Module 7 - Design Project Brief: Structural Modeling & Coordination


In this assignment you’ll design the structural framing system for the multi-story office building that you designed in Module 6. The focus of this assignment is on:

  • learning to model the essential structural framing elements
  • integrating the architectural and structural model of a proposed design using BIM 360 Glue

TIP:  If you’ve created a very complex, twisting and sloping architectural form in Module 6, you may want to simplify it to a more regular form (that will allow you to easily align the structural columns vertically) before you get started. The point of this assignment is to create an accurate structural model — designing the structural framing system for a complex, twisting form is a BIG task — beyond the scope of what we’re looking for here.

Getting Started

There’s no specific starting point file for this assignment. Use Revit’s default Structural Template for your structural model and link in the architectural model that you created in Module 6.

Design Approach

The starting point for structural modeling is often an architectural model for the proposed design.

You can link the architectural model of a proposed design into a structural model and copy the spatial framework elements -- levels and any grids that have been defined in the architectural model -- to keep the locations of your structural framing elements coordinated with the architectural design.

With those levels and grids established and linked to the architectural model, you’re ready to:

  • decide on a structural system -- concrete, steel, or wood -- often based on constructability considerations (cost, project location, material availability, and design intent)
  • start modeling the structural framing elements:
    • structural columns
    • beams and beam systems
    • structural floors
    • structural walls and braces
    • foundations

As you model the structural framing system, it’s helpful to integrate the architectural and structural models into a single integrated environment that allows you to visualize how the systems work together and identify any potential conflicts.  For this project, we’ll be using BIM 360 Glue as our model integration tool.

What’s Expected

  1. Create a new structural model and link your architectural model to it.
    1. Create a new project using Revit’s Structural template
    2. Use the Link Revit tool to link in your architectural model.
    3. Use the Copy/Monitor tools to copy the levels from your linked architectural model.
  2. Create grid lines that will help you organize the structural framing elements.
  3. Model your proposed structural framing system for one level of your building design. Use your best intuition to choose the initial sizes for these structural framing elements, but don’t labor over detailed calculations – the required sizes for these framing elements will be computed and confirmed by others as part of a structural analysis.

Be sure to include:

  1. Structural columns
    1. Try placing them at grid intersections
    2. In general, try to place columns no further than 30 to 40 feet apart. If the column spacing exceeds this distance, the beam depths may become very large, and this can negatively impact the space available for installing the required MEP systems.
  2. Beams
  3. Beams will often follow the grid lines, but you will need to adjust this pattern adding secondary beams around floor openings and shafts.
  4. Be sure to adjust the Z offset of the beams to place them below the structural floors (if you’re using steel, wood, or precast concrete framing).
  5. Beam Systems
    1. Place the beam systems (or joists) one bay at a time so each beam system is bounded by the adjacent primary beams.
    2. Be sure to adjust the elevation of the beam systems to place them below the structural floors.
  6. Structural Floors
    1. Model the structural floor that will be supported by the beams and beam systems at this level.
    2. Be sure to choose a structural floor type that is appropriate for the level (ground level or upper level) and material that you’ve chosen for the framing system.
  7. Structural Walls and Braces
    1. Place structural walls to serve as lateral load reinforcement:
      1. Around any shaft openings or likely shear wall locations.
      2. At any locations that require retaining walls.
    2. You can also use structural braces if you’d like to provide additional reinforcement in a way that minimizes the weight and visual blockage.
  8. Copy the structural framing elements on this level modeled to the clipboard and use the Paste Aligned tool to paste these elements on the other floor levels.
  9. Model the structural foundations that will support the framing.
    1. Use Isolated footing elements to support point loads at the base of structural columns.
    2. Use Wall Foundation elements to support line loads at the base of structural walls.
    3. Use Slab elements to support area loads under any slabs on grade.
  10. Create views to share your proposed structural design.
    1. Create structural plans at each floor level showing the structural framing elements.
      1. Hide or minimize the non-structural elements in these plans, so your structural framing elements clearly stand out.
      2. Add structural framing tags to the elements to show the initial member sizes.
    2. Create a 3D view showcasing an overview of the structural framing system.
      1. Hide in this view other non-structural elements.
    3. Place these structural views on sheets using the E-sized (36” x 42”) title block - a size that is typically used for larger scale buildings.

Sharing Your Project

Please follow the instructions in the Canvas assignment to upload your building model to your folder on Autodesk Construction Cloud (BIM 360) Documents and create a new post sharing your project on this linked Notion page.

✏️Module 7 - Design Project Submissions: Structural Modeling & Coordination

Integrate the Architectural and Structural Models using BIM 360 Model Coordination

For this assignment, you’ll also merge your models in Autodesk Construction Cloud's Model Coordination module and create "Issues" to share specific views of the merged model. To do this, follow these steps to copy your architectural and structural models to your Coordination Space folder, and use the Model Coordination tool to create three Issues that share interesting viewpoints:

  1. Upload your architectural and structural models to your Autodesk Construction Cloud project folder, then copy them into the subfolder named Coordination Space.
  2. Switch to the Model Coordination tool.
  3. Create a new View that merges a 3D view from both your architectural and structural models.
  4. Open the new View, and use the BIM 360 model viewing environment to navigate to an interesting camera viewpoint, then create an Issue to share this viewpoint.
    1. Click the Issues button in the left navigation bar to display the saved issues.
    2. Click the Create Issue button to create a new one.
    3. Click a location in the model viewer to place a push pin.
    4. Enter info for this issue:
      1. Change the Type to Design
      2. Enter a Title
      3. Assign the issue to our TA - Nico
    5. Click the Create button to save your issue and send it to the assignee.
  5. Repeat these steps to create three issues sharing interesting viewpoints within your merged models.

Points to Ponder / Wrap-Up Questions

Please choose 3 of the following Points to Ponder questions and share your comments on this linked Notion page.

🤔Module 7 - Points to Ponder