More Basics with Revit Walls: Profiling Your Foundation Walls

Posted on December 4, 2015 by Bill Knittle, Synergis Building Solutions Engineer:

I’m sure many of you have been frustrated with creating intricate foundation walls in Revit. For instance, you want to make that foundation wall with a shelf for brick or stone veneer. To add matters worse, you need to design the foundation wall steps as well as the shelf due to grade. Revit can do this. I have to chuckle at some of the solutions users come up with to overcome these modeling hurdles. The most common solution I’ve seen is to create numerous wall types and piece short sections together with various top and bottom offsets. I typically have to ask, “Did you ever consider editing the profile of the wall?”

In most cases, one may resort to using a Stacked Wall type. For those of you who are new to Revit, the Stacked Wall family is one of three predefined system families in a Revit project. A type within the Stacked Wall family consists of two or more types from the Basic wall family stacked one on top of the other. The lower type in the assembly is given a Height value while the upper most type can vary. In the example below, the veneers in each type vary while the sheathing, stud, and gypsum wallboard layers remain consistent thicknesses.

rwt1With this basic understanding, we can now explore creating a Foundation Stacked Wall type. First, we must create two Basic Wall types. In my project, I already have a Foundation – 12” Concrete type. I will use this to create a Foundation – 6” Concrete Type. This is accomplished by duplicating the 12” type. With the new Foundation – 6” Concrete Type created, its Structure can be modified to change the thickness from 12” to 6”. Selecting the Edit button for the Structure parameter will allow me to edit the assembly. Now, we have two Basic Wall types that can be Stacked.

rwt2In a similar fashion, I will duplicate an existing Stacked Wall Type. I will call it Foundation – 12” Concrete with 6” Shelf. Next, I will edit the assembly by selecting the Edit button for the Structure parameter. Once inside the assembly, I can set the Offset parameter to Finish Face Interior. This will align the interior faces of both wall types. Next, I will select the Foundation – 12” Concrete type for Layer 2 with a 4’-0” Offset and Foundation – 6” Concrete for Layer 1.

rwt3Now, we just have to draw some foundation walls. I will draw two Structural Walls set to a Depth of 4’-8”. As you can see, I get a uniformal 6” shelf.

rwt4Almost there. Now, here comes the advanced stuff. The profile of a Stacked Wall is modified the same way you would edit a Basic or Curtain Wall profile. Select the instance of the Stacked Wall and select the Edit Profile button on the Contextual Ribbon tab. Modify the boundary lines top and bottom to provide a 2’-0” step. When you finish the mode, you will see the 6” type steps up, the 12” type steps down, and the 6” shelf remains untouched. With the addition of Wall Foundation elements you can see they will follow the step in the 12” section of the Stacked Wall instance.

rwt5

While this solution solves the issue of having a consistent shelf while the top and bottom of the wall steps, there are times that all three must step. For these situations we can start with Stacked Wall and break it apart through the Contextual Menu. The Break Up command will break the Stacked Wall down into its Basic Wall types.

rwt6With the 6” and 12” walls separated, I can now modify the 12” wall’s profile first. I will step the top and bottom boundary lines. When the mode is finished, the 6” wall fails to follow the top of the 12” wall.

rwt7This is fixed by simply attaching the bottom of the 6” wall to the top of the 12” wall using the Attach Top/Base button on the Contextual Ribbon tab. Make sure to select the Base radio button on the Options Bar prior to selecting the lower 12” wall for the attachment target.

rwt8“OK,” you say! “But, I want the top of the 6” wall to step too!”

Unfortunately, the Attach Top/Base will be removed once you edit the profile of the 6” wall. However, it is necessary to achieve the desired result. I’ll use the Pick Lines drawing tool and the Lock option on the Options Bar to select steps in the top of the 12” wall as a guide. Then, I offset lines 8” away from those lines to step the top lines of the 6” wall. The results are awesome.

rwt9In closing, you can modify the profiles of your walls to capture your design intent. As you advance your profiling skills you can try adding the walls above to have them follow the steps in your foundation! Don’t forget to unlock the base of layers in your upper wall’s assembly and incorporation of the Wall Joins and Join Geometry tools!!! If you need advice on those methods, refer back to my previous series on RevitCommunity,  “Back to Basics with Revit Walls.”

rwt10Have questions?  Contact us or ask an expert.

Happy Designing,
Bill Knittle

See some of Bill’s other posts:

For the past seven years at Synergis, Bill has been training, supporting, and implementing the Building Solutions offered from Autodesk, primarily the Revit applications. His accomplishments include many certifications which include AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, and Revit Architecture. He is also an Implementation Certified Expert for Revit Architecture and Structure. Bill’s latest achievement was acquiring the MEP Systems Specialist certification from Autodesk which has propelled Synergis as a Platinum Service Provider. Bill’s interactions with customers have provided him with constant challenges that lead him to think outside the box.  As a result, he has authored several technical solutions for publications which include AEC Bytes and Cadalyst as well as, produced several tips and tricks videos for the Synergis Website and You Tube channel. He enjoys consulting with a many different Architectural or Engineering firms struggling to implement the BIM process using the Revit application.  Bill has been certified many times on Autodesk products, including Revit Architecture, Revit Structure, AutoCAD , and AutoCAD Architecture.

Contact us, visit the Synergis website or subscribe to our blog.

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