Tag Archives: Element ID

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


Element Information Palette

Heres one that you may not be aware of, or if you are, possibly do not use. The Element Information Palette! Its a great tool to quickly look at the geometries, areas, volumes of selected elements. This palette has buttons to view a selected Element’s Properties, Size, Area on Plan, Height, Surface, and Volume.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.54.59 PM  Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.55.07 PM  Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.55.10 PM  Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.55.21 PM  Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.55.28 PM
Recently this was very useful in checking an estimate of additional fill on a terrain mesh. I have also used it to check glazing to floor area percentages by comparing the wall surfaces with and without holes considered to get an approximate glazed opening to floor area (slab) ratio. The holes considered/not considered fields take into account holes in beams, openings in walls, skylights, openings in slabs, roofs and meshes as well as solid element operations. So depending on level of precision of the BIM model, it can be a fairly accurate estimating and verification tool.

Ultimately these are just design checks and not part of our documentation, so the Element Information Palette is a great tool for these non-permanent checks, rather than developing a full schedule or list to create a document from.

This palette is also very helpful for checking Element ID’s, by selecting all slabs, for example, you can verify that important slabs have an appropriate and unique ID. Or you can perform a quick check to verify you do not have 200 slabs with an element ID of “Kitchen Counter”.

Lastly, be aware that you can adjust the calculation units that appear in the Element Info Palette in the project preferences, and can even save or print the element information list. This palette in combination with the Element Selections Palette can be very useful tool for checking and rechecking areas, volumes and element ID’s.

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.55.43 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-21 at 12.58.24 PM I recommend having a shortcut set up for this palette, Com + I, so that it can easily be toggled on/off. Do not leave this palette up as a permanent fixture of your work environment, as it does slow AC down when a selection is made. It will attempt to recalculate all listable information with every new selection as long as the palette is open.

SEO & Element ID Warnings

Here is a cautionary tale for both Solid Element Operations and Element ID’s.

I was trying to determine why a roof was not showing up in section or 3d, but shows in plan view. This is normally because of a duplicated element and building material priorities canceling each other; but in this case it was due to redundant solid element operations.

When I removed all SEO’s it reappeared, but was not trimming any gable end walls. So I had to find the problematic operators or targets. There where 30 SEO’s on this roof, and in the SEO handle many of them showed as having the same ID. Using a combination of find & select & the ID manager, you can rename these elements for easy identification.

Typically elements should have unique ID’s, or at least groups of ID’s which accurately represent their function. In this project all slabs where started this way, but from a copy/paste workflow the ceiling slabs where called out as first floor slabs. Renaming them pointed to the problem.Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 3.44.38 PM

In the image above you can see the elements set as the targets & operators of the selected roof. A ceiling slab is the target of this roof twice, roof deck twice, roof covering twice, wall 5 times (as both target & operator with multiple extrusion types…

So the warning is this; use SEO’s as sparingly as possible, avoid redundant and non-associative SEO’s. Meaning do not set a target or operator from one element that does not trim another. Do not use an element as a target multiple times to the same operator (there are a few exceptions to this). If an SEO does not appear trim properly undo before you try again. Where ever possible be aware of the automatically assigned element ID’s. These will often duplicate rather than adding a new ID, which is not always a bad thing. But elements with a specific function should have their own ID(s). Above I temporarily renamed ceiling slabs CLG Slab1, 2, 3… just to sort out what was going on with the SEO’s. This can be done before placing elements or immediately after via the Element ID Manager.

Custom Pocket Door Plan Symbol (Cadimage)

Here’s a quick “work-around” for anyone frustrated with pocket door panel spacing and pocket opening dimensions. Although there may be an easier way to do this with a single door element (please speak up if there is!), this gets us the plan symbol, operation and leaf dimension schedule elements we are looking for. In this case, we wanted three 2″ door panels in a 9 1/2″ pocket opening with a 3/4″ pocket frame at the outside face of each door. This requires four doors total.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.51.24 PM

The first door is a pocket door whose panel is set to the full 9 1/2″ thickness of the pocket opening. Th door panel is then turned off; the symbol set to 180º opening in both plan and 3d (elevation) views. This essentially creates the pocket cavity.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.51.46 PM

Next place three doors with the correct panel thickness & door stop offset (found at Frame > Main Frame > Door Stops > “Set the leaf in from the main frame”). Set the plan symbol to show varied opening opening angles, in this case I have them set to 90º, 67º & 45º. Turn the mainframe thickness to 0″ and turn off all trim for the three pocket door panels.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 1.52.10 PM

Since we are only scheduling the door leaf (to face of main frame) dimensions, we only need to schedule one of the four doors. Set all other doors to have an element ID of “X” to omit them from schedules and set the Dimension Marker to No Marker.


When you edit multiple door and windows you can have unforeseen consequences. For example, if the window type and sash layouts are different, changes to the sash layout, surface or style may not be applied to all windows or all sash groups.

In the following screen shots you can see a change to the sash grid applied to a 2x wide sash window and a single width unit. Applying a sash grid to both window types simultaneously not only has no effect on the double width sash, but also causes an error message for degenerated polygons (The sash is part of the windows 3d script, but ArchiCAD basically doesn’t  understand how to interpret it).

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.45.52 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.46.23 PM

The solution is in the Find and Select function. By selecting all windows that are two sashes wide, or windows greater than 4′-0″ in rough opening width, and changing them first; then selecting all windows less than 4′-0″ in rough opening width and changing them separately you get all sashes matching. This is slightly more time consuming, but it does make the changes work the first time and avoids the error reports.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.48.14 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.49.09 PMAlso seen recently by project teams has been a universal change to the door hardware location in Cadimage doors, universally for all door types. The result was, unlike the windows, the hardware was correctly relocated, but the door frames adopted the frame settings of other doors. The solution is to change door or window settings by wall type as well as door or window type, when the wall type impacts the trim or reveal of the door or window settings.

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This is yet another reason to become familiar with find and select and use it often. It is a great tool to speed up productivity as well as keep your model clean and error free.


Element ID’s And Weeding Out Problem Objects

Occasionally you may come across objects with degenerated scripts, bad geometry or missing attributes. These can cause error reports to generate.  While most of these error reports may seem like line after line of gibberish, some key lines can give clues as to the source of the problem.  If the problem stems from an object the object name may appear.  Regardless of the element type, the Element ID will always show up in a line.  If you have 2,000 objects all labeled “Z M067” in the element ID field it may be a little tricky finding the one or two that are messing things up.
Shower Head1If you are lucky enough to track down a line of the report that gives you the elements actual name or type you can search for those objects using the find and select feature.  In this case it was a shower head object and was easily discernible in the error report via the object name.

Shower Head3It is almost always a good idea, however to add a unique Element ID to your objects, walls, floors, roofs, columns and beams that references the objects function, type, size or location.  This element ID can be used for or associated with labeling elements, scheduling or searching.

Shower Head2