Revit Architecture: Shaft Openings


Let’s take a multi-story building. In the simple example below, I have 4 floor plates stacked on top of each other……




Now let’s say that I want to add an elevator shaft up the entire height of the building- it could also be a stair well, service riser, etc, etc. To do so, I am going to need to create openings in each of the floor elements. There are two primary methods of doing this- and one is (arguably) more efficient and flexible than the other. The first method is to create an opening in each separate floor element. If I start at the ground floor, I would select the floor element and then hit “Edit Sketch” to return me to “Sketch Mode” where I can sketch out an inner closed loop to define the boundary of my opening. In the image below you will see the ground floor element in Sketch Mode- the larger pink rectangle being the boundary of the outer perimeter and the smaller rectangle being the boundary of my new opening…….




Once I come out of Sketch Mode (by hitting the Green Tick), the floor element is recreated to include the opening we just sketched…..




At this point I have two choices: Either repeat the same process for each of the remaining floor elements (quite laborious!), or I could delete the rest of the original floor plates above, select the floor plate I have just edited and Copy to Clipboard and then Paste to Selected Levels. Either of these two methods would do what we need. However: The problem comes if and when we need to edit those floor openings. Let’s say we need to change the position of the elevator shaft or just its dimensions. We would have to edit each of the floor plates in turn OR edit one, delete the others and then us the Paste to Selected Levels technique again. Either way, it’s a bit of a pain.

Thankfully, there is a much more elegant and efficient method of creating our multiple floor openings for our elevator- and that is to use the Shaft Opening tool. The best thing about this method is that it requires no editing at all of your floor plates- so just go ahead and create all the floor elements you need and then add all the openings in one hit by use of the Shaft Opening tool. The Shaft Opening tool can be found on the Architecture menu, Opening panel….




The Shaft Opening tool uses “Sketch” Mode- so you’ll see the familiar Red Cross and Green Tick. When you are in Sketch Mode, note you can toggle between drawing Boundary Lines (ie the perimeter of your opening in plan) and Symbolic Lines- which I’ll mention in a second.




Using Boundary Lines, go ahead and sketch the perimeter of your floor opening. In this example below, let’s assume I’m creating a feature stair well that ascends up through all floors…..



Whilst you are still in Sketch Mode, take a look at the Properties for this Shaft object that you are creating. Yes, it acts as it’s own object and as such has a set of parameters that you can control. You will want to set the height of your shaft by associating it’s base and top to Levels in your Project….




A common drawing convention is to show a pair of crossed lines (on a plan view) to denote openings. The Shaft Opening tool allows us to have those detail lines automatically added to each floor plan view that the shaft intersects.




So go ahead and toggle to Symbolic Line and add your lines as desired. This step is optional and will not effect the operation of the Shaft object in any way……




Once you have defined your Boundary and added your Symbolic lines, you can now hit the Green Tick to exit Sketch Mode and consequently create your Shaft Opening. And here is mine……


In the above image I have the Shaft Opening object still selected, hence we can see it’s form in blue. If I deselect it, we see just the openings in the floor that it creates. If we take a look at any of our floor plan views (that the Shaft Opening object cuts through), you can see (in the image below) how Revit automatically adds those symbolic crossed lines onto the opening…..




And lastly: The very best part about forming your vertical openings with this method (as opposed to that summarised in the first part of the tutorial) is twofold:-

A) Is it so easy to make adjustments to the position and/or the shape of the shaft. To change it’s position in plan, just select it (you may need to use the Tab key in order to do so) and then just either drag it or use the Move tool. If you need to change it’s shape (in plan) just select it and hit Edit Sketch….




B) The only categories that the Shaft Opening object cuts through are Floors, Ceilings and Roofs. So you can just add you stair elements or Elevator families to the centre of your shaft and the Shaft Opening object will not effect them in any way!


If you’re new to Revit Architecture, you may be interested in my freeComplete Beginner’s Guide to Revit Architecture84 part video tutorial course

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