Keeping it all in the Family

Keeping it all in the Family

We’re constantly working to improve our BIM processes and Revit models. We never sit still and part of that process is updating our families. The actual updates are handled by our Power User Group (PUG) but our entire production team needs to be familiar with updating the revised families at their individual workstations.

Lost? Let’s start at the beginning and discuss what a family is. One of the most fundamental pieces of working in Revit is understanding families. All of our models are built using elements like floors, walls, columns and beams. Each of these elements belong to or are a family in and of themselves. For example, all structural beams are families. Similarly, all of the wide flange steel, HSS Steel Beams, concrete beams, etc. have certain characteristics and properties that belong to their family.

When we update families, the goal is to improve functionality. Many of the changes we make are actually a direct result of feedback from our production team. When they struggle with a family, they let us know and we do what we can to improve their workflows.

Sometimes we update the way an element aligns or how tags work on certain elements. Sometimes we add parameters to help scheduling efforts. There are all kinds of updates we’re making on a pretty regular basis. All of this is done to make our models more useful to the client. We want the model to be full of useful, attainable information.

That said, once we make the family changes, they must to be reloaded into any project that has already been started. Otherwise, you won’t have the latest updates within your model.

To do this, just expand the tree in the project browser to view the list of families. Find the family you are looking to reload.

Right click on the family name (not on the family types) and select “Reload “. Navigate to the PES Families folder and locate the updated family, click “Open”.






The following message will display:






When it does, choose to override the existing version. If you choose the second option it will overwrite all of the instance parameters that have been set on the families that have already been placed, which is rarely what you’re trying to do. So make sure to choose correctly.

Enjoy the improved functionality of the new family!

What are some ways you work to improve your workflows in Revit? Contact Matt Sweeney, our BIM Program Manager, at to share what works for you.