10 Ways to Keep a Revit Model Slim

Most models deal with anorexia as part of the job, but Revit models can get pretty hefty when you're working on a huge project. Use these tips to keep your Revit model slim. 

  1. Heed the Warnings
When working full steam for a deadline, it is easy to overlook some of the warnings Revit produces. If left unchecked for too long, you can amass TONS of warnings—which can make your model slow and cumbersome, because it keeps looking to see if the "problems" have been fixed. Take a moment to check how many you have in the model and the "quality" of those warnings. The most common, benign and easiest to fix are warnings about rooms separation lines overlapping each other or walls, warnings saying that two items have the same type of marks or room tags outside of room. More complicated warnings like ramp slope and stair riser warnings should get reviewed right away because they require more complex calculations and can have a bigger impact on performance.  So if you see a warning pop up, address it immediately.

"Address warnings immediately"

2. Keep it Simple

Revit is capable of modeling many complicated things and make them parametric (changeable). Yes, you can model every bolt in that complicated piece of equipment, but should you? Um, no. If you stick with the mantra of  "Keep It Simple" and only model what you need/when you need it, you will wind up with a smaller, easier to use model. Beware of items that come from RevitCity or manufacturers, as they can be modeled with a lot of detail.  Not to say they are not good resources, but if you do use those families you should strip out unnecessary information or parameters and purge the file.

3. Unused Views

Revit is amazing when it comes to creating views. You can create sections, elevations and 3D views with the blink of an eye. This is great, however, an excessive amount of views—especially 3D perspective or isometric views—can weigh a model down. Once you're done using the section you cut in order to quickly check something, make sure to delete it. Try keeping the philosophy of  "Name it or delete it" when it comes to views to keep your model in check as you go.

"Name it or delete it"

4. Sketchy Items

This means roofs, floors, ceilings, filled regions, ramps, stairs and any other item that put you into pink lined sketch mode. Complicated sketches using a lot of splines require Revit to process more information. Revit hates splines. This doesn't mean we shouldn't design crazy curvy things, it just means we should keep an eye on how they are impacting the file.

"Revit hates splines"

5. Neglected Families

Don't be a hoarder when it comes to Revit families in your model. Keeping a small collection of items you are sure you'll need in the future is ok, but keeping every piece of casework you loaded just in case you need it someday is not. If a component you need accidentally gets purged, it can always be loaded back in from the Revit Content folder or another source.

6. Pin It

When you create important things like grids or levels, the tendency is to want to lock them. Unnecessarily locking components to other components causes Revit to review the locked relationship every time you modify one of the items you've locked. When you have a lot of items locked, Revit has a lot of reviewing to do. Also, if one of your grids or special items gets moved out of position, you run the risk of moving all of your grids if they're locked together, catastrophically damaging your model instead of just having one grid out of place. Try using locks only when you're building families in the family editor.  Grids or other components you don’t want to move accidentally can be pinned “PN”.

7. Groups

Groups always seem like a great idea at first, but they wind up functioning differently than you expect them to. Use groups sparingly and with good reason. If it seems like your group could be made into a static family, it probably should be. Also, be wary of the types of components you're grouping together. Wall hosted items like sinks or doors can have issues when they're grouped away from their host (the wall), or in with non-wall hosted items like sinks or casework.

"Use groups sparingly and with good reason"

8. Embeddedness

This is a huge source of file size and model performance problems in Revit. If you absolutely must bring CAD into a Revit model, always save a copy of the file first and clean out the riff raff. Delete any elements that somehow snuck off into no man's land, purge the file, run the "overkill" command and audit it. Make sure when you type in "ZE” for zoom extents that your drawing is centered on the screen.  When you bring the CAD in, always link it instead of embedding it. That way, you can find the file when you need to modify it, reload it or remove it. Embedded CAD has the knack of getting lost in your views. Sometimes it can get hidden and become difficult to find.   Images are almost a separate issue. When imported into the model, an image will maintain its original size even if you scale it down in the view. If you find yourself scaling the view down quite a bit, unlink it and cut down the image size prior to loading it into the model. Keep only the images you really need in the model and delete the rest using the manage images tab.

"Keep only the images you really need in the model"

 9. Family Problems

 

These should be used very sparingly, if at all. Modeling in an outside family is actually easier than using the family editor. Also, when you copy an in-place family, it makes another family. Before you know it you could have “Special Casework 1, 2, 3, ... 25....” Only use an in-place family if it's something you can't model outside of the project in the family editor.

10. Options, Options, Options

Once you are done using a design option, delete it. When there are a large amount of design options in the model, Revit has to think about how each option influences the objects around it. The more you have, the more processing that occurs and the slower your model.

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