REVIT Blog Series With Justin Gillard – Series #3 Modelling Anything, Anywhere Part 1 – Model-in-Place in the Project Environment | Nittygritty
Revit modelling

22nd Jan 2018

REVIT Blog Series With Justin Gillard – Series #3 Modelling Anything, Anywhere Part 1 – Model-in-Place in the Project Environment

Think Revit Can’t do That? Think Again!

When developing and modelling your BIM there will be features and components that Revit’s Build, Circulation and Family template tools will not be suitable for. It is at this point that you will need to consider using Revit’s ability to model in situ in the Project environment, and it is then that you will need to understand and master Revit’s ability to “model anything anywhere”. This blog will look at the basic methods of establishing where you will model and how to generate the forms.

BIMgineer® Justin Gillard

Justin Gillard, BIMgineer® and Sr. BIM Consultant

Series #3 Modelling Anything, Anywhere Part 1 – Model-in-Place in the Project Environment

Revit modelling

Modelling Methods

Planar Modelling

  1.  Planar Modelling: Mostly used to Extrude Profiles perpendicular to the Plane. The Faces or Edges of the subsequent form can be used for Face or Edge modelling. Planes are defined using the tools below

Revit Moddelling

  • Naming a Reference Plane makes it also Selectable as a permanent Work Plane and in most cases this will be necessary
  • The Reference Plane is always flat by nature but can be rotated to any angle or  axis in 3D space
  • Only when Set as the active Work Plane is the position visible in 3D Views. Note, Show Work Plane must be turned on in your View
  • Typical Application: (See below) In the absence of model geometry you can create and name the Ref Plane in the required position and model upon it

Revit Modelling - typical application

Face Based Modelling

2.   Face Based Modelling: Only flat Faces of the model can be Selected and used for Sweeps and Swept Blend or Extrusions and Blends . Revit will not allow you to Select a curved surface

Face Based Modelling

Edge Modelling

3.  Edge Modelling: Revit can Sweep and Sweep/Blend along Edges, Paths and openings present in the model

Edge Modelling


Having decided which of the above methods is relevant to the site and outcome required, you need to establish or create the Work Plane for modelling

To demonstrate the versatility and adaptability of the tools, let’s start with a Planar Form, Set a Face of that to Extrude from, then use Edges as a Path for a Sweep

Step 1) Have the 2D Plan View Level 0 and 3D View open simultaneously

Step 2) Set the active Work Plane in both the 2D and 3D View to be Level : Level 0 (see below). Note different Views can have different active Work Planes

Step 3) On the Architecture Tab click Component>Model-in-Place then Select the Category: Speciality Equipment and type a Name: “Freeform 01

Step 4) The Form tools are now available. Choose the Form tool: Extrusion

Step 5)  In the 2D Plan View for Level 0 use the Draw Rectangle tool create rectangle of equal lengths and height. Below is a 5m cube

Step 6)  Now Set the Work Plane to the side Face of the cube to commence the next form. Note the Work Plane Grid can be Aligned to the cube’s Edges.

From the Form tools choose: Extrusion and the Draw Polygon tool. Note: You can Snap to the Work Plane Grid as seen below

Set the Work Plane - Grid



Step 7) To explore versatility we will Set the next Work Plane to a Face on the Extruded Polygon.

The process of using Pick a plane and Selecting a new Face to model upon can be repeated and limited only by need or imagination. Let’s move on to Edge modelling

Step 8) Select the Sweep tool and Pick Path for the Sweep Profile to follow. Note the Profile plane can be Selected and Moved to a more visible or convenient  location.

Profile Plane

Step 9) With the Work Plane Grid Spacing set at 100mm and Aligned to the edges Draw the required profile using the Work Plane Grid to Snap to


A final tip on versatility is exploiting the ability to Select and relocate your Form using Pick New (Work Plane) (Work Plane). The other forms follow as they are Hosted to it.

Select the highlighted Extrusion below, Pick New (Work Plane) and relocate the Form to the top of the Extrusion


Final Notes:

Model-in-Place Families create additional Instances for every copy made unlike Component or System Families. This will cause your file to increase,  so use accordingly

More Tips From the Think Revit Can’t do That?  Think Again! 

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Skinning the Mass  –