Material Schedules and Custom Material Properties in Revit

28 Jun

Source: BIM Chapters: Material Schedules and Custom Material Properties in Revit

Material Schedules and Custom Material Properties in Revit

Revit’s materials can be used to track finishes in a more formal way, such that they are used in the bidding documents. There are many challenges related to utilizing this workflow, but this post will focus on the mechanics of creating materials with all the information an architect or interior designer might want to tabulate.

The first thing to do is create any custom parameters. The trick here is that you are creating a parameter associated with materials, not a “material parameter” as shown in the image below.

If you create a material with Type of Material set to Material you can only select material names from a list. If you create a Text parameter associated with the material category, then you can type whatever you want in that text-based parameter. TIP: Add a tooltip to your custom parameters to help other designers in the office.


Accessing the custom material parameters is not very intuitive, but this does not really matter as…
all this information can be modified in a schedule. Notice how the “Paint” materials can be assigned to the “Paint” Class and then sorted by Class in the upper left – you can create custom Class groups (which is also accessible when using the Paint command).

Below is a Material Schedule using all the required built-in and custom parameters for paint. The big catch here is that only materials used somewhere in the project appear in this list… which is a good thing, right? Perhaps:)

If you ever want to be able to tag any of your ‘custom material’ information within the model, maybe in a presentation drawing for a more detailed client meeting, you have to make sure to use Shared Parameters. The image below is an interior elevation with a custom material tag applied to three different walls in a project. These can be selected and deleted or swapped with the simple material mark-only option.

Here is an example using/creating a shared parameter…

Finally, if would be really nice if the ‘custom material’ parameters were in-line with the information on the Identity tab.  I did a little image editing to show how I envision this looking in Revit (this os a separate tab). Having to click the little button to access ‘custom material’ parameters is not very clever. I will find, or create, a Revit Ideas on this and update the post later.


SONY connected to computer display cropped

20 Jan
  • Desktop computer connected to a SONY Bravia TV via HDMI – the screen seemed to be very slightly zoomed but the normal TV zoom setting was definitely set to “full” (no zoom). After reading quite a few suggestions around software to adjust various settings on the video card, I found that the problem in my case at least was with another TV setting.

    The “Display Area” option (press HOME, scroll across to “settings”, down to “screen”) was set to “auto”. There are various other options several of which make it worse (more zoom) but setting to “full pixel” completely fixed the problem for me and now I have the whole Windows desktop displayed.

Opening IFC Files in Bluebeam Revu and Creating 3D PDFs

10 Jan

Open ifc in bluebeam

Opening IFC Files in Bluebeam Revu and Creating 3D PDFs

  • Deepak Maini
 The following is how it works:

1. In Bluebeam Revu, click Open.

2. In the Open dialog box, click on the list on the right of the File name edit box, and select 3D Files (*.ifc,*.u3d,*.sldprt,*.sldasm), as shown below:

3. Double-click on the IFC file; the process to convert the IFC file into 3D PDF starts and the New 3D PDF dialog box is displayed

4. You can select the preferred page size from this dialog box. In my case, I generally select the option to add various perspective, ortho, and iso views from the Add Views list. I also select Shaded Illustration as the rendering mode, as shown below:

5. Click OK; a 3D PDF will be created from the IFC file and opened in Revu. You can use the toolbar at the top to change the views, section the model, change the display style, shading options, and so on as shown below:

The best part is this 3D PDF created from Revu can be opened in any other PDF viewer as well.

Differences – BOMA 2010 to 2017

9 Jan

The BOMA 2017 Office Standard was released in October 2017 and represents a significant leap forward for the standard. Several of the changes focus on the formatting of the document itself, which is designed to be easily digested. One of the goals was to make this standard more approachable to owners, property managers and brokers who might not need to apply the standard, but do need to understand it on a cursory level. The changes made with the general organization, copy and illustrations lends itself well to achieving this goal. However, the document remains primarily a technical manual, focused on how to apply the office standard accurately, consistently and objectively.

BOMA 2017 removes the Public Pedestrian Thoroughfare Boundary Condition. In previous versions of the standard, ground floor tenants with street frontage were measured to the outer surface of exterior walls, rather than the inside finished surface. The removal of this condition results in slightly reduced rentable areas, but this was a confusing nuance of the standard and BOMA decided for overall consistency, that all tenant spaces should be measured the same.

Major Vertical Penetrations are no longer excluded from rentable area at their lowest level in 2017. Previously, this rule was already applied to vertical service areas, such as pipe and mechanical shafts, but not to vertical circulation areas, such as stairwells and elevator shafts. It was confusing to apply two different rules to Major Vertical Penetrations. This change results in higher rentable areas but there is now one cohesive rule that respects one of the most basic principles of the standard – that floor space is rentable area and openings in the floor are not.

BOMA 2017 also finally includes an official methodology of calculating amenity and service areas that are in use by specific groups of occupants, rather than simply allocating such spaces to an entire floor or to the entire building. BOMA calls this Inter-Building Area and it really allows for a great level of customization to the standard. It helps to ensure that Tenants will not pay for space in the building that they do not derive a benefit from and it can also be applied across buildings in an office complex. This doesn’t have any impact on the total rentable area of a building, but it does distribute proportionately allocated areas more fairly.

Another key change made was to allow capped load factors to be applied on an occupant-by-occupant basis rather than a floor-by-floor basis. This will go a long way in helping landlords and tenants negotiate leases appropriate to the market at any given time, while still adhering to the standard.

Finally, the BOMA Office Standard is now compatible with the International Property Measurement Standards or IPMS. IPMS is an international committee developing a full suite of measurement standards focused on producing a consistent measurement methodology for building valuations across international markets. BOMA’s direct compatibility with IPMS will enhance its usefulness and further position BOMA as the de-facto standard to use internationally.

Making the standard compatible with IPMS had its complications, but there is a certain synergy to its timing. In particular, it really made BOMA reevaluate unenclosed exterior areas and consider the real world changes occurring in the industry. In today’s market, owners and tenants are demanding that their buildings include well-appointed exterior amenities where occupants can work or refresh in a finished outdoor environment. The standard needed to adapt to these changes in the marketplace and so the standard will allow balconies, covered galleries and rooftop patios to be included as rentable area in certain conditions.

IPMS 2 at a glance

4 Jan

IPMS 2 – Office can be used by people such as asset managers, brokers, cost consultants, facility managers, occupiers, owners, property managers, researchers and valuers. The component areas in IPMS 2 – Office enable users and service providers to make direct floor space comparisons between data from different market practices.

IPMS 2IPMS 2 – Office is the sum of the areas of each floor level of an office building measured to the internal dominant face and reported on a component-by-component basis for each floor of a building. In many markets, but not universally, this is known as gross internal area.

IPMS 2 at a glance

  • It is equivalent to the old measurement of gross internal area
  • It is only used for the measurement of offices
  • It is used for measuring the internal area of a building, including internal walls and columns (both were previously excluded from gross internal area)
  • IPMS 2 can be used by parties including asset managers, brokers, cost consultants, facility managers, occupiers, owners, property managers, researchers and valuers
  • It includes and excludes certain areas  from the measurement (see below)
  • It also includes some measurements that must be stated separately (balconies, covered galleries, rooftop spaces and two new concepts for members: component areas and internal dominant face).


IPMS 2 – Office includes all areas including internal walls, columns and enclosed walkways or passages between separate buildings, available for direct or indirect use. Covered void areas such as atria are only included at their lowest floor level.


Measurement for IPMS 2 – Office is not to include the area of open light wells or upper level voids of an atrium, but may state separately, if measured, areas which are not fully enclosed, such as balconies, covered galleries, and generally accessible rooftop terraces. Patios and decks at ground level, external car parking, equipment yards, cooling equipment and refuse areas.


IPMS 3 at a glance

4 Jan

IPMS 3 – Office is used by people such as agents and occupiers, asset managers, facility managers, property managers, researchers and valuers.

IPMS 3IPMS 3 – Office is the floor area available on an exclusive basis to an occupier, but excluding standard facilities and shared circulation areas, and calculated on an occupier-by-occupier or floor-by-floor basis for each building.

IPMS 3 at a glance

  • It is equivalent to the old measurement of net internal area and deals with those parts occupied by a tenant
  • It can only be used for the measurement of offices
  • IPMS 3 is used for measuring the internal area of a building in exclusive occupation, including internal walls and columns (previously excluded from net internal area)
  • It can be used by parties such as agents, occupiers, asset managers, facility managers, property managers, researchers and valuers
  • Standard facilities are included and excluded from the measurement (see below)
  • It also includes some measurements that must be stated separately (balconies, covered galleries, rooftop terraces) as well as a new concept for members: internal dominant face.


All internal walls and columns within an occupant’s exclusive area are included within IPMS 3 – Office. The floor area is taken to the internal dominant face and, where there is a common wall with an adjacent tenant, to the centre-line of the common wall.


Standard facilities are those parts of a building that would provide shared or common facilities that typically do not change over time. Standard facilities may vary from floor-to-floor and will also vary according to how the building is occupied.


Repost from:

Alexander Aronsohn FRICS

Director of Technical International Standards (RICS)

Get a Grip!

5 Dec
Electrical construction documents depend upon the use of symbolic representations for devices in plan view. The symbolic representation for a receptacle, for example is larger than the actual three-dimensional modeled receptacle used for elevations and interference detection. It has to be larger to effectively convey the receptacle type and still be readable at a 1/8th scale. Because it is oversized, however, placing receptacles close together in the model causes the plan symbols to overlap. That is, unless the symbolic part of the family can be independently moved from the modeled component. Using a receptacle family as an example, this article will demonstrate how to do just that.

Begin by creating the symbolic annotation family of the plan symbol. Use the generic annotation family template provided with Revit.  Name it “Family_A.” Using detail lines, draw the plan symbol at the size it would be on a plotted sheet.

Controlling Up and Down Movement

Create another generic family. Use the generic annotation family template again.  Name it “Family_AA.”  Load “Family_A”  into “Family_AA”  to create a nested family.  Place the nested symbology above the horizontal reference plane in Family_AA, but centered on the vertical plane. Draw a horizontal reference line under the symbology, and make it a weak reference.

Using an aligned dimension or the Align tool, lock the nested receptacle family to the reference line.  Add a dimension from the reference line to the horizontal reference plane in “Family_AA.”  Add an instance parameter to the dimension and name it “Offset From Wall.” This will add the ability to move the plan symbol away from the hosting wall or entity.

Create a third family using the Generic Face Based or the Generic Model template. Wall-based or other options can be used here, so pick what works to maintain company standards.  In any case, the family will be built the same, but “push/pull” options are slightly different once the family is placed into the model. Name the new family “Receptacle.”

Create the following instance Parameters in the new family.

Offset From Wall <Dimension>
Offset From Wall2 <Dimension>
Offset L R <Dimension>


Create the following type Parameters in the new family.

Plan Symbol <Family Type>  <Generic Annotations>
Plan Scale <Length>


Load “Family _AA” into the “Receptacle” family and place it on the intersection of the two main reference planes.  Assign the “Offset From Wall” in your nested family to the “Offset From Wall2” parameter in the host family by selecting “Family_AA” and selecting the box to the right of the “Offset From Wall” parameter in the Properties palette and then selecting the “Offset From Wall2” parameter in the dialog that pops up. This will allow the user to add a dimension to move the receptacle symbology off the wall without moving the model portion of the family.

Because the receptacle family scale is based on the plan scale, and it is unknown what that scale will be until it is placed in a view, a way to push that information to the family is needed. Otherwise, an entered 6” offset may move the receptacle symbol radically more or less than 6” on the plan.  The Plan Scale parameter will be used as a mechanism for the user to convey the view scale to the family. At this time, Revit families do not have a parameter for the scale of the view in which they are placed. Click on the Family Types button on the ribbon and, as a default, set the “Plan Scale” parameter to 0’-0 1/8”.  To get the proper offset for any scale, add the following formula to the “Offset From Wall2” parameter “Offset From Wall / 1′ * Plan Scale.” The “Plan Scale” parameter must be manually entered by the user.

Controlling Left and Right Movement

To control the side-to-side movement of the receptacle symbol, a vertical reference plane must be dimensioned and labeled. Revit will not allow negative values in dimensions, so the base plane can not be placed in the center of the symbol. To allow the offset to go both left and right of the center reference plane, add a reference plane to the 4’ left of the center reference plane.  This sets the maximum offset, so adjust if required.  Set the “L R” default to 4’, to align the plan symbol and the elevation symbol when families are placed.

This plane should be pinned and set to “Not a Reference.”  Create another reference plane and name it “L R.” Lock “Family_AA” to this reference plane, and make it a weak reference.  Add a dimension from “L R” to the left reference plane, and set it to “Offset L R.”

Swapping out Symbology

Repeat the steps above to make different types of receptacle symbology (duplex, double duplex, emergency, and so on). Load the new symbol families into the receptacle family, but do not place them.

In the Family Types dialog, create multiple receptacle types. Associate the Receptacle Type parameter with the appropriate type loaded in the family.

This method helps when circuiting. Revit will trim the wiring to the extents of your family.  If the check box to control the visibility of symbols of different sizes is used, wires may be trimmed too short or too long without this method.

If using a face-based family, the “push/pull” grips to control the left and right location of the symbolic annotation now exist, but the offset from the wall distance must be manually typed in the properties dialog.

If using a generic family, the push/pull grips exist for control left and right as well as the offset distance from the wall.  One benefit of using a generic family is that it does not require an architect model to host on.

Don’t forget to model the 3D portion to the family.  For brevity that has been left out here. Typically only the faceplate is required.

Move Around a Label

Another use of push/pull grips is for the ability to move labels that are part of a family.  In a 3-way light switch family for example, the label “3” comes in perpendicular to the wall the switch is placed on.  The “3” usually needs to be moved to avoid conflicts with other symbols.  Three options come to mind.

Option #1:
Add a label as part of the family.  The problem is, that as part of the family, the label cannot be moved.

Option #2:
Tag the family.  The tag can be moved, but it can only be vertical or horizontal.  On an angled wall the “3” will not be perpendicular.

Option #3:
Use text.  Text will rotate to any angle, but it is not part of the family and won’t update.

Push/pull grips can take Option #1 further. Just like the receptacle family example above, a label can be placed into a generic family and added to the switch family allowing the label to be moved left, right, and off the wall while staying perpendicular to an angled wall.

Most of the time, Option #2 is preferable, but using the Push/pull grips provides flexibility to handle any situation.

It has been said, “Revit cannot do that!” but with a little ingenuity, most any problem in Revit can be addressed. There are many more uses for push/pull grips, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what they can do for you.

Mitchell Voss is an engineering technician for Alvine Engineering, Omaha Nebraska. Mitchell has been working with Revit since Revit MEP 2009, primarily on the electrical side. He has been a technician in Omaha since graduating from Southeast Community College in Milford in 2000.