This blog post is focused on helping facilities team members understand how to create a basic Revit floorplan with in a way that can help you start to move towards a BIM based approach to facilities rather than a traditional CAD based approach. For our discussion about drawing floor plans in a Revit model we will focus primarily on defining areas which are important for creating a basic model suitable for facilities management. In the examples below I am using the version of Revit that comes in the Autodesk Building Design Suite Premium 2014 and the tools that I use are all located on the Architecture tab and “Rooms and Areas” portion of the ribbon highlighted in the image below.

Revit area tools

Interior partition wallsI’m going to focus on how to create the gross area boundary for the building as well as how to create a proper room which gives you two essential tools for creating a floor plan in Revit. We’ll start by creating the gross area boundary and we will make an assumption that you have created at least the exterior shape of the building using the wall command. In my example I simply used a 6” generic wall style and drew a rectangular floor plan. Just be sure the gross area of a building is defined as the total constructed area of the building. We’ll do this from the most literal sense and assume that for examples sake there are no strange overhangs 3’ off the ground which make the gross area questionable.

Area boundariesOne of the great things about Revit is that we can automatically generate the gross area boundary by creating an area plan and selecting the “gross area type” in the area plan type drop down. The only other thing we need to do is select the floor where we want to create the gross area plan and BAM! you are done. I’ve highlighted the area plan tool in the image to the left.

If you have a more complex building footprint with articulation on the exterior caused by columns, curtain walls etc. you will often find that Revit struggles with automatically generating the gross area plan. You will have to resolve this by manually drawing in or fixing the boundary with area boundary tool.

Gross area boundary not closedThe image to the right shows how Revit didn’t fill in one section of my boundary on another model I have around an exterior column and how I had to manually draw in the missing line with the boundary tool. Next we will learn how to create the actual rooms and areas on a floor plan that exist inside of the gross area boundary. Once again it’s easy to begin to delineate your rooms by drawing walls. In my examples I used a basic interior 1 hour rated partition walls to quickly draw a handful of rooms on my plan. To actually have Revit recognize these as rooms you will need to tag them as either rooms or areas depending on what you want to get out of them. Rooms are the easiest way to do this as opposed to the Revit areas feature, however, rooms are not as flexible and offer fewer options. Areas on the other hand are more flexible and are good for placing a boundary around space that might contain several rooms. An example would be a lease area boundary around several rooms. Areas also allow you to select how you want to measure your boundaries and give you better options for adhering to BOMA standards by allowing you to select if you want to measure from inside face of way, at wall center, etc.

One important thing to note is that rooms and areas have no relation to one another and therefore don’t recognize one another spatially. This can become problematic if you have an area that has multiple spaces inside of it and you want to subtract the interior spaces from the total area. This happens often in office floorplans where there is one large room that has cubicles or workstations in it and you want to track them both but don’t want to double calculate the area in the space (once for the area and once for each workstation). The FM:Systems Revit plugin has a feature to handle this important issue in Revit but that will only work if you are an FM:Interact licensed user.

Once you have your basic floor plan laid out it’s easy to supplement the detail on your plan by quickly dropping in doors, windows, etc. Image 5 below shows a completed section of my basic floorplan. Revit also ships with a lot of generic content which should help you to meet many of your basic needs. It’s quite easy to develop additional Revit content such as wall types, doors and families but for now we’ll stick to the basics so you can get started quickly.
Finished area plan