In-place families are powerful elements that can be created in the context of the Revit model. However, they come with some performance trade-offs. The following quote is straight from the Revit Help topic:

"You can create multiple in-place elements in your projects, and you can place copies of the same in-place element in your projects. Unlike system families and loadable families, however, you cannot duplicate in-place family types to create multiple types.

Although you can transfer or copy in-place elements between projects, you should do so only when necessary, because in-place elements can increase file size and degrade software performance."

So, how can we use Ideate Explorer to seek out and audit these in-place elements to make sure they are being used properly in our project?

In-place component families may be made up of various 3D forms that are created on different levels or workplanes. Each 3D form gets assigned a workplane. However, when you close the in-place editor to create the in-place component family, the in-place component family does NOT get a level or workplane assigned to it.

This allows us to easily configure a set of sort and filter conditions in Ideate Explorer.

  • Set the Display: "Entire Project"
  • Set the Sort By: "Level"
  • Set the Filter: "" (This is one of the default filters}

You will see the Results Pane shows Model Elements organized by Level. Elements that do not have a level assigned, get grouped into the node.

If you expand the node, you can quickly see Types that have only 1 instance. As outlined above, you can't have multiple types for an in-place family. Even if the in-place family gets copied, Revit will append the family name with a numeral. As the example below shows, the in-place bookshelf family was copied 3 times, and each time the Type Name was indexed with a new numeral. Each Type Name has only 1 placed instance in the tree. This is a GREAT way to review in-place families to see if a loadable family might have been a better option to use.

Keep in mind that this Sort and Filter setup in Ideate Explorer will also show other Revit elements that don't have a level assigned. Some examples are:

  • Unplaced Rooms
  • Unplaced Spaces
  • Unplaced HVAC Zones
  • Non-Workplane Associated Families

However, it's easy to understand the difference because these elements will usually show multiple instances and multiple types in the Ideate Explorer tree. So, go forth and audit your project with Ideate Explorer to truly understand how in-place families are being used in your Revit project. This will help keep your Revit files performing to their maximum potential.

About the Author

Richard W. Taylor - Associate AIA - Technical Evangelist Ideate Software Richard Taylor has over 25 years of experience working for companies that develop architectural and engineering software solutions such as Intergraph, Bentley, and Autodesk. He has over 15 years of Revit experience, and was part of the original development of Revit while at Revit Technology Corporation. He worked 12 years at Autodesk where he presented, taught, and worked to improve features in Revit. Richard holds both a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Masters of Architecture from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Richard is currently a Technical Evangelist for Ideate Software Solutions and continues to work with AEC clients worldwide, developing, and consulting on BIM solutions. In his spare time, he is active in his local community and is an elected member of the local Planning Board where he evaluates new developments, regional planning, and design criteria. @Rwtaylor_Revit