Revit Precast Panels
Revit Structure Tips

The best methods for Modelling Revit Precast Panels

Like most things in Revit, there are many ways to achieve a desired outcome. Take mitered beam joints for example. Modelling precast panels is another prime example of this. A lot of buildings I work on have precast panels, and its my job as a structural draughtsman to model and set-out each panel. Sometimes this is quite straightforward and each panel is fairly rectangular and uniform, but sometimes the panels can be quite complex with lots of voids and steps. This blog post will look to explain the pros and cons of each of the methods we can use to model precast panels in Revit.

Revit Precast Panels

Revit Precast Panels using Split with Gap (Disallow joins)

Usually we will model a precast wall as continuous, and as we progress to developed or detailed design we will begin to split the precast wall into individual panels. An easy way to do this is to use the Split with Gap tool. This can be found on the Modify tab. All we do is just specify the Joint gap dimension, then click on the location on the precast wall we want to split.

Revit Precast Panels

At wall joins, you can use “Disallow Joins” to separate the panels at corners. Simply right click on the end of the wall (in plan) and select Disallow Join. This stops the walls from wanting to  join together.

Pros:

It’s very easy, creates accurate gap dimensions, each panel is a separate wall (useful for tagging individual panels), Vertical and horizontal split,

Cons:

Really only useful for simple panels,


Revit Precast Panels using Reveals

To model precast panels using Reveals, we need to be in a section or elevation view. On the structure tab, click the drop down on the Wall button and select Wall:Reveal.

Revit Precast Panels

Next choose horizontal or vertical placement, then click on the wall in the location where you want the joint. Select the Wall sweep you just made and edit the type properties. Here you can choose a profile for your panel joints.

Revit Precast Panels

To create this profile, start with the “Profile” family template.

Revit Precast Panels

Pros:

Very easy to do, create accurate gap dimensions and profiles, Both vertical and horizontal joints

Cons:

You have to create a profile (extra step), One continuous wall so can’t tag each panel


Revit Precast Panels using Parts

Revit Precast Panels

Creating Precast panels using Parts is quite unique, as the Wall remains the same – but in each view you can choose to show the parts(panels) you create or the original wall.

First off, select your Precast wall then click the Parts button under Create on the Modify Walls Tab:

Revit Precast Panels

Next, click on Divide Parts then Edit Sketch. Here you can sketch in the location of your panel joints (sketch between the blue dashed lines):

Revit Precast Panels

In the properties bar, you have the option to apply a Gap dimension to each joint, and/or apply a profile:

Revit Precast Panels

To create this profile family start with the “Division Profile” family template.

Revit Precast Panels

Don’t forget to specify in each view whether you want to show the Parts(panels), show the original Wall, or show both:

Revit Precast Panels

Pros:

It’s fairly easy, Creates accurate gap dimensions, Can apply gap profiles, You can tag parts (each panel), Each panel has its own shape handle so can be different thickness etc.

Cons:

Have to specify the Visibility of Parts in each view,


Revit Precast Panels using Curtain wallsRevit Precast Panels

To use this method you need to create a Precast Curtain wall. Set the curtain panel to be a precast wall (or just a concrete wall with the correct thickness).

You can then set up the vertical and horizontal grids however you wish. For instance, if you need the panels to be a maximum 2.4m wide you would change the vertical grid layout to “maximum spacing” and the spacing to “2.4m”. Now when you model your wall each panel will be of equal width no greater than 2.4m wide. Alternatively, you can just use the Curtain Grid tool to specify your own Grids.

To make the joints, create a Curtain Wall Mullion with the width being the required gap dimension. Just Hide the Curtain Wall Mullions in your view and you will be left with only the panels with correct gaps. You can use edit profile to create voids or different wall profiles.

Revit Precast Panels

Pros:

Fairly easy to set-up, Create accurate gap dimensions, Can set fixed number or maximum width for panels, You can tag individual panels (curtain panel tag), You can use wall openings or edit profile to create voids,

Cons:

Panel gap is actually a Curtain Wall Mullion which you have to hide, You can’t model Reinforcement in Panels


Revit Precast Panels using Voids

Revit Precast Panels

I use this method for complex panels. Essentially you have one Precast wall, and create one in-place Void which represents every opening.

We do this by by creating a ‘Model in-place component’, found on the Structure Tab on the Component drop down:

Revit Precast Panels

Next select a category (I usually use Generic Model or Wall), and give it a name (I usually call it “Grid (whatever) PC Openings”)

Now we are all set-up, in an Elevation or Section view create a Void extrusion:

Revit Precast Panels

Sketch in all the openings and Panel joints as necessary. Once done hit the big Green tick, then select Cut-Geometry. Make sure the void actually passes through and cuts your wall. Now simply click on the Void you just created, then on the wall you want split:

Revit Precast Panels

Hit the big Green Tick and finish the model. All done!

Revit Precast Panels

Pros:

Easy to control, You can use sketch tool to create any shaped void, Multiple openings are controlled by one in-place void, good for complex panel systems

Cons:

One continuous wall so can’t tag each panel, can be a pain if one of the panels changes to a different thickness


Revit Precast Panels using Wall openings

Revit Precast Panels

You can use Wall openings to create rectangular voids, either to separate panels (gaps) or to create window and door openings. You do this by selecting your precast wall, then selecting Wall Opening on the Modify Wall tab. This prompts you to create a rectangular opening, which you can edit by pushing and pulling the arrows or editing the temporary dimensions.Revit Precast Panels

Pros:

Pretty easy, Good for panels with lots of voids

Cons:

Rectangular voids only, can’t use sketch tool, openings are singular so need to group together for multiple.


As you can see there are plenty of ways to model precast panels in Revit, you could even use a combination of these methods to achieve your desired outcome. Hopefully this blog post has given you some new insights or tempted you to try an alternative method for creating Precast Panels in Revit.

If you have any questions, or another method that’s not mentioned then please leave a comment below!

If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it.

-Talk soon

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Article written by:

Structural Revit Technician and BIM/Drafting Manager from New Zealand. Founder of revitIQ.com

Join the discussion

  1. Callum

    Nice overview Karl, in your opinion what are the best ways to model the opening profiles? ie. Rebates, sloped parapets….

    • Karl Tanner

      Thanks Callum! Good question, my go-to method is to create in-place void components, a combination of void extrusions and void sweeps. I like using voids because I prefer to control all openings/slopes via one method, which is easy to control in an elevation with the sketch tool. Hope that makes sense.
      Kind regards,
      Karl

  2. Kin

    Karl, I’m using the curtain wall system and instead of using mullions & hiding them for the gaps, I’ve offset my panel 10mm each end from the reference plane to create a 20mm gap.

  3. Kin

    Karl, in your precast wall using curtain wall system, is there a way of putting windows into the openings you’ve created?

    • Karl Tanner

      I usually don’t need to worry about windows – only the openings, but you can place windows in the panel just like a normal wall, then hide the windows which would leave you with the opening.
      Kind regards,
      Karl

  4. Brian

    Hi Karl, what if you have a metal cladding clipped on the curtain wall mullion. For example a curtain wall system and some parts have 50mm projected metal cladding. How will you do it? Is drawing another wall over the curtain wall mullion a good idea or to use sweeps is better? I’ve tried using sweeps but when I changed floor level height it caused some problem.

    • Karl Tanner

      Hi Brian, could you just create the projected metal cladding into your curtain wall mullion? Create a new wall mullion type with a bit that extends 50mm?
      Kind regards,
      Karl

  5. Tony

    Last time I tried to use the curtainwall method, the structural usage of the individual concrete panels could not be changed. Therefore, they would not display on plans who’s view discipline was set to “Structural”. Is this still the case?

    • Karl Tanner

      Hi Tony, you are correct the panels aren’t set to structural by default and you can’t check them to make them structural. I’ll add this to the cons list for the curtain wall method. Thanks Tony.
      KInd regards,
      Karl

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