Revit Templates and Standards: Worth their weight in gold!

I work with many companies on the development and deployment of their Revit templates and standards.  Every company is different and each has separate goals for their templates, but in each case careful, considered development of the template has resulted in some major productivity gains.

In the old days, whenever I have been involved in setting up a company CAD standard, little more was discussed other than the font everyone should use (this is a longer discussion than you might appreciate), how layers were going to be named, and what the title block looked like. Personally I always thought CAD standards did little more than enforce a company’s corporate look on the final drawings and the productivity gains, whilst present, were limited.

cad standards 1

When we start to look at the development of a Revit template, things get a little more interesting. Of course the corporate look and branding is very important, and that 4-hour argument discussion we had about Arial or Times New Roman, when developing our CAD standards, needs to be respected. All of this can of course be included in your Revit template so we can have a little bit of personality about our documents. This however is not the subject that interests me.  I am much more interested in using Revit tools effectively, and building these efficiencies into our template file.  This way, we can achieve some significant time savings in the delivery of a project.

cad standards 2

SCHEDULES

How many times have you created a door or window schedule?  Or a list of current drawings and their revisions? We also probably have a standard way we like this to look. Why not take these standard schedules and set them up in our Revit template? You may never have to create a door schedule again!

Anyone that uses Revit knows that it is very good at creating schedules of items in the model.  We can list all the doors and windows in the model and have Revit display any information we like about these elements in schedule form. Depending on how much information is included in the schedule and how it is formatted, it can take a bit of time to construct this schedule.

If our schedule was already configured in our template however, this would just get populated as the model is being developed.

VIEWS AND VIEW TEMPLATES

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest time savers in Revit, if set up correctly…  When we look at the delivery of a typical building project, there are often multiple drawings of the same element, such as a floor plan, that are produced for different reasons. A presentation plan, setting out plan, fire plan etc. etc.  Each of these drawings has different levels of detail and highlights different elements of the design. To achieve this in Revit we need to use something called ‘Visibility and Graphics Overrides’.  We copy an existing view and change the graphics of it so certain things stand out a little more or may be displayed in a different colour or line type or maybe not at all.

Imagine spending 30 minutes changing graphics settings just to get a setting out plan for your ground floor that looked right, then repeating the process for your fire escape plan, and then again for your presentation plan.  Then repeating the entire process for the other 12 floors of your building. Not a very productive way to spend your time.

We can take the setting of a view and save these settings to a ‘view template’ and apply and assign these settings to multiple views.  This not only saves us time, but it ensures all our setting out plans look the same. We can also have these view templates assigned to views.  This means that if we decide to increase the line weight or colour of a certain element we just need to change the view template, effectively revising multiple drawings in one go.

We could take this one step further and assign View Templates to new views, giving us the ability to have a one-click process to produce a view of a certain type, configured in the correct, consistent, company-standard way.

Having Views and View Templates set up in your Revit template will reduce the amount of time configuring settings and allow users to concentrate on the design of the project.  It will also allow you to maintain consistency across all projects in your office.

STORY BOARDING

Sometimes I think of a good schedule drawing as a “story board” for a project. It helps communicate how we are going to build this project in the same way as you might use story boards to explain how you are going to make a movie.  (OK, you have to have a good imagination when you work in a drawing office!)  Anyway, are your schedule drawings always the same drawing number?  Do you always have a title sheet with a list of drawings or a standard details drawing to story board your project? It’s not difficult to create a drawing sheet and drag a schedule view onto the drawing sheet.  But why do this on every project? Set these standard drawings up in your Revit template and they are ready to go every time.

STANDARD COMPONENTS

How many times have you gone to load a family just to go and find the same window type or annotation tag?  How many times have you recreated that same cavity wall system family? These items can all be pre-loaded into your template so they are ready to go for each project. You could develop sector-specific templates, one for housing, one for education etc. You could even create sector ‘content packs’ – a template full of families specific to a certain sector ready to be loaded into your standards template.

In truth this Blog post could go on and on, the list of topics for discussion when developing a Revit template is extensive. However it is important to note that the development of your Revit standards is a different and often confusing undertaking. Getting the right guidance and spending time on the important things are key. The goals you set yourself when creating a Revit template should not be focused on aesthetics but on the things that will save you time, increase productivity and allow designers to spend their time designing.

More information on how to create a Revit template file can be found in Cadassist’s Revit Standard and Management training: http://tinyurl.com/oqkgeua.  

Cartoons ©Roger Penwill.  Used with permission.

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