Built to Last: Manufacturer-Specific Revit Families That Are Made to Flex

Daikin Chiller Revit Family - Perspective Raytrace

We were hired recently to create a few chiller Revit families for use by a major engineering firm. The firm requested the families to be based on specific manufacturer models that they needed for a particular project, but they also wanted to get Revit families that they could readily adapt to future needs. The project was a good chance to demonstrate how Revit families can be built to match a specific manufacturer product while still being flexible enough to serve as the basis for a range of similar products from the manufacturer.

The chiller Revit families we created were based on the Trane Series R, the Climaveneta TECS2 HC line and the Daikin EWWQ-B-XS. We modeled the geometry for these families to our usual standards – three levels of detail in 3D and 2D, with materials applied in 3D Medium and Fine views, and with only symbolic lines and masking regions shown in 2D views. The results are beautiful and accurate 3D views along with clean and fast 2D views.

Climaveneta Chiller Revit Family - 3D Fine View
Climaveneta Chiller Revit Family - Front Elevation Fine View

While we modeled these chiller families to match real-world products from the manufacturers, we also made sure to include a high degree of flexibility into their geometry. We did this by incorporating a variety of parameters that can be used to control all the individual elements of each Revit family, such as diameters for the compressors, evaporators and condensors, as well as the spacing of geometries about all three axes. Below is a sample of these parameters from the Trane chiller family.

Trane Chiller Revit Family Parameters - 1 of 3Trane Chiller Revit Family Parameters - 2 of 3Trane Chiller Revit Family Parameters - 3 of 3

Having this set of parameters available means that a Revit user will easily be able to modify the families without having to dig into the details of their geometry. Although the engineering firm that requested the content only needed a single version of each chiller, now any experienced Revit technician on their staff can quickly update a few parameter values — or a line in the type catalog — to add new capacities or models within the manufacturer’s product range.

Trane Chiller Revit Family - Plan Fine View

Trane Chiller Revit Family - Perspective Render

There is still a common misconception in the world of Revit that there should be different approaches to creating manufacturer-specific content versus “generic” content. The truth is that any quality Revit family can and should be built to flex, even if it’s created to represent just a single manufacturer product. It’s one of Revit’s best and most important features, and it’s how you create Revit families that will last and keep providing value product after product, project after project. As a perfect case in point, we heard from the client that, within days of receiving these families, they had already modified one of them to cover three other models from the manufacturer with minimal effort. And that’s how we know we’ve done our job and delivered Revit content done right.

About The Author

Gary Sprague
COO, FC Barcelona fanatic, new father, Hong Kong resident.