• Get comfortable with using Reference planes when creating families. They are incredibly useful and I find them reliable and more consistent in their parametric behaviour than locking geometry to geometry.
  • Be sure to name the important reference planes clearly and consistently. Every Reference plane should be in the family for a reason. I don’t necessarily name all the reference planes in a family but I recommend that you at least name Centre Front/Back, Centre Left/Right, Right and Left. This makes these Reference planes easy to access when working in Elevation if you need to set a work plane.
  • I don’t recommend that you hide Reference planes in views. They should be visible and easily referred to if you wish to modify or repair the family in future.
  • Set the “Reference Is” value for ALL Reference planes in the family. If you don’t want to have a reference highlight in the Project file then you need to set the “Is” value to “Not a Reference” and if you want to dimension easily to the reference in a Project file then you must set the value to “Strong Reference”.
  • Instance based geometry should be set to Reference planes that are “Not a Reference” to avoid geometry stretching in the Project file when the family is aligned to something else using that reference edge. (Therefore don’t set instance geometry to a “Strong Reference”.)
  • Always clean up the extents of ALL your Reference planes, in all views. If you leave them extended far beyond your family extents it will affect how the family is selected in the Project file. I have seen families that have been selected, moved and deleted in Project files because even though the selection box did not intersect the family geometry, it did in fact intersect the Reference planes belonging to that family.
  • I prefer to keep all Reference planes outside of sketch mode so that it is quick to see the relationships and fix any problems. It also means that the Reference plane can be used to associate several geometries to it.
  • You can control the distance of wrapping from the exterior wall finish of a door or window by creating a Reference plane that demarcates where you want it to wrap to, in plan view, label the offset and then modify the Construction properties by ticking “Wall closure” in the Reference plane “Element Properties” menu.

© Copyright Reserved by Michelle Louw (Excerpt from My speaker notes at National Revit Technology Conference 2008.)