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Design forum

Component Level Design Workflows - Conversation & feedback

James B

Hi All,


Now in Archicad, most design and data are handled at the element level - assigning properties, using Graphic Overrides or setting renovation status are a few examples.

To express design intent and extract data at a more detailed level, the component or skin level requires further data and flexibility. We already visualise these skins, have Offset Modifiers for Profiles to create smart parametric extrusions, and Component/Surface Schedules to extract data.

We plan to further develop the component/skin level of elements and expand existing functionality in that area, so we are exploring more about what you need. Some questions:


  • What type of data do you need to store in components/skins that may be separate or different to existing Building Material properties?
  • How is this data used and presented in documentation and schedules?
  • Renovation of components, are similar for the same composite/profile? Or mostly unique for all placed elements separately?
  • Modelling flexibility of components, in which common situations are you resorting to workarounds, like stacking elements, that existing composites/profiles with modifiers can't achieve?
  • Visualisation of components, in which situations do components need be visualised differently compared to the whole element? Such as requirement for submission to highlight structural skins.


As we progress in this area, your input will be invaluable to understand priorities and our direction moving forward. Thanks in advance.


James Badcock
GRAPHISOFT Product Manager
127 REPLIES 127

Hi James, 

The information that I put in the wall type 2D previews in the wall type schedule is basically the name and thickness of each skin. It's pretty similar to what @Nathan Hildebrandt is showing in the wall type drawing image earlier in this thread. In my case I use the schedule, not the mockup walls in the 3D space, to generate wall types lists so they update automatically, and I wish the labels that I put in the wall section previews in the schedule were interactive as well.

Kei Mito

I stopped using the Schedule Previews for annotation after a couple of incidents when the Schedule reset, not sure why, and in the process deleted all my annotations loosing several hours work.

Apple iMac macOS Monterey / AC26UKI (most recent builds)

Hi James,

I mean like this overlapping Skins by Composites (or Component by Profile)- demolished and new status, if it could work it would be great

and also, what was mentioned there already, have the Modifiers for height for each Skins in Composites would be also great



@DGSketcher That problem has happened to me too. It happens in the merging/refreshing process. To avoid it keep the number of the element properties to list in the schedule minimum and try to keep them exactly the same among the same composite. The software needs better warning functionality before the refreshing process. Even better, composite properties, my another big wish, should be made available so we could schedule the walls using the composite properties instead of the element properties so the properties will always match. The 2D previews of the element in the schedules are nice Archicad features, something Revit lacks. I hope GS will improve and enhance their functionalities so we can get the most out of it.

Kei Mito


Hi, thank you for this opportunity! Here our wishes:


  1. Allow overrides for individual layers
    1. Application:
      1. Representation of all thermal insulations: without the graphic overwrite option, thermal insulations are as thick as the whole wall at once. Also, they are as high as the whole wall even if they are not.
      2. Fire protection: with different requirements of wall and cladding, this cannot be represented graphically


  1. offer the complete property set for each skin, not only for the whole element. Where? as a checkbox/dropdown below "Classification and Properties". 
    1. Use case, example fire protection for staircases, German law:
      1.       Concrete staircases
        1. Concrete slab: fire resistance class REI90, product classification A1
        2. Flooring: no fire resistance class, product classification B1
      2.       Wooden staircases require non-combustible fire-retardant cladding in the stairwell:
        1. Wood = fire resistance class REI90, product classification B2
        2. Finish inside = fire resistance class EI-W30, product classification A
        3. Finish outside = no rule. Could be e.g., partially Gypsum board, no fire rating, product classification A
      3.      We have an own set of properties which should be applicable to each skin, at least partially. E.G. the fire classification is custom made.



  1. Partial Structure Display, show Skins - Part 1: Each skin should be displayed seperately: e.g. "Finish only", "Others only".
    1. Application
      1.       Visual review of the model for missing thermal insulation
      2.       As consequence, single-layer walls (basic walls) must also have CORE/OTHER/FINISH options, because unfortunately you always have to trick, e.g. add a piece of core or a piece of finish to the multi-layer wall. E.g. on the layer "Structural - Bearing" there are always a few basic wall pieces, which must be visible or invisible at the same time, e.g.
        1. Composite Wall 'Block Insulated Cavity Plastered'" needs
        2. some pieces of "basic wall 'Concrete Block - Stuctural' = Core",
        3. some pieces of "basic wall 'Air Space' = Other" and
        4. some pieces of "basic wall 'Brick' = Finish".
      3. Export parts for a composite information model in a CDE. E.g. if the structural model is provided by the structural engineer.


  1. Partial Structure Display, show Skins - Part 2 - advanced stuff: CORE/OTHER/FINISH should be possible for any tool, even for the individual components of GDL objects.
    1. Use case: a biaxial curved concrete beam with tiles on "Layer Structural - Bearing" is realised as a GDL-object. Concrete = CORE, Tiles = FINISH


  1. Enable height changes of claddings without drawing a new wall.
    1. Application:
      1.       Covering change on raw slab without interruption of the raw slab, e.g. in department stores.
      2.       Thermal insulation ending along a slope in the plinth area
        1. Thick rock wool thermal insulation ends above ground at an angle
        2. Thinner extruded thermal insulation (splash zone) ends below ground level in a stepped manner according to the dimensions of the panels.
      3.      In general, for a standard case like different thermal insulation heights, you already need a profiled wall. Better would be: => Offer point and edge processing for multi-layer walls.


  1. Offer chamfers and bevels on multi-layer/profile components (offtopic: also on basic walls/slabs😉), as already with the Morph. 
    1. In addition (admittedly, one can wish for a lot): switchable via MVO whether chamfers and bevels should be displayed or not.
    2. Application:
      1.       Our interior design department currently has to draw everything with walls and slabs and convert them to morphs because furniture is just rounded. Changes can then no longer be undone
      2.       (and for a distant future: These elements cannot be used in an overview plan because of the amount of data, so it sould be possible to switch the chamfers/bevels off by MVO).


Maximilian Schorer

Hi James,

Profile and composit walls cannot be mitered as a whole (every skin mitered).
Wall ends tool "Wall End Camfer XX" does not work correct on composit and complex walls.

The junction order, length and miter of the individual skins must definable by the user.
By now as workarounds:
a.  correct junction is done in 2d  (but the automatic evaluation and IFC is then wrong).
b. or all skins are modeled in single skin Elements

4.3 Wall tool in general and for every skin should be customizable in the elevation like the slab tool.
I don't understand why this is not already built in even the GDL command CWall_ looks a lot like this functionality.

4.4 Slab Composite and Slab General
please let us model slabs like these


The wall tool (Trapezoid) does it, why not the slab?



+if i morph the wall then all but one building material will be forgotten
it would be better to break up each skin into a single morph then the building mat. would be preserved

this does not belong here at all but as a bonus:

Please standardize most setting options across all tools.

Especially Groundfloor and Section.... please make the same settings available in all tools if possible and more automatic.
if projection then really with hidden lines and real projection.... no mess with 2D fillings in 2022 please.

please don't make the most unimportant setting in every element possible.
example: break marker lines and pens....    this can be a global setting in MVO

Beste Grüße aus Deutschland | Best regards


Maximilian Schorer

@James B wrote:

...the component or skin level requires further data and flexibility.

  • How is this data used and presented in documentation and schedules?

Hi James,

I think it's a common practice among architects around the globe to create interior finish schedule that lists finishes on a room by room basis. Right now, unfortunately, it's almost impossible to utilize the material information we store in the skins of the building elements to create this type of schedule. We use the zone properties instead, and for that we have to enter isolated redundant finish information in the zones.

We know that the energy evaluation tool can list walls, slabs and roofs grouped by the thermal blocks which are made from zones. The list can even display the orientation of each element as well as the thermal properties of each skin in every element. If this is possible already then how about using the same technology and develop a tool that can generate fully automatic finish schedule based on the component properties of the building elements?

Kei Mito

Good point Kei.


I have used the surface object in Goodies but its quite clunky and doesn't always pick up the geometry correctly.

I would have thought zones could do the job by reading the finish of each surface they intersect with, walls, floor, ceilings.

Tim Ball

AC26, iMac

User since V5


To sum this up in a simple description, I think we all would like to have:

1. extended modeling options within composite skins, their modifiers and profiles,

2. ability to assign data to individual composite and profile components,

3. ability to use assigned data for graphic display (renovation status, graphic overrides, etc.),

4. ability to access, structure and display all assigned data in schedules.

5. All this should be possible for horizontal, vertical and tilted zero-depth surfaces.

Archicad 4.55 - 25 | HP Z840 | 2× E5-2643 v4 | 64 GB RAM | Nvidia Quadro M5000 @ Windows 10 Pro x64

Re: complex objects: As in the slab example above

Just to add my own emphasis: Provide the morph editing tools on Archicad native objects (pencils to add points & lines, and live corners) for maximum user flexibility in defining these complex geometries on slabs and walls.

I would also suggest that morphs be upgraded to be able to accept composites to their faces & boolean objects be upgraded to display accurately in plan views.



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