What is Autodesk® REVIT®?

Revit is a Building Information Modeling software developed by Autodesk, Inc. for architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors. The original software was developed in 1997 by Charles River Software which was renamed as Revit Technology Corporation in 2000 and was later acquired by Autodesk in 2002.

Take a quick glimpse into Revit for Architectural Design with this video – by Autodesk Building Solutions

Take a glimpse into Revit for Structural Engineers with this video – by Autodesk Building Solutions

Take a glimpse into Revit for MEP Engineers with this video – by Autodesk Building Solutions

To know more about the software and to download the latest available version of ‘Autodesk® Revit®’ software, please use the official website of Autodesk. If you are a student or an educator, then you can download a free education version of the software from Autodesk Education Page.

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What are Revit Families?

In the last chapter ‘Concept of Revit Elements‘, we learnt about how Revit elements are organized in a hierarchy of,

Elements -> Categories -> Family -> Type -> Instance.

Now, let’s dig deeper into different kinds of Families available to use in Revit.

System families are predefined in Revit. You do not load them into your projects from external files, nor do you save them in locations external to the project.

Examples of System families include Walls, Roofs, Floors, Ducts, Pipes, Levels, Grids, Viewports, etc.

Unlike system families, loadable families are created in external *.RFA files and are loaded in the project. Building elements that are usually purchased, delivered and installed in/around a building such as windows, doors, electrical fixtures, furniture, mechanical equipment, plumbing fixtures, etc are examples of loadable families. Some annotation elements that require customization, such as symbols, title blocks, tags, etc are also loadable families.

Learn more about how to use a loadable family in a project in this video – by Autodesk Building Solutions

If you need a projecet-specific component that is unique to your project condition, you may use In-Place Families. In-place family take reference to the geometries in the project and can be resized or adjusted according to the referenced geometry. However, you cannot create multiple types of the same family. Each individual component that you create will be considered as individual family.

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Concept of Revit Elements

All elements in Revit are organized in a hierarchy of,

  • Elements
    • Categories
      • Families
        • Types
          • Instances.

Understanding Revit elements is very similar to understanding real world elements in a typical building project.

  • There are mainly three types of Elements in Revit:
    • Model Elements include categories that have 3D geometry such as Walls, Doors, Windows, etc.
    • Datum Elements include categories that are used as references for the project such as Levels, Grids, etc.
    • View-Specific Elements include categories that describe or document the project on a specific view such as Dimensions, Text, Annotations, etc.

Let’s take an example of Model Element category such as Door.

  • A specific design of a door is known as Family such as a Single Flush Door.
    • Each family of this element can have multiple types within it. For example, the Single Flush Door family with 0.8m, 0.9m and 1.0m width types.
      • Now, when you place a particular type of door at a particular location in your project, it is known as the Instance. So, if there are 4 Single Flush Doors with 0.8m type in the project, then we can count 4 instances of 0.8m Type of Single Flush Door family in the project.

To make it yet easier to understand, let’s take the following example of chairs in a room:

M2 Revit Elements
  • Element Type: Model Elements (because they contain 3D geometry)
  • Category: Furniture
  • Family: There are two different design of chairs in this example:
    1. Executive Chair
    2. Desk Chair
  • Type:
    • Executive Chair Types:
      1. Blue Chair
    • Desk Chair Types:
      1. Blue Chair
      2. Black Chair
  • Instances:
    • Executive Chair -> Blue Chair -> 6 Instances (around the table)
    • Desk Chair -> Blue Chair -> 5 Instances (in the left)
    • Desk Chair -> Black Chair -> 4 Instances (in right)

I hope these examples make it more clear for you to understand how elements are organized in Revit.  To further understand Revit elements, please review About Element Behavior in Revit

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Have any Questions? or Suggestions? or Feedback? Please feel free to Contact Us, we will get back to you as soon as we can.