Custom Awning Pivot Line

We have often needed a window with an adjustable pivot line; such as an awning that rotates not at the head, but offset. The options for Cadimage pivot style windows are: awning (top swing), pivot in/out (center rotation), casement (left/right swing). But the Cadimage window element has a hidden parameter to “rotate” the window within the wall. This allows us to set the window operation type to “door”, then change the door swing line to reflect an offset pivot, and lastly, set the window unit to be rotated 90º in the wall to work like an offset pivoting awning style window!

Here is a 5 minute clip on how I made this work!

Cadimage Door Leaf

Cadimage doors are great in that they allow us to have separate operations and number of leafs on the left/right portions. However, the door leaf settings may be set to the wrong side if the left or right leaf quantity is set to 0. This will result in changes to the leaf settings reverting to the default setting. To make changes to the leaf setting, make sure the “Different Left and Right” is unchecked, and that you are editing the correct Leaf side.

Decoding the Error Report

Here is another example of how to decipher the report and keep your ARCHICAD file clean and efficient. The error report pops up for invalid geometries, incorrect GDL parameters, and missing or corrupted attributes.

In this example, the doors have an error.

we can decipher that this error is related to a Macro portion of 2 doors by the “Leaf.gsm”. GSM indicates that this is an error related to a GDL based element, and we can guess that “leaf” is a door leaf, or a sub-part to the doors. Since the error called is related to Parameters (“Non-positive parameter”), we can track it down based on possible 0 or negative values in a dimension, somewhere in the door settings.

Since this is a macro, we do not get the element ID for the door, but we can track it down based on the Unique ID given. The find and select simply needs to include part or all of the unique ID shown in brackets in the error report.

After finding the doors with the errors from this criteria, we were able to surmise that the negative value is tied to a negative door pivot offset setting. The fix is to make this value 0 or positive. If the door does need to swing past the the frame, as in this plan, we either need to accept and ignore the error report for these (not likely to cause any long term issues with the file), or script a custom door that will operate in this manner.

File Performance Checklist

The role of the job captain is to keep a file clean, organized, and functional. This is done by coordinating post audit clean ups and performing regular checks on key file structures. The BIM Manual includes a self audit check list, as does this BIM Blog. There are also tips on keeping your file clean located here, here, and here.

These lists include items for file organization and cleanliness, but may not focus specifically on file functionality. Here is an abridged bullet point list for checking and cleaning items that may slow a file down and make basic operations (send/receive, reserve, update drawing, etc.) tedious.

NOTE: Before running any clean up or deletion of project items, always save a .pln to your desk top or file server as a back up to prevent lost work. A certain level of care needs to be maintained to avoid lost work during routine file maintenance


  • Polygon Count (all visible and unlocked should not exceed 4,000,000 polygons:
    • Check content on Temp Hide layer(s), iteration studies, etc. and remove all unused
    • Clear all furniture, landscape and decorations that are better placed in Twinmotion
  • Library Manager:
    • Purge Master_GDL.gsm elements from embedded library (check for “From Library 201101” folder in particular).
    • Delete unused embedded surfaces and objects
    • Check that Embedded Library does not exceed 250MB
    • Fix missing and duplicate reports
  • Project Map/View Map:
    • Purge unused “independent” sections and elevations
    • Remove unused, redundant, or empty worksheets and details
    • Remove any unused 2d drafted content from work sheets (iterative details, unused copies of model content, etc.)
  • Attributes:
    • Delete (and replace) outdated or iterative surfaces, composites, and custom profiles
  • Drawing Manager:
    • Remove missing internal drawings
    • Remove missing pdf/dwg’s placed from non-shared locations (IE downloads and desk top folders on user end devices).

21 ARCHICAD Party Fouls!

There are certain things we should never do in ARCHICAD, or at the very least, avoid at all costs. Here is a brief list of things to never get caught doing in your projects:

  1. DO NOT Mask out and put manual text over a schedule on a layout
  2. DO NOT Put a fill over a sloppy junction in plan or section
  3. DO NOT Draft an elevation element that can/should be modeled
  4. DO NOT Grab all of one element type to set as operators or targets in a solid element operation
  5. DO NOT Work all day or multiple days without a send/receive or save
  6. DO NOT Manually overriding a text dimension rather than tracking down the rogue 1/64″
  7. DO NOT Use the bold marquee to stretch/move/delete unless you intend to edit every visible element on every story in the project
  8. DO NOT Copy/Paste from a file without checking for attribute pollution
  9. DO NOT Store model clutter on a hidden layer unless it will be used in the future
  10. DO NOT Use high resolution images for custom surfaces
  11. DO NOT Import custom GDL/SKP/RFA elements without checking polygon count and file size
  12. DO NOT Model anything farther from project 0,0,0 than necessary
  13. DO NOT Allow the view map to gather disorganized views or floating views outside folders
  14. DO NOT Save views with CUSTOM or MISSING view settings
  15. DO NOT Embed pdf’s and dwg’s in a file unless they are part of the documentation and they have a relatively small file size (10MB max)
  16. DO NOT Ignore the library loading report for missing or duplicated parts
  17. DO NOT Ignore the error report tab
  18. DO NOT Modify existing meshes; only add/subtract with additional model components
  19. DO NOT Save objects as objects/door leafs/etc. for custom GDL parts
  20. DO NOT Use 10 elements to model something where 1 element will work
  21. DO NOT Customize drawing names in place of properly naming the view and/or viewpoint

I’m sure there are plenty of other ‘bad practices’ not included on this list. These are just a few things that happen from time to time, and that we should try to avoid in the future. As always, with ARCHICAD, there are so many ways to approach any modeling and documenting problem, and we should always be looking for the best way possible.

ARCHICAD Crash Recovery

when ARCHICAD crashes, be sure to recover immediately, or the crash recovery could be lost. Crash recovery is reliable if you follow these steps:

  1. Close ALL instances of ARCHICAD. This means closing and quitting completely (after a send and receive)
  2. Open the ARCHICAD version that crashed. In ARCHICAD 23 and newer, the crash recovery is in the recently accessed files list. They will be highlighted red. Select from this crash recovery, open, and immediately send and receive changes to sync the local data.

If you open from the teamwork menu, instead of the recent files list, the crash recovery is usually lost. If open ARCHICAD back with another instance of ARCHICAD open, you will most likely not get the “recent files” list, and may lose the crash recovery and any work done since the last send and receive.

For more on teamwork tips, see the following links:

Trouble shooting teamwork errors

Teamwork Etiquette

Using the Teamwork Palette

And for fun, teamwork messages

3d/2d Reveals and Control Joints (Opening Tool)

The opening tool is relatively new to the ARCHICAD tool kit, but it can serve a wide range of functions to sculpt a little extra detail into the model and documents. The biggest advantage to the opening tool over other methods of carving reveals is the association to the wall, slab, or roof; as well as the ability to have an opening associate to multiple elements at a time.

Cadimage Updates – Door Leaf Errors

The latest Cadimage Door and Window update fixes some problems, but has created others in some projects. If you notice your door leafs suddenly showing with a brown or yellow plan fill where they were previously a white fill, there is a quick fix.

  1. In 3d, select all doors (choose the door tool from the tool box and type com+A)
  2. Reserve the doors (not required if working in a .pln iteration study)
  3. Change the pens indicated below to Pen 91:

Interior Iterations

In this particular project, we are late in the game and need to run some options through our model, as suggested by the Interior Design Team. I could save out a .pln or duplicate the teamwork file (see the BIM Manual for pros and cons of various iteration methods), but in this case, I was able to run 3 different surface options and 2 different stone slab configurations through 3 rooms without having any impact on the documents or even the model.

Here are 3 (1-3 minute) videos on steps I took to make this as efficient and nondestructive to the model as possible.

  1.  Using Graphic Overrides to switch between surfaces:
  2. Using the surface painter to reassign surfaces quickly and easily:
  3. Using the Renovation Filter to pin elements that may not be permanent to the model: