• Bereket Abebe

If you're new to Revit, this article will be a life saver!

Here are 13 of the most common mistakes new Revit users make:


1- EXPLODE DWG FILE INSIDE REVIT

This is #1 for a reason: exploding a CAD file inside Revit is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

The problem is that Revit will convert all layers into a Line style. That means if you have a large CAD file with a lot of layers, you will have dozens of useless line styles. This can be a nightmare for all BIM managers.


2- DOWNLOAD FREE FAMILIES ONLINE

Most Revit families you will find online can be terrible. A good Revit family should be lean, efficient and without many parameters.

Remember that when something is free, it means you are the product. Manufacturers create Revit families as advertisements for their products. That means their incentive is not to create lean and efficient families. It’s to create families so you will end up buying their products.

For example, most families you will find on online will have a bunch of parameters like phone number, URL and other useless information that doesn’t provide any meaningful value to your project.

The other problem is that they are often built as “super-families”. That means they have 50 options that can be activated by checking parameters. The problem is that the family ends up being 3 MB, which is way too much for what you need. Too many heavy families in a project will cause performance issues.


3- USE WORKSETS FOR VISIBILITY

The Worksets tool is misunderstood. Many users coming from the CAD world think worksets are the same as layers. That’s not the case. Worksets were intended to use to avoid performance issues. You can turn off certain parts of a building so your model will be a little faster.

These days, you should limit the number of worksets to the minimum. A workset for levels, grids and reference planes is a good idea. All other elements should be in a workset called “A-Architecture”. You can create other worksets with prefix Z for linked elements.


4- GO BACK TO CAD FOR DETAILING

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard: “Revit is great for modeling, but we go back to CAD for detailing”.

The problem is that Revit detailing tools are often misunderstood. You have quite a lot of flexibility in how you organize detailing. The most common technique is to add detail components over 3D models. You also have the option to use Drafting Views, which are completely 2D views that are not linked to the model. This is a “2D Safe Space” where you can draft anything you want without being worried about hurting your Revit model.


5- USE FAKE TAGS AND DIMENSIONS

In CAD, there is often a lot of “cheating” to quickly get the visual result you want. You can do the same thing in Revit, but it’s often a deal with the Devil. In the example below, a lazy user created a “Fake Tag” to annotate a wall. Instead of using a label in the tag, the user simply typed a text value. That means if the wall type is modified in the properties, that tag won’t be updated. Some beginners think they will save time when using such techniques, but you will get in trouble at some point.


6- OVERUSE 2D ELEMENTS

Finding out how much to model and how much to annotate is a fine work of balance in Revit. In many cases, you must be careful not to overuse 2D elements. Revit allows you to use lines and masking regions, which are annotation elements that only appear in a view. While these tools might be useful in detailing views, some users overuse them in plan views to represent real geometry.


7- CREATE DUMB LEGENDS AND PLAN NOTES

Another remnant of the CAD world is the dumb legend system. Many users create dumb text to annotate the plan views. “Dumb” means there is no link between the numbering of notes in the plan view and the description in the legend. That means the chance of error is quite high.


8- OVERMODEL SMALL 3D ELEMENTS

Some passionate users get excited and start to over-model everything. A good rule of thumb is to not model things that are under 4’’ (100mm), depending on the project of course. In some cases, it might be a good idea to model these elements, especially if you will use the model for renderings. If not, it’s probably a little too much. A simple drafting view with the profile of the molding should be enough.


9- DELETE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS BY MISTAKE

Revit beginners will often inadvertently delete important elements like levels and grids. That’s often a problem with former AutoCAD users, where deleting a line is not that big of a deal.


10- MOVING ELEMENTS BY MISTAKE

Another frequent issue is moving elements by mistake. A major cause is a selection option called “Drag Elements on Selection”. This option is located at the bottom right of your screen. When activated, you will be able to select and move elements in a single click. From my experience, this tool causes a lot of problems and should be deactivated by default. Click on the small icon and a small red X should appear. That means the option is now turned off.


11- PLACE BUILDING FAR FROM INTERNAL ORIGIN

The coordinate system inside of Revit can be a mess. One of the things you need to know is that there is an invisible internal origin in all Revit projects. This origin cannot be moved. By default, this origin will be used when importing and exporting files to CAD or other formats. It is different from the Survey Point and the Project Base Point. This origin is invisible by default. It is represented by reference planes in the image below.


12- PLACE TOO MANY RPC FAMILIES FOR RENDERINGS

It is becoming more and more common to render directly in Revit by using great plugins.

The downside is that people now place a bunch of objects in their Revit models that are only used for renderings. You obviously don’t want to print a set of CD documents only to find out there are a bunch of birds, cars, plants, and wine glasses in your plans.


13- NOT KEEPING AN ORGANIZED PROJECT BROWSER

Keep your project browser organized, or else you're going to run into some problems. In your BIM standards, make sure to have a clear way to name views. A good tip is to add a number prefix at the beginning of all view names.

For more details and examples, please email us at info@vanbower.com

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