Archive for the ‘Revit MEP’ Category


SARUG March 2012 – Meeting Follow Up

March 30, 2012

I just wanted to follow up on last night’s meeting which had a great turnout and the presentation and discussion topic were excellent and engaging.

Mehrad with P.E.T. gave an in depth and informative presentation on his use of Revit M.E.P. which you can view at the Livestream channel.  The segment is entitled “Revit MEP A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective” and is 44 minutes in length.  I missed the first introductory minutes but we did capture the heart of the presentation.

We also had a discussion on the evolving A/E business model.  This discussion was also captured on Livestream and is entitled “Conversations on the evolving A/E business model”  Again an audio technical glitch distorts the first 20 minutes of the discussion so if you advance to the 22:40 time index I did manage to clear up the audio from that point on.  This segment is 55 minutes in length and has some interesting insights and observations on this topic.

There are also a number of Revit 2013 short clips up on Livestream that discuss some of the various upgrades to Revit 2013 that cover Revit Structure, MEP and Architecture.  The upgrade can now be downloaded from Autodesk.

I’ve added a brief tutorial on constructing roof crickets in Revit Architecture to the Livestream channel that gets into how the roof slope arrow functions, the angle of the roof cricket in order to achieve a code compliant valley slope and the directional control of the roof slope arrow to properly interface the cricket with the sloping roof.

Also the Livestream Autopilot has been updated so you can view some of the 2011 renderings produced by the SARUGroup.

Thanks to everyone that attended last night.  Your presence and involvement made for a lively and interesting meeting and discussion.



July 14, 2011

I’ve been playing with a small side project this year and have yet to formally introduce it until now. It’s a website I set up to offer Revit families, schedules, and methodology for boosting productivity while designing and documenting our built environment.

In striving for quality over quantity BIM Productivity has a small offering of families and schedules that provide near instant and accurate results for doing the necessary yet mundane tasks of code analysis or engineering directly within Revit.

One such family helps calculate the required plumbing fixtures per the 2006 version of the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Plumbing Code (IPC) (read a full description here).   It is super quick and easy to use for demonstration of building code compliance and studies but I don’t want you to take my word for it. I would like you to try a free sample.  The sample family will calculate required fixtures for Business, Mercantile, and Storage occupancies and may be used on your commercial projects free of charge.  If you like what you see, or need additional occupancies, or other production enhancing families please visit

– Jake




Schedules: Tricks with text.

July 12, 2011

A question on the AUGI forums came up about the ability to add or combine strings of text together in a schedule.

While that function would be great you can not directly combine strings of text in a schedule.

You can however do some mathematical formulas and “toggle” on or off preset strings of text. Take a look and try for yourself. If nothing else it could make for a nifty party trick.

For the trick you will need:

An integer parameter.
A calculated value – that is set to: Text, and a formula.

Set your formula to something like:
if(integer = 1, “Show text string 1”, if(integer = 2, “Show text string 2”, “ERROR”))

Tip: you can keep nesting IF statements if you need more than two strings of text.

Refer to the attached image for how this works.



Leading from the Model

May 9, 2011

If you read about IPD, BIM, and Revit on-line then you have surely heard of Randy Deutsch.  If not you should look him and his webpages up.  He has recently a soon to be published book titled BIM and Integrated Design: Strategies for Architectural Practice.

That said, I have not read the book but I do strongly recommend that you read his essay titled BIM Beyond Boundaries which was recently published in Design Intelligence.  Near the end of this essay Randy touches on a subject he calls “Leading from the Model”. The three paragraphs under this heading are short and sweet but the resonance behind what he wrote should be closely examined, studied and reflected upon. These two specifically struck a chord with me and my experiences:

Working in BIM provides a completely different work flow — one we have yet to leverage fully. Because those on the front lines are not only the first to discover clashes and inconsistencies but also to visualize what something looks like and how it might function, BIM allows our emerging talent to lead the process — to learn on the job while recognizing their power from their privileged position of the first look in the model.

The new leadership mandate in this process is for architects to lead from their involvement in the BIM environment. Leading from the model can be likened to leading from the middle in that BIM requires and even enables followership, and servant- and situational-leadership, as opposed to top-down or command-and-control. While leadership historically has been top-down, working in BIM and on integrated teams changes that. Leading in BIM and integrated design is more similar to followership, in which middle managers lead from within the organization. Thus with BIM, the top-down and bottom-up approaches converge, where leading from the middle becomes leading from the model.

Without getting too far towards opinion, theory and personal experiences I will leave you with two words: Paradigm shift.

Read the article in its entirety here:



Yes / No graphic presentations in Schedules

May 5, 2011

Working with yes no parameters in schedules make sense. We set them up, check the little boxes, slap the schedule on the sheet and all of a sudden we are shocked because the little radio boxes change from a checked box or unchecked box to text stating “Yes”, “No”, or a blank box.

To architects and engineers this may seem weird because historically we made matrix schedules and would identify a option with a filled circle, dot, “X” or other graphic. A “Yes” doesn’t work for us.

One method to resolve this problem is as follows:

Create your yes no parameters as normal.

Create a Calculated parameter called something like “Graphic”. Make it a Text parameter and set the formula to:


* Insert your graphic symbol between the quote marks. One way to do this is to copy and paste a symbol from the Windows Character Map.

Create new Calculated parameters for each of your Yes/No parameters. Set the formulas as:

if((nameofYESNOparam), Graphic, ” “)

Duplicate the schedule so you have a working schedule and a schedule to be placed on your sheet.

For the schedule you will place on the sheet make sure to hide the Yes/No parameters (under the formatting tab) and rename the headers as you would like them to be displayed on the sheet. Work from the working schedule and let the other schedule display the same information but in a more desirable format.

Your finished result should look something like this:




Revit MEP Temporary Dimensions

May 4, 2011

Temporary Dimensions play an important role in Revit Architecture, Structure and MEP. In Revit MEP the term “temporary dimension” is a little misleading.  MEP’s temporary dimensions are less about length and more about displaying key design information. I have found on a number of machines that the out of the box Revit MEP temporary dimensions are much too small to be legible. Users try to zoom in on them to read the information but they are still illegible because they stay the same size no matter how far one zooms in on them.

To fix this click on the Revit “R” in the upper left of the screen and go to Options. Then click on the Graphics tab.  There you will find the dialog box to increase the “temporary dimensions text appearance” size.  Adjust this value to a usable size and you will be much more able to get your design information on the fly.

Of course this is also the same place to set Revit Architecture and Structure.



Revit MEP electrical parameter output

April 25, 2011

If you’ve worked in Revit MEP and are learning the electrical side of things you will find that there are settings and parameters galore. You will want to review the settings prior to starting your project and you may even want to create an office template so you know certain things are pre-set for your project.

As a word of warning – If you want “analysis” parameters to display the live results of what you model you will want to make sure and check the “Run calculations for loads in spaces” box under the electrical settings on the Manage tab, MEP settings.  By default the electrical template has this un-checked.  If left un-checked all “analysis” parameters for the electrical side of Revit MEP will be frozen. In my case the parameter: Actual Lighting Load was not reporting the modeled design in a schedule.

Other items to lookout for will be misplaced families.  If the lights are placed on the top surface of a room bounding ceiling then their values will not be reported as it is technically out of the Space.    In a similar situation reference planes drawn incorrectly (Left to Right) will result in hosting the fixture upside down, and depending on the geometry in relation to a Space could cause a reporting error.

Good luck and make sure to double check all of your work until you are comfortable with how Revit MEP handles different aspects of your electrical designs.