Thursday, December 05, 2013

Curtain Walls and Doors

This is an echo from 2012, not that old but a situation that frequently frustrates new users.

There are two situations that trip up new users when it comes to doors. I wrote about about one of these Reviteristics in April 2010. That post is about Openings and this one is about curtain wall panel doors.

When people first make a curtain wall that is supposed to get a door they quite naturally assume the door tool is the right place to start. Wrong. Curtain walls are special and they are made up of curtain grids, panels and mullions. A curtain wall door is really a curtain wall panel. They are a panel because Revit needs to keep their width and height flexible, to accommodate any changes we might make. A regular door family can vary in size but it can't respond to curtain grids being moved. We can't even put a regular door in a curtain wall. That's not entirely true but I'd have to get into yet another Reviteristic, using other wall types as curtain wall panels.

We need to understand that a door in a curtain wall isn't a "door", at least not to the Door tool. To make matters a bit more confusing Revit treats this curtain wall panel, pretending to be a door, as a door in schedules and in Visibility/Graphics.

    It would be better if we could click on the Door tool and have the option to place a "regular" door or a "curtain panel" door. At least this way it would become immediately apparent that there is a difference!

Curtain wall panel doors are found in the Doors folder within the content library. That seems slightly logical, in the same way that Opening families are found there. When we want to load a curtain wall door family, browse to the door library (stock content location).

Placing a curtain wall door is a bit different than a regular door in a wall. We don't use the Door tool. We have to swap out the panel that should be a door with the curtain wall door family that you loaded. To do this we need to use the TAB key to select the panel and then use the Type Selector to choose the curtain wall door family instead.

Once you do this you'll have to make sure that the curtain grids and mullions are adjusted to report the desired size. If you set the grids and mullions before the door is in place you'll find that the size is not quite the clean numbers you probably wanted. You can resolve this with mullions that use different offset values or just re-position the curtain grids until you get a cleaner door size.

I captured another video in the "Five Minutes with..." theme.

If you want to create a new curtain wall door family you ought to examine and/or reverse engineer the stock one first. You can start from scratch with the family template (Door - Curtain Wall.rft)


Gustavo Mello said...

Hi steve, nice video and explanation. But how do you deal with schedules when you have common windows and curtain panel windows in the same project. I mean, here in Brazil we need to make a schedule with all windows, and doors eventually, with the ventilation and ilumination dimensions so building authority can check if they comply with the state rules. That´s easy with common windows and doors through their type marks, but when a room opening happens through a curtain wall we end up with a different schedule, using mark instead of type mark and with some "manual" values (since walls doesn´t "schedules" it´s heights).
I hope i made my question clear, since english isn't my first language.

Thank you,

Steve said...

In views where you want to tag them you can create a Curtain Wall Panel tag that lets you identify them in a similar way.

Revit and its schedules treat windows, curtain walls and curtain wall panels as separate things so hopefully we can convince whoever reviews the documents for approval that the information is there but based on different construction systems, so that's why they are separate on our documents, mimic reality.

If not...

We can also create and only use Window category families instead of curtain walls entirely. It's more work but if the most important aspect of your documentation is to regard everything as windows it might be worth it.

Yet another way, a curtain wall can use regular walls as panels instead of the system panels: glazed, solid or empty. If you create a Glazing wall type you can host regular windows in the "wall".

You may be aware of all of these and/or more. You have to decide which approach works best for your situation.