By Martha Hollowell
I recently gave a webinar on “Mastering Component Stairs in Autodesk Revit Architecture” and we had a number of interesting questions in the Q & A. As this portion was not recorded and I’ve done a bit more sleuthing on a few things, I thought I would write them up and post them to the blog. The questions have been edited for clarity.
Q: Could you quickly go through how to create exterior stairs?
A: Basically you create them in the same way you create the interior stairs, as I showed in the webinar. However, a couple of things might help. You can create a stair type and in the Type Properties set the Function to Exterior. This is where you would set the specific calculation rules (Riser Height, Tread Depth, etc.) for exterior stairs as well.
The other thing that is typically different is that you probably have a shorter run from level to level in a building. You can do this in two ways, create a level for the bottom of the stairs or set the Base Level and Top Level at the top of the stairs and put in a Base Level Offset for the bottom of the stairs.
Q: If the handrail extension needs to follow the slope of the stair, as opposed to running horizontally, how is this best accomplished?
Select the Top Rail/Handrail and open the Type Properties. Set an Extension Style with no added Length and select Plus Tread Depth as shown below. This works for Post and Wall and for the Floor Extension Style. If you include a Length it sends that distance out straight.
Q: Do the multistory stair railings mend as they get copied or is there manual clean-up work that needs done?
A: Always check that the railings are connecting as you expected them to connect. There are some tools in the Railing Type Properties, including Angled Joins, Tangent Joins, and Rail Connections that establish such intersections. Once you have created the railing type to your satisfaction, make sure you save it in your template file so you don’t lose all that work. There are also cases where you might need to add a separate railing using the Railing command.
Q: Can you break a handrail around the perimeter of a landing, rather than keeping it continuous?
A: Yes, draw each railing segment separately. Using the Railing command, sketch a path along the stair run only. Click the Pick New Host button, select the stair, and finish the railing. You must do this separately for each railing run.
Q: How can you control the maximum width of the stairs?
A: In the Stair type there are some parameters that you can specify to match code. In the Stair type you can specify the Calculation Rules for Riser and Tread information. There is a Minimum Run Width variable but no Maximum Run Width. You might be able to create a shared parameter that applies to stairs. I haven’t tried this but it would be a good thing to check.
Q: Can you add railings to stairs that are in a linked structural model? My work-around was to create a duplicated stair and place the architectural stairs in a non-visible workset.
A: This seems to be the best workaround until Autodesk updates the railings so they can reach through a linked file to select a host. AUGI is requesting information for their AUGI Wish List. You might want to add this to their list.
Q: I can never get the directional arrows on a stair to display the way I want them. Can you elaborate on this subject? Also, is there a setting for stair directional arrows that can be selected and saved to a template file for future--and consistent---use by all users?
A: When I followed up on this there were so many variables I was ready to say just draw the stairs using detail lines and text and skip the use of parametric elements! How many different things do you need to change to get stairs annotated the way you want them to be? The answer is A LOT!
Without going into everything there are at least three places you need to look for options:
- In the Stair Type.
- In the Stair Path Symbol Type.
- In the Visibility/Graphic Overrides for the view.
You can control the Cut Mark Type in the Stair Type Properties. For example, you can put in a double cutline as shown below. A few modifications can be made to the size and shape of the zig-zag symbols. The View Range Cut Plane controls the location of the Cut Mark.
The Stair Path Symbol automatically comes in with the stair but you can delete it or modify it separate to the stair. Controls are available that enable you to modify the side to side location of the path and of the text as shown below. You can also modify the Stair Path Symbol View Properties and Types Properties.
Here is an example of a Visibility/Graphic Overrides change. It shows a stair on Level 1 with <Above> sub-categories turned off for the stairs and railings. You don’t see any change if you do this on the upper floors of a multi-story stair because you are looking down on the stairs at those levels.
Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar. If you didn’t watch it live you can watch it here on the ASCENT YouTube channel.