BRICKWORK CHECK LIST FOR SITE ENGINEERS While on site, a site engineer must ensure that the brickwork is going on as per quality requirements. Some of the general requirements of quality of brickwork are mentioned below. Use this as a checklist while executing brickwork. The thickness of joint in brick masonry should not exceed 1 […]

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Compounds of Cement About 90-95% of a Portland cement is comprised of the four main cement minerals, which are C3S, C2S, C3A, and C4AF, with the remainder consisting of calcium sulphate, alkali sulphates, unreacted (free) CaO, MgO, and other minor constituents left over from the clinkering and grinding steps. The four cement minerals play very different […]

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Announcing Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2018, a notable step toward the future of automatically making structural things

Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit

Autodesk brings into play a new automated workflow for the precast concrete industry. The Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit 2018 is a BIM-centric offering for modeling and detailing precast elements that promotes productivity and precision for engineers, detailers and fabricators working on typical building projects in the precast industry. As an app for Autodesk Revit software, Structural Precast for Revit provides Revit users access to powerful tools for automatic rule-based segmentation, reinforcement, shop drawings and CAM files generation of precast planar concrete elements. The app will be available in a few days on the Autodesk App Store.

Leveraging the concept of Parts, which support the construction modeling process by letting you divide certain elements from the design intent model into discrete parts, the app provides the opportunity of having one single source of truth for various personas that need to work with the model. This way, designers’ and fabricators’ perspectives are respected and various Levels of Development can be displayed – two key benefits of embracing a Revit-based workflow for Precast projects.

Based on predefined parameters in the “Configuration” dialogue box, you can specify the rules that will help drive the automated workflow downstream from Design to Fabrication. First up, the elements are automatically segmented and fitted with connectors, lifters and bushings. All of these are actually Revit families, so customization is easy. Reinforcement is also done automatically and you can define multiple patterns, based on fabric sheets or rebar sets. There is even a tool that creates Custom Fabric Sheets, where each wire can have its own diameter, length and distance with respect to the adjacent wires. This is useful both for optimizing the rebar consumption based on structural analysis and for minimizing clashes with various MEP equipment that might be embedded or going through the panels.

Speaking of embeds, the app comes with another tool that automatically adds to the corresponding precast assemblies all the electrical sockets, cable ducts, extra rebars or any other kind of component that is in the model. This way, the precast walls and slabs will contain the logic that is required for fabrication, minimizing much of the hassle in the factory or on site.

Autodesk Structural Precast for Revit, precast solid wall assembly

Precast solid wall assembly, fitted with reinforcement and mounting parts.

One particularly powerful tool that Structural Precast for Revit offers is Automatic Shop Drawings. Once the company’s standards related to drawing style and content are embedded in the drawing templates, for each precast element the drawing is created, with all relevant views and bills of materials. If required, multiple shop drawings for each assembly can be generated; for instance, one showing the reinforcement and one highlighting the position of the embeds. It’s also worth mentioning that this Automation tool can be used with company standards for all elements at once, all elements per submittal or per element.

Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit, automatic shop drawings

Automatic shop drawing sample for a precast solid wall.

And because we are working in Revit, coordination of the precast model with Architecture and MEP comes as a natural benefit. In the highly likely event that changes need to be performed to the precast elements (we all know change is a daily routine in the construction industry) you don’t have to worry: the precast elements, shop drawings and bills of materials are automatically updated—helping to keep information up-to-date.

When Fabrication is ready to start, with just one click, the creation of CAM files is done. Both Unitechnik (versions 5.2 and 6.0) and PXML (version 1.3) are supported. The various file naming options and output settings offer flexibility to generate these deliverables simultaneously in a swift and tailored fashion.

Precast solid wall checked for production using Progress Machine & Automation AviCAD software, based on a PXML file.

The product is mostly suitable for typical building projects, made up of slabs and walls produced in factories with a high level of automation. Currently, three types of elements are supported by the new app: Solid Walls, Solid Slabs and Hollow Core Slabs.

Of course, we need to remind ourselves that it’s not only about design and detailing, but also about construction coordination, planning and execution. And that’s when I recommend you to export the Revit model to Navisworks Manage and BIM 360 Team. Or, if you are in the position to meet with your customer and walk him or her through the details of their future building, why not do it in Revit LIVE, so she/he can view, better understand, feel and experience it before it is being built?

Autodesk Structural Precast Extension for Revit, view in BIM 360 Team.

Coordination view of the precast solid wall in BIM 360 Team.

With Structural Precast for Revit, Autodesk makes a notable step ahead for the future of automatically making structural things with this new precast concrete design software tool. So go ahead, try it, and let me know your impressions around it.





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Free Form Rebar Distribution in Revit 2018.1

A new type of Rebar can be modeled in Revit 2018.1, by working in 3D views and selecting the structural element faces to which the rebars are aligned.

Free Form Rebars can have any geometry, either planar or 3D, and can be used for modelling and detailing of reinforcement in complex 3D structural elements.

Rebars are created at the cover distance from the intersection of the references that the Revit user selects. One reference can be made up of one or more structural element faces.

The Surface Distribution rebar type consists of bars that transition between the Start Surface and the End Surface and are distributed along the Host Surface.

Free Form Rebars are part of the Structural Rebar category, and have all the properties associated with it. Free form Rebars can be created as single bars or rebar sets, rebar quantity for every instance of a Free Form Rebar can be easily adjusted.

Then the rebar constraints can be managed using in canvas tools in 3D views to provide enhanced and accurate rebar placement.

You can use customizable numbering settings and provide accurate shop drawings with schedules that display varying lengths in Free Form Rebar sets to better drive fabrication.

This new functionality increases 3D rebar modeling versatility and helps you define the accurate reinforcement for non-standard shapes of concrete elements.

Download a sample dataset to try this feature out.

For more posts on Revit’s rebar features, check out these past articles on BIM and Beam:

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REQUIREMENTS OF FORMWORK – QUALITY, SAFETY & ECONOMY In the selection of materials for formwork, the three general principles of quality, safety and economy must be paramount. Material quality can ensure safety, and significantly contributes to the achievement of economy. Formwork failure can result in loss of life and always causes catastrophic financial loss. Some […]

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Updated Standard Structural Steel Families for Revit

New content for the Southern Hemisphere and much more

As an ongoing process, Autodesk is updating Revit content every year to match the local standards from all over the world.

With the 2017 release, Revit obtained a new structural detailing tool, Steel Connections for Revit,” an extension that can be installed from the Autodesk Desktop-App to model typical steel connections on framing elements. At the same time, new framing and column families were shipped with Revit, supporting the connection code check with exact and complete information on section geometry and analysis parameters.

While the first content release was focused on the United States, Canada and four European countries, we continued to enhance structural content for other regions all over the world – one of the most common requirements suggested during conversations with our international sales partners. A second step was made with the 2017.2 version in autumn last year, when Japanese and Chinese framing section families were delivered. Most recently, the standard structural steel families were extended for Australia, New Zealand, South-Africa, India and several more European regions like Scandinavia in the spring of this year. All the mentioned new families are delivered with the Revit 2018 installation out of the box. And there’s more to come! Right now, the team is again updating the content for even more regions.

U.S. Imperial structural columns

File location of U.S. Imperial structural columns as an example

German structural column

File location of German structural columns as an example.

A complete list with the available content and the file location can be found here. Keep a look out for new content by checking the Revit Product Downloads page from time to time for new updated content available for your region. For example, you can find there the new structural framing families mentioned above for Revit 2017 as well as a fix for some European framing families for Revit 2018 that enable the smooth model synchronization with Advance Steel.

Revit 2018 Content Hotfixes

What do you think about Revit’s out of the box content? How often are you using Autodesk structural framing and column families in your projects? Are you missing section sizes for your region or special parameters for your content? Let us know!

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Arup uses Dynamo to advance the pace of collaboration on the proposed National Football Stadium in Sydney

Full Stadium Rendering

The structural engineers at Arup in Australia take on some of the country’s most challenging projects. So it’s no surprise that they paired with the architects at Populous to design the structure for the proposed, 60,000‑seat National Football Stadium in Sydney. That’s because the architects’ initial designs featured curving organic forms and plans for Australia’s first cable net roof for a major stadium. The Arup team was tasked with bringing innovative and cost-effective structural ideas to the project’s concept phase—and they had just 12 weeks to collaborate with the architects and deliver.

The Arup team realized that they needed a way to both quickly explore the best structural options for the project and to increase documentation efficiency. A computational design tool was the ideal solution. They chose to work with Autodesk Revit software, their core documentation application, and Dynamo software. Autodesk Revit with Dynamo powered the project forward, letting the team advance the concept twice as quickly as compared to traditional methods. And now it’s transforming the way that Arup delivers other projects.

“We used Dynamo to rationalize and apply a logic to a complex structure. The powerful part of Dynamo is how it let us develop and improve on concepts quickly. Because of the pace it brought to our workflow, we did 12 iterations instead of 3 or 4.”
— XAVIER NUTTALL Structural Engineer, Arup

12 concepts in 12 weeks

With only 12 weeks for the documentation of the concept design, Arup needed to get started right away with Dynamo—there was no time for a steep learning curve. The documentation lead on the project had little scripting experience in Dynamo, but she was able to quickly create master scripts thanks to the intuitive nature of the process. These scripts let the engineers explore and document multiple structural options that suited the ever-evolving architectural forms. The scripts automated much of the tedious work behind efficiently modeling and documenting the geometrically complex stadium. During the early stages of concept design, Dynamo let the Arup and Populous teams quickly and efficiently collaborate, resulting in an iconic, well-coordinated, and optimized stadium design. This was particularly advantageous in helping to de-risk the complexity of the design while also informing costing and feasibility.

Interoperability between Dynamo software, Revit software, and Arup’s preferred structural analysis tool helped the team to rapidly create design iterations. They shared their ideas with the architects and collaborated in a 3D Revit environment to enhance the overall design. In all, the team developed 12 concepts, each of which advanced and improved on the preceding one. Absent Dynamo, the team estimates that they would have only had time to develop and document 4 structural concepts. Dynamo automated many of the tedious tasks in the documentation process, saving more than 5 weeks on documentation, which allowed the team to devote more effort than expected to coordinating and optimizing their designs.

The bold, curving shapes featured in the design for the proposed National Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia required innovative structural support. Images courtesy of Populous.


More design, fewer boring tasks

Success on the stadium project inspired Arup to apply the conceptual design and automation ability of Dynamo to more projects. The firm began teaching its documentation specialists throughout Australia how to create their own scripts. Arup also started a script library to share timesaving scripts, allowing the Arup documentation team to spend less time on tedious tasks, and more time on design optimization for their everyday projects.

“Tedious documentation tasks that would have taken 4 hours only took 10 minutes using Dynamo. The savings we realized gave us more time to finesse better design solutions.”

— SHAWNEE FINLAYSON, Structural Technician, Arup


Founded in 1946, Arup is one of world’s largest engineering firms, with as many as 10,000 projects in progress at any time. The firm came to Australia in 1963 to work on the landmark Sydney Opera House. Today, Arup operates 7 offices in Australia. Recent projects include the new Perth Stadium, Adelaide Oval Redevelopment, Barangaroo, and 8 Chifley, which is one of Australia’s greenest buildings.


Populous designs places where people love to be together, like Yankee Stadium and the London Olympic Stadium. A global architecture firm, Populous has designed more than 2,000 projects worth $40 billion across emerging and established markets. The firm has 17 offices on 4 continents.


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