REVIT Blog Series with Justin Gillard - Stairs and Railings | Nittygritty

27th Jan 2017

REVIT Blog Series with Justin Gillard – Stairs and Railings

At Nittygritty, we’re so passionate about Revit, we’ve created a blog series – Each month Justin Gillard will walk us through some cool ways to use Revit to do the impossible.

Hi, I'm Justin. Let's talk about Revit’s Circulation tools. Stair and railings present a challenge to the designer developing the BIM and require in depth understanding to get the most out of them. To address any presumptions that Revit’s Stair / Railing and 3D modelling tools could inhibit the ability to model and represent a bespoke stair, I have devised the following example.


Justin Gillard, BIMgineer® and Sr. BIM Consultant

January 27, 2017

The example explored here embodies a number of tools, processes and methods that are normally very challenging to the Revit user. Let’s look closer.The example explored here embodies a number of tools, processes and methods that are normally very challenging to the Revit user. Let’s look closer.

Series # 1:  Creativity with Component Stairs




The example in this exercise explores features that may be employed on a feature staircase and less so in a typical residential or fire escape stair. In spite of that all stair designs have primary constraints that must be considered and tested prior to the first click. Always allow adequate prior sketching or 2D drawn planning to ensure that your design will fit between the constraining walls and floor levels

Setup the Views relevant to your Stair Family



Take measurements in Plan and Section/Elevation Views to assess the Run length, Riser, Tread settings the Stair tool requires to accommodate the Stair set.

The measurements or distance from Base Level to Top Level for the Stair are captured in the Stair’s Instance Properties, so focus on measuring the overall length of the Run, add to this the Landing (if applicable) depth you require at each end.

Once you have gauged the conditions your Stair must fit within I advise actually drawing the 2D Lines of your intended stair in a 2D Section or Elevation.

With the gauging process complete, place Reference Planes at the bottom start, top finish, and any positions where Landings occur.

In the example below the Landings are already in place via the Floor tool and are not part of this Stair by Component creation process.



Create the Profile Family required for the Tread that your Stair Family based on your Run length measurements and Load into Project



Take in to account the measurements already made and what the required Actual Tread Depth (shown as 300mm above) will be to equally divide the Run length.

The Actual Tread Depth (shown as 300mm above) will be a Value entered in the Instance Properties of the “Open TreadsStair Family created later.

Create the Stair Family with open treads as seen in the example. Start by clicking the Stair by Component tool



Now select the Assembled StairPrivate’, Duplicate it and rename the duplicate ‘Open Treads



The new Stair Family named ‘Open Treads’ will now need to be calibrated to ensure that it will fit within the unique constraints of your custom Stair

It may be necessary to create further Duplicates that will satisfy any other unique constraints

Let’s have a look at the Values and settings I have employed in the new Stair Family named ‘Open Treads’ and subsequently applied to the example Stair Run.



Left to right are the Stair Family, then Type settings and on the right Run Type setting with nested Tread Profile Family ‘PRO-Tread-250x50mm’ highlighted

In the Floor Plan View use Revit Stair by Component tool and “Open Treads” Family to create the open tread stairs required to Run from Level 2 to 3.




Revit’s Stair tools can be applied to any Revit 3D model to create unique outcomes. If you would like to know more about this process or any other advanced creation methods please make contact with Nittygritty.Net Ltd.

Visit again for Part 2 in our Blog: “Skinning the Mass”. Learn how forms from modelling software other than Revit can be used as Revit Masses and then converted to ‘native’ Revit Element.