Adding Grout Tubes to Precast Walls using Dynamo

In this post of the Structural Precast series I would like to show you how in Revit we can easily add grout tubes and tubes on top to precast walls.

Grout tube and tube on top are families that come with the installation of Structural Precast Extension for Revit. They are both face-based families. When modeling you can use them or your own families.

In Revit, there are a few ways how these elements could be added to precast wall assemblies.

First, I would like to show you a traditional, manual way.

  1. We simply start the Place a Component command.
  2. Then select a family and a type.
  3. Next select a wall face. Note: Orientation of grout tubes depends on which side/surface of a precast wall has been selected.
  4. Then a position of these elements can be further adjusted using built-in Revit capabilities. For example, you can specify a distance from the edge, distance between elements, use copy or mirror tools etc. …

As you probably noticed already the process itself is pretty straight forward however it can be very tedious and it takes a lot of time as we need to do the same for every single precast wall instance.

This is a situation where Dynamo for Revit comes in handy. Let me show you my automated process of adding tubes to the Revit model.

I made a few assumptions:

  • My Dynamo script should be ready to be use in Dynamo Player.
  • It should work with multi-selection of precast walls.
  • Input parameters should allow selection of types of elements as well as their precise placement.

As a result I ended up with a Dynamo script with the following input parameters in Dynamo Player:
Let’s have a look inside the Dynamo script. First, I need to retrieve selected faces.

Next, I have to check the orientation of my faces.

My Python script checks if the beginning of local coordinate system of my surfaces is at the top or bottom and it calculates a rotation angle for grout tubes.

Now it’s time to get information about lengths of my wall parts.

Now I have all data needed to calculate coordinates of insertion points for both grout tubes and tubes on top.

My next Python script helps me calculate where insertion points should be located taking into account all input parameters:

And finally I can add these tubes to my Revit model in the right location and with correct orientation. Here I used the Springs.FamilyInstance.ByFacePoints node available in the Spring Node package.

Adding Grout Tubes and Tubes on Top

All nodes:
All Nodes

This automated process of adding grout tubes saves tones of manual and tedious work and save a lot of time.

Watch video:

For more posts on structural precast in Revit, check out these past articles on BIM and Beam:


Adding Grout Tubes to Precast Walls using Dynamo

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AEC Collection Workflows: Dynamo for Structure

The visual programming interface of Dynamo for Revit is enabling structural engineers with the tools to build structural models with minimal energy and make their own structural design tools.

In the early stages of the structural design structural engineers and designers can use Dynamo for Revit to interpret the architectural model and explore ways to begin their initial structural design.

Basing on the architectural geometry they can retrieve a model data and create parametric based structural models to explore several design options.

Dynamo allows structural engineers to design organic and optimized buildings and other structures faster than with traditional modeling tools, using computational methods.
Structural engineers can use their creativity to develop optimized structural systems using computational logic in an advanced building information modeling environment.
They can access and edit building parameters more effectively than traditional hard coded tools allow. They can iterate and evaluate multiple building design options with ease, and build structures based on natural and mathematical principles.

Using computational logic in structural design with the visual programming interface of Dynamo opens up a new way of interacting with a building information modeling database.
Within Dynamo structural engineers can automate processes in Revit, and build complex and logic structures with minimal energy.

The AEC Collection now extends visual programing and structural analysis offering you Dynamo Studio and Robot Structural Analysis Professional. Dynamo Studio is a standalone programming environment which can help solve challenges faster and improve structural workflows.
Robot software provides structural engineers with advanced structural analysis capabilities for large and complex structures of any type.
The Structural Analysis for Dynamo package allows for parametric modeling and structural analysis workflows in Dynamo and Robot Structural Analysis Professional.

Based on the Dynamo geometry structural engineers can create an analytical model, apply section shapes and boundary conditions such as supports and releases.
Moreover engineers can automatically apply structural loads and one of the benefits of this approach is the fact that values of structural loads are recalculated every time when the structural geometry changes.
When the analysis is done the results can be reviewed by structural engineers in the Robot Structural Analysis environment or they can retrieve the results of analysis within the Dynamo environment.

With the Structural Analysis package for Dynamo software, structural engineers may optimize their existing structural workflows or invent some new ways of doing things which improves their productivity.

Dynamo can improve many other structural workflows, for example:

  • It can help structural engineers calculate, generate and apply structural loads to analytical models in Revit automatically.

Learn more

  • Structural engineers and detailers can use Dynamo to seed up and automate concrete detailing workflows in Revit.

Learn more

  • It can help quickly generate complex structures in Advance Steel.

  • and more…

There is a long list of possible use cases where Dynamo helps engineers, designers and detailers in their daily work getting things done faster and with minimal effort. Dynamo users can automate repetitive tasks to speed the design process and improve efficiency. They extend their designs into interoperable workflows for documentation, analysis, coordination and fabrication.

Watch video:


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Segmentation of Precast Walls in Revit

In this post of the Structural Precast series I would like to touch upon the topic of segmentation of precast walls.

Segmentation of precast walls can be done automatically or manually. Before we run the automatic segmentation we should check and adjust the Configuration Settings.

The Configuration settings can be imported or exported via XML files to easily share the rules across several users, working on the same or different projects.

The Configuration settings can be imported or exported via XML files

On the Part Tab we set up Lifters, Bracing Inserts and Connections. Here we decide what types of elements will be used and their positions within precast assemblies.

Segmentation of Precast Walls

All the connections and built-in parts are Revit families and can be customized according to the project’s requirements.

On the Segmentation Tab we define rules for splitting based on fabrication, transportation or other functional requirements.

Segmentation of Precast Walls

To execute a segmentation of walls we need to select all the walls and press the Split command. During this command, the precast wall assemblies are created. Lifters, bushings and connection are created according to the rules from the Configuration settings.


Just after the wall segmentation we can see both the original elements and parts that have just been created.

We can display parts only to better review the outcome of the Split.

Switching between different LODs (Level of Development) is pretty easy and fast so we can review the original elements at any time.

As an outcome of the Split command we get wall parts, lifters, bushings and connections grouped automatically into a precast assembly.

Watch video:

When a custom segmentation is performed, it often does not allow for clear mathematical rules and we cannot apply rules specified in the Configuration. At this point we need to perform the manual segmentation of the original walls.

The manual segmentation is performed starting directly from the original, unsegmented element.

First, we need to convert a wall into Revit Parts.

Next, we define a division line or lines. Drawing such division line(s) we can very precisely determine where a segmentation should occur.

Once manual segmentation is complete, the “Split” command can be used to convert the parts into precast assemblies.

Now on this floor we have a mixture of original walls and parts we just created manually.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: If the original wall is selected, instead of the manually created parts, the manual segmentation is overridden and the wall is segmented according to the Configuration settings. That’s why it’s important to make sure the original element is not selected but only parts.

If one part is still larger/heavier/etc. than the specifications indicated in Configuration Settings, it will be further divided, respecting those rules.

Let’s see the outcome of the segmentation in this case.

Another way we can control the segmentation of elements is by a manual adjustment of parts after the segmentation.

In this case we select a part and edit a position of a division line – this can be done very precisely too. Once the part is updated, the entire assembly and connections, lifters, and bushings are updated as well.

We can also manually adjust a position or a type of individual elements within an assembly. In this case I am changing a position of one of the bushings.

In the similar way, we can update lifters and connections within a precast assembly.

Watch video:

For more posts on structural precast in Revit, check out these past articles on BIM and Beam:


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SOFiSTiK | 2018 – presentation day in London

The “SOFiSTiK | 2018 – presentation days” are aimed at entrepreneurs, interested structural engineers, and experienced SOFiSTiK users who want to learn more about the latest developments in construction planning.

SOFiSTiK’s development goals for the version 2018 were to optimize usability and performance in combination with a totally redesigned workflow for BIM analysis and design.

In their presentation day, they will present the new features and workflows of SOFiSTiK | 2018 using application examples focusing on FEA and BIM.

Read more…

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Top 10 Features in Advance Steel 2018

Advance Steel 2018 Badge 790px

The new release of Advance Steel 2018 has been out for a few months now. Here is a highlight of the top 10 features in case you haven’t had the chance to get familiar with them yet.

Advance Steel 2018 Badge 790px


1 – One Advance Steel installation

By combining the functionality of the two products into a single executable, there is no need any more for customers to separately install both AutoCAD 2018 and Advance Steel 2018 software on their desktop.

Advance Steel 2018 Installation

When you install Advance Steel 2018 you will see an icon for Advance Steel on the desktop. Selecting the Advance Steel icon will give the user access to the Advance Steel and embedded AutoCAD functionality.

Tip: users who would like to run just the AutoCAD functionality of the product can select ‘Autodesk Advance Steel 2018 – AutoCAD’ from the Start Menu.

2 – Migrate custom settings tool

The Migrate Custom Settings tool offers a modern and informative interface for migrating your custom settings and files from a previous release to Advance Steel 2018.

Advance Steel 2018 - Migrate Custom Settings

It helps detect and identify customized settings and enables you to choose which ones you would like to migrate. A summary report created from the migration offers comprehensive information in an easy-to-read format.

Tip: If you change your mind about migrating settings from a previous release, you can easily restore Advance Steel default settings using the Reset tool, which is available from the Start menu.

3 – Combine model views with cameras

Model views combined with cameras help simplify the process of creating general arrangement drawings.

Advance Steel 2018 - Combine model views with cameras

Advance Steel 2018 now enables you to combine a model view with a camera and use it for drawing creation by assigning it a specific drawing style & scale. By using a Drawing Process, you can automate the creation of general arrangement drawings based on these cameras. As a result, you get drawings automatically labelled and dimensioned based on your preferences.

4 – Call out on drawing

With the new “Create callout view” feature, you can now create a call out view from a 2D view or 3D view directly within the drawing.

Advance Steel 2018 - Call out

Once you have created the call out, you can move the title placement with its grip and you can control the frame appearance and change it – for example from a rectangle to a circle or vice-versa.

This new feature helps you create more compelling drawings more quickly and easily.

Tip: when creating the call out, by pressing S like Settings, you can access a dialog where you can specify the scale and assign a specific presentation to be used.

5 – Drawing styles for manual cut views on drawings

Advance Steel 2018 offers the possibility to better control ready-to-use presentations available when adding a manual cut or a call out view on a drawing.

Drawing styles for manual cut views

The drawing styles manager enables you to select which view presentations you would like to have available with a new option “Used for Cuts and Callouts” located under “View properties” tab.

When inserting a manual cut or a call out view within a drawing, press S like Settings to access the “View settings” dialog containing the predefined view templates and select the one you want to use for the view you add to the drawing.

6 – Enhanced local content for the US market

The weld symbol has been enhanced (text & symbol size) to match better local requirements.

Advance Steel 2018 - Enhanced local content for the US market

The US release is also delivered with dedicated drawing styles for shop drawings of U and C shape beams. It also has some presentation enhancement such as the hatch pattern representation for holes on shop drawings.

7 – Multi-ball stanchions handrail

Advance Steel 2018 provides a new automatic & parametric macro for inserting prefabricated ball stanchions.

Advance Steel 2018 - Prefabricated handrail

These ball stanchions are from Australian & New Zealand providers and are inserted as special parts in the 3D model.

8 – Cold rolled purlin connections

Advance Steel 2018 provides a new automatic & parametric connection for cold rolled sections (such as purlins and side rails).

Advance Steel 2018 - Cold rolled purlin connection

The connection can be started from the Connection vault and offers various options in regards to the brackets (from Australia & New Zealand) available by default.

Tip: It is easy to adjust the settings from the properties dialog box, you can add more vendors within the database controlling the macro.

9 – Custom objects stored in the DWG file of the 3D model

If your Advance Steel model contains custom properties such as custom sections or materials, you can choose to write this information in the DWG file so that other project team members or stakeholders can visualize the entire model in other products such as Navisworks, AutoCAD Plant 3D, BIM 360, or A360 Viewer.

Advance Steel 2018 - Store data in the DWG file

Tip: if you change your mind about including custom properties in your Advance Steel DWG file, you can use the “Delete stored data” icon available in the User Interface.

10 – Localized online help documentation

The online help documentation, which has been available only in English until now, is also available in French and German languages.

Advance Steel 2018 - Localized online help documentation

If you want to see some of these features in action, watch the Advance Steel 2018 New Features playlist on YouTube.

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BIM for Reinforced Concrete – Rebar clash prevention


This article is the continuation of a conversation that I started with the blog post depicting the value of BIM for Concrete and continued with from 2D to 3D with rebar detailing. If you’ll remember, I’ve described what I see as four main benefits for a BIM-centric approach to concrete:

  1. Combines the versatility of 2D documentation with the higher level of fidelity and accuracy of 3D modeling of steel reinforcement and concrete accessories, with minimal effort to produce both.
  2. Allows users to design and detail with rebar clash prevention in mind to reduce clashes both in the preconstruction and site execution project phases.
  3. Enables the transition from design to detailed models while respecting both perspectives, following local code requirements, and automating the process of making changes so they are less disruptive to the design process.
  4. Increases transparency and quality of the model information being used from bidding to procurement by not only providing quantifiable information, but also enabling access to it in collaboration friendly environments.

In this post, I want to focus on benefit #2, and discuss how leveraging rebar clash-detection for concrete can benefit both the preconstruction and execution phases of a project.

Benefit #2: The BIM-centric concrete solution allows users to design and detail with rebar clash prevention in mind to reduce clashes both in the preconstruction and site execution project phases.

There are many practical reasons why having rebar clashing on a construction site is highly undesired, causes serious project delays and therefore significantly increases project cost.  This can easily happen in seismic regions when large diameter rebar are used and it is not possible to resolve clashing issues by just adjusting bar shapes on site or when rebar distribution needs to be very dense as typically required for power station structures. More examples can be uncovered.

When a clash is detected, an intervention (change order) is typically sent to detailers as the finding still comes late in the design to construction process.

Clash detection tools like Navisworks can help in such situations, detecting clashes in cases where a rebar model is delivered in 3D earlier than when rebar are being fabricated and installed.

Definitely, best is when a detailed definition of rebar layouts comes already correct from rebar detailers. There are several enablers helping rebar detailers be successful and deliver clean and precise instructions for rebar fabricators and installers. Let’s name these opportunities:

Precise positioning and coordination with other objects

Precise rebar placement mechanisms mentioned above and software intelligence can guide detailers to define rebar positions with respect to all geometrical boundary conditions; both 2D and 3D snapping, increment based guiding, non-overlapping positioning with regards to rebar radiuses and diameters works as a desired clash prevention.

Precise rebar placement

Setting rebar for clash-avoiding behavior

More importantly, Revit rebar objects are born with certain intelligence respecting logic that detailers can define for it. For example, this means that we can set up rebar to behave in order to keep right distance from concrete faces, right distance from other rebar, being still adjacent to each other when rebar diameter changes, or adjust redistribution in function of changing sizes of concrete hosts, etc.

The implanted behavior makes rebar respecting detailers intent and therefore avoiding clashes as they are created and when model changes come into play.

 Constant distances in rebar for Revit

(Imposing constant distances for rebar in Revit)

What we see is what we get

As simple as it sounds, seeing rebar cages in three dimensions and with realistic sizes greatly increases a detailer’s perception and understanding of proposed reinforced concrete configurations.

Unlike with traditional shop drawings where each perspective needs to be presented in a separate view, as rebar cages are defined in Revit we can see the whole rebar cage in a single 3D view, manipulate with it, see it from all angles, and in context of adjacent model elements. All while authoring.

Dynamic 3D view in Revit

(Dynamic 3D view in Revit)

Early review and 3D model inspection

Having a broader 360 perspective with more than a single pair of eyes is usually the recommended method to secure quality for any task, rebar detailing included.

It’s amazing how easy it has become lately to share model information for a review with others.

Simply sharing the Revit model through BIM 360 makes it available via a simple link for stakeholders for inspection / review / commenting / comparison of changes. Exposing a proposed solution to others before it’s locked and stamped as rebar detailing submittals greatly increases the quality of the detailed fabrication and installation recommendations and therefore, again, makes it clash free oriented the moment it leaves a detailer’s room.

 BIM 360 Viewer Screenshots

(Screenshots from a web browser containing BIM 360 viewer)

All in all, the clash-free rebar reality is the result of a few factors: technology enablers, a detailer’s attitude, and yes … if a contractual clause specifies it as a requirement.



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New Structural Content in Revit 2018.2

New Precast Content

New Precast families for beams, columns, slabs, and foundations are now available.

Revit users can choose between various types of I-shape, T-shape, trapezoidal and many other beam cross sections. Columns having different corbels configurations and top supporting conditions for beams have been created. TT slabs and isolated foundations, both block and sleeve, are also part of the new Precast content.

The extended range of parameters that control their geometry allow for faster and more precise modelling of Precast concrete structures.

The German version of the families is based on Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau specifications.

The content is localized in English and German and can be downloaded from the Autodesk Knowledge Network.

This new content allows users faster and more precise modelling of Precast concrete structures.

Rebar Content Update for France and Germany

New French and German rebar shapes have been added to the Library, to enhance rebar modelling.

Among the French rebar shapes, we have also included the ones according to the older French code NF P 02 016:1993, which many French customers use throughout their projects.

The German library has been too updated with three shapes, again, to offer a complete range of rebar shapes used in this region.

The new content can be downloaded from the Autodesk Knowledge Network.

This provides enhanced rebar modelling to support better local standards.

Learn more on what’s new in Revit 2018.2.

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