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

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.

334771_What Happens 468X60

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

Curb Appeal

You may have noticed that there is no site or civil version of Revit; only Architecture, MEP & Structure. Having said that, you may also notice that there is no curb tool in Revit Architecture. Follow along below to see how to make a curb using two different methods – the quick method yielding flat results or the time and file size consuming method yielding true curb and height differences. The two options really depend on how much time you have to complete the project, the slope of your site and where you will position the camera. If you know that the camera is going to be close enough that you will see the curb height change then it might be worth the extra effort, otherwise keep it simple. I will post the hard way in the next post.

First let’s make a site with a decent slope. Go to the site plan view and draw a rectangle that is 50′ x 50′ using the Detail Lines; this is just for our reference and you should delete it when you are done.

50' x 50' Rectangle

Go to the Massing & Site tab and click on topography. Add 4 points over the corners of the rectangle that you just made. Select the 2 points on the right and change the elevation to 10′. Now our site has a slope.

Sloped Surface

Under the same Massing & Site tab, create a subregion. Draw a rectangle that is 20′ x 8′ (this could be a simple parking lot island). Fillet the corners with a 2′ radius using the Fillet Arc tool (no knives required).

Select all of the lines you just created, including the arcs and copy them by pressing CTRL-C (not the copy tool from the ribbon). Keeping the copy option on, offset the lines out 6″. Finish the sketch by clicking the green check. Create another subregion that has the same exact boundary as the inner ring of the subregion you just created. I would say to use the pick lines tool, but apparently you cannot pick lines with subregions, so we will paste in the lines from the previous sketch that we just copied. Under the Modify | Edit Boundary tab, click the down arrow under Paste and choose  Aligned to Current View. You must still be in the site plan view for this to work. This will paste the exact sketch lines into this subregion so there is no need to redraw it all. Finish the sketch.

Now for the materials. Go to the Properties pallet, select the topography itself and change its material to Site – Asphalt. Select the inner subregion and chang its material to Site – Grass. Select the outer ring subregion and chang its material to any type of concrete material you desire.

And there you have it…a parking lot island.

Curb Appeal