Archive | June 2013

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Cut and isolate areas with scope boxes in Revit

Ever had a Revit project which is so large that you are having performance issues and trouble working on it? Want to work on a specific area of the building (possibly cores) without being slowed down by the data in the rest of the building?

Using a section box will give you the desired visual effect but the project will still be as heavy as it was prior to narrowing down the view to only show the elements you are presenting / working with.

Setting up worksets to narrow down the elements by cores is also an option, but unless you have set the project up with this in mind, it could take a while to set up and re-edit all your worksets.

An option which me and my colleague Johnny Furlong discovered is making use, yet again of the amazing ‘Coins Auto-Section Box‘ (which is quickly becoming my favourite and most used Revit add-in!).

For this example I will use the Revit sample project as I’m not able to post information on the project we needed to do this on. Go to the ‘View’ tab and select ‘Scope box’ create your box on a floor plan and ensure that the vertical extents are at the desired position on a 3D view.


Once you have done this, we will use the ‘Coins Auto-Section box’ add-in to isolate the scope box, just giving us the area of the building that we want to display / work with. Select the scope box, go to the ‘Add-Ins’ tab and click ‘Auto Section Box’. Name your view and either give a custom size or as I usually do, select the ‘Element extents, plus buffer’ 300mm is the default (giving you a 300mm tolerance on each side of the selected elements).

ImageYou should now have the selected area of your building isolated in a section box. We will now want to highlight this whole area including all elements in the scope box. If you can see other elements that were also selected in your view at this point you can shift de-select all these. Now you will want to click on ‘Hide Element’. The section box and all elements inside will now be hidden. Apply hide/isolate to view.

Staying in the same view, go to your ‘Properties’ palette and turn off your section box. You should now see the rest of your building MINUS the elements that you want to work with. Highlight all the remaining elements and delete them. (Make sure you have a file backup!). Once you have done this, click on your light bulb icon and unhide all elements in view. You will now be left with the elements you want to work with, and a much lighter project.

You will notice that any elements which are attached to this view will also remain (floor slabs + walls which were associated with the selected elements). You can either go and edit each one of these elements, or just use the same method of selecting the scope box and creating a section with the Coins auto-section box add-in. Your project should now be a lot lighter and more workable.

Chances are you hopefully won’t be in the situation where you’ll need to utilise this tip if you’ve planned your Revit project effectively. If you are working on / repairing someone else’s model that may not be the case ;)

Revit MEP and MagiCAD for Revit

It’s been a busy month, reflected by my lack of updates on the blog! Fear not, I will still be posting updates when possible providing I get a spare minute.

Over the last month or so I have been neck deep in some fantastic projects, most notably a large scale Revit MEP project which I have had the pleasure* of converting from 2D CAD files. It has been a great learning curve but also brought to my attention some of the frustrations that Revit MEP users face.

Current MEP

One of the frustrations you face when working in MEP is the lack of generic families available from the Revit libraries. Although as we all know it is possible to create and modify existing families, compared to the other modules in Revit (Arch, Structure) there is a lack of detailed and useful families.

Other features which I feel are lacking, for example re-routing of clashing pipes / ducts etc. Although I’m not suggesting an automatic solution, there should be a simple way to edit and re-route where clashes appear, rather than having to go in and set up sections and manually set offsets for the said systems. I have been using Coins Auto-Section Box (click link for previous blog post) add-in  to no end over the past month as it is a great time saver for quickly creating the areas of the building you need to see in 3D.

Saying this, once you get to learn the ways of Revit MEP you begin to enjoy and see the benefits of the effort you are putting in to learn this new application. One thing I’ve learnt is; Being an expert with Revit Architecture, won’t get you very far using MEP – It’s a learning process, but a fruitful one if given time and patience.

At BIM Show Live 2013 I met with some of the guys who were working for a company called MagiCAD – These guys are working hard on producing and filling the gaps in how you design systems in AutoCAD and Revit MEP. Last week I was contacted and offered a chance to trial there add-in for a 30 day period, I jumped at the chance and am looking forward to getting started and implementing it on my current project to understand how it will improve efficiency.


Over the coming weeks, time permitting; I will be posting a series of blogs regarding working with MagiCAD for Revit MEP. I will try and neutrally portray the benefits and possible areas which I feel are lacking and would like to see further development. If you would like to learn more about MagiCAD you can visit their website here or by clicking on the image above.

After hearing some positive feedback from others in the BIM community, I am looking forward to getting started with MagiCAD for Revit MEP. Almost feels like getting given a present of a new bit of software rather than just an add-in for Revit. I have high expectations so I hope that I’m going to be blown away!

*After a few holes in the walls and a couple of monitors out the window