Faster Revit: Project Creation

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Looking for a faster and more standardized way to start your AE project in Revit? While Revit is a powerful piece of software, Autodesk's development and updates have not been providing the efficiency needs to do more and faster when it comes to getting a project off the ground. Let us look at some tactics to assist in this:

Use a Mind Map

Revit templates suck. They get stale quick, one template cannot be used for all project types, they can contain setup content you may not want or need equaling file bloat and they overall become too rigid. When a new hire starts this is one of the first thing's we give them so they understand how we put our sets together, visual consistencies stay maintained, and the data created follows our formatting.

I like to use a Mind Map as a prescriptive resource on how to develop and guide a project. This type of diagram is used to visually organize information in a quick to digest way. It contains project standards (naming conventions, sheet index list, line types, colors, etc.), case study set links (other Construction Document sets your office has created, industry standard guidelines you have adopted), process of other software used, life-safety code documentation guidelines, city agency contacts and roadmaps for dealing with these AHJs, and more. Relevant links, files, and images are appended to help further convey information. With this type of system in place any team member should be able to work on any project with easy navigation and standards held consistent by anyone modifying it.

'Starting View' a must

The most important view in your project! Your 'Starting View' should be a splash page for your project containing vital information and set to the default page every time you open the project in Revit. It helps you keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on and give other team members a quick overview should they need to work in the model. Key information to display:

  • Project vitals - Team members, custom schedules displaying project SF/unit count/parking count/etc., overall project schedule
  • Project standards - line weights, callouts, legends, hatch patterns, linked model setup, project audit status, custom notes, etc.
  • Linked files - Isolated linked model views with date stamps so you know the last time these models have been updated and a schedule showing the status of all the linked files.

A Container File

Too much time is spent on searching and loading in particular 'families' and 'detail components' into a project when it is being developed. Revit content websites are searched, old projects are opened up, and local file directories are explored trying to find that exact element you need. It's a very repetitive task.

There is a need for a single source Revit file containing all your bits and pieces. Create a container file hosting all these things in an organized fashion. The central location of items also allows for line type, material, and other standards vetting. A co-worker told me he liked browsing the 3D view like an "isle at a big box store".This is a fun one to pull up in VR as well.

Parametric Families

Have your families do more. Parametric families have the power to be modified on the fly while modeling. Your kitchen cabinet family, for example, can have sliders on them that allows for them to grow in the directions as needed to fit the room configuration, appliances can be turned on and off with checkboxes in the properties, LOD levels set for rendering outputs, etc. Smart parametric families turn into Swiss army knives that can adapt to whatever purposes you need inside of your project. Spending a little bit of time developing quality families will pay huge dividends in reuse and consistency in results.

Dynamo Player

One cannot write an article on how to be more efficient with Revit without listing Dynamo. This visual programming hacker tool to access the Revit API can make things fly. Having some key scripts can really speed up your processes and standards. See the associated image for some process script ideas. This is a very powerful way to take control of some automation inside of Revit but also requires a stronger skill set due to the visual programming nature of the built-in program. I like to follow Nathan Millers rule for Dynamo 70:20:10. 70% should be able run a script (ideally through Dynamo player), 20% should know the basics of script to trouble shoot, 10% should be able to write full scripts. Master Dynamo and you can really automate allot of process.

How about you?

Combine these tactics and you will be working faster with consistent standards when kicking off your Revit projects. I would love to hear how you are being more efficient with Revit in the AEC sector.


The original article can be found here.

Myles M Martin AIA LEED AP

Follow me on Twitter @BIM_A_Team
Meetup with me monthly at the 'New Orleans area BIM User Group'

Myles M. Martin


As a LEED-certified Architect, Myles has been a member of the Rozas Ward team for seven years. He attended LSU University for architecture school and worked for several architecture firms after college. He even worked as a contractor to learn the materials and details first-hand. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Myles returned, putting his skills to work to help rebuild the city.

Committed to keeping Rozas Ward at the forefront of technology, Myles launched the local NOLA Revit user group focusing on BIM software used at the firm. He’s a versatile, hands-on professional who enjoys engaging others and applying his skills and technology to any project, of any size, in any industry.

Myles knew he wanted to be an architect from the time he was creating structures out of Legos as a child. He sees every project as a new challenge and doesn’t ever anticipate getting bored.

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Myles M. Martin