There has been a lot of talk over the years about just how hard the Revit stair and railing tools are to work with.
I decided to do an experiment - and see how long it took to build an actual stair and railing vs building the same thing in Revit.
I chose to build a rustic-style stair as it was outdoors in a wild garden setting.
Rustic Stair and Railing Hackathon
I thought I had better give Revit a fighting chance by not zeroing in on one of Revit's biggest railing weaknesses: "Baluster Spacing"
- So I decided not to include any balusters at all.
- The stairs were made from hand-hewn sandstone, with irregular shapes and slightly differing tread widths; riser heights were near enough the same for each step. Stones were carved to exact size and placed without mortar - exactly how the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs et al worked their stone structures.
- Railing was made from locally sourced Melaleuca timber - hand-cut on site: Two posts and one 'Top Rail', all sourced from the same tree. The top post and handrail were left to cure in the open for several weeks; the lower post was cut and installed the next day.
- The handrail was fixed to the posts with tuppenny nails.
- Real stairs and railings were built without any drawings - I couldn't wait for those to be finished.
- The virtual stairs/railings were created using the "New" stair tools (post Revit 2013) & the "Old" railing tools (circa v2 with minor improvements in v2013)
|The finished stair and railing|
Unfortunately I don't have an image from Revit, because it was created in a later version that I could not open with my current version of Revit.
- The real stair took approximately 18 months, done a few hours at a time at weekends.
- The real handrail was build about a year later - it took approximately 2 months, again done at weekends.
- The virtual stair took 5.5 years, including waiting time between Revit versions - hoping that problems encountered had been fixed in the next version.
- The virtual railing is still unfinished, awaiting software improvements.
- The lower railing post was obviously installed too quickly after cutting, as it started to sprout a few weeks later (inadequate curing time).
- I really struggled with applying the virtual stair hand-cut stone materials to the treads, especially in 2D plans.
- Without any balusters on the virtual railing, the 'Building Inspector' would not give approval to the railing.
Hands down winner was the real stair/railing:
- It was so much easier and quicker to build the real thing than attempting a virtual model.
- It was very therapeutic working manually on the stone and timber at weekends after a hard week of Reviteering.
- It was ever so slightly less therapeutic grappling with the virtual tools for stairs and railings in Revit.
1st April 2021 (Australia).