Deleting a Floor

The other day at the office I had to delete a floor from one of my Revit models. Yes, I know, the horror! However, just follow this quick tutorial, and before you know it, you will just be deleting floors from all of your projects for fun! Disclaimer: I do not endorse making buildings smaller.

I came to the realization that the best practice to do this is to just get rid of a typical floor within the center of the building. For example, if you have a 50 story building, and floors 10 – 40 are typical, pick any one of those floors to get rid of. The method I do not recommend is deleting the roof level and renaming level 50 to roof. This will lead you down a very scary path of un-referenced walls, roofs and other things that need a reference (which, by the way is everything).

Take a loot at our starting example below:Initial Floors Example

What you need to do first is to delete everything on the floor you wish to get rid of. In our example let’s delete the 6th floor. Remove all of the windows, doors and other various objects that are hosted to level 6. You also want to go to the plan view and delete all of the interior objects that are hosted to level 6 (interior partitions, furniture, fixtures, etc.). It is very important to complete this step before removing the actual level to prevent any overlapping objects or floaters. Go to the elevation view, select level 6 (or the level you wish to remove) and hit delete. Your elevation should look like the example below:

Deleted Floors

Select all of the levels above where 6 used to be, and move them down to where level 6 was back in the day. Our imaginary project has floor-to-floor heights of 10′-0″, so I moved everything down 10′-0″. See the example below:

Floors Removed

Rename all of your levels accordingly. Consider that floor removed.

Keep in mind, if you have to add a floor to a large building, you can do the same thing, but just in reverse. Insert the new level in the center of the building, move the levels you need up, and rename accordingly.

Please note that this example really only works if the building is just too tall and it needs to be shorter. If your client (or boss) really hates the top floor of your building and wants to get rid of it altogether, then you can remove the Roof level and rename the next floor to Roof.

UPDATE! If for some reason you get an error message stating that “Elements will be deleted”, check to see if you have Disjoin checked in the options bar. If you do, un-check it!

Deleting a Floor

Audit Revit Files

When you think of auditing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The IRS? Your taxes? Those extra ‘business’ lunches you’ve been taking? That’s crazy, we all know those lobsters your order every Friday is for clients.

The fist thing that should really pop into your mind is getting rid errors from your Revit files, and kill the bloat! Follow along with this short video and learn how to get your Revit files running smoother than your next business lunch.

Audit Revit Files

Create Placeholder Sheets

Placeholder sheets in Revit are a great way to set up sheets that you will use in the near future, but don’t want to actually have the sheet show up in your project browser. The tricky part is there is no “placeholder sheet” tool so we will have to go through a few steps.

  1. Create a new project
  2. Create a new Sheet List by going to the View tab > Create Panel > Schedules > Sheet List

Creating a Sheet List

The Sheet List Properties will pop up.

  1. Make sure that the “Fields” tab is select and on the left side, click on Sheet Number. Hit Add –>
  2. Click on Sheet Name and hit Add –> again
  3. If your dialog box resembles the image below, hit OK

Sheet List Properties

You are now in the sheet list view. Time to add some new rows to create the placeholder sheets.

  1. Under the Modify Sheet List tab, go to the Rows panel and click New row.
  2. Every time you click on new row, it will add a blank sheet to your file, and you will see the Sheet List below begin to populate
  3. Note that you can change the name of the drawing by clicking where it says Unnamed

New Row

When you are ready to actually use the placeholder sheets, click on New Sheet (see image above) and pick from the list of pre-made sheets.


Create Placeholder Sheets

Keep Shadows off in Shaded Views when Rendering

Just a heads up, when you are rendering a perspective view, you do not need to keep the shadows turned on in the viewport. The shadows will still be rendered in the final rendering regardless of the status of viewport. That way you won’t need to waste time waiting for your computer to re-gen every time you make a small change to the material or lighting.

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Keep Shadows off in Shaded Views when Rendering

Mass Floor Area Schedule

This post is a continuation of the previous post, Conceptual Mass. Here we will take the conceptual mass we created and generate a schedule of the floors, each floor’s square footage and the total square footage of the mass (soon to be building).

Open up the mass file that you just created, or feel free to use any other mass that you may have lying around. Go to the 3D view and select the mass, and the ribbon will change to Modify | Mass. Select the Mass Floors tool.

Mass Floors

You will then be faced with the Mass Floors dialogue box. Simply select all of the floors as shown below. Hit OK. This will create a “mass floor” at a point at which a level intersects the mass. You can select the roof level, but it will not make a difference in this case because there is no “mass” above that point so Revit will not create a floor there. However, if the mass extends above the roof level, a mass floor will be created – so don’t bother massing the parapet walls if you want accurate floor areas.

Mass Floor Dialogue Box

The mass should look something like this:

Mass with Floors

Press escape a bunch of times. On the View tab, go to Schedules > Schedule / Quantities button.


The New Schedule Dialogue box will pop up and chose Mass > Mass Floors from the list on the left. Name the schedule whatever you like, you can always change it later on in life. Leave everything else as-is and hit OK. Now for the Schedule Properties. The list on the left contains potential available properties to add to the schedule while the list on the right (hopefully it is more less blank) contains the fields that you added to the schedule. Select Level and click on the Add –> button. Select Floor Area and click on the same Add –> button. Your properties should look like the image below. Don’t hit OK just yet.

Schedule Properties

Switch to the Sorting/Grouping tab. On the bottom, check Grand totals and choose Title and totals. Next, go to the Formatting tab. In the Fields column on the left side, choose Floor Area and check “Calculate totals”.

Schedule Properties 2

You may or may not want a comma for your numbers that have more than 3 digits. If you do want the commas, click on the Field Format… button (as seen in the image above). Un-check “Use project settings” and select “Use digit grouping”. Hit OK! The view will automatically jump to the new schedule view (see below).

Floor Schedule

And there you have it, a floor area schedule showing 67,500 SF total square feet. Now if Revit could only just interpret the zoning text for you…

Mass Floor Area Schedule

Conceptual Mass

Creating massing diagrams and zoning studies can be time consuming and tricky. No, Revit won’t help you better understand the zoning text, but it will help you create a coordinated zoning study between your 3D massing diagram and your preliminary floor area schedule (zoning and gross). You won’t need files upon files of polylines and spreadsheet – you will just need one Revit file. Sort of like Hamburger Helper, but without the ground beef or pan. I’ll show you the most efficient way of creating a conceptual mass that I use almost everyday at work. This will be the great basis for any zoning study and preliminary design stages.

Create a new project and go to the to the East elevation view. There you will see 2 levels. Select level 2 and copy it up 10′-0″ (point the mouse straight up just type 10 and press enter). Ensure that the constrain and multiple boxes are checked, keep copying the levels until you reach level 16. Double click on level 16 and rename it to Roof. Naturally, you can adjust the floor-to-floor heights and amount of floors to suit your project needs but I decided to pick nice easy round numbers.

Click the house on the quick access toolbar and go to the 3D View. Under the massing and site tab, click on in-place mass – you are now is mass sketch mode. If you get a notice informing you that Revit has enabled the Show Mass mode, that’s great. Hit close because this doesn’t concern us for now. Name the mass whatever you like. Click on Reference line, then click on the rectangle tool (see below). This will be the reference lines that will drive our in-place mass form.

Ensure that the Placement Plane is on Level: Level 1 (this can be seen right on the option bar just below the ribbon). Draw a rectangle that is 50′ x 100′. If you draw the rectangle and it is not quite the right size, select an individual line by using the tab key and change the temporary dimensions. Please note that reference lines in the mass editor will automatically highlight the entire chain, you have to use the tab key to get to the individual line. Or you could quickly double click on a line, that seems to work to get to a single line within a chain.

Press Escape twice and select all of the lines (one click). The Ribbon will automatically change to Modify | Reference Lines. Select – Create Form on the Form panel.

Create Form button

If prompted, select the button on the left showing the 3D form, rather than the flat plane on the right. This will create a solid box.

Form type selction

You will see the 2D rectangle change into a full-grown mass right before your very eyes. On the left site you will see a temporary dimension illustrating the height of the mass, select it and change that number to 100′-0″. If you click away from the mass before you change the height, hover your mouse of the top plane of the mass you should see only the top plane highlight. Click on the top plane and your temporary dimension will return – tab not required. Note that since the top of this is 100′-0″ height, this is the same height as Level 11.

Press escape twice to end everything. Click on the Reference line then rectangle again. Set the Placement Plane to Level: Level 11. This will ensure that we are drawing directly on top of our current mass at Level 11 (see below).

Draw on Work Plane

Using the reference line, rectangle, click on the corner indicated by the red star and then snap to nearest end as shown by the pink X. The shorter dimension should be exactly 50′-0″ and the other dimension can be anything; we will change it in a second.


Using the tab key, select the line indicated below and change the temporary dimension to 70′-0″.

Setback 2

Press escape twice and then select the entire chain of the newly created reference lines. The Ribbon will automatically change to Modify | Reference Lines. Select – Create Form on the Form panel.

Create Form button

If prompted, select the button on the left showing the 3D form, rather than the flat plane on the right. This will create a solid box.

Form type selction

Change the vertical temporary dimension to 50′-0″ as shown below. Note that the top of the mass should be our roof level at 150′-0″.

Setback 3

Under the Modify tab, click on the Join tool and click the top box, followed by the bottom box. This command joins the 2 box so they will act as one. Click the green check to complete the mass.

Join mass

Cliffhanger alert! In the next post I will show you how to calculate the total floor area of the mass.

New Gorillapod Video!

Conceptual Mass

Return to Previous Tab

You may enjoy the fact that when you select on an object in Revit, the ribbon automatically switches to the Modify tab, and when you deselect the object it returns back to your previous tab. However, this is not the case in the family editor – the default behavior in the family editor is to remain on the Modify tab after you deselect an object. If you are happy with the feature then great! Continue onto the next post. But if this drives you bananas, then please keep on reading.

First, go to the Revit application menu (the big R in the top left corner) and click on Options. Click on the User Interface tab and within the Tab Display Behavior section click on “Return to the previous tab” under the In the family editor section.

Return to Previous tab option

And that should just about do it.

Return to Previous Tab

Create Plan Views from Existing Levels

If you use the create level tool, every time you place a new level in an elevation you will create a new plan view and reflected ceiling plan view. If you copy the level object in an elevation, you will only create the level and will not create any floor plan views. This may seem annoying but I like to see the glass as half full. If you simply copy levels, you can create levels without bogging down your file or filling up your project browser with needless views when you are in the preliminary design phases of your project. Works great if you are working on a 50 story building and do not need to show every single floor.

If you delete a floor plan VIEW or reflected ceiling plan VIEW from the project browser, you will NOT delete the actual level from the file. To delete the level in its entirety, go to an elevation and select the unwanted level and delete it.

Don’t despair, we can get the plan views back from the other universe if they have been erased or never existed. Go to the View tab > Create panel and click on plan views. Check the levels you would like to create a plan view from and hit OK. Go to any elevation view and take note of the colors of the levels – black means that there is not a plan view created while blue means that there is a plan view created.

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Create Plan Views from Existing Levels

Curb Appeal 2

This post is a continuation of the previous post, Curb Appeal, but just a more time consuming method. Creating curbs using the method described in the easy way is good enough for site plan drawings and renderings that are far enough away that a great level of detail in the height of the curb is not necessary, but when your camera is close enough to your building, you may want to add more detail and height to the curb.

Before you go crazy, don’t bother looking for the curb tool on the site tab (or any other tab), there isn’t one; we will make our curb by using a roof. First things first, create a new project. Go to the site plan view and create a 50′ x 50′ rectangle using the Detail Line on the Annotate tab. You cannot type in the exact dimensions while creating the rectangle, so just make it any size and change the dimensions after by clicking on a vertical line and type 50′ in the temporary dimension and then a horizontal line and type 50′ in the temporary dimensions. This rectangle is only for our reference and can be deleted after the topo surface is complete.

50' x 50' Rectangle

Under the Massing & Site tab, Model Site panel, create a Toposurface. Add a point at each of the corners of the rectangle so that you end up with 4 points total. Press Escape twice or click Modify to end the command.

Select the 2 points on the right and change their elevation to 10′ in the options bar, just under the ribbon. If you did it correctly, you should see 9 vertical lines appear, each line being a contour line at 1′-0″ intervals as seen below. Now we have a slope to our site. Click the big green check to finish the sketch.

Sloped Surface

Go to the site plan view. Under the Home tab > Build panel, click on the Roof > Roof by Footprint button which will bring you into sketch mode. You may get a notice that your are drawing the roof on the lowest level, change it to Level 1 and hit Yes.

Draw a rectangle that is 20′ x 8′ (this could be a simple parking lot island). Press Esc twice. Again, you will have to change the temporary dimensions: click a vertical line and change the dimension to 20′, click a horizontal line and change the dimension to 8′. Fillet the corners with a 2′ radius using the Fillet Arc tool (this button has a vertical and horizontal line connected by a blue arch. You must check the Radius box on the options bar (just under the ribbon) and type in 2′.

Use a window selection to select all of the magenta sketch lines, including the curves – they will all turn blue once selected. Un-check the box next to Defines Slope so that the roof will be completely flat (no slope). You can also find the Defines slope in the property pallet. If you did this correctly, all of those little triangles will disappear.

Press Escape to deselect everything and click on the Edit Type button. Click on Duplicate next to the Type. Rename it to Curb 6″. Click the Edit… button next to Structure, this will open the Edit Assembly dialogue.

Under the Material column, change the material to Concrete – Cast in Place Concrete. You should see a little box with 3 dots appear when you click on the <By Category>, this will bring up the Material browser, and select Concrete – Cast-in-Place Concrete. Hit OK to bring you back to the Edit Assembly dialogue box. Under the Thickness column, change change the value to 8″. Hit OK to close the Edit Assembly. Hit OK again to close the Type Properties. Finish the sketch. Note: although we are making a 6″ curb, we are making the thickness of the roof material 8″ so that we can ensure that are are no gaps between the topo surface and the curb.

Go to the default 3D view by clicking on the house on the quick access toolbar or {3D} in the Project Browser. Select the roof, and the ribbon will automatically switch to Modify | Roofs. Click on Modify sub components. You may have to orbit the view to see the roof/curb. Note: If you don’t see the Modify Sub Elements, then your roof still has a slope, see above for how to remove the slope from the roof.

For every point of the roof sketch line there will green box. Select one of those boxes (not a line), and two green up/down arrows will pop up. Click on “Front” on the View Cube. Drag the up arrow up, until it is at the same height as the Toposurface (I.E. 0″ above the site). Now drag it up again another 6″.

Orbit the view again so you can pick another point. Select a point and then click on “Front” on the View Cube again and repeat the process. Do this for all of the points until the roof object is 6″ above the Toposurface. Repeat this process for each point (drag the point to 0″ above the site and then up 6″), until all points are 6″ above the site. If you accidentally click away from the roof or hit escape, you will exit out of sub element mode; just select the roof again and then click on Modify sub elements and continue the process.

You may notice that the curves of the roof don’t look so great. Select the roof again and go to the Modify | Roofs tab and click on Add Point (see the image above for the button). Hover your pointer over the midpoint of the curve all you will see the magenta triangle appear indicating that you are snapping to the midpoint and click to put the point right on the midpoint. If you are having trouble hitting the midpoint, right click, go to Snap Overrides > Midpoints. Drag the new point down 6″ in the same way as before. Add a new point at the rest of the midpoints of the curves and drag them all down to 6″ above the Toposurface. This will never look exactly perfect because our slope is so steep – you can add more points if you are so inclined, but the benefit is minimal and the time spent is great.

Select the roof/curb and press CTRL-C to copy it to the clipboard (don’t use the copy tool). Go to the Modify tab > Clipboard panel and click Paste > Aligned to Same Place. This will put a copy of our roof in the exact same place as the original.

We have two exact same roofs, but we need to cut a hole out of one of them so we will be left with a 6″ curb along the outside. We will also have to trim the other curb down by 6″ as to reveal the curb and show grass on the inside.

Go to the “top” view of the 3D view. You can do this by clicking on the TOP of the view cube. Go to the Home tab > Opening panel, and click Vertical. Click on one of the roofs (it does not matter at this point) and the ribbon will switch to Modify | Openings.

On the right side of the ribbon, click on the pick lines tool (the button with the pointer over the green line). On the options bar, change the offset to 6″. Hover your pointer over the edge of the roof and position the pointer slightly to the inside of the roof so you see the dashed line on the inside appear. Because of the complex geometry of our roof object, using the tab key will not give you a continuous chain of lines and you will have to individually select each segment until your sketch lines match the image below. Finish the sketch when you are done. You may or may not get a warning about the thickness of the roof, just ignore it if you do.

Roof offset with pick lines

Now, let’s trim down the other roof by 6″ as to reveal the curb. While still in the TOP view, select the roof without the opening. Use the tab tab key to highlight the roofs, and look for the roof that only highlights around the outside of it being that there is no hole in the middle.

Roof Select

Click on Edit Footprint after you have made your selection – you are now in sketch mode. Click on the Offset tool (left image). In the options bar, type in 6″ for the offset. And right next to where you type in the offset, click on Copy to un-check it – this will remove the original set of lines.

Offset Tool

Hover your pointer over one of the existing magenta sketch lines, but position it so it is slightly toward the inside of the roof – you should see a blue dashed line appear toward the inside of the roof. Keeping the pointer in the same spot, press the tab and all of the magenta lines will turn to blue (as seen in the image below). Click once and the roof object will be 6″ smaller around all four sides (as seen in the second image below). In the Properties pallet, change the Base Offset From Level to 1.5″. This will make our grass section appear to be slightly higher than the curb. Finish the sketch.

Roof trimSelect the toposurface and change its material to Site – Asphalt under the Properties pallet. Select the inner roof and change its material to Site – Grass by: select the roof, click on Edit Type on the Properties pallet, click Duplicate, rename it to Grass curb, click the edit button next to Structure, under the material column change the value to Site – Grass. Hit OK a few times to get back to the drawing window.

Finished Curb

And there you have it, a detailed parking lot island with a real 6″ curb height.

Curb Appeal 2