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Integrating Revit Structure with Analytical Software Desirée Mackey Martin/Martin, Inc.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating Revit Structure with Analytical Software Desirée Mackey Martin/Martin, Inc."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating Revit Structure with Analytical Software Desirée Mackey Martin/Martin, Inc.

2 Overview Introduction Questions: When, How and Where to Start Discuss five software packages: do’s, don’ts and tips –RISA –RAM –Fastrak –ETABS –Robot Comparison of the above packages Open discussion

3 Objectives Wide view of software Unbiased comparison Focus on breadth of information Not focusing on details of the analysis software packages Have a little fun Discussion

4 Introduction – Revit Structure Revit Structure intended to: –Convey 3D geometry –Hold information –Produce construction documents Revit Structure not intended to: –Comprehensive structural analysis –Create/produce calculations –Intricate or complex design tasks

5 Introduction – Analytical Software Analytical software intended to: –Analyze and/or design structural elements –Accurately model/represent structural systems, loads, load paths –Produce data/calculations Analytical software not intended to: –Accurately convey all geometry, especially intricacies –Produce construction documents –Coordinate with other disciplines

6 Introduction – Revit Structure with Analytical Software Meant for entirely different purposes A big task to seamlessly integrate Frequent updates of both creates a moving target effect Thrown together in the name of efficiency

7 Exporting to/from Analytical Software: Questions to Consider Will an analytical software package be utilized in the design? Is there adequate interoperability? Was the Revit Structure model started/complete (enough) before needing an analytical model? Was the Revit Structure model created with the intent to send to an analytical software?

8 Exporting to/from Analytical Software: Questions to Consider Does the project require a comprehensive analysis? Does the project require a specific analytical software? Does the analytical software support model exchanges with Revit enough to make the process viable? If an analytical model is created prior to a Revit model, does that software support exporting into Revit?

9 Exporting to/from Analytical Software: Questions to Consider Does only part of the structure require analysis? If so, perhaps only part of the model should be exchanged? Is the person creating the Revit model adept enough at Revit enough to also create and maintain a viable analytical model? Is it more time/cost-effective to just have two separate people maintain two separate models? Will the export be one-time, or will the model be “round tripped”? Given the chosen analytical software, and its interoperability, does that affect the decision?

10 Which Direction? Most analytical software packages recommend starting in Revit, but not all Always clean-up, so which software is easier to manipulate? Is the modeler/engineer more comfortable in one or the other? Which model is required to start first? Many factors to consider

11 When to Start in Analytical Analysis is required prior to starting the Revit model (or receiving the Architectural model) The engineer is more efficient/comfortable in the analysis software Any specific required features, benefits, or limitations in either software that make starting in the analytical more appropriate/efficient

12 When to Start in Revit Revit is more readily used and understood Revit likely used on every project, not every project requires analytical software, and not the same software at that Revit seems to advance its analytical features often Important to make sure the geometry is properly represented Revit ultimately produces the construction documents

13 Preparing a Revit Structure Model for Export Pay attention to analytical lines Make sure analytical lines intersect properly Try to model on levels Consider how the levels are viewed in the analytical software Model level-to-levels, avoid unconnected heights

14 Preparing a Revit Structure Model for Export Consult the specifics of the intended software regarding how to handle mulit-span or multi-level elements Use the “approximate curve” option for curved beams if practical Consider only updating sizes if updating geometry is not required Floors, slabs, and roofs generally are not well updated, so consider only sending them one direction, one time

15 Preparing a Revit Structure Model for Export Only export what needs to be analyzed Create visibility filters, or use some other appropriate process to keep track/keep organized If needed, model “dummy” sizes (ridiculously large or ridiculously small) to help keep track of what has been designed The process is not perfect and there will be some amount of “clean up” regardless of analytical software

16 Software Researched RISA Technologies RAM Structural System CSC Fastrak CSi ETABS Autodesk Structural Analysis – Robot Structural Analysis

17 Research Methods Documentation review Consultations with experts on each of the analytical software packages A few quick tests One basic model test

18 RISA Technologies RISA 3D – Three dimensional structural analysis for steel, concrete, masonry, cold-formed steel, aluminum and timber RISA Floor – Comprehensive analysis for floor systems Link available as a free download Active Autodesk partner and determined to advance with Revit

19 RISA – Notable elements that work Curved beams Beam Systems (members only) Continuous/cantilevered beams Braces (vertical only) Trusses (members only) Steel Joists Floor slabs Slab edges Walls Openings: by face or wall openings only Isolated footings Loads, Load cases, Load combinations

20 RISA – Notable elements that don’t work Openings: shaft and profile/boundary Foundation slabs Horizontal braces Rebar/hosted rebar Wall footings

21 RISA – Best Practices Only use start/end offsets to slope beams Use the z-direction offset to change beam elevations Outdated shapes/old structural shapes need to be mapped to current shapes in the mapping file Slab edge locations are precarious – may change in Revit 2013 Openings require opening framing to transfer properly

22 RISA – Best Practices RISAFloor requires multi-story columns to be modeled floor-to-floor, and continuous/cantilevered beams need to have each segment modeled separately Check the merge tolerance settings and joint coordinates Be careful about changing node coordinates in RISA Reactions come back into Revit as separate parameters, RISA provides tag families Don’t bother with the Revit analytical checks, use the ones in RISA

23 RAM Structural System Complete analysis and design of steel and concrete 3D model, level based, and individual modules for different elements/materials Bentley software, but Bentley actually creates many add-ons for Autodesk software Link available as a free download

24 RAM – Notable elements that work Steel Joists Braces Trusses (members only) Beam systems (members only) Walls (bearing and structural combined only) Openings: by face or wall openings only Isolated footings Continuous/cantilevered beams (requires special setting) Many elements work but can be exchanged once only, cannot be updated, also will likely only transfer one way (either Revit to RAM or RAM to Revit)

25 RAM – Notable elements that don’t work Loads, Load Cases, Load Combinations Openings: shaft and profile/boundary Foundation slabs Walls set to shear Rebar/hosted rebar Curved beams

26 RAM – Best Practices Set the reference level for braces to the top level to which they frame Frame braces into beams and columns that are set to lateral Default mapping of shapes are set to out-of-the box families Loads just generally don’t work well “Member supports” in the structural settings >>Analytical Model Settings tab must be checked on to detect cantilevered members

27 RAM – Best Practices Multi-story columns in Revit are broken up at the levels in RAM Isolated footings have to be perfectly centred on columns for the information/sizing information to exchange properly Continuous beams need to be modelled as separate segments between supports to be imported properly into RAM If exporting from RAM to Revit, export to a Revit template, not to a blank project For slopped roofs, model flat, or at least all on one level before sending to RAM

28 CSC Fastrak Complete analysis and design of steel Originally a British software, now expanded into US codes “Seamless” communication with Revit Structure Link available as a free download

29 Fastrak – Notable elements that work Beam systems (members only) Curved beams (only if curve is approximated) Braces (vertical only) Steel Joists Trusses (Revit to Fastrak only, members only) Floor slabs (mapping setting required) Stiffeners/plates

30 Fastrak – Notable elements that don’t work Loads, Load Cases and Load Combinations Openings: shaft and profile/boundary Section/size properties – attribute sets Walls Rebar/hosted rebar Wall Footings

31 Fastrak – Best Practices Levels are required at the top of steel level Attributes have to be assigned to all the elements once imported into Fastrak Revit model has to be saved immediately after exporting to Fastrak In Fastrak, slabs must be supported on all sides by a member If exporting from Fastrak to Revit, the structural usage will have to be adjusted once in Revit such that girders/beams/joists will have the correct line weights

32 Fastrak – Best Practices View filters and the “track changes” command to track changes If analytical lines are adjusted away from auto-detect, the same adjustment must be used at both ends of the member Foundations are created under EVERY column when transferring into Fastrak Revit and Fastrak models can be updated simultaneously, but any changes in one will override the other when exported Reactions exported only for a fully completed design model, and only if members are designated as “gravity only” design. A shared parameter must be added to use a Revit tag

33 CSi ETABS Structural and earthquake design specialty Many modules Information is hard to find, and what is there is outdated. Company doesn’t seem to promote their interoperability with Revit Link available on a paid subscription

34 ETABS – Notable elements that work Curved beams (only if curve is approximated) Steel Joists (come through as beams) Walls Floor Slabs Isolated Footings Braces (vertical only) Openings: wall, shaft and by face Loads, load cases and load combinations (some limitations)

35 ETABS – Notable elements that don’t work Openings: shaft and profile/boundary Diaphragm designations Trusses Rebar/hosted rebar Wall Footings

36 ETABS – Best Practices Diaphragms will have to be defined once in ETABS Import/export dialog boxes appear during the import/export process If a parametric family has an unrecognized type, ETABS will create a corresponding shape Windows vista bugs End release updates are occasionally “buggy” Material updates not transferred from ETABS to Revit

37 ETABS – Best Practices Z-justification and start and end offset parameters don’t always translate properly Only openings completely inside a wall or floor will be transferred In-place families are imported into ETABS as frame members Elements can be deleted upon importing/exporting, but only if the entire model is exchanged Load combinations can be exchanged once, but cannot be later updated. They can, however, be deleted and replaced

38 Autodesk Structural Analysis – Autodesk 360 – Robot Structural Analysis Autodesk 360 structural analysis in the cloud, or local analysis using Robot Formerly Project Storm Large analytical updates with each of the last couple of releases Link native in Revit

39 Robot – Notable elements that work Curved beams Beam Systems (members only) Braces (vertical only) Trusses (members only) Steel Joists Floor slabs Slab edges Walls Isolated footings Wall footings Loads, Load cases, Load combinations Rebar/hosted rebar

40 Robot – Notable elements that don’t work Foundation Slabs Horizontal Braces Families/family types that don’t already exist in the Revit project Wall Footings

41 Robot – Best Practices Static analysis only if using 360 Differentiate the start and ends of members The same person will likely model both the Revit and Analytical model, so staff appropriately Multi-span members will be split into separate members once in Robot Use hosted area loads

42 Robot – Best Practices Send and update Revit/Robot models from Analyze tab within Revit Upon updating the Revit model, there is an option to keep updated elements selected Robot will analyze and exchange some connections: end plate and column flange connections Sloped planes/framing are supported Duplicate nodes will be created if analytical lines are not modeled properly

43 A little experimenting...

44 What to model...

45 The model...

46

47 Model Details Revit Structure 2012 – no 2013 links available yet Steel and concrete members Walls, beams, columns, foundations, braces Precise analytical model Loads, load cases and load combinations applied in Revit – a variety –Pigs modeled as point dead loads –Birds modeled as point and line live loads Followed as many “best practices” for as many of the software packages as possible

48 The model... Differentiated ends of the analytical lines to help Best I could do with the roof slab in Revit 2012 – aligns vertically with the members but not always in plan Floors easier to align properly Precise intersections

49 The model... Intersections with many members were harder, especially with braces Used snapping shortcuts Definitely more time consuming to make both the geometry and the analytical correct Occasionally deleted and redrew a member instead of trying to fix it

50 The model... Made pigs dead loads Made birds different live loads Made custom load combination loosely based on IBC load combinations

51 The model... Changed object styles to be able to see loads and foundations easier Changed colors to match pig and bird colors

52 The model...

53 All links under External Tools or their own button in the Add-Ins Tab Robot under Analyze Tab Load ETABS last

54 RISA Simple, easy export dialog box Most basic options available No intricate details/settings available upon export Exchange file should be saved in the same location as the base Revit and analytical files Browse to mapping file separately but seems less likely to need it

55 Revit to RISA 3D Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well All loads, load cases, load combinations came through except for line loads Walls not perfect – rounding errors with nodes create a non-planer error Analysis ran immediately upon import

56 RISA 3D back to Revit Everything came back in the way it left Walls not perfect – changes in RISA to fix the non-planer error caused some small movement and an “element slightly off axis” warning

57 Revit to RISA Floor Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well All loads, load cases, load combinations came through except for line loads Sloped roof was modeled with different levels, so each level came through separately and roof was flattened

58 RAM Simple, easy export dialog box Few options available upon export Exchange file should be saved in the same location as the base Revit and analytical files Error log reports what didn’t transfer – loads caused a problem here

59 Revit to RAM Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well Loads didn’t really seem to come through at all Same level issue as RISA Floor – sloped roof was split into levels If mapping file not set to custom families, or if out-of-the-box families not used in the Revit model export will fail entirely

60 RAM back to Revit Most elements returned to Revit without issues Loads that were originally in Revit were not overridden Material properties seemed to change a bit in that the graphic displays in Revit were no longer the same

61 Fastrak User-friendly import/export dialog boxes Many intricate options available Reports mapping and other issues upon export and allows the user to fix the problems Exchange file should be saved in the same location as the base Revit and analytical files

62 Fastrak Prompts for information about fist time export or updating the mode Prompts for a selection of what elements to export Reports mapping error/unrecognized shapes and prompts for a solution Individual mapping files for each type of element/material/family

63 Fastrak

64 Prompts to save exported file Warning log explains what elements were not transferred Save Revit file immediately after export to maintain link with Fastrak Two-Step process – Fastrak has to be opening and then Revit file imported

65 Revit to Fastrak Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well Only steel members come through, but Fastrak doesn’t analyze concrete Attribute sets will now have to be assigned in Fastrak

66 Fastrak back to Revit Again, two-step process of exporting an exchange file and then importing Opportunity to “ignore position” of elements Good return of objects, many material properties were changed

67 ETABS Simple string of dialog boxes Opportunity to select which element to export Error dialog prompting mapping clarifications Two-step process

68 Revit to ETABS Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well All loads, load cases, load combinations came through except for line loads Surprisingly clean export, model could complete an analysis immediately upon import

69 ETABS back to Revit Upon Importing back to Revit, dialog prompts for options of what to import/update Everything came back in the way it left, except the line loads appeared to change slightly Again, surprisingly clean with few warnings/errors

70 Robot Native button in Revit – Analyze tab Simple dialog, no intricate options or prompts Some options in “send options” Launches Robot, but not demo version

71 Revit to Robot Elements, nodes, connections, end releases come through well Loads, load cases, load combinations came through Analysis ran immediately

72 Robot back to Revit Upon Importing back to Revit, dialog prompts for options of what to import/update Everything came back in the way it left Options to select the updated elements Except for the separate window for Robot, almost seems native to Revit

73 Conclusions Everything did generally better than expected Software generally exchanged the elements they design RISA, ETABS and Robot exchanged the most elements and properties with the fewest errors Fastrak was the most comprehensive and they claim to be the best exchange, but very deliberate…so is all this just automatic in the other software packages so an illusion that Fastrak is better?

74 Conclusions Only one roundtrip, would the results be different if I did more? Too much “clean-up” required for Fastrak, but if it is better with round tripping then it may be worth it Applying loads in Revit wasn’t always easy, and not as easy as in the analytical packages Look out for Autodesk and Robot to advance analytically in the coming years Choose software based on engineering needs

75 Discussion? Experiences with any of these software packages on projects? What was good? What was bad? Lessons learned?

76 Questions? Desirée Mackey Martin/Martin Blog:bdmackeyconsulting.com/blog


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