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Thread: Do you have something to say about site topography and hardscape?

  1. #1
    Revit Guru marcello's Avatar
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    Do you have something to say about site topography and hardscape?

    Do you have something to say about site topography in Revit?
    If so, then now is the time for your voice to be heard!

    Lets hear from you and consider some of questions below when you are voicing your opinions on the subject.

    What are you trying to model w/ Topography and hardscape that's not currently working?
    Do you see any limitations with site topography?
    What elements do you use for hardscape?
    Have your abandoned site topography and use some other elements to model site?
    If so, what is it doing for you that Site topography could not do?

    Are you frustrated about how you are not able to make a road follow the shape of site topography?
    Do you get mad about how you are not able to get the site topography element to match the exact location of your building's exterior?
    JeffreyMcGrew and tidalwave1 like this.

  2. #2
    Moderator snowyweston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you have something to say about site topography in Revit?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What are you trying to model w/ Topography and hardscape that's not currently working?
    Believable, non-green field, existing (architectural) conditions - in that very few projects are blessed with a Corbusian blank canvas site - and roads, pavements, etc all need to be shown.


    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you see any limitations with site topography?
    Show depth.

    True vertical edges (where points can have the same x & y, but a different z, not creating sheer-fractures in the topo.

    Smooth (i.e. not point-to-point, triangulated/fractured) curves. It would be nice to have draw-tools (with points, if still required, placed along them automatically) to edit topo.

    Surface-detail (as in topo works for large, schematic-level design; where sub-region and split-surface "paints" the different condition - but is pretty useless for showing the elevational variances between road/pavement/edging,etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What elements do you use for hardscape?
    System families (i.e. floors w/ floor slab-edges; walls; railings) for "local" conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Have your abandoned site topography and use some other elements to model site?
    On occasions I've used in-place (site) components so that I have a solid-form (with depth) but have not gone to the lengths some have with using point data to drop (drape?) onto a surface of a form.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    If so, what is it doing for you that Site topography could not do?
    Conditions that address the "issues" of question 3


    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Are you frustrated about how you are not able to make a road follow the shape of site topography?
    Yes - but then equally, the reverse (making a topo. follow a road) without the need for loads-of-points, is a PITA.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you get mad about how you are not able to get the site topography element to match the exact location of your building's exterior?
    No, (not mad) but then I've not encountered this as a standalone limitiation.
    It is annoying how topo doesn't like true/project north adjustment.
    And topo. that doubles up on itself (vertically) to consider undercrofts, and such, is a nuisance (given the Christo-esque "drape" nature of the tool)

  3. #3
    Senior Member willsud's Avatar
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    Spot on, Snowy...

    I was just discussing this with my reseller's Revit man yesterday at our 2014 training day and like me he uses floor slabs for just about everything once a basic pad is cut out of the site topo.

  4. #4
    JBZ
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    Senior Member JBZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you have something to say about site topography in Revit?
    If so, then now is the time for your voice to be heard!
    Yes, Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What are you trying to model w/ Topography and hardscape that's not currently working?
    A typ workflow is Schematic/Preliminary to specific; I would like to see a split surface simply have the ability to be raised to become say a curb, etc. all while keeping joined to the main surface...Just like the Massing/Adaptive environment can push/pull surfaces and faces (for one).
    Every, every, every component or at least every component possibly used in site and urban planning be hostable to topo's!
    Vice Versa!

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you see any limitations with site topography?
    Smoothing, such as easy grading tools (Rake, Back-Hoe, etc.) are missing. These could clip specific depths from the topo's upper surface, just like it is in reality... Oh wait, that would make ADSK create their tools to do what they say to do when modeling: Model How it's built... WELL WE CAN'T -very easily ;-)


    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What elements do you use for hardscape?
    Mostly just split surfaces and sub regions. But if you are asking: "What WOULD I use" That's easy:
    Casework
    Columns
    Curtain Walls
    Ducts (Pool Equip. etc.)
    Electrical Equipment
    Electrical Fixtures
    ...Funny that Entourage works like we want all this other stuff to work, huh? Kinda makes one question whether the RevDevs ever did a real project, or a complete project...
    Floors
    Furniture
    Furniture Systems
    Generic Models
    Lighting Devices
    Lighting Fixtures
    Mass
    Rooms (yes, I would calculate pool decks, etc.)
    Mechanical Equipment
    ...Funny again that Parking objects works like we want all this other stuff to work, huh? Kinda makes one question...
    Pipes
    ...Funny again that Planting objects works like we want all this other stuff to work, huh? Kinda makes one question...Does anyone else start a family as Planting category, then change it's category, allowing the component to remain intact with it's OOTB hostability to topos???
    Plumbing Fixtures
    Railings
    Ramps
    Roads (Nice: our category without a tool ;-) -Be quiet Martijn ;-)
    Roofs
    Specialty Equipment
    Sprinklers (I don't use them but guess they don't host)
    Stairs
    Structural (All of the components, beams, columns, rebar...oh get these to host with defined offsets, etc...)
    Topography (LOL)
    Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Have your abandoned site topography and use some other elements to model site?
    If so, what is it doing for you that Site topography could not do?
    Floors; they host sh|t!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Are you frustrated about how you are not able to make a road follow the shape of site topography?
    I was until...

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you get mad about how you are not able to get the site topography element to match the exact location of your building's exterior?
    I'd say I am more skeptical about the true level of dedication ADSK gives to BIM, AEC and real live Architectural project, process and needs in general.

    Thanks again, I know you have (or will) most of this handled, right? Is it done yet? LOL
    Last edited by JBZ; April 26th, 2013 at 05:12 PM. Reason: This is an awesome thread
    tidalwave1 likes this.

  5. #5
    Member JeffreyMcGrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you have something to say about site topography in Revit?
    While I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said, two things I'd like to see that haven't been said yet are:

    - The ability to have Model Lines 'drape' on the topo surface and/or have the ability to show property lines on a topo surface. I'd love to show property lines, setback lines, site lines, etc. over the top of a surface. We've been getting into doing hillside homes and this is a big issue for us to easily show Planning & Zoning that our addition is legal.

    - The ability to 'sync' edges between topo surfaces. It's not uncommon that we'll want different topo surfaces that share edges to do phased grading and cut/fill calcs, but want some way to 'sync' a common edge with another topo surface when changes have happened. So, like, we'll be working on a site model, we'll have made grading changes to our site, and then we'll get better information for the surrounding site (like the street out front) that's not part of our topo surface for phasing reasons, and would like to auto-stitch the two together...
    JBZ likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you have something to say about site topography in Revit?
    yes yes yes hell yesssssssssss. Seems revit has from the begining forgotten that project start from sites. They are essential to the design process. Having something strong on that front would just bring revit to maturity.


    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What are you trying to model w/ Topography and hardscape that's not currently working?
    Sites are the base of the project and since revit 6 I never understood why autodesk did'nt get this. Before designing something i need to know the site fully, it's drawbacks and advantage.

    1. Getting the full site ready.

    getting the full site (existing) ready to start is a tedious process on revit. Survey plans are often coming from autocad. You can check the many subjects about it and you'll get quite quickly that the process need at least some lisp knowledge and high level tricks. This is far from being main stream. Once you get the topo inside you need to deal with the fact that revit can't deal convex contour that need long fix time to get stuff back to what it should be. Then you need to remodel peaks, embankments, and other stuff, this is task heavy and what would be cool is to get control on the topography inner edges (triangles) to prevent some heavy headache due to calculation needed because you have to add some intermediate points everywhere to the topo.

    1. Hardscape

    Getting existing or project embankment wall, site stairs are a pain in the a.s! Wall and stairs are quite easy to do (just using normal tools), but getting the topo to stick it from beneath is something that could be a killer fonction.

    1. Curbs

    path, road and curbs are something quite hard to get. I need to control many factor on it. You can argue that it's not the role desserved to an architecture software, but I'll never design buildings without sites around it. including path, roads and curbs. Sometimes getting the stuff modeled and looking right is hard. Specially i doesn't need parasite lines on plans and tell people, clients that it's a software limitation.

    1. Sub elements

    When using floor sub elements for hardscape that seems to mess patterns. Looks like it takes long to get them back in place.

    1. Draw on site

    drawing wall that can follow topography. I mean i know that my fundation must be minimum 80cm deep. Wall should be 1.8m smooth or steppedtop, fundation must be stepped. Bring this by just drawing a line on plan!

    1. push pull

    Bring those nice tools from max maya that let you displace surface so we could remodel a site. (ok that too much)


    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you see any limitations with site topography?
    Well yes. Check the above list to get an idea. Additionally:

    1. drawing

    Need to get peak, embankment info on plans.
    As on autocad a color background to fill pattern would help on general site plan.
    real transparency with % on full fill colored pattern (needed for zoning, trees, plants…)

    1. Excavation/Backfill

    Well usually you prepare the site, then start building, and then backfill holes. This can’t be correctly scheduled in revit as far as I tried.

    1. Landmark

    Revit is as all BIM software, really weak on this aspect. check vectorworks landmark there are some good ideas. The final 2d aspect of the site is hard to get right. Getting trees, shrub and other stuff looking good on plan are not that easy.

    1. painted marks

    Parking paint marks and other objects that could “stick” on site (now they stay flat)

    1. surroundings

    It seems to be quite hard to model surroundings (either natural site or constructed area) in revit.

    1. patterns

    No patterns available on topography. Note that it should be a zone representation and not a projection of the pattern on the surface.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    What elements do you use for hardscape?
    Wall, Floor, pads,… (people should use keynotes or assembly codes to schedule them as external hardscape)

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Have your abandoned site topography and use some other elements to model site?
    Autocad 2D is sometimes easier! But that’s not bim! But it looks correct on plans.
    Anyway we use everything we got under hand to get what we want until we have something that work. The problem is by multiplying this for each problem you sometimes land far away from full BIM ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    If so, what is it doing for you that Site topography could not do?
    Slope control and many other stuff. Just think as people do when designing. You define area with slopes (I must get from here to there with that slope) sides can be hard (wall, curbs, …) or soft (hard slope, backfill, ….)
    Sometimes getting the drawing right is traighter in 2D than doing it right in revit.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Are you frustrated about how you are not able to make a road follow the shape of site topography?
    I was angry to discover this tutorial that makes me realize that you can get it quite rapidly done….:
    Shades of Grey: HIGHWAY TO HELL
    Quote Originally Posted by marcello View Post
    Do you get mad about how you are not able to get the site topography element to match the exact location of your building's exterior?
    Hell yea, that’s the basis of our work. Linking a building to a site need right data when you start to work. The more precise you are on the site, the sharper your answer can be. On flat site that doesn’t make sense, but on sloped site that can have huge impact on design

    From a general sight you should never forgot that modeling like it has to be built is good, but we need also some abstraction representation level to make things look like we want, and that’s specialy true on sites, topography, hardscapes, and plants.

  7. #7
    The Moderator with No Imagination MPwuzhere's Avatar
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    Hmmm.....AU2013 proposals are coming up....wonder if Marcello is going to have a "So you thought Revit couldn't do Site Topography?!" class and prove us all wrong somehow...
    JBZ, Dive_Syko, cganiere and 1 others like this.

  8. #8
    JBZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPwuzhere View Post
    Hmmm.....AU2013 proposals are coming up....wonder if Marcello is going to have a "So you thought Revit couldn't do Site Topography?!" class and prove us all wrong somehow...
    AU2013 proposals are here now, only 3 weeks left to submit!!!

    LOL... I said "submit"

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    Forum Co-Founder iru69's Avatar
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    That's all well and good, but I sometimes feel there's some confusion in Revit land between what is possible to do in Revit and what is practical to do in Revit. I need to see much more emphasis in Revit development making what is possible to do, practical to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by MPwuzhere View Post
    Hmmm.....AU2013 proposals are coming up....wonder if Marcello is going to have a "So you thought Revit couldn't do Site Topography?!" class and prove us all wrong somehow...

  10. #10
    The Moderator with No Imagination MPwuzhere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iru69 View Post
    That's all well and good, but I sometimes feel there's some confusion in Revit land between what is possible to do in Revit and what is practical to do in Revit. I need to see much more emphasis in Revit development making what is possible to do, practical to do.
    Yeah, I know....but it also silences those folk that say "Revit can't do it!"

    I've created some pretty spiffy sites in the past...takes some creativeness to do it, but it also helps that I have a civil background too...

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