Revit Architecture and Sprinklers

April 3rd, 2011  |  Published in Revit, Work


I recently had to model sprinkler lines/heads for a project: the renovation of a Paul Rudolph-designed building. The FP engineer was working with 2D .dwgs of our model; completely missing the complex sectional qualities of the building. In order to coordinate the intended design we decided to model the sprinklers in Revit Architecture ourselves.

Rudolph Building

Hidden-line view and rendered view

The building (above) is cast-concrete with large concrete beams spanning the long length of the building that we were unable to core through because of budget and logistical constraints. This; coupled with the inherent sectional qualities of a Rudolph building, made routing sprinklers complicated.


Revit Architecture doesn’t have a “sprinkler” tool and I had one day to get families created because the deadline was a week away. Luckily, I ran across this blog post by Chris Senior about face-based families. I finally had an idea of what pipe connectors were used for (or could be used for) in Revit!

I set about creating a kit of parts that consisted of several families:

  • a line based family with a pipe connector on both ends that I would use for the main, straight runs of piping
  • face-based families for drops and bends (90° and 135°), each with pipe connectors on the ends
  • face-based families for pendent and sidewall sprinklers, again with pipe connectors on the end (these families were also tweaked so that their 2D plan view matched the symbols that the FP engineer was using)

That’s basically it. When first working out how to model the sprinklers I thought I would have to create individual sweeps for each line and use multiple reference planes (for the main horizontal runs, vertical drops, lower horizontal runs, etc.) in order to route the lines properly. It turns out that all I needed was to create reference planes for each of the horizontal runs since I discovered that; once the horizontals were in, I could work in axon views using the bends and drop families to route the rest of runs.


Beam wrapping

Exposed Routing

Plan View of Routing






Here are the families I created (Revit Architecture 2010) in case you want to play around with them. Keep in mind, these were made very quickly and may break if pushed too far–they worked for me but they may not work well for you. Test them out before inserting them into an active model.

SprinklerFAMILIES (mediafire download, zip file)

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