Revit Structure: What’s New in 2019
Most of the new features for Structural in Revit® 2019 enhance the tools for those who do more detailed models or use Revit to develop shop drawing-level structural models. These new features were developed to provide more detail to the model and to use Revit as a starting point for developing fabrication models. This article will discuss those new structural features, enhancements to some features that we first saw in Revit 2018, and enhancements to improve the interoperability with detailing software such as Advance Steel.
New tools were added in this year’s release of Revit to enhance the modeling and development of steel connections and documentation of structural models.
The enhanced structural steel tools are located in a separate steel connection tool palette next to the structural tab that is used for all other modeling of the structure. This new Steel palette contains tools for modeling connections, plates and other fabrication elements such as bolts and welds. This tool palette also contains tools for making precision modifications to modeled members for better documentation of special cuts and copes of members. This is done through the parametric modifiers.
Other enhancements to Revit 2019 (structural specific tools) include Structural Pre-cast enhancements, Transfer Steel data, and free form rebar shape matching.
Autodesk also upgraded the look and feel of the overall performance of Revit with some general tools to make modeling a little more efficient. Some of these tools help with workflow and others are nice adds for appearance and presentation of the end product,
Steel Tool Palette
One important thing to remember when using the tools in the Steel tab is that these items are for higher level detailing of the model. Therefore, for elements to display properly in the model you need to use the Fine level of detail setting. If fine level of detail is not set for the active view, the objects will not display and you will see the default warning indicating objects may not show properly.
The Steel Connection tools that appeared in 2017 can still be found under the Structure tab, and still work the same. In 2019 you will now see also see a Steel tab. This tab contains the tool palette for the new connection tools.
Figure 1: Steel tool palette
The first tool in the new Steel tool palette is the steel connection tool. This tool works the same as the connection tool that appears in the Structure tab. They access the same library of connections and work just like they did in the previous versions of Revit. First you load the connections to the project from the library, then place the connection in the model. While the connection is still highlighted in the 3D view, select the desired connection from the properties dialog.
Tip: if the connection doesn’t display in the 3D view, check to make sure that the view detail level is set to fine (sometimes you need to switch the detail level to Coarse or Medium then back to Fine to get the connections to display initially).
After the connections are added to the model, you can modify the default settings by selecting the connection and using Modify Parameter in the properties dialog. When selected, this opens a dialog box with all the settings associated with the selected connection such as plate information, bolt/weld settings, and cope information, to name a few. When you are finished, simply select the apply button to accept the modifications and the model will update accordingly.
Figure 2: Clip angle connection
The next group of tools is Fabrication Elements, which is used for modeling plates, placing bolts (bolts, anchors, holes and shear studs), and welds in the model. When modeling plates, bolts, and welds, you can group these items to develop a library of custom connections you frequently use from project to project. The help file has guidelines to building custom connections that can be helpful when setting up a custom connections library.
Another group of tools found in the Steel palette are the model modifiers, which are used to further detail objects in the structural model by adding modifiers to such objects as plates and beams. These modifiers add features to elements so you can create pieces and parts details from modeled objects. An example of this process is documenting and detailing connection plates for a braced frame or a moment connection. The tools in this group allow you to add cuts, copes to skewed modeled members, and shorten members and contours to modeled objects before adding annotations to the members.
The last group of tools (new to Revit 2019) in the new Steel palette are the Parametric Cuts. These are the coping tools, miter tools cut through and cut by tools for punching holes in members to be detailed. These tools are used again to add features to modeled members that will then be used to create detailed views for pieces and parts for fabrication or construction documents.
With the release of Revit 2018 we saw the addition of Structural Precast tools for modeling. In Revit 2019 Autodesk has enhanced the Precast Modeling tools by adding Precast Lattice Girder Slabs automation. This enhancement means that structural walls and floors can be divided into configurable panels and floor assemblies in your models for detailing the building components for the project.
Autodesk has also exposed the API features so you can create and modify drawing information for precast elements. This ability allows you to customize the precast tools to accommodate individual firm’s workflows. The precast concrete industry is a highly complex and specialized workflow and each firm has likely developed their own workflows over the years. Exposing the API language allows those companies to customize and develop tools for Revit to help them maximize their modeling efficiencies for precast objects.
Miscellaneous Structural Enhancements
Other enhancements to the Revit Structural platform in 2019 include the transfer of steel elements to Advance Steel and Rebar shape matching.
Revit 2019 enhancements gives users the ability to now transfer steel plates, bolts, anchors, welds and connections from Revit to Advance Steel for further detailing and to develop more detailed drawings of elements and connections to the model. Advanced Steel is more of a shop drawing level of detail modeling than Revit. With this enhancement there are more objects that can be exported out of the Revit model for detailing with Advance Steel.
In Revit 2019 Autodesk made some enhancements to improve the scheduling and annotations of rebar. Autodesk has enhanced free form rebar to now match existing rebar shape families or create new families from the bar geometry definitions. Other rebar enhancements include the development of rebar schedules. This ability lists the location, mark, type, and size to name a few, but the scheduling tools also include shape images to the rebar schedule, making for a more detailed set of drawings.
Revit Platform Enhancements
Along with the structural platform new features and enhancements, Autodesk also implemented multiple new features that apply to all disciplines that enhance the modeling environment.
Some of the new features added to the general overall performance of Revit will be a big improvement moving forward. It will take time to get accustomed to some of the new tools just because of workflows that have been developed over the years to work with what was available. Other tools allow for a quicker transition, making it difficult to go back to working on old projects where you will miss these new features.
One feature I like is the new Tab Views. Now when you open multiple views it places them as tabs along the top of the view window, like tabs in a web browser. The ctrl + Tab key still cycles through open views in your model.
After the views are tabbed across the top, you can grab and slide the tabs into a specific order if desired. If you select the Tile Views icon, the views will rearrange on the screen as in previous versions of Revit. To arrange the views back in the tab order you can simply drag the view frame and drop them on one of the other view frames or use the Tab Views icon to return to a tabbed view.
Another tool that many users have long waited for is the ability to display the level names in a 3D view. This tool works like levels in an elevation or section view in older versions of Revit. To expand the level line, it is best to make sure that the section box is turned on in the 3D view. This will allow you to select the edge of the section box and expand the level line by the level work plane. Level information such as level name and elevation can now be modified either in elevation or in 3D views simply by selecting or de-selecting the check box next to the datum marker in the view.
Autodesk added the ability to now utilize multi-monitor workstations in Revit 2019. Let’s face it—most Revit users have multiple monitor systems and would take advantage of the extra real-estate by moving views to the second monitor. Sure, you can span the single application window across multiple monitors, but to me it’s just not the same as being able to pull a model window to a second monitor and quickly see a change in another view as the model is modified, or to be able to zoom into a specific area when looking at a connection while working the model in a second view.
The general feature I like the most is the ability to now create filters with conditional rules. This will make filters much more flexible for people to use. Autodesk has added the ability to string together multiple rules using the “and” & “or” statements to rules. Rules that use the “and” constraint are only applied if all statements are true, while when using the “or” statement only one rule has to satisfy the argument in order to be applied to the model.
Kenn Farr is the BIM Manager for Teasley Services Group and has more than 24 years of experience in modeling, development, and implementation of technology.