule based on room location.

Unraveling the Revit Mystery

Follow up March 26, 2011:
For families that have a preset height that you want to conform to like an ADA setting, in your project set the “Elevation” parameter to 0′-0″ and your family should set itself at the preset elevation from it’s referencing level.

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