Revit Modeling: Stairs

From TOI-Pedia

This article covers the modeling of circulation elements in Revit.


Example of Stairs

In the architecture Tab, click the arrow under Revit stairs pulldown button.png (Stairs) to open the fold-out. Revit offers two options to create stairs:

Revit stair by component button.png Stair by Component
Create a stair by assembling common run, landing, and support components.
Revit stair by sketch button.png Stair by Sketch
Create a stair by sketching the run of the stairs or by sketching riser lines and boundary lines.

When you create a stair, the first thing to set are the Base Level and Top Level, which determine from where to where the stairs will run. For both the base and top you can specify an additional offset, if required. These values are set in the Properties Palette.

Stair by Component

The create Stair by Component is available since Revit 2013. It more or less supersedes the traditional stair (by Sketch) tool. Before Revit 2013, it was impossible to create stairs that 'overlapped' in Plan view. Spiral stairs would not go beyond 359 degrees for the same reason. Now, using Stair by Component, this is no longer a limitation. But it can only be done when using the Stair by Component tool.

When you use Stair by Component, you can still sketch run, boundaries and risers manually if you want, but it has been 'supercharged' with quick templates for common stair types. After a stair component is placed, you can still modify it to accommodate your requirements. In most cases you should be able to get the result you want by starting with the presets available for stair components and modifying them once placed.

Stair by Sketch

When you sketch stairs by hand (either as a component of an Assembled Stair or as a complete stair), there are two main ways to create a stair:

  1. Draw a stair by its run
  2. Draw a stair by its boundary (sides) and each individual riser

Drawing a stair by its run is quicker for common, regular stairs. If you want to create irregular or more oddly shaped stairs, you need to draw its boundaries and each riser.

Stair Type Properties

Regardless of the method you create stairs, make sure you set up the Type Properties first, before placing stair components or drawing your run or risers. In the early stages of the design process placing highly detailed stairs doesn't make sense. Therefor, it's recommended to use the Monolithic Stair, as it is the least detailed. Got to the Properties window and click Revit 2011 Edit Type button.png (Edit Type). Under Family choose System Family: Cast-In-Place Stair. It's recommended to create a duplicate of the existing Stair Type, before making any changes to the Type Properties. The main properties to configure are:

Minimum Run Width (stair by component)
the minimum width of the run
Minimum Thread Depth
the minimum depth for each step (thread)
Maximum Riser Height
the maximum height for each step
Calculation Rules
Whether and which calculation rules to use when creating the stairs. These are ignored after creation, when modifying the stair.

After setting up the Type Properties, click OK.

Also note the instance properties in the Properties window of each individual stair (not set by type):

Base/Top Level
The stair is create from and to these levels
Multistory Top Level
Repeat this stair up to this level (only works if the stairs are exactly the same between each set of levels)
width of the stair. Ignored when you manually move or modify the boundary line of the stair
Desired Number of Risers
The number of Risers (steps) that should be in this stair. Used to determine the riser height, limited by the Maximum Riser Height and the Minimum Thread Depth set in the Type Properties.

And instance properties of each stair component:

Location Line
when you draw a run, you can draw the center line or either the right or left side
Relative Height
location of base and top of this part of the stair
Begin/End with Riser
whether or not this part should start/end with a riser (vertical) or thread (horizontal)
Actual Run Width
actual width of the run of this part of the stair

Revit distinguishes between Type and Instance properties of objects. Each object has one (and only one) Type.

Type properties are shared among all objects of the same type. They can be changed using the 'Edit Type' button in the Properties Palette.

Each object has its own Instance properties; these are not shared with other objects. Instance properties are changed directly in the Properties Palette.

To see how all Type properties and Instance properties of assembled stairs are related and play a part in the resulting stair, you can refer to this diagram:

Revit assembled stairs schema.png


Revit tries to create a stair or stair component within the main constraints of the stair: height, maximum riser height, length, minimum thread length and desired number of risers. If this fails, you'll get an error or warning and your stair may not reach the desired level. Troubleshoot these cases by analyzing the requirements, constraints and a fair share of logical thinking.

If you're modifying an existing stair or stair component: Sometimes, after changing the Type Properties of the stair (component), it's easier to delete the run-, boundary- and riser-lines and redraw or re-place to force Revit to do a full recalculation of the stairs. Occasionally Revit can't properly anticipate the changes, resulting in frustrations and an incorrect stair.
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