Often we are asked the best way to start a Revit project. Of course, there are many differing options and none of them are wrong! Before getting started on a Revit project there are a few things to consider.
First, what type of project is being created? Will this model be used for construction documents only, for coordination, rendering or visualization? Who will be working with the model? Will there be additional disciplines being linked into the model? Is the model a part of the BIM process and if so, who is responsible for maintaining the model? A project checklist may be helpful to establish and track the answers to these questions.
Create a new Revit project and SAVEAS. If multiple users will be working in the project, enable Worksharing (Collaborate tab) to share the project in BIM360 or on a local server. Save the project as a Central file. Close the project and use the Open button on the home screen to open the project as a Local file. This will allow others to access and work on the file at the same time, saving changes back to the Central model.
Set the Project Location in the Project Information, or by using the Location button on the Project Location panel of the Manage tab. Establish the Project Base Point, and the Survey Base Point if known. These are found by going to the default Site Plan or Level 1 Floor Plan. Edit Visibility/Graphics Overrides in the Properties browser. In the Site category, turn on the Project Base Point and/or the Survey Point. Both can be relocated independently of one another, coordinated with survey points, or coordinated with other disciplines to establish coordination points. Click the paper clip icon to move the base point while keeping the established origin coordinates and elevation.
Typically the Site view is set to use True North, while Plan views are set to Project North. Both can be rotated using the Rotate feature on the Project Location panel of the Manage tab. The option for rotating True or Project North is dependent on the view settings in the Project Browser under Orientation.
Once the project location settings are established, it is time to think vertically. Levels are used in Revit to establish floor elevations and as a basis for plan views. Since Revit 2019, Levels are also visible in a 3D view, and the extents of the levels can be modified using grips.
As you begin to build the model, create System Families (Walls, Floors, Stairs, etc.) and load Component Families as needed. Many companies choose to have a template established with standard families to save production time. A popular view is that content within a template should cover 95% of projects that the company creates. This can be difficult to establish. However the important thing to recognize is the time, and therefore cost, savings. If users are spending more time creating families over and over, these families should be added to a template or family library.
As you continue to build the project, it is important to maintain the model. “Keep it simple” is a good philosophy when it comes to Revit models. The more families, links, imports, and general data that are added to a model, the larger the file size will be. This can potentially lead to lost production time, annoying spinning blue wheels, and frustration on the part of the user. Occasionally purge the model of unused families, open the project with the Audit option checked (Open dialog box), and weekly Compact the central model when saving (Options button in the Save As dialog).
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