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When you’re modeling structural framing in Revit, you often can just assign it to a level or reference plane to set its elevation.BeamOffset1

But sometimes you need to move a beam up or down — maybe to accommodate a slab step, architectural element, or other framing condition.


There are (at least) two ways to achieve the above image.

The first is with the z-Direction Justification and Offset. If you change Justification to “other”, you can then specify a single value to offset the beam up or down.

The second is with the Start and End Level Offsets. You can use these to give the two ends of the beam different elevations.

Which to choose? Well, it depends. Here’s what you need to know:

z-Direction Justification/Offset

  • The analytical line for a beam adjusted in the z-Direction stays put on the original reference level or work plane. This might be what you want to have happen, if you’re going to be exporting your analytical model to a program like RISA, or it might not. You’ll have to decide.BeamOffset3
  • You can only set one value, so it’s no good for sloped beams.
  • The z-Direction is relative to the beam, not the project. This means that if you have a beam with a rotated cross section, z-Direction offsets might not give you the result you’re looking for.BeamOffset4

Start & End Level Offsets

  • With this method, the analytical line follows your beam. Again, this may or may not create the desired effect with your analysis software.BeamOffset5
  • Each end can have a different offset, so you can create sloped framing.
  • HOWEVER, setting a start or end level offset AUTOMATICALLY detaches your framing from its work plane, and as far as I know you can’t get it back, even if the effect of the offsets keeps your framing parallel to its original plane.
  • Start/end offsets are relative to the level, so rotating your section keeps it more or less where it started. (Laterally, at any rate.)BeamOffset6

Combined Methods

  • You can actually use both methods at the same time for even more control over the location of your framing. Here’s the beam above with Start, End, AND z-Direction offsets.