27 Jun

Revit Room Computation Height – What is it good for?

In Revit, computation height is the distance above the room level where room perimeter is measured.

By default, computation height is 0 units above base level of room. To place rooms, they first must be enclosed with room bounding elements.

For example, the drawing below shows a section of 2 rooms which are on different heights. The dashed red line is computation height. Note that in Revit, computation height line shows only when we select a room. It’s shown here for easier preview.

By the default, computation height is 0 units above base level of a room. This option is in most times accepted, unless we have room bounding elements which are above the computation height like on the left room in the drawing above.

To change the computation height, we need to go to any section or elevation, select the base level in properties palette, and change the computation height value.

In the example below, we can see that room with sloped floor is not created since the computation height is too low and room is not enclosed (see drawing below: computation height line can’t reach the right room bounding element / wall).

By rising computation height, we can see that room is now created.

The computation height can be useful in most cases, but sometimes a better solution is required.

In the drawings below, we can see that, if we rise the computation height to reach the right room, the room on the left will be out of reach.

The solution is to assign the rightmost room to another level. The point is to use one level with one computation height, if possible, for all the rooms belonging to that level.


Rooms with sloped boundary objects

There is one more example of using computation height. The drawing below shows a section of a room with sloped walls/roof.

If we rise the computation height to appropriate height, the area and the volume will change the values. This can be useful for showing usable space.

Notes and issues

  • Changing the computation height can affect the performance of Revit (many rooms = many calculations during changes = more time needed to calculate all volumes).
  • Room bottom or – Room Base Offset (Room Property) from the level must be below or equal to the computation height of the level, otherwise you will get the error message “Room’s lower offset is above the Computation Height”.
  • Room top or – Room Upper Limit (Room Property) from the level must be above or equal to the computation height of the level, otherwise you will get the warning message “Room Volume is being calculated above the Upper Limit of this Room. Change the Upper Limit and Offset or change the height of volume calculations.”
  • Sometimes if we have structural slab under the base level and non-structural floor (layers) above, the room will be created in the tight space of 0 height, which can cause issues, so the non-structural floor should have “Room bounding” option turned off.
  • If you are getting rooms like these:

Change Volume Computations setting under „Area and Volume Computations“ (Architecture tab > Room & Area) to “Areas and Volumes”.


29 May

How to relinquish Revit worksets when user is not available

If the project is set up as Revit worshared model then sometimes a user can forget to relinquish his worksets and leave office. Such situations often cause unnecessary frustration. However, there is a simple way to relinquish worksets, even if the user is not available.

Changing the user names

Follow these steps:

  1. Start Revit or close any open projects.
  2. Click R menu (or File menu) > Options.
  3. On the General tab of the Options dialog box:
    • write down your current user name (you’ll need it later, so write it down if it’s complicated)
    • enter the user name of the user whose workset you want to relinquish in the Username textbox. Click OK.
  4. Create new local file (File > Open > select the central file).
  5. Click Collaborate tab on the ribbon > Relinquish All Mine.
  6. Close the project.
  7. Reset the user name to the previous value (from the step 3.1).
  8. Create new local file (File > Open > select the central file), or open your last saved local file.


Detaching and creating new central Revit model

The other method is destructive and it is not recommended since other’s work can be lost. Use it only if you are 100% sure that you are the only one working on the file!

  1. Essentially you need to open the central workshared Revit file, choose “Detach from Central” and “preserve worksets” option. Now all the worksets are yours.
  2. Save the detached workshared Revit file as… It will save as new central as default.
  3. Relinquish all worksets.
  4. Close the central model.
  5. Create new local model from the new central file.
  6. Others can join now.


Remember, the whole point of workshared Revit model is that you work as a team on the same file. In most (workshared) cases you are not alone. Have in mind that messing with central models can destroy other’s work or make serious damage.

15 May

Why you should switch to web based BIM content library

Issues with Revit family library management

If you are BIM Manager or Revit user, you probably ran into a problem finding (your own) content for the project. I am not talking about finding the content on the internet, that is a whole another topic, but finding something specific that you, or one of your colleagues created, you know it exists in your organization but don’t know where it is anymore, or how it was called.
Revit families are most numerous (hence the title), but other content that you might need to utilize in your BIM project sometimes can also be hard to find. For example:

  • template files, Dynamo scripts, example (model) files, brochures, data sheets, pattern files, images, workflow procedures and other types of digital information.

If you are in charge of organizing you BIM content in your organization, you know that using good folder structure (or specialized Revit add-ins) can solve half of the problem. Other half contain hard-to-solve issues, such as:

  • Only you know what you have, and can’t be sure who else also knows about it. And sometimes you can forget about some (old) content as well.
  • Content is hard to describe (no good solution to add metadata in Windows environment: images, videos, documents, descriptions, URL’s and other).
  • Difficult to search (you must know exact file name, or part of the file name).
  • Content is not available remotely.


The solution for managing your BIM library

The best solution I found so far is organizing your BIM content library as web based solution:

  • It is One-stop solution which can be categorized, tagged and described – all of the entered information can be easily searched which means that users can find the objects by themselves easily.
  • Revit file version (Revit backwards incompatibility issue) can be added as description or a category, so you do not need to rename your file, and have such information available at the same time.
  • Can contain different kinds of digital information (whatever file type you have).
  • Can be accessed remotely (if it’s hosted on a web server).
  • Can be accessed internally if needed (if it’s hosted on a local server only).
  • Can be protected so only particular users have access to it (via Log-in system).
  • Can be divided into parts so not everyone has access to everything.
  • Can collect statistics about file usage (number of downloads for instance).
  • Can collect user feedback via comments or similar.
  • Is read-only so only the administrators (BIM team) can change, update, add or remove content.
  • Can contain (and show) all the other information necessary for describing or enhancing an object or workflow (images, videos, documents, descriptions and other files).
  • Content can be connected so user knows that something else also might be needed, for example TAG for particular Revit family.

There are also cons regarding such system:

  • BIM team must comprehend some level of web technologies.
  • It takes more time to upload, describe and publish content with a certain level of quality.
  • Can easily become inconsistent (some files can better described (“equipped”) than the others).
  • If you run into host issues (website down) your library can be unavailable (must have backup by having local copy accessible to the team).



Our Engipedia Warehouse part of the site serves as an example of how it can be set up. There you can see examples of free content that can be downloaded by everyone, content that is visible but locked (only available to certain users) and content that you cannot see, not even if you are logged in, if you do not have the access rights granted.


If you think this is solution for you, do not hesitate to contact us for consulting, we will gladly help you set up your own system.


10 May

Phases and phase filters in linked Revit models

Linking Revit files is an essential method to collaborate on BIM project, primary, but not exclusive, for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Phase mapping

When multiple phases are present in project model (more than one phase), phase mapping occurs.

Phase mapping is a process of connecting phases between models. We map „when“ particular phase from a linked model „happens“ in a host model. Phase mapping option is located in type properties of a linked file.


Model A has three phases: Existing, Phase 1, Phase 2

Model B has two phases: Existing, New Construction

The following image shows phase mapping process when model A is linked in model B:

Problem: Phases must be mapped manually. Names of phases in model B can be misleading in context of model A.


If possible, set phases in all models the same in all linked Revit models, for example:

Model A: Existing, Phase 1, Phase 2

Model B: Existing, Phase 1, Phase 2

Phases will map automatically and correctly whenever you link models. Phases must be in the same order and have the same names (exactly the same names). It legal to have „empty“ phases (with no elements associated with it).


Phase filters

It is important to have the same phase filters in all linked models. It is not mandatory, but if you want to use “By host view” setting in Visibility/Graphic overrides for linked models, this is a must.

Why? It can lead to unexpected behaviors, for example, showing future that have not yet come to pass 😉



We are using models from previous example. One is based on company’s standard Revit template, and the other is made with random template. We set phases correctly in both models (the same number, order and names).

The following image shows (modular building) model LinkA.rvt:

  • Phase 1 (halftone) and
  • Phase 2

Model LinkA.rvt will be linked in Mechanical discipline’s Revit model.

This is how Phase 1 in model A looks like:


However, when we link model A and show “Phase 1” in model B, with phase filter “Show New”, elements from all phases in linked model are displayed when only those from Phase 1 should be visible (even with phases mapped correctly), see image below:

The problem is in fact when Revit cannot find exactly the same filter in the linked file, “None” will be used. We all know when “None” phase filter is used, everything from every phase will be visible. The following image shows Visibility/Graphic settings for linked file (it’s set “By host view”, there is no “Show New” phase filter in the link, so phase filter (None) will be used for the link – which lead to wrong display:



Transfer project standards or recreate phase filters (manually) in all linked models so they match exactly. They do not have to be used anywhere in the link, they just need to exist. If we create phase filter “Show New” in linked model A (LinkA.rvt), model will display correctly when linked in model B.

Phase Filters settings in model A (added phase filter Show New):

When link (model A) is reloaded in model B (with new phase filter added in model A), it will show correctly in model B when showing only new in Phase 1, see image below:

Let just look at the Visibility/Graphic Overrides settings for linked file:

Everything works fine now!


The other solution is to just use the custom settings for phase filter of a linked model in visibility/graphic overrides (I personally hate to do this, it’s not automatic and it’s prone to errors).

07 May

How to save system family as external loadable family

As you already know, there are three kinds of families in Revit: system families, model-in-place families and external (loadable) families (also know as .RFA files).

Some Revit categories are exclusively system categories (families of those categories can be created only in project environment), for example: Walls, Stairs, Floors and similar categories. There are, however, hybrids (can both have system and external families in the same category), for example Structural Foundation categories but they are topic for some other time. Read More

02 May

How to create PDF with layers, from Revit

Creating (producing) PDF with layers from Revit, using Print to PDF option is, unfortunately, not possible.

The solution, however, is simple. If you have AutoCAD.

Let’s say you have Revit view or sheet that you want to have in PDF with layers so they can be turned on/off appropriately. The procedure to achieve this is simple:

1. Export your Revit view or sheet to DWG file format (make sure you have appropriate Layer key assigned so Revit categories are put into valid DWG layers).

2. Use AutoCAD to open exported DWG.

3. Choose print option in AutoCAD to print model or layout view (Ctrl+P), select “DWG To PDF.pc3” printer from printer Name dropdown menu.

4. Click on “PDF Options…” button and make sure “Include layer information” checkbox is checked (it should be checked by default).

5. Set other options appropriately (sheet size, scale, plot style etc.)

6. Click “Preview” button and choose print if preview is correct.

That’s it.

30 Apr

How to change Revit default icon?

Maybe you noticed that since Revit 2017, every Revit version has the same icon. This could be deceiving to most users if not unpractical and may lead to errors (eg. opening and saving file in newer Revit version).

Also, Autodesk calls them REVT.ico instead of REVIT.ico for reason probably only known to them.

To support my statements how such approach is unpractical, below is an example on how your Windows taskbar looks if you run multiple instances of DIFFERENT Revit versions at the same time Read More

12 Nov

Modeling Structure in Revit: 3. Practical guidelines for modeling vertical structural elements

Practical guidelines for modeling structural elements in Revit include:

Guidelines for vertical structural elements:

  1. Modeling structural bearing walls
  2. Modeling structural non-bearing walls
  3. Modeling other (non-structural) walls (in case they are needed for some reason).
  4. Modeling structural columns

guidelines for horizontal structural elements:

  1. Modeling structural floors
  2. Modeling structural framing
  3. Modeling structural foundations

General rule is to model everything the same way as Read More