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Up and Running with Revit
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating a section


From:

Up and Running with Revit

with Paul F. Aubin

Video: Creating a section

Most of the default templates that come with Revit include some standard floor plans an elevations to get us started, but none of them include any sections. And sections are actually one of my favorite kinds of views that we can create in Revit. Sections are real easy to create, they're live cuts of your model and you can create them just about anywhere where you need to get a better look at what's going on in the model. I'm in a project called Section and we're just going to cut a couple sections in here and take a look at how the tool works. So, let's think about an area where we want to get a better look at how things are coming together. And I'm thinking that this stair area here with a balcony up above is a good choice. I'll start off by zooming in on that location. And I'm going to create a couple of different sections that cut through this stairwell area.

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Up and Running with Revit
3h 58m Beginner Jun 20, 2013

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Autodesk Revit is one of the most popular building information modeling (BIM), solutions today. This course covers the differences between the various editions of Revit and shows architects and engineers who are new to the software how to use them. Learn how to choose a template; set up the basic levels, grids, and dimensions; and start adding walls, doors, and windows to your model. Author Paul F. Aubin also shows how to create views and documentation that clearly communicate your plans, import files from other CAD programs, and produce construction documents.

Note: The techniques shown in this course will work with any version of Revit, but due to backwards compatibility issues, the exercise files for this course will only work with Revit 2014. Unfortunately, we cannot downsave the files. Please see a Revit 2013 course for usable files.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the different editions of Revit
  • Setting up levels and grids
  • Adding doors and windows
  • Loading families
  • Working with 3D views
  • Dimensioning a plan
  • Adding a schedule view
  • Importing CAD files
  • Linking to another Revit file
  • Creating sheets
  • Plotting a set of documents
  • Generating a cloud rendering
Subjects:
Architecture BIM CAD
Software:
Revit Architecture Revit Structure Revit LT Revit MEP
Author:
Paul F. Aubin

Creating a section

Most of the default templates that come with Revit include some standard floor plans an elevations to get us started, but none of them include any sections. And sections are actually one of my favorite kinds of views that we can create in Revit. Sections are real easy to create, they're live cuts of your model and you can create them just about anywhere where you need to get a better look at what's going on in the model. I'm in a project called Section and we're just going to cut a couple sections in here and take a look at how the tool works. So, let's think about an area where we want to get a better look at how things are coming together. And I'm thinking that this stair area here with a balcony up above is a good choice. I'll start off by zooming in on that location. And I'm going to create a couple of different sections that cut through this stairwell area.

And show us what's going on there. So I'm going to do the first one right here. And so to get there, you go to the Quick Access toolbar here and there's a Section tool. You can also find it on the View tab. And I'll click that. And, all you really need to do is click two points to create the section. So, I'm going to click right here next to the stair, but roughly in the middle. And then you see this line I'm drawing is going right down the middle of the run of that stair. And, I'm going to go the full width of the building here. So I'm going to pull it all the way out and over here and then click again. So it just takes two clicks.

And when you do, you get several things. You'll get a symbol here. It's got some grips on it so you can fine tune it. And then if you zoom out a little bit, or pan actually is what I'm doing. And I'll pan and zoom slightly. So you'll see this dash bluish box out here that has some grips on each side. Revit will automatically try to make the extent of this section match the geometry that you have created. Another way to show you that is if I just kind of come over here to empty space.

If I were to create another section over here, you'll notice that it's just sort of a generic depth. Because there's no building there. It doesn't know what to create. So I'm going to undo that with Ctrl+Z but this one, when we created it, it went the full depth of the building. So this is why the default template doesn't include any sections because there's no geometry so there's really nothing to look at. After you've created the section, if you look over here on the Project Browser, you'll see a new Sections category. And if we expand that, we're going to see Section 1. Now, one of the things that I always like to do is right-click on the section that gets created and rename it to something a little bit more descriptive. So, instead of Section 1, I'm going to just change that to Section at balcony and click Okay.

Now, you can double-click it here to open it, or you can right-click the section line itself and choose Go To View. Either one will do the same thing. And that will open up that view and you're now looking at that section. So we cut through the building at that location that we drew with the two clicks and then we're seeing everything beyond from that point. Now, if I zoom in slightly here. You could start to see that walls and so forth, they're a little more bold that were cutting through. We've got a ceiling plane here, there's a guard rail right here, this is the floor slab for the balcony itself and then here is the stair.

So, we can start to use this section as a way of understanding how things are coming together, do we have the right clearances. Is the volume of the space what we want? For example, if I come over here and go to the Dimension tool on the toolbar. This is the same Dimension tool that we used to move our walls around, but I can use this as a quick way to measure whether or not I've got enough clearance on the stairwell. So I'm going to highlight the top of this landing right here. And then I'm going to highlight the underside of this floor slab and I can see that I've got 11 feet right there.

So that should be more than enough clearance and enough head room in there so that we don't have to worry making any modifications. If it came in too shallow, then we would have to start manipulating things, either change the stairs or change the floor slab or what have you. So, let's go back to the first floor plan and create another one. So I'm going to go back to Level 1. And lets create a section that goes though the stair, going the other way this time. I'll click the same section tool and I'm going to start here this time. And pull it straight down like so.

And I'll go all the way through the building and again it sees the full depth. Now, if you start here and draw that way it'll point the other way. What you do if you accidentally draw the section the wrong way is don't undo and start over again. Just use this little grip here and you can actually flip it to make it look the other way. So it's real easy to reverse a section after you create it. Usually, it's not something you want to start over again. If I scroll down in Project Browser, it's called Section 1 again, so I'm going to right-click and rename, Section at Stair. And let's open that up with Go To View.

Zoom in a little. And you can now see the stairs going up to here, we're at the balcony right there and then here's the guardrail beyond. Just another angle giving us a sense of how things are shaping up. Now, one of the things I notice when I'm in here is this floor slab here is not very bold. The walls here are bold, the walls here are bold, but this floor slab right here is a little bit lighter. And the same is true is this other section here. This floor slab was also lighter. What line weight is being used when you cut through the elements is actually something that's being controlled in a dialog called Objects styles. It's a global set of setting that affects the entire project. And we can there on the Manage tab.

So if I go to Manage and click on object styles, what you're going to see is a list of all the categories that are available in a Revit project. So there's lots of them here. And if we look at the floor category right here you'll see that there's a line weight column. And the projection and the cut line wave are the same. They're both pen weight 2. Now, pen weight 1 is your thinnest line and it goes up to believe it or not, pen weight 16, okay? Now, most of the time 5 or 6 is about the maximum that most people use.

If we scroll down a little bit here. And find the walls. Notice that walls are pen weight 2 in projection. Projection is what you see when it's beyond, when you're looking at the object. And when you cut through it in either plan or section, this is what you're seeing here, and it's pen weight 4. But you can see that there's a difference between what the floors are using, pen weight 2. And what the walls are using, pen weight 4. What I'm going to do is click in here, use this little drop-down and choose pen weight 4 for the floors as well. Really simple change.

Object styles is global, it effects the entire project. So I only need to make that change once. And when I click Okay. You can see the floor is now bold and matches the intensity of the walls. And it doesn't matter now which section I'm looking at, the floor is bold in both cases. Now, here it's still light because there we're seeing the floor beyond, we're not cutting through it. The only place we're cutting through it is right here. So that's just a really quick change that we can make. Now, another thing that the section starts to identify for me right here is this little gap right here. So this is something that I might want to go in and modify. To modify that, I would just simply select the floor object and edit its sketch. So let's do that really quick.

I'm going to select it. And in her on the ribbon, I can choose Edit Boundary. Now, when I do that, it will tell me that it can't edit the boundary directly from the Section view because we're looking at it obliquely. So I'm what I'm going to do is offer to open it for me and floor plants. So I going to choose level two and click open view. Let me zoom in on that area. And you could see the problem. This line is on this face of the wall instead of this face of the wall, but what I'm going to do is just take that line and drag it over here and then, while I'm at it, I'll take this one and drag it over there. So I've got both of those on the opposite faces of those walls now, and I'll click Finish.

Revit's going to ask me about the walls coming up underneath. I'm just going to say no here. And then let's go to the Stair Edit section again. And you can now see that that floor slab is extending underneath the wall and it makes a little bit more sense. A section cut can do a variety of things for you. Sections are necessary drawings to have along with our document set. But as you could see, because the section is a live cut of the building model, it's a great tool for you to go in and start looking for where the places are that need a little bit more attention. Did we modify this part of the model correctly, is this connection correct? And when you cut sections in those areas, it gives you a direct view where you can look in and see exactly what's there and react to it in real time. So it's a really powerful and useful tool and you'll find that most Revit users have dozens and dozens of sections in their projects.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with Revit.


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Q: Will Revit 2014 files work in a previous version of Revit? Will the exercise files for this course work in Revit 2013?
A: Revit file formats are not backwards compatible. A new file format is introduced with each new release. Newer versions of Revit can open older version files without issue. However, files will be upgraded to the latest file format during the initial open. Once saved in the current version, there is no way to save them back to a previous version. Therefore, it is important to consider this issue carefully and discuss it with all project team members before beginning a project. For example, it is not possible for the architect to use a newer version of the software than the consulting engineers and vice-versa. All members of the team must collaborate using the same version/file format. This course was authored using Revit 2014. Therefore, its exercise files can be used with any flavor of Revit (Architecture, MEP, Structure, or LT) 2014 and later. Files cannot be opened with versions 2013 and prior.
 
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