Webcast Follow-up: Family Customization Made Easy

Thank you to all those who joined me in my webcast on how to upgrade an architectural plumbing fixture to an MEP plumbing fixture.  For those who couldn't attend, we have posted the recording of the webcast here.

During the webcast, I demonstrated how to:

  • Open an architectural plumbing fixture family within the Revit Family Editor.
  • Create parameters to specify pipe sizes.
  • Add plumbing connectors for both cold water and sanitary systems.
  • Load the newly modified MEP family back into the project.
  • Add or draw pipes within the project using the modified family.
  • Upgrade an architectural plumbing fixture to MEP, from ASCENT's Autodesk Revit 2024 BIM Management: Template and Family Creation guide.

I want to recap some of the key topics that I covered during the webcast, as well as answer a few questions that were sent in.

  • Revit Family Parameters Review:
    • Family Parameter  Family parameters define and control the elements in a project, like dimensions, size, and material. This type of parameter is not used for tags and schedules but more for increasing a family's flexibility in a project.
    • Shared Parameter – Shared parameters can be used in other families and across various projects. They are created with the intent to control an element's instance or type parameter, as well as parameters of a nested family. Shared parameters can be pulled for tags or schedules. Shared parameter definitions are stored in a .TXT file and organized into groups.

  • Revit Connectors:

The Revit pipe connector can be added to a family and then further controlled through Properties. In certain situations, connectors can be added to a project for a quick connection, but this would be for things like pipe exiting the building, an exterior fountain, or an architectural component that only needs one connector.

  • Associating Family Parameters:

You can associate family parameters to control the properties of the family using the family or shared parameters you’ve created. For example, I can control the connector's Diameter property by associating the Cold Water Diameter's shared parameter that was created inside of the Family Types dialog box.

Q: What are the web addresses of the websites that were mentioned in the webcast?

A: I talked about some websites that I have found families from. In no way do I endorse these sites – these are just a few of the sites that I have perused and tested out some families from. The first is Revit City; with this site, there is no monitoring of what families are up there, so you are rolling the dice on what you find. I have found great usable families but also families that are over constrained and have given me nothing but grief. The other website is BIM Objects, which was given to me by an Autodesk tech and has proven to be a good source for families. Sometimes they too are a bit over the top and I have had to remove a ton of constraints for the family to work as I need it to.

A couple things I would like to stress when downloading families from the Internet: always run a virus scan on the downloaded file, and if the family is over 1mb then it probably has more detail than it really needs and, in turn, is going to weigh down your model.

Q: What does locking a parameter inside the Family Types dialog box do to a family?

A: In Revit, the 'lock' icon represents a constraint applied to a parameter within the Family Editor. It indicates that a dimension or parameter has been fixed or tied to a specific value, dimension, or another parameter, essentially establishing a rule for how that parameter behaves. This constraint is crucial for maintaining design intent and ensuring the family behaves predictably when parameters are adjusted.

Locked parameters in the Family Editor are sometimes thought to directly correlate to grayed-out (non-editable) parameters in the Type Properties within the project environment, but this is not necessarily the case. The 'lock' icon in the Family Types dialog box does not inherently make a parameter non-editable in the project; it simply maintains a defined relationship within the family's design.

In essence, the locking of a parameter within the Family Types dialog box serves to enforce specific design rules and relationships within the family itself. The locked status does not universally dictate the parameter's editability when the family is loaded into a project environment. The parameter's editability is contingent upon whether it is governed by formulas, linked to shared parameters, or subject to Revit's system parameter rules.

Thanks again for attending the webcast. Here at ASCENT we are always looking for feedback from both users and instructors of our guides. After a careful analysis of the feedback, we incorporate changes to the guides to make them more accurate and keep them up to date with the latest industry trends. Feel free to send your feedback to courseware@ASCENTed.com

About the Author

Cherisse Biddulph

Learning Content Developer<br><br>Cherisse is an Autodesk Certified Professional for Revit with extensive experience in teaching and technical support. She holds an Associates of Applied Science degree in Architectural Drafting and Design with a focus on Interior Design. In her career spanning over 20 years in the industry, she has helped many firms with their CAD management and software implementation needs as they modernized to a BIM design environment. Today, she brings her passion for design and architecture to all the learning content she creates.

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