February 2, 2021

How to Make a Shiplap Joint Between Precast Concrete Walls in Revit

We recently received a question from a client in Australia regarding how to use our Precast Concrete solution for Revit to model different types of wall joints, specifically shiplaps. The Smart Connections feature of Precast Concrete automates this process by placing Revit families according to the configurations set by the user.  The families can contain any solids or voids to cut the walls and get them into the right shapes or place connection elements.

In the steps below I show how to create a shiplap joint in a bunch of precast panels all at once using Smart Connections. A similar workflow could be applied to automate the creation of different types of groove joints that are often used by precasters in wall panels too. Because we’re so focused on reducing BIM stress, we make it easier for BIM modelers to get the job done simply and quickly.

This is the kind of horizontal joint in precast walls that I want to model.

shiplap joint of precast wall panels

I’ll start the project from a standard template and will use Precast Concrete to create the above shiplap joint in all the wall panels I want. Let’s do this!

1. Draw a wall and some levels.
Revit precast wall and levels
2. Split them horizontally by using Levels.
Splitting Revit walls horizontally
3. Select walls, starting from Level 2, and add some bottom offset value to make them overlap.
Revit precast wall Base Offset value
4. Cut them to get the right shape. To do that, create a line-based family.
Create line-based Revit family
5. Create a void with the required shape.
create void for line-based Revit family
6. Lock the ends of it to the correct reference planes, tick ON the ‘Cut with Voids When Loaded’ parameter, Save, and load into your project.
Lock void family ends and load it into project
7. Insert this Family on all walls simultaneously using Smart Connections. Prepare the configuration like this to cut the bottom.
configuration to place shiplap joint cut

And pretty much the same to cut the top. The only difference is to select ‘Top’ face and turn ON ‘Flip Work Plane’, to make it appear in the correct place:

cut top of the precast wall in Revit
8. After the configuration is all finished, select all walls and insert the cuts to get the shape of shiplap joint on all walls.
insert cuts to shape precast wall edge in Revit

The result looks like this:

precast walls with shiplap joint


You can follow along with how to do this in our video below.




A similar workflow could be used to place solid or void elements, so you could easily apply it on all walls in the project. Other examples could be forming slope, different reveals, solid corbels (supports), vertical cuts, chamfers, etc.

Precast Revit wall reveals and chamfers

Vertical joints between walls:

vertical joints of precast concrete Revit walls

Here’s a more complex example of a precast sandwich wall connection:

complex horizontal precast wall joint

So that’s how you can use Smart Connections to model a bunch shiplap joints between wall panels throughout your precast concrete project in Revit. Current users: Give it a go next time the opportunity arises!

Not yet a user of our Precast Concrete design software? We invite you to take a free trial of it by downloading our TOOLS4BIM Dock. Once you’ve downloaded that for your version of Revit, select Precast Concrete and give it a go. Don’t forget to ask for a complimentary free live demo during your trial period!