Add Exterior Walls (9:14 min)

Exercise 1–Add exterior Walls

You can start adding walls anytime you have enough information to place them. In projects with a column grid, it is usually convenient to layout the grid first. This is what we did here. But you can start right in with adding walls instead if you wish. The process to adding walls is simple: layout walls in rough locations first and then come back and modify their locations, sizes and types. For this example, we will use the column grid to help us locate walls. If you are working in a project that doesn’t have a grid, simply click approximate points first and then move the walls to their proper locations later.

Catch-up file completed to this point: 05_Medical Center_Ext_Walls_A.rvt

Be sure that Level 1 floor plan is the current view. Close any other open view tabs or windows.

  1. On the Architecture tab, on the Build panel, click the Wall tool. The keyboard shortcut is wa.
  2. On the Properties palette, from the Type Selector at the top, choose: Generic - 12".
  3. On the Options Bar, for the Offset type: 1'-0".
  4. On the Modify | Place Wall tab, on the Draw panel, click the Rectangle icon (see Figure 5–1).

Figure 5–1 Run the Wall tool and configure the settings

  1. For the starting point, snap at the intersection of Grid lines 1 and A. (A small “X” shape indicates snapping to an intersection).
  2. Move the mouse down and to the right – don’t click yet.

Pay attention to the orientation of the walls before you click. If the rectangle is being formed inside of the two corners, tap the spacebar to flip to the outside before you click the second point.

  1. For the opposite corner, snap to the intersection of Grid lines 6 and H (see Figure 5–2).

Figure 5–2 Use the rectangle option to create the first four walls snapped to grid intersections

  1. Stay in the command and create a second rectangle from grid intersection D6 to H9.
  2. Make one last rectangle from grid intersection E9 to J10 (see Figure 5–3).


Figure 5–3 Create the rough layout of the building footprint with three overlapping rectangles

Catch-up file completed to this point: 05_Medical Center_Ext_Walls_B.rvt

Now that we have the basic exterior walls in place, we can use some standard tools to clean things up a bit. We have a few techniques we can use. The basic premise with all of them is the same: quickly sketch the rough form first (as we did in the previous steps) then modify the form.

Temporary Dimensions

  1. Select the vertical wall to the left of Grid 6.

Two temporary dimensions will appear tying its location to the walls at its left and right.

Figure 5–4 Use a temporary dimension to move a wall

  1. Click directly on the dimension value at the right (currently 2'-0") and change it to: 11'-8". (You can type 11 spacebar 8 and then enter).

The wall will move to the left. Next let’s clean up the overlapping portions (see Figure 5–4).

Using Trim/Extend tools

  1. On the Modify tab, on the Modify panel, click the Trim/Extend to Corner tool (or press tr) (see Figure 5–5).

Figure 5–5 The Trim/Extend to Corner tool

13.  Click the horizontal wall at Grid G. Click on the left side of the wall.

14.  Click the lower portion of the wall at Grid 5 (this is the one we just moved). Be sure to click the part below Grid G (see Figure 5–6).

Figure 5–6 Click the two walls to join in a corner condition - be sure to click the side you want to keep!

You always need to click the portion of the wall that you wish to keep. So, if you got the wrong thing, click the Undo tool (or press ctrl + z) on the Quick Access Toolbar and try again.

  1. Repeat the process at the walls at Grid 6 and Grid D (see Figure 5–7).

Figure 5–7 Use Trim/Extend to Corner at the wall intersection at Grids D and 6

  1. On the Modify tab, on the Modify panel, click the Trim/Extend Single Element tool (see Figure 5–8).

Figure 5–8 The Trim/Extend to Single Element Tool

  1. For the boundary edge, click the horizontal wall at Grid H.
  2. For the object to trim/extend, click the lower portion of the vertical wall at Grid 9.

Figure 5–9 Click the two walls to join in a “T” condition – First click, boundary, second click, the side you want to keep!

  1. Repeat above this by trimming the horizontal wall at Grid E using the boundary wall at Grid 9.
  2. Click the Modify tool or press esc twice to finish (see Figure 5–10).

Figure 5–10 Use Trim/Extend to Single Element at the wall intersection at Grids E and 9

Making Selections

Clicking on an element selects that element. Clicking a second element deselects the first and selects the new one instead. To select several items at once we have a few methods:

  • You can use individual selection—hold down the ctrl key and click each wall one at a time.
  • You can use chain selection—highlight (do not click) one wall, with it highlighted press (don’t hold down) tab. The chain will highlight. Then click to select the chain. So it is: Highlight, tab, then click.
  • You can use window and crossing selections—click, hold down and drag a box around multiple objects. Click and drag from left to right to select elements within the box (window); click and drag right to left to select anything touching the box (crossing).

Practice each selection method. Click in empty space or press esc to deselect everything.

Adjust Heights

We can adjust the heights of the exterior walls on the Properties palette. To do this, we want to select several walls at once.

Be sure to practice the methods just mentioned and in covered in “Selection” above. From now on, selection methods will be referenced by name.

  1. Highlight the vertical wall near Grid 10 and then press tab to highlight the chain. Click to select (see Figure 5–11).

Figure 5–11 Chain select the walls on the right

  1. On the Properties palette, in the Unconnected Height field, type: 30'-0" and then click Apply (see Figure 5–12).

Figure 5–12 Edit the Unconnected Height of the selected walls

Alternatively, use the levels to set the height of the walls.

  1. Chain select the remaining walls.
  2. On the Properties palette, change the Top Constraint to: Up to Level: Roof.

Notice that this makes the Unconnected Height “read only”.

  1. In the Top Offset field, type: 3'-0" and then click Apply.

Unconnected height now displays a new value based on the height of the Roof level plus the additional 3'-0". This top offset will represent a parapet for these walls (see Figure 5–13).

Figure 5–13 Assign the height of the walls to the Roof level plus a parapet offset

  1. Select only the four walls on the left side of the plan. You can make a window from above and to the left of Grid A1 to below Grid G6 or use the ctrl key.
  2. Set the Top Constraint to: Up to level: Level 2 (see Figure 5–14).

Figure 5–14 Change the height of the left most walls to Level 2

Viewing the model in 3D

Let’s view the result in 3D.

  1. On the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) at the top of the application window, click the small 3D house icon.

Figure 5–15Open the default 3D view

  1. Hold down the shift key and drag with the wheel on your mouse to orbit the view and have a look around. You can also use the ViewCube in the corner of the view to view from various preset vantage points (see Figure 5–16).

Figure 5–16 Open the default 3D view and have a look around