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Site Model to CSV File

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Hi, need some help...

Trying to put a site model into revit, but the terrain object within revit is a headache...

Does anyone know if we can export a site model into a CSV file? Making a worksheet of points? Did anybody faced this question? Last resort I explode the site model in 3d view, take out the 3D contours, export as DWG and use them to create the terrain. But, if I'm able to, at least, extract a point cloud from the file, the end result would be better...



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Hi, good morning Eric, 


Exporting directly a site model from vectorworks to revit didn't work. The model enters as a "generic model" in revit and it doesn't work as an input for the terrain creation. Craziest thing: you export that same element in DWG and re-import it into revit and then it "reads" to become a terrain. But the mesh / TIN surface isn't really a good base for terrain creation in revit, all the reasoning behind it soles in direct point manipulation. 

From what I've been reading, two main inputs are admissible: DWG with contours or points or a CSV file. The export RVT from VW always enters in revit as a generic model, it doesn't transform into a native revit object. So, I always need to make that bypass through autocad (or export dwg from vw and just ignore the rvt export). 

With that said, now we enter in the trial and error stage, where we have to test and see what procedure gets the best results. I think the contours will be the solution, but tomorrow I'll post the results. 


For the future, it would be very important to get a direct relation between vw site model and revit terrain. Earthworks is the base of our work and if we aren't able to communicate it, then we have a problem. I know that VW works to get that connection done, site model is a fantastic tool comparing to all other bim softwares available, but... Revit is the standard in the industry and if we want to "sell" ourselfs as a BIM software, we should assure that we have procedures, guidelines or software developments to allow that exchange of information. 

Another two points to think: geolocation vs design close to the user origin. When we use geolocation, it allows a lot of tools but then, being very distant from the internal origin, some errors start appearing. And the site model export into ifc file. It requires a lot of tricks to get it done. 


Sorry for the long text, hopefully it can transmit some of our experience using the software and communicating with other offices. 


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee


I will make note of this, but hopefully you will see that starting with our version which released in September (v2023), a terrain model exported from Revit is treated as a site model in Vectorworks. There is no longer a need to convert their mesh to 3D polygons and create a site model, it is automatic. Similar to how their smart objects like walls, slabs, doors, windows, etc are treated as Vectorworks walls, slabs, doors, windows, etc.. Though Autodesk is not seeking to treat our smart objects as true BIM objects in Revit (we can't control their software development to better manage our geometry and data), Vectorworks is doing just that with the objects imported into Vectorworks from Revit. As you can imagine, Autodesk would not really allow other CAD/BIM solutions to create objects which are treated as native Revit objects.


Thanks again,


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Allow me to join in this conversation, as Revit export capabilities is actually of incredible importance for my office as Vectorworks users. And I think our experience can equally apply to majority of VW users who need to collaborate with others.


The importance of this Revit interoperability is particularly true in our region (Hong Kong), where 98% of BIM is Revit. Revit submission is required for all government projects and most private projects here.


No one (clients or consultants) are interested to hear ‘why’ we can’t give them a proper Revit model. 


For your information, from a user POV, Vectorworks export to Revit is very time-consuming and buggy at best.

We would, in our office, leave our models to ‘export to Revit’ overnight. And after hours of overnight churning, we might- the morning after- realise the settings were wrong or the exported Revit model was incomplete. By that time, ‘exporting again’ would be too late so we’d be forced to send a broken model.

When I last enquired about this issue, I was informed by Vectorworks that the Revit export plugin is ‘provided by third party’ and hence there is no way for Vectorworks to improve the performance or reliability of Revit export. 


This is really not good enough.


It is up to vectorworks to give us a good and accurate export Revit plugin, so we don’t embarrass ourselves with taking a long time just to provide our clients/consultants with broken Revit models.


if the third party plugin is not good enough- and is not performing properly. Then would Vectorworks please develop one?


As a multiple-licence holder of Vectoworks Designer. I implore you to not ‘hand us to over to the dark side’ and join Revit monopoly. I am now in the process of exploring converting our office to a dual-platform office to run both VW and Revit. It pains me to do such as thing, as I’m a long time VW supporter and have spent so much time developing VW processes in my office.


We need your support (ie all of Vectorworks as a corporation) to carry out our work as a professionals…. And not your excuses (because those who pays for our services are not interested in our excuses, we must pass this responsibility back onto you, who we pay).


It is pointless to deny RVT format is becoming the standard in BIM, just like DWG drawings are in CAD. (All the BIM compatible platforms I work with now talk about ‘direct Revit upload’, not IFC). The game now is about how we can play better with Revit formats in a proactive way.


So @Eric Gilbey, PLA can we please have an answer that sounds less like an excuse why we ‘can’t’ work better with Revit, but give us a roadmap to how we ‘can’?

I reiterate that we are in this to fight the monopoly together. But you guys need to do a lot more on this front to help us, help you. 



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25 minutes ago, Amorphous - Julian said:

The importance of this Revit interoperability is particularly true in our region (Hong Kong), where 98% of BIM is Revit. Revit submission is required for all government projects and most private projects here.


It really sounds like you should move your operation to Revit if this is the case.  No point in hoping for Vectorworks to be able to keep up with AutoDesk's continually changing proprietary file format.  Plus, Revit users are a dime a dozen and you can probably hit at least 3 while swinging your mouse.  With Vectorworks abandoning the perpetual license, there's just one more reason to join the dark side.  That's just business 101.

Edited by jeff prince
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2 hours ago, jeff prince said:


It really sounds like you should move your operation to Revit if this is the case.  No point in hoping for Vectorworks to be able to keep up with AutoDesk's continually changing proprietary file format.  Plus, Revit users are a dime a dozen and you can probably hit at least 3 while swinging your mouse.  With Vectorworks abandoning the perpetual license, there's just one more reason to join the dark side.  That's just business 101.


Yes @jeff prince, the cost of training someone to operate Vectorworks (1 month salary minimum) just becomes too much for us to take on. 

Particularly true when Revit users can come job-ready and start working from day one. 


That said, I can put up with all the above issues, if Vectorworks actually listens to their users' needs a lot more. Just like the issue of perpetual licence you pointed out, no one likes it, but complaints just fell on deaf ears. 

As to whether to turn to the 'dark side' or not... I think it comes down to how much frustration can a paying customer take before they implode.

In the past- before Revit 'became a bit thing'- I felt the VW community was full of love and mutual support... we were all incubating this nifty little software that would one day be great.

At those times, we can forgive the bugs, the workarounds, and the flaws. We discuss how the software can be better. We were all ahead of the technology curve when AutoCad users were still using 2D, and we were already doing 3D BIM!

Now, there is a very developed viable alternative out there, but VW still feels like that incubating software- and we are quickly falling behind. 

As we become the underdog/minority, when we ask for improvements/features to VW (because our real-world professional needs require it), we don't need to hear about 'why that can't be done'. We need to hear - 'sure, we will do everything to make sure your professional needs are met'.

Vectorworks needs to completely change its attitude with in 1-2 years in terms of responding to real-world user need cases. Otherwise, it's going to become the Kodak in the digital camera age (didn't take on challenges head-on, and disappeared into oblivion). 

Vectorworks should have flooded the market with free versions of its software 3 years ago (just as Autodesk did with Revit)... it's not too late still. The only way it will survive IMHO. 

Back to the point about frustration... as architects we have years of training to 'listen'. We listen to our customers' problems and think about how to solve it. Talking to VW engineers, you don't get the sense they had the same training. If they were trained at listening, it could have deflected a lot of the frustrations I see on this forum. 

PS... just to share an anecdote, just last week I interviewed someone who liked our office, but was hesitant to join.... 'because we use Vectorworks'... he didn't want to use a software 'that will be no more' in 3 years. 

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Hi guys,


Effectively, the site model export to revit is a headache... I understand that this relies more on Revit then in in Vectorworks, but you should really look to this. It is a nightmare for everybody... I see that Autodesk uses a procedure to transmit Civil3d toposurface to Revit (using DWG file), I'll try to go through the export settings in Civil 3d to see what is "good enough" for Revit, because, from my understanding, I'm bringing "too many points" to Revit and the triangulation just goes crazy.... Putting the original site modifier and then start putting points based in our site modifiers?!? Anybody tried something like this before?


Original Site:



With Contours (DWG):



With Mesh (DWG):



IFC (doesn't even enter as a valid input for terrain):




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  • 5 months later...
On 3/12/2023 at 1:25 AM, Eric Gilbey, PLA said:

Second...there should not be a need to explode (ungroup) the site model to get 3D contours out of it. You can change the 3D configuration to be 3D polygons, then export to DWG.

@Eric Gilbey, PLA, could you explain again what settings should be used? I changed min to 3D Contours and when exporting to dwg I desected 'Export as flattened 2D graphics' hoping this would preserve the 3D properties - but no luck. Any further advice?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Michael,

First, I made sure just the site model was the only design layer visible...

Then Exporting Vectorworks classes as DWG layers...

Then under objects...only selected objects (make sure the site model is selected).

Then click ok...this seems to work for my export...if it is not working for your export, perhaps check in with tech support to see what may be triggering your error.


Let me know what becomes of your attempt, Michael.



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@Eric Gilbey, PLA, mine keeps exporting the site model as a flattened 2D symbol. Any import settings that need to be looked at? Perhaps you could send me or publish here screenshots of your export/ import settings windows and panes?


Also, I was trying to produce a spreadsheet listing all 3D loci. They are not captured by the worksheet criteria at all - perhaps that's because they are part of the model as an etity? Do I need to copy them from the source and paste into a separate Design Layer?

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