Roof Wall Connections

I feel like I have written this all somewhere before, but it begs repeating. Roof wall connections can be tricky, and solid element operations are not always the answer. In this example, we have an eave bearing wall running perpendicular to the roof slope.

The original model was built using SEO’s. This created a section error, showing the ceiling finish running through the wall structure:


Also, notice the selected wall is taller than it should be, running above the roof plan. This wall height should be modeled to stop at the highest intersection of the bottom of the roof core. Then the roof and wall, while both selected, can be cleaned up with the Merge function (Design > Connect > Merge, or Right Click > Connect > Merge).


The result is a properly cleaned up section view!

Drawing Titles (Layouts)

During my project audits, I run into a lot of layouts with fussy manually positioned drawing titles. This can some times be necessary for a custom location, width and structure to get the title to work with a Layout’s organization and content. But for most of our drawings, especially details, elevations, sections, and interior elevations, this is just adding extra work. Proper use of the title settings will allow you to quickly align your drawings on the layout, butt them into each other and know that the titles are not going to overlap and will show up correctly and consistently.

This is baked into our template as a favorite, and as a default for all drawings pre-laid on layouts. As an example, here is a “starter” drawing on the detail sheet.screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-16-58-am

The settings for the title width and location should be as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 9.19.06 AM.png

Setting the title width to link to the drawing will ensure it’s position and size will always relate to the drawing. The optimum offsets for width and location (as highlighted above) should be 0″ for vertical positioning and 1/4″ from the left and right edges of the drawing.

As I said, there may be exceptions, but we should start to make this our default setting. Use the template favorites if you are unsure of how to set this up for consistent use.

Info Box Content

The Info Box is an instrumental palette to the ARCHICAD work environment. There is content in the Info Box that is difficult, if not impossible to adjust anywhere else. A large function of this palette is to give an easy access to each element’s Selection Settings. There are, however, a few items in the Info Box that are not available in the Settings Dialogue. These are the Geometry and Construction Method settings. A handful of element types have these incorporated into the settings dialogue, such as the Geometry Method for the Shell Tool. The Shell Tool has an additional Construction Method that is only available in the Info Box.

The Info Box for all available tools with Palette only content:

The geometry method is useful for a wide range of functions. Wether it is drawing 4 walls with a simply x/y input, setting a shell to rotate a given shape rather than just a dome or arc, or setting your labels to place more precisely with a three point click instead of a simple click and drop in place; the Geometry and Construction method settings only available in the Info Box will help model more quickly and precisely.

New Surface from Internal Settings

Getting a surface image or color to render out properly can be difficult due to the number of variables that need to be managed. I have gone through a basic exercise to explore 4 different surface settings for reflection to compare results on surface color in Open GL and CineRender views. The surfaces I generated are a basic medium gray and a bone white surface with varied reflection and emission settings.

For the purposes of this exercise, I have eliminated all Transparency and Emission variables, and only made adjustments to the Reflection and Glowing Settings. By playing with the Specular Color, you can further adjust the hue of the CineRender view.


Matte Settings


Semi-Gloss Settings


High Gloss Settings


Mirror Settings

Note that the final color of the rendered view is impacted to varying degrees based on the reflection settings. Further adjustments can also impact the color, intensity, reflectivity of the surfaces include: Lamp Settings and location and hue, Rendering Engine preset, Rendering Sky Preset, and Surface Color.


Open GL View


CineRender Outdoor Daylight Medium + Lamps 50%

The Often Neglected Basic Shapes

I think the Basic Shapes often get ignored. These library parts are great as place holders or substitutes for tedious to model objects, basic element massing, or even final model elements. The grid object is great for register and vent grills and grates, drain screens, ceiling grids, trellis elements and more. Some of the other shapes can be used as object massing, or even a starting place for generating custom objects. Creating curved elements directly with the morph tool is possible, but they typically turn out blocky and faceted looking. Starting with a Cylinder, Cone or Sphere allows you to set the resolution of the curves, then convert to a morph to edit or incorporate with other morph elements.


Some of the objects in this folder may be useless and tacky (the House Model & Conceptual Tree Model for example), but most of these elements can be a dynamic part of modeling complex model elements or even schedule-able place holders for elements that we may not see in the model; such as hidden appliances and plumbing accessories. I recently used a few of these elements to model an exposed sink trap for a bathroom, and it was much faster than trying to build it with beams and columns or morph elements.

The last thing to consider is that these objects often have settings beyond the obvious. Some have settings for adjusting number of faces, curve resolution, overall and individual dimensions. This allows a polygon prism object to accomplish a wide range of geometries, for massing elements as well as trimming elements as a dedicated operator.

Just keep this little library folder in mind next time you are considering building a new custom object, fixture or accessory.

Doors & Walls – Symbolic or Projected

The symbolic or projected view of a door determines wether it matches the exact 3d settings of the door or is just a graphic plan symbol. There may be cases for both, but it is important to know what the settings do; and find the right combination of settings for both the wall and the door so that they both appear as expected, or in some combinations, appear at all.


Wall Projection Settings


Door Projection Settings

Below is the break down of what each combination of wall and door settings with 3 different relationships to plan cut plane settings.


Walls and Doors Projection Settings

IFC Element Classification

Recently, we have noticed projects exporting IFC files incorrectly; specifically with missing content. Wether this is due to changes to ARCHICAD from IFC2x3 to IFC4, or if it is just a modeling error on our part, is difficult to pinpoint at this time. What we have determined is the issue is the result of Element Classification going missing.

The Element Classification is the little drop down at the bottom of the settings dialogue for each model element. You can locate this within the Categories and Properties tab of the element settings.


It can be easy to ignore this setting, since it really doesn’t impact our typical model or document process. But for IFC coordination this setting is critical. If this goes missing, the element will not save out.

So a missing or undefined classification can get in the way of effective collaboration, but so can an incorrect classification. An example I have seen is doors that were used as gable end vents/walls. Because the door’s classification was left as “Door”, it was read as a door on the Revit side. This resulted in the door and the wall were defined as an opening that penetrated the roof; the engineer had to ask for a correction from our end.


IFC Classifications can seem a little confusing, given the unclear and vague terminology used in describing each classification. But fortunately Bond Bryan has already done the leg work to define each element classification and what is included. I have in turn reinterpreted this list in our BIM Manual for our calibre of projects; you can view this Dictionary of Element Classifications under Collaboration > IFC Classification in our BIM Manual. Or for a more complete list of building components and their Classifications, see Rob’s list here.