Requires: Advanced Level
The IES VARevitLink utility provides the ability to merge or create .vap (VisualAnalysis) files from Autodesk Revit Structure. The link is bi-directional: the merge or create process can happen in either VisualAnalysis (.vap) or Revit (.rvt) files. VARevitLink runs as an add-in to Revit Structure, you do not need to have VisualAnalysis installed on the machine where you use this tool.
Only the Revit analytical model information is used in the current process. Currently Revit analytical model beams, columns, and braces are supported directly by VisualAnalysis members. For members the following information is linked:
- Cross sectional shapes
- End releases
- Orientation angles
In addition to the Revit analytical items listed above, analytical model floors and walls are transferred to VA areas. Please note that Autodesk currently has problems in their SDK regarding openings in walls and floor items, so you might see strange behavior when working with areas with openings. Autodesk has made no commitment to IES on the date of the fix on their end.
Cross Reference File
A very important part of the VARevitLink is a text (.txt) file which serves as a cross reference between IES VisualAnalysis model items and Revit analytical model items. The name of the text file can be changed by you and shows up in the dialog boxes when the link is used. The file is a tab delimited text file and can be edited with simple text editors, or spreadsheet programs. Please be careful to save the file as a text file. The installation includes a file called "VA-RevitTable.txt" as an example. Note that there are instructions on the format of the file in the first few lines of the file.
The cross reference file can be modified directly by the methods listed above. In addition when a Revit or VisualAnalysis item is not located in the other applications data, you will be given the option of selecting a match and that match will be placed in the cross reference file automatically. In this way you should be able to add to the cross reference file as you continue to use the link and hopefully eliminate mismatches as time progresses.
Example entries follow for each of the 4 types:
Revit Family or M, F, W (tab) Revit Type (tab) VA Shape or VA Material ----------------------- (tab) ---------- (tab) ------------------------ W-Wide Flange-Column W12X40 \AISC Steel\W\W12x40 M Metal - Steel - ASTM A36 \Steel\ASTM A36 W Exterior - "Concrete 8" Concrete F LW Concrete on Metal Deck 6" Concrete
After installation of the VARevitLink you should find two menu items displayed in the Tools | External Tools menu. The items are "Import VA Into Revit" and "Export Revit to VA" which should be descriptive of the direction data will be travelling. When importing VA information into Revit you are given the option of creating new Revit items if none exist or to just ignore non-matching items. Ends of members are checked for "closeness" to existing Revit analytical model members looking for matches. If a match does exist, the current VA shape, material, end releases and orientation angle are copied over. If the VA member is not close to any current Revit members you have the option of creating a new Revit analytical model member.
When exporting a Revit model to VA, you may merge the Revit data with existing VA model information or you may create a new .vap file. When merging with existing VA information the procedure mentioned above will be followed, i.e. close members will have their shape, material, end releases and orientations moved across.
Initial testing with sample projects you have sent indicates that the link might require work on the IES end to connect members. It appears that the Revit analytical model does not enforce items such as making sure beams are connected to columns, something structural engineers view as important in a computer model. Overall however, the link does appear to provide a reasonably accurate model interface which should only require a few corrections.
Revit essentially requires that Z be the vertical axis in a model. The default in VisualAnalysis is Y, though you may use any axis for the vertical axis. In VisualAnalysis, specify the vertical axis in "Project Settings" settings and pay careful attention to the orientations of members as they will by default line up according to the Y axis. Member beta-angles tend to orient members such that their local y axis aligns with the global Y axis in VisualAnalysis, so pay close attention to the orientations of member elements with regard to rotation about their own axis.