Revit 2023: Library based automation of steel connections


While in the last post we gave an overview of the Innovations in the field of structural design we would now like to take a deeper look at the developments in automated connection creation. With the library-based automation of steel connections, we pursue four main goals, each of which represents a benefit for civil engineers.

  • Fewer iterations with fabricators for joint modeling
  • Faster modeling of the proposed design
  • Earlier estimation of constructability and cost for entire models with connections
  • New business opportunities to extend services to structural steel detailing

Fewer iterations with fabricators for joint modeling

Civil engineers and fabricators can create their own specific connection library rules, which then serve as the single source of information for all new projects.

In Revit 2023 you will find example libraries of steel connection types such as the typed connections according to DStV. Automatic mapping between the connections suggested in the tables and the steel sections they match, as well as the ranges of compatible end forces on members, speeds up modelling. Single or double angle connections, end plate connections, but also fin plates, column connections, base plates and many other typical connections like these are part of various Revit 2023 content packs available through your Autodesk Account Portal or Autodesk Knowledge Network.

You can further extend or customize these libraries by creating new connection types, duplicating or editing the existing ones. During this step, you should contact the fabricators and fabricators you are working with and ask them to agree on the rules they want to follow for the next few projects, such as: B. using connections with a certain bolt grade, avoiding any kind of chamfers or preferring fin plates with two bolt rows instead of one. The “Allocation of connections to profile sizes” is a universal tool for all engineers to formulate the rules they have to respect for each type of steel connection. Once these are stored in libraries, they can be reused across projects, saving countless hours and giving you peace of mind that manufacturing companies will be making fewer requests to you. You might even consider turning the connection libraries into contractual agreements.

In addition to the DStV connections “Typified connections in steel construction according to DIN EN 1993-1-8” – 2013, the tables are based on the AISC Steel Construction Manual 15th edition and 14th Edition, the BCSA and SCI publication P358 – “Joints in Steel Construction – Simple Joints to Eurocode 3” – 2014 Edition (also known as the “Green Book”). For more information, see the available libraries here.

Faster modeling of the proposed design

Imagine how easy it is to create the steelwork preliminary design with steel connections when you can take the connections you need off the shelf and place them in the model based on automation algorithms.

With the libraries defined, the next steps of connection automation make for a simple, cohesive workflow: start with your new Revit preliminary design model, transfer it to Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional or any other analysis software that can exchange analysis results with Revit, to perform the structural analysis and bring it back to Revit where our out-of-the-box rules read the results, look into your favorite libraries and match the steel element nodes with compatible connection configurations and automatically model the steel connection types.

To make managing the rules easier, we’ve created separate rules for each of the typical types of connections that appear in our sample libraries. I strongly recommend you this page to get a detailed overview of how to use these rules efficiently.

This reduces the risk of accidentally placing endplates with 4 rows of bolts instead of 5, as our automation mechanism compares the actual shear force from the specified load combination to the capable force defined for each connection type and places the one that can withstand that force. You can also reduce the risk of other problematic scenarios with potentially large material waste, such as: B. Using connections designed for beams made of S275 on a model made of S355 elements, since the application areas can also compare the steel grades.

Earlier estimation of constructability and cost for entire models with connections

Since connections can now be placed much more quickly, this means that more detailed design models with connections can also be created faster. This enables engineers to calculate their bid faster and more accurately before submitting it for a tender, increasing their competitiveness. You have more time for further iterations of the design and can save yourself some of the tedious phase of modeling connections.

The constructability can also be checked earlier, because as soon as the connections are modeled, you can start with Autodesk BIM Collaborate easily perform a collision check. In this way, the preliminary design is much closer to the final detailed model compared to a traditional workflow.

New business opportunities to extend services to structural steel detailing

With a faster steelwork pre-design process with connections, and the ability to incorporate steel connection types and placement rules into the various individual requirements of fabricators and other project stakeholders, it might make sense for some structural designers to add value to their services by including in start the detailed planning. The Revit models would be richer in BIM data at a stage similar to that typically only achieved by detailers/steelwork designers. You transfer the model to Advance Steel, add the remaining manufacturing-specific logic and automatically create the workshop drawings and NC files.

Our product manager Dan Peticila sees it this way: “I am not saying this is a trivial shift. Contractual agreements and industry practices don’t change overnight, but they are not set in stone either. They evolve, just like us, based on the knowledge we all amass day by day. This is what the visionaries from the industry have taught us, and this is why we put our effort in delivering these new tools. So that structural engineers can work more efficiently and deliver more value.”


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