The essential first step to working in Revit is to create a Revit template. A good Revit template will economise your time and streamline your workflow.
Your template should be specifically developed for the needs of your practice and should reflect the graphic style of your architecture studio. A well-developed template helps organise your drawings, sheets and views to navigate the complex Revit browser with greater ease. The template can be fully set up with custom settings, parameters and ready-to-use drafting elements to create beautiful, quality architectural drawings in a consistent graphic style. We have outlined the following key guidelines to create a Revit template from scratch.
A Revit project is a complex platform that both produces and stores vast volumes of building information in a single file. In order to efficiently navigate this platform and produce coherent output, all elements must be carefully, named, catagorised and classified using a standardised system.
The first step to create a Revit template should be to update the template browser to optimize the efficiency of your workflows. The browser organisation should adhere to industry standards for working in Revit. The browser is divided into the following catagories: sheets, views, schedules and legends. These should be in turn divided into sub catagories to help keep everything organised as your project file grows and evolves from concept through to construction.
The ‘Views’ category should contain all plans, sections, elevations, drafting and 3D views arranged and catagorised by drawing set. The ‘Sheets’ section of the template browser files the sheets containing the drawings, drawing information, sketches, exports and schedules. These sheets must be rigorously categorised so that drawing are easy to find. You can create a set of placeholder sheets in the template that are classified and organised based on the drawing package codes to which they relate. In this way the subcategories are created and saved using the blank placeholder sheets. Integrated categorization parameters can be set up so that the sheets can be added to and organised with ease and according to a set standard.
Integrated Revit standards
When working in BIM, organisation is essential. The naming conventions for maintaining an organised Revit model and BIM standards are extensive. These should be outlined and readily available in the Revit template itself for reference. This will save time and avoids the need to reference a separate document. This practice is more likely to ensure the correct conventions are followed.
There should be a suite of views within the template that outline in a clear and concise manner how the following Revit elements should be named and organized: views, sheets, schedules, legends, view templates, materials, families, groups and assemblies.
This information can be typed in a drafting view and filed in the browser for easily access and reference when building your project model.
Start screen + BIM Transmittal sheet
Every template should include a specially developed start screen that also functions as a BIM transmittal sheet. This can be created as a drafting view and set as the default view that first appears when the project file is opened. The start screen operates as a record of key project information, such as the name, project base point, file format and template version.
A transmittal sheet which acts as a record of when and for what purpose the model was issued, should be included in the start view. This is an important means of recording the transmittals of models both internally and for the wider consultant design team. Your practice logo and an image of the specific project can be added for easy identification of the individual project upon opening.
The template should be populated with your practice’s title blocks that reflect your standards and branding. Setting up the following title blocks: A1 landscape, A1 portrait, A3 landscape and A3 portrait in both titled and blank versions is a good place to start.
The title blocks should have a range of integrated parameters that work with the template and project browser to easily categorise each drawing. Integrated parameters such as a scale bar, north sign, revision schedule and information labels can be contained within your title blocks to allow changes to be made to individual sheets quickly and easily from within your project. The naming and numbering format can be set up such that this information can be scheduled and placed on drawing issue sheets and drawing registers. Title blocks for drawing registers and schedules should also form part of your library and be included in the template.
We recommend placing all your standard title blocks on one sheet in your template and filing it with the rest of your standards so that they are easy to see, select and modify where necessary.
Graphics: Lines + Filled Regions
Once the above is all set up, the graphic standards can be added to the template. The first place to start is your lines and filled regions. Revit has a standard set of integrated line styles that cannot be deleted, but you can also add your own. Remember to keep these to a minimum so that there is no repetition or confusion, and follow a strict naming convention so that they can be easily found and their properties easily identified.
Filled regions can be flat colours (opaque or transparent) or hatched. It is a good idea of have a large selection of patterns and a carefully selected colour palette available in your template to enrich your drawings and presentations.
Your template should have a standard set of materials that will be used in every project. Having a large number of materials leads to a larger than necessary file size and it’s important to keep your template file as lean as possible. Keep this material library to a maximum of 10-15 materials in your template so as not to over load the file size with unnecessary information.
Your template should include annotation, tag, title block and detail item families to use for 2D presentations and drafting. Be careful not to over burden the template with any 2D detail item families that are rarely used or that are specific to only some projects. Again, keeping the template light is the key. The naming of all annotation families should be consistent and follow defined naming conventions so that they are well organised and easy to find as your projects develop and grow in size.
View templates are essential for the control of graphic output from Revit. A series of view templates should be provided for each set of plans, sections, elevations and 3D drawings. Inevitably, view templates will need to be tweaked or updated slightly to suit the individual project but the standard view templates should be available in the template. As always, a strict naming convention must be used to make their purpose clear and avoid duplicates.
Watch the file size
Keeping file sizes in Revit to a minimum is a constant challenge as your project progresses. As the first step in the creation of a new Revit model, your template should be kept as lean as possible. Keeping your template to a minimum file size while still packing it with all the essential information is a challenge. As mentioned above, materials and families should be kept to a minimum in the template. In the case of system families, such as walls, floors, ceilings and roofs, only a reduced set of generic build-ups should be contained in the template file. We recommend the use of a separate file that can be used as a content library for all your Revit families and materials.
Create a separate content Library file
It is a good idea to keep a content library file that is separate from your template file. Here you can house all the more heavy elements and families without over burdening your template file and therefore your project with superfluous elements and information.
Your content library file can include annotations, materials, families and system families that are not communally used in every project. System families include wall, floor and roof families. Apart from a small number of very generic wall build-ups, these wall types should be included in the Content Library File. A brief descriptor would be useful to include alongside the wall types. The elements in this file can be quickly and easily dragged and dropped into your new project if and when you need it.
Run Some Tests
The only way to make sure you create a Revit template that caters to your needs, is to carefully test the setting by printing hard copies of your drawings as well as PDFs throughout the template development process. Through trial and error and some testing and tweaking you can make sure that the output from your efforts match the graphic standards you wish to achieve. It is also a good idea to save screen shots your preferred line weight and object style settings in order to have a record to refer to.
We hope this was a useful guide to help you create a Revit template for your needs. Please leave any comments or questions below. We would love to hear from you!
For further information on Revit graphics and how to develop a Revit template see our free template guide. Our detailed document showcases the key elements and settings to include in your template based on our custom graphic Revit template. It provides detailed descriptions of the functions of our integrated view templates, parametric annotations and graphic elements. It also outlines tips for how to adapt the template to your design practice standards where you may wish.
Free Revit Template Guide
To save yourself the time and effort of creating a Revit template from scratch, we have done all the work for you! Through rigorous testing and development we have built a full Revit Graphic Template for purchase. Visit our home page or our LinkedIn page for further information.