Exterior Stone Panel Modeling in Revit (BIM)

Transforming Architectural Stonework with Our Stone Panel Fabrication Modeling Service



Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of working on several Temple projects for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BIM manager for a General Contractor. These projects are notable for their intricate and detailed exterior elevations of stone or precast panels.


On one of the projects, our BIM/VDC department was heavily involved with the architectural stone installer and their drafting team to coordinate the installation of stone to the exterior of the temple. I was impressed by the level of detail that the stone installers went in order to produce accurate shop drawings for their project.


One thing that surprised me was that all of the shop drawings were done in 2D (I believe it was in AutoCAD). They were masterfully done, but were limited to two dimensions for our coordination efforts.


This made it so whenever they changed a section showing the details of how the stone was going to attach to the building, we needed to ask for a new CAD file, load it into Revit, and place it in the model at the section they had called out in their stone elevations to check and make sure it would all work at install time.


I remember getting asked a number of times if there was a way to model out the stone panels in 3D so that we could just check them against the coordination model in 3D.


My answer was: “Probably, but it would be really intensive and time consuming. Plus, the stone drafters are already putting in the work, and it doesn’t make sense to duplicate the work.”


Since then, I have often wondered how I would handle this unique challenge in modeling out the stone panels for the exterior walls of beautiful buildings like Temples, libraries, universities, museums, etc.


As I started doing research into how to model stone panels on a wall, I found that there wasn’t really a group of people that were doing this kind of work in Revit. From what I could see, most of it was being done in other software, or in 2D.


I was again, pretty surprised, and determined that we needed to figure this out.


So we did. And the benefits of doing it this way are awesome!


Automatic Stone Panel & Hardware Systems Quantity Take Offs (QTO)

 I’m happy to share that we have found a solution for quickly and accurately modeling out stone panels in Revit. This is great news because each panel becomes schedulable, making it easy to quantify how many of each piece of stone the project will need. Revit automatically keeps count of each panel in the model, so there is no need to do manual takeoffs. This automation streamlines the estimating process, saving time and reducing waste.


Detailed Individual Panel Modeling

Each stone panel, including its clips and grout lines, is modeled with meticulous attention to detail. This precision ensures a perfect fit every time, eliminating guesswork and reducing installation errors.



Comprehensive Support System Modeling

We model not just the stone panels but also the intricate support systems behind them. This includes clips on the back of each stone and the corresponding clips on the wall, ensuring a seamless installation process.



Fabrication-Level Stone Panel Shop Drawings

Some of the biggest benefits of modeling stone panels individually in Revit is that each section you create shows how the wall will be installed. No need to add 2D detail families to represent hardware or grout. Those are all modeled in, so when you cut a section, you see what will actually be installed. This is fabrication level detail, or what is lovingly known as Level of Development (LOD) 400 in BIM-speak. This is awesome because when you are coordinating with other trades, they don’t need to make assumptions about what should be there. They can coordinate based off of what is there because that is how it will be fabricated.


3D Sections, 3D Models and Visualization in General

 So, because I’m a big BIM nerd, this is some of the stuff that I get really excited about. So if the melatonin you’ve been taking to fall asleep hasn’t worked for you in the past, please keep reading.


[Deep breath]


Story time. I had the pleasure of working closely with Scott Vrba since 2018 at three different companies, and I consider him to be one of my greatest mentors in BIM, and a close friend. Whenever there was an RFI to be made, Scott would make a sheet with a beautifully rendered floor plan view, two section views, and at least one sectioned 3D view. Scott made each of these sheets tell a story about what the issue at hand was.


All this to say that one of the greatest powers of modeling stone panel walls in 3D is the ability to section in 3D and tell the story of how that part of the building is to be built showing all the layers in a way that makes sense.


You can cut these sections in Revit and print them out to PDF sheets for your field personnel to have there. You can also save these sections and send them to Speckle to view online and have the story of how to install difficult corners or configurations told there.


Stone Procurement Progress Tracking Dashboards and More!


BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and with these models, we have the added benefit of being able to use the models to report on the state of each piece of the model. We can create a dashboard showing the procurement status of each piece of stone and hardware from design, approval, purchased, shipped, and installed. Never wonder again how far along you are with each project. You can actually see your stone panels get colored based on where they are in this process.


If there are any special things you need done for modeling, shop drawing creation, or reporting for your stone panels, reach out to us and let’s get started on saving you and your team money and time, and let’s make your project a success! 

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