Every day, our Ideate Software Support team fields all types of questions from AECO professionals all around the world. Here’s information about a topic that comes up occasionally.

Structural engineers frequently perform structural analysis to determine the proper sizing of structural members after a schematic building information model has been developed. The results of the analysis are then used to swap beams, columns and footings from that schematic layout to the accurate sizes. 

Ideate BIMLink supports this process with two important features that all structural designers and engineers should utilize:

  1. The ability to create new types for existing families
  2. The ability to exchange one instance of an element for another, which we call ‘Type Swapping’

Type Creation and Swapping 
Example of an early design with generic foundation sizes

When used in tandem, these two features can be used to transform that early schematic building information model into a mature model with just a few simple steps. We will reference structural foundations in our example, but these same steps apply to any structural element.

  1. Export your schematic design foundation data from Ideate BIMLink to Excel
  2. Perform the structural analysis to define any changes needed to the pre-defined model sizes
  3. Import any new structural foundation types that will be needed. This will update the existing families with new sizes.
  4. Import the modifications to the foundation instances to swap the schematic version for the required family and type to set the correct size per each location.

 Type Creation and Swapping
Revised design with the foundations swapped for the correct sizes

To see a video on this entire process, be sure to follow this link.

Creating new types and type swapping are the key to efficiencies, not only for structural design, but for any design process where you have placed Revit elements early in the design process with the intent of adjusting the size or type later in design development or even during the project handover phase.

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About the Author

Sash Kazeminejad - AIA, LEED AP - Customer Success Manager
Sash earned his Master of Architecture from Montana State University and is a California registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional. He has extensive experience in project management; BIM management; design for architectural firms in California, Montana, and Oregon; and leading classroom and online BIM training. He provides consulting, sales, support, and training solutions to AECO customers around the globe. Find Sash on LinkedIn.