Construction Documents & Details

Construction Documents & Details


Creating detailed construction documents marks tudthe beginning of the conversion of a proposed design into a constructible project. No drawing set is complete without descriptions of the materials and the assembly details, which is why adding annotations, linework, and detail components is a critical phase of the complete BIM workflow.

The process of detailing is often used to present:

  • Project information not captured in the building model.
  • Information that goes beyond the level of detail represented in the building model.
  • Revisions or corrections needed to clean up the display of model elements.

The following annotation categories are often added to model views to transform them into fully functional construction: dimensions, detailing (detail lines, regions, components, revision cloud, and detail group), text, element and view tags, and symbols. Annotations and drafting detail are view-specific and do affect the underlying building model.

Here we will.

In this lesson, you explore the progressive layering of detail describing the construction of a single wall and its features by creating a building section, drilling down to a wall section, and creating details to illustrate the key connections between the wall and other building elements.

Creating Annotated Section Views

Often the detailing process begins by creating section views of the entire building and specific wall assemblies.

Building sections often serve as a road map that point the way to related wall sections and connection details. Wall sections typically display the detailed layers in a wall assembly and how they connect to other building elements.

Since these section views are automatically updated when changes are made to model elements, internal consistency of the model views is ensured. The BIM methodology saves a great deal of time otherwise spent cross-referencing changes and looking for consistency errors, which is typical in paper-based workflows.

Creating Details and Callouts

Detail views are typically added to a set of construction documents to present information at a larger scale or a finer level of detail needed to accurately understand specific elements and connections between elements. Although detailing can be a tedious process, it is an essential step in converting designs into realizable construction documents.

Details bridge the gap between design and construction, conveying critical information to the builders and contractors about how a design should be built. While it would be unrealistic to try to model every single construction detail in 3D, details enable design professionals to quickly convey practical assembly information in an easily shared 2D form.

Using Revit software, details can be created in two ways:

  • Detailed Model Views display the actual building model geometry at a larger scale. Detailed model views are created by adding callouts or section cuts to other views
  • Drafting Views can be generated from scratch, independent of the building model, or by importing an image or CAD detail as a starting point.

It is common practice to incorporate details from product manufacturers or even standard details from our own office detail library that we’d like to include in the project drawings. Drafting views provide a convenient vehicle for including this model independent information into the project.

References to details can be placed on larger-scale views using view tags, such as callout tags or section tags. These callouts and section tags provide markers that lead to the detail views and increase the coherence and usability of the document sets by pointing users from one view to other related views. Therefore, we should plan our use of views and callout or section tags to provide a logical sequence moving from large-scale view to greater levels of detail.

View Tags

View tags (such as elevation tags, section tags, and callout tags) provide pointers to related views in two ways:

  • Double-clicking a view tag opens the referenced view in a manner similar to a hyperlink.
  • Information about where a view has been placed on sheets is displayed in the view tag. The tag shows both the sheet number and the view number relative to that sheet.

View tags are dynamically updated to show the proper sheet number and view number as views are placed or moved between sheets. This real-time coordination prevents errors in cross-referencing, thus creating more reliable documents and saving costly rework.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explore the many ways we add detail and annotation to our views.
  • Appreciate what level of detail is appropriate and how to create duplicate versions of views with varying level of details for different audiences.
  • Understand how to place the views onto sheets, to modify their appearance or scale, and to enhance by adding schedules.
  • Investigate the automated cross-referencing that occurs between sheets and views.


Creating Annotated Section Views

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

  • Create building sections showing an overview of the interaction between building elements.
  • Use a building section as a map referencing more detailed views.
  • Create wall sections to display typical wall assemblies and connections.

Figure 2.4.1. Adding detailing to views is critical in preparation of construction documents

Video Tutorial
Student Exercise
  • Create a building section to show the interaction of building elements along grid C. Display this section at 1/4" (1:48) scale and with a medium level of detail as illustrated in Figure 2.4.2a.
  • Create a wall section for the south wall at grid C to show the wall assemblies and connection details. Crop this view to focus on this individual wall and its connection to floor, roof, and foundation elements. Display this section at 1/2" (1:24) scale and with a fine level of detail.
  • Add annotations to the wall section to explain the wall construction and connection features, including text, tags, and detail components as illustrated in Figure 2.4.2b.
  • Place the building section and wall section views on a D-size sheet.

Figure 2.4.2a - Example of building section showing annotations and wall section callout


Figure 2.4.2b - Example of wall section showing annotations and detail components

Creating Details and Callouts

In this exercise, you will learn how to:

  • Use callouts to create detailed model views and adding annotations to these views.
  • Create drafting views to illustrate standard details and present views independent of the model.
  • Use callouts to reference drafting views.
  • Understand how the information presented a view tag is updated as views are placed on sheets.

Figure 2.4.3 Calling out a detail for a wall-to-slab connection

Video Tutorial
Student Exercise
  • Create a callout showing a detailed model view of the area at the center of the wall section created in Exercise 2.4.1 focusing on the wall-to-second floor connection.
    • Set the view type to Detail.
    • Set the view scale to 1 ½” = 1’-0” (1:8).
  • Add detail components, adjust the filled regions, and add text notes explaining the essential framing elements and building details:
    • Use Nominal Cut Lumber-Section:6x12 (0.14 m x 0.29 m) for the rim beam.
    • Use Nominal Cut Lumber-Section:2x6 (0.04 m x 0.14 m) for the bottom plate of the second floor wall, and two of this component for the double top plate of the first floor walls.
    • Use Wood I Joist-Section:2 5/16x11 7/8 (0.06 m x 0.30 m) for the floor joists.
    • Adjust the cut profile for gypsum wall board layer of the wall elements on first and second floors as shown to eliminate the overlap with the intersecting floor element. Also adjust the cut profile of the finish layer of the floor assembly to remove the overlap with the wall framing layers.
    • Add a detail component representing the molding at the base of the wall. Use Base Molding-Section and choose the 3/4”x 4” (0.02 m x 0.10 m) type.
    • Add 5 ½” (0.14 m) thick insulation to the upper and lower walls.
    • Add text notes notes as shown in Figure 2.4.4.

Figure 2.4.4.Wall section with callouts

  • Create a new drafting view for a standard detail of a typical window header.
    • Name this view Window Header - Typical.
    • Set the view scale to 3” = 1’-0” (1:4).
  • Import a CAD file (Manufacturer_Window_Head_Detail.dwg) containing the manufacturer’s standard window header detail. The file is located in the same folder as the exercise file.
  • Add filled regions, detail components, and annotations to develop the full detail as shown in Figure 2.4.5.
    • Create filled regions representing the layers of the wall assembly:
      • 1/2 inch (13 mm) gypsum wall board
      • 5 1/2 inch (140 mm) stud framing
      • 1/2 inch (13 mm) plywood
      • 7/8 inch (22 mm) stucco
    • Add detail components:
      • Use Nominal Cut Lumber-Section:6x8 (0.14 m x 0.19 m) for the typical window header.
      • Use Common Wood Nails Side:10 penny for the nails at the window flange.
    • Add a fill region to represent caulking between the window and the gypsum wall board.
    • Edit the fill region for the gypsum wall board to wrap around the header component and into window opening to meet caulking.
  • Add text notes similar to those shown in Figure 2.4.5.
  • Add Break Line components at top and bottom of the detail.
  • Place on sheet S3 – Wall Details.
  • Add a callout to the Wall Section A view to reference the new drafting view. Enable the Reference other view option, and choose Drafting View: Window Header – Typical from the list.
  • Place both of these details on a Sheet S3 – Wall Details and observe how the view tags update with the sheet and view numbers referencing the placement location.

Figure 2.4.5 - Example of drafting view showing typical window header details


Creating Annotated Section Views

  • What is the essential difference between annotations and model elements?

Model elements represent true model objects and any changes to them are immediately reflected in all views in which they appear. Annotations are view-specific. They can be copied between views, but each annotation remains independent and can be changed in each view.

  • Are annotations in a view static or dynamic?

All dimensions are dynamic and are automatically updated as the model elements they reference are moved or resized. Dimensions can be locked to constrain the movement of model elements and prevent further changes.

Text is typically static and is not updated as model elements change. One exception is keynotes, which will update in views if the underlying keynote is changed.

Tags are dynamic and are updated as the underlying values in the model database are changed.

  • Can we annotate views dedicated to specific design options or phases?

Yes. Annotations can be added to any views to explain the unique features of specific design options or projects phases.

  • How can annotations placed in a specific view be reused in other similar views?

Annotations can be copied to the clipboard and pasted into other views. Another strategy is to duplicate an existing view with detailing, thus creating a new view that include all the annotation. Finally, we can export a view including its annotations as DWG file and import it into another project.

Creating Details and Callouts

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using drafting views versus detailed model views?

Drafting views offer a quick way of incorporating information, but since they are not linked to the model they don’t ensure consistency as the model changes. Detailed model views use the underlying model to generate the geometry shown. While this provides the benefit of propagating changes, it also requires you to verify the accuracy of the added annotations relative to the dynamic model elements.

  • If a view tag does not show a view and sheet number, what does this indicate?

Empty view tags indicate that the referenced view has not yet been placed on a sheet. The tag will be filled in with the view and sheet number when the view is placed.

  • Can a view be referenced by more than one callout?

Yes. When placing a callout you can choose to create a new detailed model view or to reference an existing view, including drafting views and detailed model views. It is common practice to place callouts referencing a detail at all locations where the detail information is relevant.

Key Terms

Key Term
Construction documents
Documents that communicateall of the building information and construction detailsrequired to construct the design.
The process of adding layers of information to a project to clearly explain how the proposed design should be constructed.
View-specific elements (such as symbols, tags, keynotes, and dimensions)used to add information to the viewsand describe the elements displayed.
Callouts (Callout mark)
Tags referencing related views in a project.
Section views
Views that cut vertically through the model and are particularly handy for wall and building sections.