Cryptic Revit warnings

warning sign

Revit has a unique way of communicating with us, and sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to decipher the message.

As part of the planning process for my upcoming presentation at Midwest University, I began to think of some best practice strategies for model maintenance; in particular, the management of Revit warnings. Admittedly, this is a topic that may have polarized opinions and probably warrants more than a single blog post, but I believe it is worth mentioning here – at least at a high level.

To put the concept into perspective, it is important to first keep in mind that the model itself is a database, and every individual element we place into it will have a unique set of attributes that differentiates it from the others. That being said, Revit is very good at processing the flow of information as a model is developed and keeping a record of those exchanges. When a conflict of graphical or non-graphical information is detected, Revit will bring the issue to light in the form of a warning. While there are many factors at play here, I typically like to define these warnings in two ways: unobtrusive and obtrusive warnings.

Unobtrusive Warnings

Unobtrusive warnings alert users to some condition in the model, and can generally be ignored because they require no immediate action. However, even though Revit will allow us to ignore these conditions (and in fact, by simply continuing work the warning will be dismissed without conscious action by the user), it is advisable to take heed of these alerts as they arise and attempt to address them on the spot. If left uncontrolled, unobtrusive warnings can have compounded negative impacts on file performance.


Unobtrusive warning: no immediate action required

Obtrusive Warnings

Obtrusive warnings alert users to some condition in the model, but unlike unobtrusive warnings, force an action on the condition. The action may be to simply acknowledge there is a condition requiring attention and proceed nonetheless, or it may be to force some change on the model that will resolve the conflict on the spot.


Obtrusive warning: acknowledge condition or force action


Obtrusive warning: force action or cancel

Keep in mind that the suggested approach Revit provides for resolving the conflict may not always be the best course of action, and it is advisable that the user fully interrogates and understands the condition prior to making a decision on how to resolve it.


Ignoring unobtrusive or obtrusive warnings does not resolve the issue; it merely adds the issue to a queue of items that can be addressed at a later time. Luckily, Revit provides us with a vessel for locating elements in the model by their unique identifying number. Simply navigate to the Manage Tab / Inquiry Panel and select the option for Warnings.


Manage Tab / Inquiry Panel

Knowing that there is a reasonable allowance of warnings that may exist in a project file, I typically encourage project teams to prioritize those warnings impacting conflicts in actual model geometry versus non-graphical data. Generally speaking, those will have a greater impact on model speed, stability, and overall performance.

All things being said, there are many factors that go into how project warnings are generated and how they can be properly managed, but that could be a separate blog post altogether (or maybe even a conference presentation … wink wink).

Happy Revit-eering.

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