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Thread: Looking for Suggestions - Column Caps/Soffits

  1. #1
    Member TRWhitehead's Avatar
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    Looking for Suggestions - Column Caps/Soffits

    So here's the issue. You have soffits or drop caps at every column. They are called out as: 7'-9"SQx10"DP SOFFIT. Which translates to 7'9" centered about column (and oriented to column) with a depth 10" below the bottom of the slab above. Now here's where it gets tricky. Multiple sizes of columns (16"x16", 18"x18", 18"x24", you get the idea) and multiple different soffit sizes (7'-9" square, 10'-0" square, some with 10" depth, some with 20" depth, one or two with 12" depth). Those sizes don't have any correlation to the column sizes, meaning any soffit could theoretically go on any column. So the soffits are called out on the level above, separately from the column.

    Here are the problems:
    1. if you attach columns to the bottom of slabs, enough times (in my case it was 800 columns spread across 5 slabs) you'll run into "newton solver" which is some process that generates hidden lines after you edit a sketch.
    2. You could use slabs, but that would be horribly painful as you couldn't easily tag and wouldn't follow grids
    3. They should be tag able but probably only by type name as the shape may not match description in many cases
    4. You may have a column that runs continuously between 2 floors but the cap should be in both places, and may (likely) be two different sizes
    5. The graphics should match your column as that essentially what it is.


    A few things that I know don't work:
    1. You can't make a "hosted" column family. Why? Long story but factory indeed says that isn't a good idea.
    2. Slabs are just a pain and will cause ulcers if you go that route
    3. Unless your standards are to show concrete beams like concrete columns you can't make it a framing family
    4. Don't try to do it as a part of the column or you'll end up with Columns^caps types or multiple families (and scheduling the columns becomes a nightmare)


    So all you revit geniuses out there, what are you doing and how do you make it work?

  2. #2
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    Can't claim genius nor what I am doing routinely but I have run into this before. I had to only deal with a few combinations so I just incorporated them into the column family directly. There wasnt a requirement to schedule the cap as a separate entity.

    If I had to do it over again, and it was like what you describe I'd probably nest a shared family and control selecting each cap with an instance <Family Type> parameter. If it made sense I'd manage the x/y dimensions by type and the thickness by instance so it could be adjusted more easily by the parent and adjust the colum height accordingly. I'd probably model two stacked columns for the two story columns that need a cap in the middle.

    Might be able to make it a nested Structural column too but if it should be scheduled differently I'd probably use generic model? Just conjecture at this point.

  3. #3
    Member TRWhitehead's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Thanks! I hadn't considered using a nested shared element. That would solve some of the issues but I'm afraid I'd be left with the "attachment issue". In the project I had, I ran into a performance issue where attaching columns to bottom of slab created a performance hit of 6-8 minutes every time I edited a slab sketch, or 1-2 minutes every time I moved a column associated with certain levels. The factory even looked into it and told me NOT to attach columns to the slabs or break up the slabs into pieces (~500,000 sq. ft divided into 6 functionally different slabs to begin with).

    In my office that seems to be an exception though and the nested families might do the trick. There are a few odd ball conditions that will always be a problem to do without in place voids but this might solve lots of the issues I've run across.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Mr. Revit OpEd
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    The majority of the columns could be set to a specific level and assigned a offset value. Once a project has moved beyond purely conceptual floors the likelihood that floor thickness is going to change wildly gets less and less likely. If they do then there are probably other design considerations that will make it easy to see where/when a column is no longer matching the underside of a slab. You can apply a new offset to columns quickly if you use Saved Selection sets for areas that are still in flux.

  5. #5
    Member TRWhitehead's Avatar
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    Well, what you say about slabs being in flux may be true for other offices but I was adding thickened slab edges and moving transitions right up until final printing. But you are right, it shouldn't be that hard to set offsets. It is just a training issue. I tend to make the model as responsive to changes as possible due to lots of folks being involved that won't think to check or even consider that a column needs to adjust when a slab depth/edge changes. It isn't always (or even commonly) possible but I try.

    I'm playing with the concept now, trying to figure out what family type will give me the best results nested and still be cuttable by voids in the corner and edge conditions. There is no easy button I'm afraid. Slab elements are great for those conditions but are impossible to tag consistently or get the graphics the way the company wants them.

    Again thanks for our insight.

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