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Thread: How to model foundation concrete piles

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    How to model foundation concrete piles

    Hello all,

    I have a project where I need to model concrete piles as part of my foundation design. Revit does not have any concrete piles under foundation options but only steel piles. Is the best way to model concrete piles as concrete columns? Has anyone done this before?

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    Moderator Robin Deurloo's Avatar
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    Just looked at the construction model of one of the projects I worked on and the structural guys made the concrete piles 'Structural Foundation' which makes sense I think.

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    So Revit has an option/family for concrete piles? Or was it custom made?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcabrera3 View Post
    So Revit has an option/family for concrete piles? Or was it custom made?
    The OOTB steel pile family is a good starting point for creating a custom concrete pile/pier/caisson. It should just be a matter of changing the "Material for Model Behavior" from steel to concrete. And then updating the structural material parameter within your project environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcabrera3 View Post
    So Revit has an option/family for concrete piles? Or was it custom made?
    Yep was custom made, but you will have to get used to that I guess, you will not manage with just the OOTB Revit content.
    What Tony says is a good starting point indeed.

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    Try using Structural Columns as piles.
    SC have few advantages over Isolated Structural Foundations:
    No (interfering) auto-attachment to slabs, floors and structural columns;
    "Show family pre-cut in plan views" family parameter, gives you more graphics options;
    Control piles length via Top / Base level constraints;
    Column location mark and Graphical Column Schedule.

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    As you may be aware in Revit we have mutliple "Categories" of objects.
    Some people have suggested using columns as piles.
    Personally I don't like this option for a few reasons - but essentially a pile is a buried column...so technically yes you could use the column as a vertical element to model the geometry.

    Understand that in Revit there are often multiple ways to get something modeled, the problems will arise later when you want to filter / isolate objects, change graphics of objects, and most importantly extract data out of objects.

    All of those above things mentioned, are driven by the object "category". Piles also have different parameters available that columns do not that are related to piles - (but those could indeed also be created and included in a column family if you really wanted to)
    You can easily create your own Piles and Pile caps that can report exactly the output you need such as serviceablity loads, factored design loads, length etc...types of information that are not included in column families or column categories.

    The most important limitation when you model your piles as "columns" will come when you export your model as part of your deliverables.
    If your contract requires you to provide an IFC model as part of the deliverables, revit will automatically export your piles under the incorrect IFC classification and this will end up with you having to rework them so that they export under the correct element and type classification. A rigorous BIM Manager or model checker will not let you create piles as columns.

    Column > IfcColumn > IfcColumnType NO
    Pile > IfcPile > n/a NO
    Pile Cap > IfcFooting PILE_CAP NO

    This also determines how other programs used in the collaboration process will read your objects...

    Just keep in mind there are many ways to skin the revit cat but think down the road (and out of your disciplines box) to see that there may be unintended / unwanted consequences by taking short cuts or "cheating" or simply thinking that a method is more convenient for graphical tables etc that exist for another category. If you are just using Revit internally and not sharing it then model how you want, if you are on a large project team delivering complex shared geometry....model it properly. In fact just get in the habit of modeling it properly....is my recomendation.

    This is a good blog on the IFC subject.
    https://bimblog.bondbryan.co.uk/ifc-...k-revit-users/
    Last edited by Karalon10; August 29th, 2019 at 08:11 AM.

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    wow. Lots of information. Thanks everyone. The main reason of bringing this up is because like Karalon10 posted, we need to model objects correctly for counting/coordination purposes. I will definitely look into creating a new foundation family in the next few days. I will start with the OOTB steel piles. Would everyone agree this is the best way?

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    IFC export not a problem. Info from Revit help:

    Revit exports building elements to an IFC file based on the categories (and subcategories) to which the elements belong.


    For example, Revit exports a wall to the IFC entity IfcWallStandardCase, because the wall is an element from the wall category. In many cases, exporting elements from Revit to IFC is straightforward and simple, and the default settings make sense.


    In some cases, however, you may want to specify the IFC entity to which elements from a particular family should belong. For example, suppose you design an escalator family. It belongs to the Generic Model category, and you create for it a subcategory called Escalator. You want to ensure that when you export a project to IFC, an escalator is properly (and automatically) mapped to the class IfcTransportElement and the type IfcTransportElementType.
    https://help.autodesk.com/view/RVT/2...5-750410D867C9

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    As I said, you can "work around" issues you create by using the wrong category, or you can just use the correct category and save yourself all the rework in remapping, creating new filters, modifying view templates, creating shared parameters and the like.

    Yes you can do it, the question is more why bother doing it when there is little benefit to it?

    I have never needed to produce a graphic pile schedule. Which is about the only benefit I can see out of using a column instead of a pile family.

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