Revit ‘WFRC” Methods: Walls, Floors, Roofs & Ceilings
Editor’s note: In a desire to open this forum up to many voices, we present an author with a deep passion for bringing Revit understanding to others. Although English is not Behzad’s main language we present this article in the hopes that the methods written about come through nonetheless and come through adding value. Without further ado, please enjoy the concepts herein and get down with WFRC.
In the process of building we can have many problems and mistakes. These problems mostly come from misunderstandings about the workflows and details for construction. To solve these important issues in construction and installation is worth our attention. To reduce the cost of overworking, designers can use details that help coworkers and construction teams in the building industry.
To start the discussion of enhancing production workflows there are some new and not-so-new tools that can be used to these ends. Create Part is an example of one of these and it has been available in Revit since 2012.
Designers and engineers need to present project parts such as walls, floors, roofs, and ceilings as best they can. 2D and 3D presentation are the two primary ways to explain intended detail to others.
According to design processes, the use of parts can be used as a base idea where each view of a presentation could be different and variable for our intended needs.
We first want to have quick look at 3D presentation methods by explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Then we’ll introduce a new method and compare the new method with the previous one.
Quick Look at Current Methods
Always in need of improving our workflows for better results, we want to improve the method for 3D presentations. With this step- by-step, you might find some improvements. Let’s see…
1. Detailing the Structure of a System Family: Wall, Floor, Roof, Ceiling (WFRC)
Figure 1: Modeling with WFRC Edit Structure dialog
I should say this is the base for all methods we are using in Autodesk® Revit®. You can try to add more objects with the tools in the Edit Structure dialog.
- Base rule for most of detailing method.
- Fast modeling.
- Simple method.
- Overall scheduling is okay (not for special detail).
- Do not need complex tricks or tips.
- Limited ability for detailing particularly in the vertical elements.
- Many limitations in pattern details.
- Limits for creating free space as a Layer.
2. Combination of WFRC Modeling and Create Part Command
This command, released in the 2012 version of Revit, gives us a huge ability for 3D detailing.
Figure 2: Modeling with WFRC Edit Structure Dialog and Create Part command
- Create parts according to layers and split area in the WFRC structure.
- Many options for extend model and detail after the parts are created.
- Create Schedules from parts that are created with the Create Part command.
- Part shapes and geometry are coming from the layers in the WFRC structure dialog.
- Many weaknesses in pattern details.
- Still no option for vertical component because we have all wall layers in the horizontal extend.
3. Combination of WFRC Modeling Create Part Command and Place Component Tools
Now we have WFRC modeling and we can extend our model with the Create Part command, but we are still missing something—for example, some vertical parts such as stud, some fastening parts, and many other things that we are not able to create with regular tools in Revit. We can add solid objects with the Place Component command.
Figure 3: Modeling with WFRC Edit Structure dialog, Create Part command, and Family
- Include the advantages that we talked in the previous method.
- Add solid model and new shapes with family modeling.
- Cannot add detail over the shapes of the parts that are coming from the Create Part command.
Many Revit teams use phasing, creating a “prior” phase to place models into where they don't interfere with the main project model.
Example: Imagine you want to present your detail in 3D view where you have floor with the circle boundary and windows, shade, and furniture.
Introduction with the Base Concept of New Method
We can call the new method Combination of All Commands for Detailing According to Priority (CACDAP).
Workflow for this Method
You can create the regular parts of building in the project area, like you always did, but I’m talking about WFRC categories.
The procedure for the next step is different from the previous.
The first difference is about the changing priority in Create Part Command and Place Components. Now you can use Place Component at first, then use Create Part.
The second difference is about the why we need the Place Components command. In the previous method I said we use this tool for adding solid models over the WFRC categories, but now we want to cut some volume for WFRC categories in the project area when we need 3D presentation.
As you see this is a simple change in the priority of commands and little change in the cut with family. The result is completely perfect and useful.
Now I will show you how you can use this method in different situation.
Exterior Finish Layer Sample
In this example (see Figure 4) we are modeling an exterior wall, cutting the layers to different offsets, and also adding some bevels.
Figure 4: The method for exterior layers of walls
For Create detail like this you need a wall width regular layer in the exterior side as stone. Remember the thickness of the stone layer is important for which family we want to place on the exterior face of the wall.
Also you need a family width Void Form shape and you will remember to turn on “Cut with Voids When Loaded.”
Figure 5: Cut for exterior stone patterns
After all of the preparation you need to create your project without any concern for presentation. Make a duplicate from 3D view or create a camera view, place the Void Form family on the exterior face of the wall, use the Cut command from the Modify ribbon, select which wall you need to present, and then select Void family. To finish the procedure, you can select the wall and run the Create Part command.
Structure Layer Sample
The whole procedure is the same with exterior side, but you can add some Solid Form into the family for adding some detail over the wall.
As you see in Figure 6, we have some bricks in the structure layer of the wall and you can see we need to cut with Void Form from the wall and fill this area with Bricks. You don’t need to place two families on the wall—you can manage the entire family, creating a Bricks family and a Cement family, then put all of them into the new family. I prefer to use face-based family—you can create a Void form into the target family and make cuts from the host object and create some relation between the length, width, and depth according to the number of columns, rows, and the depth of brick.
Figure 6: Structure layer
Now in the project area you can create wall and then go to the Plan View and run the Place Component command. You need to put your cursor over the line of structure layer and press the Tab key on your keyboard to highlight this line. Now you are able to place your family.
Cut and bricks are automatically created and now you can select the Wall and Brick family, then you can use the Create Part command.
With this workflow you can present a floor with all the detail you need.
At first you have all of the advantages of the previous method, but what about another one?
- You can create a 3D presentation depending on what you modeled in the project area.
- You are able to create many shapes off patterns with the different dimension according to the layer of the WFRC family and Void Form family.
- This is a simple rule for creating detail without any extended knowledge.
Basic Advice for Better Results
- Create a library for yourself with some regular shapes such as Stud, Bricks, and Fastening Part.
- Create a library for yourself with the regular shape for cut from the WFRC categories and remember: in most situations when you want create a pattern like a tile or stone cut, paving, and so on, it is better to use the Cut family instead of Solid.
- You can bring many Fastening Parts from Autodesk Inventor®.
Figure 7: Fastening part
- Face-based family is the best type of family for detailing this way, but you can use other types as well.
Export Final Result to Inventor and Create IPN file
Now you have everything you need in the final result. I prefer to export the detail parts to SAT format and import the file to Autodesk Inventor in Assembly mode.
You have opportunity to make an IPN file for showing how these parts should be assembled over and over (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Inventor IPN
Behzad Meskini is a BIM manager, BIM trainer, 3D modeler, and 3D modeling software trainer. He has more than 19 years of experience with 3D modeling software and is an Autodesk Certified Professional in 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Inventor Pro, and Revit Architecture, Structure, and MEP. Behzad volunteers as an Autodesk beta tester and was a speaker at Autodesk University ASEAN 2016.