How to Keep Your Job Using Revit (by Watching Cat Videos)

8 January 2019All, Revit


How to Keep Your Job Using Revit (by Watching Cat Videos)

If you think cats don’t care about geometry, just hang a bunch of shapes on a ceiling fan and turn it on. You can take a clue from cats, and consider the geometry in your Revit project before it springs up and snags your design file. Geometry and survey data are both foundational details that can be handled correctly from the start or lie in wait until the eleventh hour, robbing you of valuable time and productivity, until your file locks up in the jaws of the ultimate predator – inefficiency. And things like that won’t look so good during your next performance review.

Instead, use best practices for forethought and planning to get ahead of the predators hiding inside your drawings. With each enhancement, your value on the project and on the job will increase. Avoid problems and enhance your productivity by treating the geometry, survey data and models properly.

Changes in Geometry:

Don’t replace geometry that needs to change. Modify the geometry instead. If an architect replaces a ceiling with a different type or family when initially developing a design, it’s not much of an issue. But after the design moves down the line to other teams, changes can cause coordination errors. If a MEP engineer replaces geometry, it leaves all the elements that were attached to the element ID of that geometry – imagine ductwork – orphaned. And if the geometry, for instance the ceiling, subsequently gets moved, the orphaned parts won’t move with it until they are re-hosted to the new ceiling’s new element ID. This may not sound like a lot of extra work if you’re sure to catch everything that’s affected. Taking the time to do this and then backchecking your work snags your productivity. Modifying the geometry of a drawing – even if there are major changes – keeps the attached stuff attached to the correct element ID, and the “host” will still be valid.

Sites and Buildings:

There are multiple workflows for working with sites and buildings and multiple workflows around shared coordinates. The two constant best practices when working with site models, building models (especially multiple buildings on a single site) and civil engineer/survey data are:

  • Use Shared Coordinates.
  • Keep the site model and the building models separate.

Shared Coordinates:

Don’t move your Revit project to accommodate the civil/survey site plan. Instead, move the site plan CAD drawing to acquire your Revit model’s coordinates and align them. The goal is to keep the civil/survey coordinate data intact – respect it.


For projects with multiple buildings, you can have multiple projects linked to a master site model. The site model may be placed a good distance from the origin or so far from it that Revit will force it to be placed using “Center to Center” positioning instead. This is a normal situation since most civil engineers and surveyors model their sites relative to a benchmark that may be miles from the actual site.

By keeping the building and site located near the Revit project Base Point, downstream consultants, such as MEP engineers, structural engineers and others, can link the building model into their projects

using “Origin to Origin,” and the model will be immediately visible to them. They can then use the “Acquire Coordinates” tool to use the same shared coordinate system. Once all consultants have acquired coordinates, their models can be linked back into the building model and all other disciplines’ models using the “Shared Coordinates” option.

Get Empowered:

If you’re ready to give it a try, Applied Software offers the Ebook Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Job Using Revit, which details these best practices and many more. One is a suggested workflow for working with a site model based on a civil engineer’s CAD file, keeping it coordinated with a building model, while at the same time ensuring that downstream consultants who need to link the architectural model into their models will be able to do so without issue.

If you want to be a stronger Revit user, contact the experts at Applied Software for Revit training or Revit optimization services. When you are aware of lurking problems and take control of the little issues in your drawings, Revit will reward you by making you more productive and more impressive to those who matter – whether it’s your team manager, contractors, the project owner, or even your cat.

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