I’ve been wanting to write about a technique I used recently while working on some families that allows for the symbols nested in them to be moved around independently of the modeled family. I learned about the process from R. Robert Bell, who explains the problem-solution as follows:

There are times in a model where elements are placed in the same location on a wall at different elevations. Obviously this presents an issue with the BIM. The 3D model of each element needs to remain on the wall but then the plan symbols will be interfering with each other on the sheet.

In Revit it is possible to create a family that can move a plan symbol independently of the modeled parts of the family. This requires the use of a nested annotation family. This permits a length parameter to be changed to offset the plan symbol from the wall. Note that the length used must be in the annotation’s units rather than the view’s units, e.g. 3/16” rather than 18” on a 1/8” = 1’-0” view.

The elements that make up the symbol are grouped to allow a dimension to move them all together. The parameter created for the offset is set as:

[…] instance-based, grouped under Constraints, named, “Plan Symbol Offset”, discipline as Common, type as Length.

Below is a video demonstrating a quick version of the process. I recommend using this technique as a standard for any family that has plan symbols like the ones shown here, at least up until a change in Revit renders it unnecessary.