11 Nov

How to display beam projection in Revit plan views

Revit Beams are also known as “Structural Framing”.

Typical arhictectural (floor) plan view shows particular level with it’s cut plane set approximately 120cm from the level. Also, beams from the level above are shown in floor plans. And, here comes our first problem with Revit: what’s the easiest way to show our beams without too much manual interaction?

There are several solutions for showing beams “from above” in Revit floor plan views, each of them having their pros and cons:

  • Underlay – Use “Underlay” instance property of the view, and set it to “Reflected Ceiling Plan” of the current Level (to “Look Up”). If it is “too gray”, then go to Manage tab > Additional Settings > Halftone / Underlay and uncheck “Apply Halftone” checkbox and add desired Line Weight and Line Pattern.
    • Pros: Fast, automatic and easy solution. Works on every kind of beam.
    • Cons: This way changes underlay properties for all elements in the underlay in every view where underlay is displayed. Often shows many unwanted elements. In versions 2016 and older, one should be careful about level of the underlay because it will show elements from chosen level up to the next level.
  • Linework Tool – Use “Underlay” solution in combination with Linework tool to change style of beam projection. When all of the wanted beams are overridden with Linework tool, set underlay property of the view to “None”.
    • Pros: Good solution which “follows” overridden beam if it’s type is changed. We can turn underlay off. We can choose which beams we want to display. Different beams can be in different line style. Lines will not stay if we delete a beam.
    • Cons: Lot of manual work if there are many beams. Repetitive task for every floor plan. If there are new beams, we should take care not to forget to override them as well. “Duplicate with Detailing” will not copy Linework overrides. We cannot select a beam in the floor plan (if the underlay is turned off).
  • Annotate > Detail Line – Similar solution as the “Linework Tool” solution with few differences: using Revit “Detail Line” tool we need to “Lock” those lines to the beam projection lines (by using “Pick Lines” tool). Often we need to lock line ends to the beam ends.
    • Pros: Good solution which “follows” overridden beam if it’s type is changed. We can turn underlay off. We can choose which beams we want to display. Different beams can be in different line style. “Duplicate with Detailing” will copy added Detail Lines. Can be copied on multiple same levels if they are the same.
    • Cons: Lot of manual work if there are many beams. Repetitive task for every floor plan. If there are new beams, we should take care not to forget to override them as well. We cannot select a beam in the floor plan (if the underlay is turned off). Detail Lines will not “follow” beam length, so if we change the beams length, those lines will not follow, at least not until we “lock” line’s ends to the ends of the beam. Lines will “stay” even if we delete a beam.
  • Invisible line trick – the best solution I find out of so far is by using, so called, “invisible line trick”. Trick is to change beam family by adding invisible vertical line which will be cut through with floor plan’s “cut plane”, resulting in displaying the beam in the floor plan. Simple V/G override can show beam in desired way (in dashed line or such). Additional trick here is to modify beam family by adding two or more symbolic lines to the beam family floor plan, and locking it to the beam’s body. We can also modify beam itself not to display in floor plan using Visibility Settings.
    • Pros: Automatic solution which always displays beams in the floor plan. V/G Overrides can control the line style. Possibility to display different styles in different Detail Levels. With custom “invisible line” height we can control which beams will show in which floor plan – possibility to show beams that are far away from the level (vertically). Regular horizontal section through a beam, or regular projection still works.
    • Cons: Requires manual split and drag actions when there are intersecting beams or beams one above another. There are “unwanted” additional lines which shows when we hover mouse over beam (this can be reduced to show only in one level of detail, for example in “Coarse”).

That’s it! If you have another solution, please share!

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