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In Revit Architecture 2011 Essential Training, author Paul F. Aubin shows how to create compelling architectural designs using the modeling tools in Revit. This course covers the entire building information modeling (BIM) workflow, from design concept to publishing. It also covers navigating the Revit interface, modeling basic building features such as walls, doors and windows, working with sketch-based components such as roofs and stairs, annotating designs with dimensions and callouts, and adding 3D geometry. Exercise files are included with the course.
Stairs are among the more complex of our sketch-based object. You sketch a plan representation of the stair, and from that sketch, Revit builds all the model geometry necessary. The sketch lines are color coded to indicate their different functions. So, the riser lines are black, the boundaries are green, which indicate the edges of the stair and also indicate any stringers you might have, and there is a blue line that indicates the path of the stair. With the Run tool on the Ribbon, you can quickly draw all of these elements with just a few clicks. Sometimes stairs can be a little tricky, but with a little practice you get the hang of it.
So here I am in a version of the condo file. The file is called simply stairs in the Exercise Files folder. We're going to go ahead, on the Home tab, and on the Circulation panel, click the Stairs tool. This will take us to Sketch mode. We'll see a lot of familiar tools and a few that are unique to the stair. Now, the first thing I'd like to point out is stairs have fewer shapes. We either draw them as straight or curved, and you'd use curve if you're doing like a spiral stair, or something along those lines. We're going to stick with straight stairs in this case. Now, I'm going to do a pretty typical switchback stair here in the stair tower, so it's going to go up half the risers, and then it's going to turn with landing and go up the rest.
Before I start clicking and sketching, when you're working with stairs, it's very important that you check the properties first. Now, the first properties we are going to talk about are the Levels. I want to just verify that I'm starting at Level 2, and I'm going up to Level 3. The reason this is important is if I click the Edit Type button right here, and scroll down, the type in this case is called 7 inch maximum, 11 inch tread. What that means is exactly what you see here. The minimum tread depth of this stair is 11 inches; the maximum riser height is 7 inches.
So, we can do a smaller riser, and we can do a bigger tread, but we can't exceed these two limits. So, Revit is going to take this number here, this 7 inches, and it's going to look at the distance between these two levels, and it's going to figure out how many risers we need. That's going to be controlled down here. So, if we want to try a different number of risers, we can do that. Like I could put in 16, for example. But if I try to use that number, Revit will complain and give me an error message. It violates the rules basically, that I just showed you.
It doesn't work with a maximum 7-inch riser. So, 18 is basically the limit. As you can see here, that gives me an actual riser height of nearly 7 inches. That's as close to 7 inches as you're going to get without going over. Now, the other thing I want to look at here is the overall width of the stair. I actually want my stair to be a little wider than the default 3 feet. So, I'm going to increase that to 4 feet. Again, you can edit that later, but it's easier to just do it ahead of time. Now, the next thing is I don't typically try to draw my stair in exactly the right location.
What I typically do is just kind of click in a convenient open space, and start drawing. What I would like to point out to you here, is it's a little difficult to see, but there's this gray piece of text following my cursor, and right now it says, 11 risers created, 7 remaining, and then it says 12, and then 13 and so on. This is telling you how many risers you have. So, what I want to do here in this case, because I'm doing a switchback stair, is I'm actually going to back up here to where it says 9 risers, because I know I've got 18 total, so I want to use up half the risers for the first run of my stair, and then I'm going to click my mouse.
Now, I mentioned the color coding. You can see it here. The green lines are your boundary, the blue line is your path, and these black lines are the risers themselves. Now, let me zoom in just a little bit closer. To create a landing, we don't actually draw the landing. Revit will do that for us. All we need to do is indicate where we want the next run of the stairs to start. So, I'm going to kind of come over here and click. Then you'll see the little message, telling me how many risers I have left.
As soon as I click past that rectangle, you can see that I've used up all 18 risers, and there are zero remaining. I'm going to click again. Not only do I get the rest of that run of stairs, but Revit also goes ahead and fills in a landing for me. Now, you can make some modifications to this sketch after the fact. I'm going to zoom back out. The most obvious modification that we want to do is actually relocate it, because it's just sort of floating in space right now. So, the easiest way to do that is to just kind of move it around. So, I'm going to select the entire sketch with the window, click the Move tool, pick the end point snap right here, and snap that right to that end point there.
So, that will kind of get me started in the right location, but the next thing I want to do is I only want to move this half of the stair. So, I'm going to make another window selection, like so, to highlight just that half of the stair, and that's all I want to move. Now, I could use the Move tool again for this, but I actually don't want to snap it right to any geometry that I have conveniently nearby. I want it to be an offset off of this wall. Now, I could do that really easily if I had some temporary dimensions, but they're not displaying.
It turns out that we've got this button right here where we can force the temporary dimensions to display, simply by clicking on that button. Now I have all the dimensions I could need to go in and tell it exactly where I want these sketch lines to move over to. So, I'm going to edit that value right there, and I'm going to make this 4 inches. That's going to pull everything over there, and basically lengthen the landing. One last modification, if I want, is I could make the landing a little deeper.
Again, you'll see that that's perfectly fine, so whatever modifications that you need to do. Before I get out of here, I just want to verify, Revit will create railings for us automatically, as a convenience; it's not required, but it does it. I'm going to click the Railing type, and just verify the type of railing I have. You might have several choices, so you want to kind of choose the one that you want. I'm going to stick with the default Rectangular Handrail, and then I'm going to go ahead and click to finish. What you'll see is we've created the stair, and not only that, but it's given us some railings on each side of the stair, and drawn it there in plan.
Let's take a look at it in section. I can see it there in our section. Now we could mirror and copy that around elsewhere in the file. So, there you have your stair, complete with railings. You can repeat the same process to create other stairs, like, for example, down here in the main lobby. We can do a straight run stair running up there. All you need to do in that is just use the Run tool, click, and use up all 18 risers in two clicks. For other floors, where you have the switchback stair, you could just simply copy the one we have around.
So, in this lobby here, I might want just a simple, straight-run stair. I'm going to return to Level 1, here in the lobby. The stair should remember most of the settings that I already had configured. So, we'll just verify that. We're going up from Level 1 to Level 2. It's 4 feet. It's 18 risers. So, all I have to do is click, and this time click all the way to the end, use up all 18 risers in a single run, select the entire stair, activate the dimensions. We'll place that at 4 inches, and we'll go ahead and click Finish.
There we have our second stair. Zoom out, take a look at the section, and we do have to nudge it over a little bit to make it meet up with the floor, but I think I'll leave that to you as an exercise.
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