Join Eric Wing for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a Revit family?, part of MEP Families in Revit.
- Let's get started by explaining what a Revit family actually is. For you AutoCAD users, it's a block that you insert into a drawing. Basically, a group of objects that form a building component such as a desk or a window or a VAV. Oh, but this is no ordinary block. See, in AutoCAD, we had to insert a block, explode it, stretch it, and put everything back on the correct layers. Not a family. Revit families are the cornerstone of BIN. When you insert a family into a model, you get a fully parametric data-rich 3D object that can adapt to whatever is actually hosting that family.
For example, if I insert a window family into a wall, I don't have to tell the family what size the wall is. It just knows. Better yet, when I change the wall, the family automatically flexes with the wall. That being said, there are a few different types of families I'd like to explore. To get started, we'll look at some of the categories. The first category would be a system family. Now, system families are going to consist of walls, floors, roofs, stairs or ramps. If we look at another category type, we can see that we have hosted families.
Now, hosted families need a system family to exist. Basically, all MEP families need some kind of host to exist. When we create a hosted family in Revit MEP, we want them to be face-based. A face-based family is the only way to host to walls, ceilings, or floors. See, if we use a wall-based or a ceiling-based or a floor-based, it won't host to a link model, which is 100% of what you're going to be doing. You're going to be hosting to a link architectural model. Also, we can have work plane-based.
A work plane-based family is basically hosted by a floor plan or a level. A few face-based families are wall sconces, light switches, receptacles, or maybe ceiling-mounted projectors and lighting fixtures. Also on the mechanical side, sidewall and ceiling-mounted air terminals can be considered face-based families. Now let's get a look at family types. If we take a look at the VAV Unit, we have, over to the right, we'll see we have VAV Unit - Parallel Fan Powered. But underneath that, we have multiple sizes of that family.
We can have a six inch inlet, an eight inch, a ten inch, or basically, you could make your own. By duplicating the family type, what we're doing is recreating a new type within the family itself. Each family can have multiple types. And the last thing that we'll look at is the fact that they're parametric. They're not just 3D. Families in Revit are adjustable based on size. As we'll learn throughout this course, we're going to see that we have all kinds of different parameters that we can add to our families. We'll make our families be able to flex to any situation, automatically or manually.
They are parameter driven. And they are definable. You can redefine a well-made family by duplicating its type. And they are data rich. Building information modeling starts right here with families. Okay, now let's start making some families.
Author Eric Wing shows how to model MEP families on a topic-by-topic basic, so you can learn the ins and outs of family creation while modeling exactly what you need for your drawings today. The course starts with a review of the basics: parameters, connectors, dimensions, and various family modeling techniques. Then Eric investigates specific parts and systems that can be created with Revit families: electrical panels and junction boxes, recessed and track lighting, HVAC systems with ducting and air terminals, and pipe systems. Along the way, he introduces the reference planes, parameters, shapes, and hosting options necessary to build families on your own.
- What is a Revit family?
- Using the Revit Family Editor
- Working with family parameters
- Constraining families with dimensions
- Creating extrusions, sweeps, and blends
- Creating panels and junction boxes
- Creating electrical lighting
- Modeling mechanical HVAC systems
- Creating pipe systems
- Annotating families