CEA Unit 2: Basic Revit Design

Learning the basics of residential construction and Revit Design


Now that we’ve looked at a few architectural styles and features, it’s time to focus a little more closely on residential construction.  You can imagine that mechanical engineers don’t get to design new cars until they understand both how cars work as well as how the manufacturer builds them.  Similarly, we need to understand how homes are put together so that we can better design houses that can be effectively built.  To do this, we’ll go through three major steps:

  1. Learn about common residential construction techniques, including wood frame design
  2. Design a complete Utility Shed in Revit that has a concrete floor, complete walls, doors, windows, and a roof
  3. Calculate the cost for building your shed, and some of the heat retention properties of it

When you’re done, you’ll have the tools to continue designing residential structures.


(20 pts)  About 3 days

To be able to design complex buildings and structures, it is essential that we understand how buildings are constructed.  In the first part of this unit, we’ll look at how residential homes are built, as well as the different framing components for walls and roofs before we move on with our own designs.


(30 pts)  About 3 days

In the second part of our unit you get to work in Revit to create your first actual building.  Using the same ideas from our labyrinth design last unit, you’ll need to create a utility shed with an complete concrete pad, wall system, doors, windows, and roof.  To do this, we’ll learn more about Revit as you get to plan and create!


(30 pts)  About 3 days

Any building design needs to be accompanied by a cost analysis.  Here you’ll learn how to estimate the cost of the concrete pad for your utility shed.  If you have the time, you’ll get to go on and create a cost estimate for the rest of the utility shed as well before calculating heat loss and gain for the building.

PART 1: Wood Framing Systems

Investigating how residential homes are supported by wood frames

Roof Types

In order to design cool houses, we need to understand how houses are put together, and what options exist for different designs beyond the aesthetic features.  In the first part of this unit, we’ll review wood framing systems including the names and types of different supports that go into a wood framed house.  We’ll also look at different kinds of roofs that can be built, before we build a model of our own to illustrate the structure of wood frame design.


 Review the presentations on wood frame systems, residential wall systems, and residential roof types.  Take a full page of notes on these videos and ideas.

 Make sure your notes have a complete and correct diagram labeling all the parts of a wood framed structure!

 Build a sample structure and clearly label the different parts included

Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your wood frame model when it’s all finished!

Residential Walls

Residential Walls

Residential Roof Types

What’s Due In Bug Bot Part 1: Wiring

  • Wood System Notes
  • Framing Diagram
  • Framing Model
  • Benshoof’s Check-Off

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Wiring

  1.  Take notes on residential wood frame designs including both walls and roofs
  2.  Create a completely labeled diagram of a wood frame system in your notebook
  3.  Build a model of a wood frame system
  4.  Have Benshoof check-off your wood frame model

PART 2: Utility Shed

Designing a complete utility shed in Revit

Now that we’ve looked at the basics of residential construction, it’s time to put that knowledge to use as we design our own small utility shed.  To do that, we’ll use Revit and learn some of basic tools in that software.  Last unit you designed a maze using walls and a door.  This time, we’ll design a complete Utility Shed that has a floor, foundation, doors, windows, and a roof.  We’ll even be able to adjust the composition and look of these features before we’re done!

Utility Shed Tutorial 1

Utility Shed Tutorial 2

Utility Shed Tutorial 3

Utility Shed Tutorial 4

What’s Due In Basic Revit Design Part 2: Utility Shed

  • Revit Notes
  • Utility Shed Design
  • Benshoof’s Check-Off

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Wiring

  1.  Watch the Revit Tutorials and take a full page of notes on the different tools and processes you’ll use
  2. Design your Utility Shed in Revit, following the criteria listed
  3.  Have Benshoof check-off your careful drawing

PART 3: Cost Calculations

Estimate the cost of building your entire utility shed

Any good project eventually needs to be built.  To do this, your design from Revit would need to be turned into actual building plans (Revit can help with that), and then someone would need to go to the hardware store and buy all the materials.  Before they did this however, someone would eventually ask “How much is this going to cost?”  Civil Engineers and Architects need to be able to do some basic calculations to estimate the cost of building their structures.  In this unit, we’ll look at making three (3) estimates:

  • How much will the concrete pad for the floor/foundation cost?
  • How much heat will be gained/lost through the walls?
  • How much will the shed as a whole cost?

Each individual calculation won’t be too hard, but you’ll need to keep track of your units and record your work to keep everything straight!

Concrete Pad Estimation

Heat Loss & Gain

What’s Due In Basic Revit Design Part 3: Cost Estimation

  • Build It
  • (Extra Credit) Decorate it
  • Benshoof’s Check-Off

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Build It!

  1.  Get into the makerspace and build your Bug Bot!  Make sure it functions properly!
  2.  If you have extra time, give your Bug Bot that special touch by painting, lasering, or making stickers to customize it!
  3.  Have Benshoof check-off your finished, working Bug Bot

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to use the Engineering Design Process to wire, design, and build a working Bug Bot.  You should have had the chance to do some soldering, design your own Bug Bot, and use the tools in our makerspace to build your Bug Bot.  If you were really on-task and working hard, you should have also had time to decorate your Bug Bot to make it look super cool.  By the unit deadline, you should have completed and be able to submit the following items:

Engineering Notebook:

 (Part 1) Definition of problem, criteria, constraints, and Bug Bot Overview notes

 (Part 1) Wiring diagram, soldering notes, and wiring reflection

 (Part 2) Bug Bot Design brainstorm, notes, and careful drawing

 (Part 3) Final drawing/picture, half-page written reflection on Bug Bots

Building & Making:

 (Part 1) Wiring should work, soldering should be clean and complete

 (Part 2) Bug Bot design should be carefully drawn out including labels and diagrams

 (Part 3) The Bug Bot should be assembled and should function properly

Benshoof Checkpoints

 (Part 1) Benshoof should have seen your working wiring before you moved on

 (Part 2) Benshoof should have seen your careful drawing before you moved on

 (Part 3) Benshoof should have seen your working Bug Bot