Revealed: effective ways to model Masses in Revit!
Generally it depends upon the modeling convenience and project requirements. It depends on what kind of environment you want to work in:
Ask these questions yourselves:
Do you want to model the mass in a real project setting? OR
Do you want to work in an environment isolated from the project?
Do you want to model something that is going to be used in other projects as well?
Do you want to make the content available to other team members from the company Family Library?
Do you want to use the Mass for scheduling purposes?
Answers to these questions can guide you on the method to use.
Think about the following.
If you are an architect, you want to see how the building looks like in a project, between the hills and valleys in a project topography landscape setting and also how the building design relates to other buildings in site. In this case, In-place Massing is your ideal choice.
Conceptual mass from Massing template:
If you want to model a mass in an isolated family environment thereby not being distracted by the clutter of other objects in the project environment, then Conceptual Massing Template is the way to go. This also helps in speeding up the modeling process as you are in a different environment and the file size is much lower compared to the actual project file.
'Saving as a Family' for ease of distribution:
One main difference between the two methods is that you can NOT save an In-place Mass family (inside a project) as a separate family. Thus it cannot be stored in the Family Library for team access.
File size considerations:
If the mass family is going to be used multiple times, it is better to model it in the Mass.rfa template, rename it, and then load it into the project. This will also help keep the Revit project file size lower when the Mass family is loaded and placed repeatedly.
You can change the Category of conceptual mass from Massing template. Where as Category of in-place mass family CANNOT be changed. So if you want to schedule Massing object as part of a different category, then it should be modeled using the Massing template by setting to the right category, and then loaded into project.
Intentions behind two methods:
Conceptual Mass from Massing Template is intended to be used multiple times across several projects and can be saved as a family for access to other team members from the common Family Library. This also allows you to work in an isolated environment for ease of modeling. Resulting family can be shared across teams via the common library.
Project In-place Mass:
For modeling something in relation to the existing setting of the project. To copy the in-place Mass to another project, one has to open the project file, copy and paste the family from one project to another. In-place Mass Family cannot be saved as a different family.