Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wall Controls De-mystified

Here is a topic I teach during training, and I still find myself explaining if over and again. This has to do with wall controls and how they related to specific properties of the wall - the location line. Grasping this is an important part of editing wall locations in your model, especially if you have constraints applied to them. Hopefully these tips will help you with modeling walls.

First of all, lets look at the different controls of the wall. In order to best illustrate this I will use a typical exterior wall condition (brick veneer on metal stud) where the core and wall centerlines are not the same.
Depending on your wall type and how you constructed the layers of the walls, this may change for your case, but the general idea is the same.

Walls have 6 different location line possibilities (illustrated with the red dot). You can choose your preferred location line using the options bar before you place the wall or you can change it through the wall properties after placement.

 Why is this important? This is important because if you need to flip  your wall after placement, the wall will flip about the location line. In the event you have dimensional constraints on the wall and the wall needs to flip for any reason, Revit will push the other walls around in the model and can sometimes result in constraint errors. Sometimes these can be ignored; however, to avoid them altogether, I like to change the location line of the wall first then flip it. Usually changing the location line to the wall centerline temporarily will take care of this issue. In the illustrations below you can see how the flipping action with a dimensional constraint can push other walls around.

We've been talking about the wall grips as they relate to the wall location line, but how does one know where the exterior face of a wall is. With walls designed for the building exterior this is usually easy because you can see the different layers of the wall and the exterior finish is a dead giveaway. But what about walls that are symmetrical (i.e. metal stud walls with gwb on both sides). If you look at the controls of a wall when you select it, you will notice the flip arrows. In addition to allowing me to flip the wall, these arrows always exist on the exterior side of the wall. 
 This is a nice graphical reference to help locate the exterior side of walls without having to rely on looking at the actual wall construction, because lets face it, we've all probably encountered modeling where someone did not pay attention to the wall structure and build their wall with the inside out.

I hope this has been helpful.

Remember - Make it, don't fake it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Room Names - How Long is to Long

Here is something that keeps surfacing with Revit users - what do I do when my room name is to large for my room? This is really common when dealing with overall floor plans at small scales. To address this issue, this is the method I currently employ.
  1. Create a shared parameter (I usually use something like "Room Abbreviation".
  2. The shared parameter is then loaded into a Room Tag family and used as the reporting name.
  3. This family is saved as Room Tag-Abbreviated (note: I also do the same for tags that include SF, Name Only, Number Only, and combinations thereof).
  4. I then load the shared parameter into a project (this usually happens a lot so you may want to do this in the template file).
  5. The shared parameter is assigned to the Room category. (I also like to group it under text so it does not get lost in the room identity data. Also be sure to select the Instance radio button.)
  6. Finished. Now you can swap out your standard room tag with the abbreviated room tag.
Now, why go through all this trouble you might ask?  As stated earlier, this can be used to abbreviate your rooms in smaller scale plans or where the name just doesn't fit in the room. In the attached image, I have the start of a reflected ceiling plan and the scale is 1/8"=1'-0". I have a Storage Room, Machine Room, and Elevator. These rooms use the abbreviated room tag.

You also may be asking, why use a separate tag? Why not type in the abbreviation as the room name? The reason is simple. The "Name" parameter in the default Room Tag family is what Revit uses to report the room names in the Room Schedule. If the abbreviated room name were entered, this is what would show in the schedule. Thus the abbreviated room tag is used. This way the proper room name is preserved in the schedule, while the abbreviation is used in plans.

Another reason you may want to create/use the abbreviated room tag is for instances where the room name needs to span multiple lines. I like the abbreviated room tag for this application because it allows me to control where I break the room name.

This is what happens WITHOUT the abbreviated room tag:
The label in the default Room Tag family (this is true with any tag) has an "invisible" boundary around it that only shows up when highlighted in the family. Left untouched, this boundary determines the limits of the text. When the text exceeds the limit, the text wraps.

Usually what happens here is that the user will edit the family, stretch the limits, and reload the family. Well, unless they "save as", this will update the other room tags in the project, thus modifying their limits, which may be undesirable.

This is what happens WITH the abbreviated room tag:
Because this is a custom room parameter, and probably not scheduled (except for coordination), you can force multiple lines without having to edit the family. This gives the user control over where the room name is split, in addition it will not affect your proper room name. To do this, select the room object you want to edit. Under the room properties, locate the custom parameter. Place your cursor in the editable field where you want to split the text and use the keystroke combination Ctrl+Enter. This will force a second line, or third, or fourth... Note that this method can ONLY be used through the properties of the room. This does not work at the tag level.

The other reason I like to use this method with abbreviated room tags is that if you were to preform the same operation (Ctrl+Enter) with the actual room name, this will force a second line in the Room Schedule as well.

I hope this gives you some idea as how you can manipulate room tags to work for you.

Remember - Make it, don't fake it.