Wall Management and Coordination

Set the Ground Rules

In a perfectly executed project, all disciplines meet early on and define who owns what portion of the BIM model. We all know that seldom happens and more often than not there are deadlines and budget constraints that dramatically affect the project workflow.  The key for any discipline is to develop workflows and procedures that help when collaborating with other disciplines. In this article we will take a look at using filters and the Copy/Monitor tool to help manage walls inside your Autodesk® Revit® Structure model.

Understanding Some Visibility Basics

Walls have a property that determines their structural usage. The combination of the structural usage and the discipline of the view determines whether or not a wall is even displayed. For example, when you link in a Revit Architectural model from a consultant only to find out none of the walls are visible in your plan view. The reason, most likely, is that the architectural firm did not bother to assign any structural usage for the walls, and the discipline of your view is set to Structural. You can confirm this by setting the discipline of your view to Coordination to have your walls magically appear.

Figure 1: Structural usage of wall property

Figure 2: View discipline

Parts Versus Copy/Monitor

The structural engineer couldn’t care less about the finishes on a wall and is only concerned with the core or structural component of a wall. With that said, there are a couple options that people explore to solve this problem. You could request the architect to convert the walls into parts and set up a view that has the visibility of the finishes turned off and only the structural core left on.

Figure 3: Create parts

There are a couple of issues with this workflow. The first is the additional work this will cause the architect, the second is that these walls are in the Architectural model when the end goal is to have them reside in the Structural model for analysis.

Using the Copy/Monitor tool, the structural engineer can copy the walls from the Arch model into the Structural model, which creates a relationship between the two instances of the wall in case there is a change.

Figure 4: Architectural linked wall

Figure 4 shows the wall linked in from the Architectural model. Also, there are two annotation lines showing the core boundary of the wall.  When using the Copy/Monitor tool, make sure you substitute the appropriate wall type to replace the architectural wall type you are copying. Also verify your location line alignment so your structural wall is in the correct place, matching the wall from the Architectural model.

Figure 5: Copy/Monitor options

Figure 6 shows the resulting wall highlighted, which is now coordinated with the Architectural model.  This allows the Structural model to have a wall present in the model that can be assigned structural properties and to stay coordinated with the wall in the Architectural model. If the architectural wall moves, there will be a coordination error that prompts for a review.

Figure 6: Coordinated walls

Structural Usage Filters

The use of filters outside of Revit MEP is rare. A view worth creating in your Revit structure model is one with filters applied that highlight the structural usage of your walls. Figure 7 shows the settings for a filter that looks for walls with the structural usage set to shear.

Figure 7: Shear wall filter

You can duplicate your floor plan views and rename them, adding “Structural filter” as a suffix and apply a filter for each structural usage type.

Figure 8: Structural filters

This allows you to have a graphical representation of the wall structural usage at a glance without querying walls in your model. Figure 9 shows all the filters applied. This is a useful step before exporting your model into analytical software, assuring the engineer that the structural usage of the walls is correct.

Figure 9: Structural filters applied


Hopefully some of these tips will help you better manage the walls in your Structural model. 

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