Monday, 28 January 2008

Revit Libraries Reference Guides

Earlier this month I posted information about Revit Libraries available from Autodesk on my Blog.

Well I’ve been downloading, unzipping and comparing these files with what gets installed of the DVD in the box when you buy or get the 30 day trial disk and guess what?

The information available on the web site at is 12 days older that that on the DVD and there a handful or extra folders and families available from the dvd!

I’ve gone to the trouble or recreating the files structures and in some cases listing the families (errors in spelling and all) and I’ve sent them onto Autodesk so they can correct them for Revit 2009

I’ve turned these documents into Adobe Reference guide which I’m posting on my web site download page and the AUGI forum at

Friday, 25 January 2008

New Revit Tools on Subscription Site (Finally!)

Earlier this week a number of Blogs reported two new tools for Revit 2008 having appeared on the Revit subscription web site; these are the Work Sharing Monitor and Batch Print for Revit.

For some reason not everyone got to see the links on their subscription page – Guys in the United States were reporting seeing a “globe tool” – I only got to see the TrussWizard and Subscription Structural Library until today - four days after notice was given that these tools were available?

So what (if anything) am I or you come to that, missing?

Answers please on a postcard - Scratch that, just post a reply here if you have any info on the Globe Tool and anything else I should be able to see but can't! or please email me

Sunday, 20 January 2008

More families at AUGI forums

The AUGU discussion Forums are another source of Families This week on the Revit Structure - Families

Topics about creating families specifically for Revit Structure.

A Revit Structure user called djn (not a lot of other information about him or her other than that) posted their first attempt at created a type catalog for concrete beams and columns. See thread

The types start with 12 x 12 and worked up to 48 x 48 by 2s, although this doesn't account for all beams or columns used, djn thinks it will account for most of them.

The rfa, txt and the Excel source files are included for


I’ve download the files and had a play. I've created a metric version of the Excel spreadsheets and then the txt file (saving as csv then re-naming as djn suggested). As the originals I've starting at 300 going up to 1200

The metric Excel source files and and txt files have been posted back to the thread.

It's worth keeping an eye on the AUGI forums

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

UK Revit System Family Files - Wall Libraries

The reason I’m telling you UK Revit newbies about UK Wall families is that if you don’t have a Dan type person handy, you will be stuck with the Basic Wall types that get provided in the templates and not know about the UK walls available for download and will have to create your own.

What is a Dan type person? Dan is a fellow Revithead and friend who is a Building Surveyor that has been using Revit Architecture for a couple of years. “ since when it was called Revit Building 3” so he tells me.

I see Dan once in a blue moon, and he has just found out that I have bought and I’m learning to fly Revit Structure. So recently when he was down from Birmingham doing a job in London and staying over, he came over in the evening for a meal, but also came with his laptop with Revit Architecture so we could play with Revit after.

The good lady wife didn’t mind as she had her Emmerdale, EastEnders, back for Coronation Street etc.etc. then finally she went to bed on her own, whilst Dan and I were still Reviting the night away…… (sad isn’t it)

We got around to discussing making UK specific families and me wanting to create my template with useful stuff already loaded in like UK walls etc. and Dan (bless his cotton socks), produced a family file called GRBENU_Walls.rvt that he had downloaded from

When you get to the web page select

Revit Architecture 2008 Library \ UK Library \ System Family files

And you should see

Lot’s of lovely stuff to harvest and get lost in…..

I assume that the name GBR is Great Britain but I’m not quite sure what the ENU means possible something to do with EuropeaN Union.

Now it has to be said, when it comes to Revit Family files there are so many available from so many different locations on the Autodesk web site and it is quite confusing just what is in what file.

There are many Templates and Libraries available for download at

The ones in Metric and for the UK appear to be under Core-Structural Content (Non-Translated, English Only) (cab - 135 Mb) (cab – 8.65 Mb) (cab - 127 Mb) (cab – 9.94 Mb) (cab – 6.91 Mb)

But what’s in them? And what are the file names trying to tell us? Reasonable guess that Lib is a Library and Templ is a Template but what’s the difference between (cab – 9.94 Mb) (cab – 6.91 Mb)

Apart from the title and size?

And how do these differ from what comes with Revit when you install it from the DVD?

Looking down the page at Locale/Region Specific Structural Content (UK Only listed below) we find (cab – 309 Mb) (cab – 16.2 Mb) (cab – 6.99 Mb)

Again UK is United Kingdom RST got to be Revit STructure, this time Library is in full and Templ is obviously Templ-ates, but as before the question is how do these differ from what comes with Revit when you install it from the DVD? And what about the content from the page where we found the UK Walls – are these duplicated in

There are no version numbers, text readme files or anything else with these Libraries and templates that will enable you to keep track on what you are downloading what the latest version is etc.

As I bought Subscription I recently downloaded the Metric Subscription Structural Library which appears to be called no matter which version it is. So when I downloaded it and unzipped it went into a folder called 200801090. Now that raises the question “so what happened to the last one I downloaded which was also called but unzipped into a folder called 220070608?”

Autodesk don’t seem to keep archive material in the Subscription download area?

Again there is no readme file to tell you anything about the content of each version.

Do the subscription libraries ultimately make it to the next version? or some other file somewhere? Who knows? How as an end user, do I manage this?

Getting back to the GRBENU_ Walls.rvt file. Thank to the Autodesk for producing these and saving me and many other Revit UK user heaps of time creating them, here is some constructive feedback for improvements to the GRBENU_ Walls.rvt file for the future.

The image in the left is a screen dump of the Basic Walls Types provided in the GRBENU_ Walls.rvt file.

OK looking just at the names we should be able to work out the makeup and purpose of each file. BUT if a text file were provided with that information already

First thing that jumps out is we have dense and Dence < is this a typo or an American way of using English?

OK looking down the list

Cav obviously means Cav-ity
45i means 45mm
P means P-laster

Not sure about what dense does in revit and I’m assuming the Lwt means Light WeighT

22r means 22 r-ender

Third one down Cav 22r 100 50a 30i 100 P – Lwt I have no idea what the `a’ after the 50 could mean – possibly a-ir gap But if it is a for a-ir gap then then Cav 102 50 30i 100 P Lwt should have an `a` after the 50 Also we have dash – Lwt and just Lwt without the dash being used.

Picky I know but If it’s a naming system then it’s got to be consistent (it’s the Structural Engineer in me coming out to play)

Now having come up with a naming convention we get Cav R102 75i 100 P – Band + Render, So what happed to specifying the thickness and render as in Cav 22r 100 75i 100 P –Lwt and why use a capital `R` and not the lower case `r`, there is also nothing to say if it’s dense or Light Weight in the name?

Ext – Ext-ernal
Int- Int-ernal

Then there is the Basic Wall: Int Pa 100 75 100 aP PartyWall What’s the `a` between the Plaster and the Blockwork? Could be `a` for air gap perhaps plasterboard on dabs?

Partn – Part –itio- n

Partn 95mm 1/2 Hr
Partn 120mm 1 Hr Partn 130mm 2 Hr

OK give up? What are these? We have Blockwork and Studwork listed, but all we know about these are their fire rating.

We then get 100, 140, 190 and 215 partition walls with Plaster either one side or both sides but not without plaster on both. I’ve done a lot of school new builds and extensions where the keep the cost down facing blocks have been used so there is no need to plaster saving time and money on the scheme. So what about adding them to this Library?

Site 215 Brick w Footing `w` means w-ith

Then we get concrete walls with plaster on one side, so where are the plastered both and without?

My observations and assumptions listed above have been made before I’ve interrogated the properties of the walls in question, so it’s off I now go to find out the answers to the questions and verify the assumptions I have made above.

Again I stress that a simple readme.txt file providing basic information would save me and many others having to investigate our assumptions. I was told never to assume as it makes an ASS out of U and ME.

I will return at with the results of my investigations in a later posting.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Revit Updates

Autodesk have posted a new build (20080101_2345) of Revit Architecture 2008, Revit Structure 2008, and Revit MEP 2008. It is still considered Web Update #3 because replacing the existing file was the fastest method of delivering it to the public.

Therefore, the executable file names are the same as the previous build (20071102_2345).
Here are the links to the updated downloads...


Friday, 11 January 2008

Subscription Structural Library - 09-01-2008

Subscription Structural Library
For Revit® Structure 2008-Metric

On Thursday 10 January 2008 I reported that Wai Chu Technical Product Manager for Revit Structure had posted a thread on the AUGI Forum that the Autodesk Revit Structure product team has just uploaded some new structural .rfa content in the Subscription Center.

After downloading and a search around, it looks as if the UK has done extremely well with this release of the Subscription Structural Library with UK Specific content to be found under:-

Library\ Annotations\ Structural\ UK Specific
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Cold Rolled Steel\ UK Specific
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Connections\ UK Specific
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Details\ UK Specific\ Rafters
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Details\ UK Specific\ Retaining Walls
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Details\ UK Specific\ Slab Details
Library\ Detail Components\ Structural\ Details\ UK Specific\Splice Details
Library\ Structural\ Columns\ Light Gauge Steel\ UK Specific
Library\ Structural\ Columns\ Steel\ UK Specific
Library\ Connections\ UK Specific
Library\ Foundations\ UK Specific
Library\ Framing\ Concrete\ UK Specific
Library\ Framing\ Light Gauge Steel\ UK Specific
Library\ Framing\ Steel\ UK Specific
Library\ Generic Models\ Barriers\ UK Specific
Library\ Generic Models\ Concrete\ UK Specific
Library\ Generic Models\ Decks\ UK Specific
Library\ Generic Models\ Steel\ UK Specific\ Lintels

The full folder structure is available to download as a Jpeg by clicking on the small graphic in the top left of this article.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

New structural .rfa content available in the Subscription Center

Wai Chu Technical Product Manager for Revit Structure has posted a thread on the AUGI Forum that the Autodesk Revit Structure product team has just uploaded some new structural .rfa content in the Subscription Center.

New content includes some AISC 13th Editions steel sections, Joist Girders, many UK Metric families and Finland ones, etc.

Once log into the Subscription Center, scroll down to "Product Information & Downloads" section and click on "Building Solutions: Product Modules & Add-Ons". Under "Structural Engineering Solutions" click on "Subscription Structural Library"

They are asking for users to try the new rfa's give them some feedback..

Monday, 7 January 2008

UK Revit Register

The UK Revit Register has been created on the cadalot web site to enable companies using Autodesk Revit Architecture, Structure and MEP to find other companies also using Revit based products in their region so that they can collaborate with them on schemes using a common program.

This should also hopefully promote some regional banding of individuals that may want to meet down the local public house or visit one another offices when they found out that they are not the only Revit user in the Village.

You never know, if enough people respond, perhaps regional User Groups may form around the UK?

There is an email hyperlink on the UK Revit Register web page to submit your details, don’t be shy register today.

Errors with Saving out Groups in the New Year

Messages on the AUGI Revit Architect and Revit Structure forums report an error that since the switch over to the year 2008, you can no longer save out your groups.

Here is the posted Revit Support Team response:


I apologize this issue is occurring as I know it must be frustrating. A workaround for now is to change the system clock to a month other than January 2008. The underlying issue for this case is being addressed by our development team on a future release. I am going to place this Support Request in a status called 'Pending Change Request.' It will not be closed and you will be notified when the enhancement has been implemented

Best Regards, Autodesk Support Team


Thanks to Thomas E. Maleski, Structural Designer and Autodesk Implementation Certified Expert for his posting on this matter

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Q: When is a Column not a Column? - Part 3

At the Excitech UK Revit Group London meeting in December 2007, I spoke to Chris George of CSC providers of Fastrak who were there do a presentation on “Fastrak and Revit Structure effective Integration”

He informed me Autodesk dictated to CSC that the prefix library be used i.e. UC152x152x23 and not 152x152x23UC. He also told me that Fastrak users will have problems if they mix family formats in a model. He later confirmed this in he presentation.

He also told us that for the most effective links use Fastrak Building Designer Version 7
With the latest patch (currently) = #4 and Revit Structure 2008 With the patch # 2 and NOT patch 3.

It would appear that Patch 3 introduced to fix issues with cellular beams, but introduces some unfortunate side effects – these have been reported to Autodesk by CSC.

In My Humble Opinion

Its about time Autodesk got it’s act together, this is not rocket science. Either sort the problem out with the UK Steel families or at least add a readme file in the folder to explain.

Ummm let’s see, if they had done that perhaps they would have found that there system was not really a system.

What these families need is an additional field called notation or name or something where the type is not used to name the section on the drawing. That can’t be to difficult to add can it?

When are the Corus Advance sections going to be added? They have been around since September 2006

Now will that be UKC152x152x23, or 152x152x23UKC, or 152x152UKC23 or a 152UKC23

One family with a method or changing the name displayed on the drawing or four families which will promote problems with analytical software?

Lets see that the next version of Revit Structure brings

Q: When is a Column not a Column? - Part 2

Enough of the background information on UK Steel sections back to Revit and columns as beam sections. Below is the example file I am working on to learn Revit. Structure. The columns on this are 152x152UC23 and guess what? the beam at the top is also a 152x152UC23.

Initially when adding the beam (which is a Universal Column section) I went to Metric Library\Structural\Columns\Steel, but the type selected would not load…..

Then the penny dropped…

Column families are created to be placed such that they are vertical and attach to slabs and foundations and grids with a single selection point where as;

Beams families are created to attach to columns and load bearing walls, and are specified by selecting two locations i.e. each end of the beam.

So …. back tracking up the directory structure and back down again to Metric Library\Structural\Faming\Steel

I was then presented with a choice? Ummmmm

Now what is the difference between?

UC-Universal Column.rfa and
UC-Universal Columns.rfa apart from the (s) after the word Column?

I then decided to investigate further ….

Looking at the two open family screen dumps they appear to be the same but……..

UC – Universal Column.rfa – starts at the largest serial size member and the UC designation behind the serial size and weight, where as;

UC – Universal Columns.rfa – Starts at the smallest serial size member and the UC designation is before the the serial size and weight.

A quick slide down the UC-Universal Column.rfs family type thus:

Yep, there they are 152x152x23UC

As you only get to look at a small area of the type and property table I went to the folder loaded the two files into a text editor to print out and checked that they were exactly the same, and they are.

So the question was why are there two?

Cast your mind back to my explanation UK steel sections in When is a Column not a Column? -Part 1. Common methods of specifying steel in the UK are (using the same section as an example):

UC152x152x23, or 152x152x23UC, or 152x152UC23 and I have also seen 152UC23 (don’t forget that most, but not all, of the UK columns are square)

So a quick post on the AUGI forum and my suspicions were verified, because they type name is used on the drawing and people like to define the section in different ways and also some analytical software need the UC to be at the front and others need the UC to be at the rear we have two sets of the same family tables.

So you might be fooled into thinking that now you know the plural version of the family name, i.e the one with the (s) at the end, is the one with the section designation at the front this will apply to all the other sections.

BLAMP BLARRRR (A Big Family Favourites you got the answer wrong noise )

Don’t be silly no real logic has been used in developing any kind of file naming system lets take a look.

OK we have dealt with columns.

Beams, Yep there is a UB-Universal Beam.rfa and an UB-Universal Beams.rfa, quick check, Yep the same as the columns

UBP-Universal Bearing Pile.fra and a Piles.rfa – good

RSJ-Rolled Steel Joist.rfa and a Joists.rfa – good

But hang on what’s this why is there a

Rectangular and Square Hollow Sections.rfa
RHS-Rectangular Hollow Section.rfa
SHS-Square Hollow Section.rfa

Now why combine SHS and RHS in one format and separate them in another?

Then there is

PFCH- Parallel Flange Channels.rfa and
PFC-Parallel Flange Chanel.rfa

Ummm lets look
Looking at the type it’s a PFC with the designation at the front so what in blue blazes is the H for (H or Ho it’s the other way round to…. PFC-Parallel Flange Channel.rfa)

Then there are the Angles

So where is the L-Angle.rfa file that has the information in the format 200x150x18L ?

And I’ve always scheduled angles using 200x150L18 (size, shape, thickness) the same applies to channels.

Go to Part 3

Q: When is a Column not a Column? - Part 1

A: When it’s a Beam.

A quick explanation for the 37% of you, that visit this blog from the USA. In the UK we use steel sections called Universal Beams (UB) and Universal Columns (UC),

With Universal Beams the Height (h) or web depth of the section is larger than the breadth (b) or width of the flanges.

With Universal Columns the height (h) and breadth (b) are approximately the same.

Both UB’s and UC’s come in what is termed “serial sizes”

An example of serial size can be seen in the columns table extract shown above. There are three sections with serial size of 152x152 however to define the actual section specified, one uses the mass per metre, to more accurately define the section.

You will note that the actual depth of section and width of section are given and vary based on the increase in thickness of the Web and Flange and rolling tolerances etc..

One normal pre-computer design practice was to place the designation of UB or UC between the serial size and the weight to assist in avoiding any confusion between size and weight when specifying

i.e. 152x152UC23 = 152x152 serial size Universal Column 23 kg/m
203x133UB25 = 203x 133 serial size Universal Beam 25 kg/m

Another UK practice is to specify the section by placing the section designation after the serial size and weight i.e. 152x152x23UC. Yet another is to use the section designation in font of the serial size and weight i.e. UC152x152x23. This format lends itself to lookup tables for computer programs as it is easier to process information in a table if the section size is presented first in the information.

Now that being said there are occasions where a UK Engineer will use a column section horizontally as a beam, and a beam section vertically as a column, why? Because they can, and sometimes the nature of the situation lends itself to this, typical examples:

Beam sections are used as columns in portal frame structures because of the enhanced resistance to horizontal loads due to the section properties.

Column sections are used in domestic situations where the depth of the beam needs to be contained within a timber floor and the wide flange allows bearing of the timber

Universal Beams typically range from 127 x 76 x 13kg/m up to 1016 x 305 x 487kg/m. Universal Columns typically range from 152 x 152 x 23kg/m up to 356 x 406 x 1086kg/m.

Corus Construction & Industrial provides structural sections in accordance with the following specifications: BS4: part 1: 1993 and EN10056: 1999, ASTM A6/A6m, European narrow flange beams in accordance with Euronorm 89, European wide flange beams in accordance with Euronorm 53-62 and JIS.

From September 2006 the Corus Advance section range was developed to reflect current structural design practice and make it easier to specify Corus CE marked structural sections compliant with the EU Directive on Construction Products.

There are an additional 5 Column Sections and 24 Beam Sections in the Advance section range which are not given in BS 4-1:2005

Corus has trademarked new designations for use by the UK steel construction industry.

UB now becomes UKB
UC now becomes UKC

Asymmetric slimflor beams remain as ASB

Advance, UKA, UKB, UKBP, UKC, UKPFC and UKT are trademarks of Corus.

I’m suspicious that this was not only done to comply with the EU directive but also as a marketing ploy to specify the source of the steel specified by using the UKC and UKB etc designation which are Corus trademarks