Category Archives: Uncategorized

Another Case for the Element ID Manager

I know I have discussed the need for unique element ID’s several times. Today I came across a great use of the Element ID Manager to assign unique ID’s and track down elements with degenerated polygons.

The project had an error report showing 4 elements with degenerated polygons, all using the element ID CASEWORK.

01 Error Report.png

The problem came when doing a find and select for elements using that ID, I found that there were 1,147 non-object based elements with that ID. From the report, I know that the elements are not objects. They would include object name.gsm before the (ELEMENT ID) in the report if they were object based errors. This allowed me to refine my find and select criteria to elements that were not objects only.

02 Find and Select.png

Once the Element ID Manager set unique ID’s for all elements previously called CASEWORK, I was able to track down 2 unique problem elements in the report (2 in the hotlink module, 2 in the building document model).

03 After Element ID Manager.png

Using the same Find & Select criteria, I pinpointed the problem to 2 slabs with less than 3 nodes; basically 0 width slabs. Since these were remnants of an edited (probably split or resized) slab; the solution was simply to delete these slabs.

04 Finding the Errors.png



Custom Door Leaf Origin

We often need to use custom door leafs and window sashes. But as with any custom object or element, model primitives need to be saved with attention to project 0,0,0 (xyz relationship to project origin).  With custom objects, they should be saved at 0,0,0; centered or justified to an edge. Custom door and window leafs need to be saved relative to the Z axis, or at least relative to the model primitive’s home story.

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The important thing to note on locating elements to be saved as doors or window sashes is they need to sit above project 0 or home story. Typically, door and window components are built form slabs to be saved as a leaf or sash. The easiest way to ensure the door aligns correctly with the plan symbol is to set the reference plane to the bottom of the slab, and set the slab’s elevation to 0′ to home story (or project 0).

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Avoid Library Pollution

We have gone through waves of library pollution, and it seems like one is washing over our projects again. So it’s time for a refresher on what this pollution is, the cause, how to avoid this pollution, and how to clean it up. It is important for all ARCHICAD users at WWA to read this post carefully to avoid this issue running through all our projects again.

What is the pollution and what causes it?

The pollution is a infiltration of unwanted attributes into a project. These attributes include Surfaces, Fills, and Line Types. The pollution is disruptive to our workflow because it pushes attributes out of sequence, creates massive gaps in attribute numbering, and gives us an annoyingly long list of attributes to dig through when working in ARCHICAD. As an example of the damage this issue can cause, here is a quick glance at some of the surfaces that came in from one instance of polluted library parts:

A-WWA Polluted.png

As you can imagine, sifting through that list of surfaces can be really annoying, even if it drops most of these surfaces at the end of the list. But as I mentioned, this also has an impact on fill types and line types.

So what is the trigger? It is caused by an infiltration of objects called Master_GDL.gdl into one or more of the libraries. Typically it is seen in the embedded library. This infiltration happens any time an infected file is copied from, and pasted into a clean file. So opening an old file and copying anything and pasting into your project will bring in these polluted attributes.

How can this pollution be avoided?

It is fairly simple to avoid the issue. If you need to bring anything in from another project, check the libraries and attributes first. If the file has any of the polluted surfaces (typically these are italicized and have names like Topas, Innivik, HAG, etc), do NOT copy from that file. You can either clean the file before copying from it (see below), or sandbox the content and clean it up before pasting, or redraw/model the content completely from scratch. It is important to note that no content is “safe” to copy/paste if the file is polluted. A single line/fill/text/label/wall/slab/etc copied out will drag the Master_GDL.gdl part with it.

How can the pollution be cleaned up?

If the pollution occurs anyway, it needs be cleaned up before it starts to impact productivity, and certainly before new attributes are generated. For the most part, the clean up is simple. Open the Library Manager (File > Library Manager), track down any folder/subfolder containing a file with the name (or name similar to) Master_GDL.gdl. This can almost always be tracked to a folder called “From 201101”.C-WWA Library.png

Once these files and folders are purged, open the attribute manager and delete any polluted attributes. It is usually easiest to sort the surfaces by name, as the polluted attributes almost always show after the default surfaces due to naming convention. But any attribute that stands out as out of place should be deleted. The offending attributes are usually italicized and have very odd seeming names. These can just be deleted, rather than delete + replace, since they shouldn’t be used anyway.

B-WWA Polluted.png

If a file uses hotlink modules, this can be a little more complicated. Because hotlinks have their own Embedded Library folder that can not be edited in a host library, there is a different process. The host file needs to be cleared of all modules. I recommend marking module locations with polylines, fills, and/or hotspots before deleting. After the modules are removed, verify that the module libraries are gone, and there are no additional offending Master_GDL parts in any other libraries. Then clean up the attributes.

Next, open all module source files, and run the clean up there; purging libraries and attributes. I also recommend running an attribute match again after all files are clean. Once all files are clean, new modules need to be saved. Do not save over the top of old modules. It is best to create a completely new and clean module.

Lastly, open the host (site) file again, and replace and relocate all modules. Obviously, this issue is compounded even more with projects using nested modules.

Other considerations

Because the Master_GDL objects are so infectious, it is important to stay on top of keeping these things clean. They really are like a disease. We had all current projects clean, but they are rearing their heads again. It is important to be aware of consequences when copying/pasting from one file to another. No two projects have identical attributes, so any copy/paste is likely to bring attributes. If the file is polluted, it will bring in attributes not even used by the copied content.

Connecting Sea Level & Morphs

Today I have been working on translating a .dwg survey into existing conditions for neighboring buildings for a remodel. The survey locates windows for neighboring properties, giving sill height, head height, and window width only. All dimensions are relative to sea level.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 7.31.23 AM.png

To locate these windows correctly, I first set the Altitude (Sea Level) properly.From here I could place temporary morph lines in plan to locate center line of windows and other building features.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 1.00.39 PM.png


Then, in the morph element settings, I set the height relative to Sea Level, and matched the sill and head height described in the survey.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 1.00.58 PM.png

From this point, it was just a matter of matching and stretching the windows to the morph lines in 3d or elevation.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 1.04.08 PM.png


Scheduling Doors & Windows to Zones

This has come up before, but seems to be even more difficult now that we have started migrating to ARCHICAD 21. There are some key steps to make sure that Doors and Windows schedule to zones properly.

Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 11.55.41 AM

  1. Make sure zones are set to the face of finish of all walls
  2. Make sure zones do not overlap
  3. Zones and schedule elements need to live on the same stories. This may mean you have a zone for a room in a vaulted space for multiple stories.
  4. Doors need to be set to the “exterior” is set facing the zone. This is not the direction of the door swing, but rather the scripted interior/exterior definition of the doors. You can use the Flip command in the door/window settings to redefine interior or exterior, and rotate/mirror to re-align the door or window to the correct direction.
  5. Doors can not be more than 4′-6″ from their home story to schedule to zones correctly. Windows have more flexibility.
  6. Doors & Windows should occupy an entire wall; meaning walls should not be narrower or shorter than the doors or windows in them.
  7. Doors and Windows should be on the same renovation status as the zones they are scheduling to.

These rules should allow doors and windows to schedule to zones correctly.



Linked/Independant Labels

When you place a label, that label can be linked to an element, or placed as an independent element. This is important, since dragging a copy of a linked label creates a label that is also linked to that content. Independ


(3) Linked Labels Associated to a Fill

In the above example, the redundant labels were created by dragging a copy of the first label to create new labels. The result is that when the fill is deleted, all labels are lost.

One method for preventing this is to copy/paste, rather than dragging a copy, to create new labels that are not linked or associated to model or drawing elements. These can be moved to the side, then cleaned up and repositioned after the necessary drawing elements are deleted.


(3) Copies of Linked Labels, using Copy/Paste to Duplicate


Deleting the fill leaves the pasted labels, that can then be placed back to their original location

Another option is to select the labels (or all labels in a view), then right click and choose Convert to Independent Label.


Right click & convert to Independent

A fair warning on independent labels; they will not reposition with any content. They can only be text labels, and they can not be converted to any other label type, since there is no way to associate them to drafting or model elements without deleting and replacing.

The label tool has a lot of options, and a lot of benefits to having links to content, but when you need an independent text label, just know there are ways to fix a drag and copy mistake.

Teamwork Views, Drawings, and Layouts

Since most of our projects involve multiple buildings on a single site, we often rely on hotlink modules to place those buildings onto a site in separate Teamwork files. This means the site plan needs to be placed from one teamwork file to another.


This process is actually very simple to do. All that is required is to open both Teamwork files and use the organizer to link a view from one project to the layout of the other. With the file containing the layout book, search for the other open t/w file in the left hand column of the organizer. Lastly, you only need to click import to bring the view from one file to a layout of another.



Now comes the real issue, that is to update the views. In the past, we have run into the issue of this warning:


To effectively update drawings from a separate projects view map, start with the drawing settings. The drawing should be set to manual, or you will receive repeated update warnings and, in the best case scenario, a slow update for any externally linked drawings.


After extensive tests and trial and error, I have found the most reliable way to update a drawing. Follow these steps and it shouldn’t fail to update:

  1. Open BOTH projects, the one containing the view and the one with the drawing that needs to be updated
  2. In the project with the view, do a send and receive. Once you S/R, do not make any changes to the ARCHICAD file, do not even change zoom or pan the view. Even the smallest change to your local data will result in the “Drawing Checking Process has Failed” warning
  3. Immediately switch to the project with the drawing that needs updating. I use com+tab, rather than the mouse to avoid any accidental zoom or pan to the view.
  4. Once the layout/drawing that needs updating is open, simply right click and select update

Follow these steps exactly, and you will find it much less frustrating to update your external drawings.