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Design forum

Modeling with the Durisol ICF system

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Brian, wrote:
Hi Karl. I did a quick search on Durisol, and and found one post that briefly mentions this material.

1. I would like to create an exterior wall made of Durisol block with brick finish. I want each on a different layer so I can display either one to demonstrate different stages of construction.

2. Would be nice as well to have ArchiCAD output the number of Durisol blocks required for construction, their sizes, and types.

If you could provide some direction on the approach I should take, I would really appreciate it. I was thinking to model the block in GDL. Have you already done this? I'm assuming a GDL model of Durisol would be very similar to a GDL model of a CMU? Is there a library I can purchase that would speed up the drawing process? I also need to account for the mortar joints.
I thought I'd respond here in case others have looked at insulating concrete form systems such as Durisol:
http://www.durisolbuild.com/



Durisol blocks are made from Portland cement-coated wood chips. The recycled wood chips (from palettes, etc.) are coated with a mineral clay and formed into standard-sized blocks, easily managed by a single person which have a variety of useful construction properties (see web site above). I first learned of this material from Dale Bates of Living Architecture in Sun Valley.

Because of the wood content, you can screw support forms and non-structural walls directly into the blocks. (Structural ledgers, etc., require connection to the concrete core.) A single person can stack together wall systems. The stacked blocks do not require any foam or glue to prevent leaks during the concrete pump. Blowouts are rare if the lift is within tolerances and the blocks have not been cut or damaged. (Temporary plywood zip screwed into the surface supports any cut or damaged areas during the pour.)

The system supports the notion of a breathable wall with thermal mass. Without a vapor barrier, the blocks can be coated directly with stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside... the surface is rough enough to not require any lathe. Electrical cables are run either in groves cut with a router in the surface, or in conduit inside the cores.

The blocks can have rock wool insulation inserts factory inserted in the cores, to increase R value.

Of course, the blocks can have conventional gyp interior and arbitrary exterior sidings added, such as the brick that Brian asks about. There is greater economy and environmental benefit by going the stucco/plaster route though IMHO.

So...to Brian's questions:

1. The question of brick and Durisol on different layers is the same thing we all fight with in ArchiCAD with composite walls. Since ArchiCAD composites have no layer visibility management, we have to use tricks to show structural walls only in one plan and structural with veneers in another.

The easiest solution is to apply a Wall Accessory (Extras menu) Mouldings and Panels object with all mouldings turned off and the panel set to the thickness of the brick and airspace veneer. (Note: brick ties have to extend into the concrete core. The Durisol block itself is non-structural.) This will result in all window and door openings being automatically cut in the brick veneer. However, you have little control over the reveals, and none over the 2D presentation: you cannot show skins, e.g., for air space vs brick.

The alternative isn’t a pretty thing. You have to model the brick as separate walls, offset from the Durisol by the air gap, and create empty openings in brick to match each window and door in the main wall.

In either option, the door trim will be all wrong in 2D and 3D. You can get the trim and jambs right using the new SE library parts … but then the wall will be a composite and you won’t be able to turn the brick off.

So… I don’t know of any solution that produces proper drawings.

2. Getting a list of block quantities and types. Well, this would take longer than I have time to type. The easiest thing is to note that Durisol comes in standard sizes and the project will assemble most easily if the walls are even Durisol-units. So, if you use the wall tool, set up a snap grid based on the block dimensions and make wall heights an even number of feet to avoid cutting. At that point, a wall surface area take off (which subtracts out openings) will give a good estimate. With more work, a Property Object for these walls could compute the block take-off.

The alternative, that you suggest, is to model each block as a GDL object. This would allow you to ‘build’ the walls with each type of block just as they will be built on site and to easily produce a block count. Since the walls would not be AC “Walls”, you could not place windows or doors, but would have to cut holes in the block (where whole blocks need cutting) using Solid Element Op subtraction. (You can fake the Windows and Doors with a thinner ‘host wall’ that is centered in the Durisol GDL-block wall and into which you insert the windows and doors.) At door/window openings, you have to allow room for treated wood bucks in the GDL-wall to form the structural opening and block the flow of concrete during the pour.

An advantage of the GDL block-layout approach (or – gasp – linework or custom fills), is that you can create color-coded plans for the crew that indicate the types of blocks used. (This is something else I saw the Living Architecture group do.)

I modeled Durisol blocks in 3D dwg 10 years ago. Doing it in GDL is so much easier: just make them with the slab tool. If you have a 2D dwg for each block type, just magic wand the dwg into a 1’ tall mass and save as object from the File | GDL Objects menu. Use multiply with the elevate option to stack them. Then delete blocks in 3D where you have openings.

Your last comment on mortar joints: there are no mortar joints in Durisol. It is dry stacked. The stacking ‘slop’ is a combination of manufacturing tolerance and human/dirt/grit interference preventing a perfect fit.

Hope that helps,

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS 12.6.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64
8 REPLIES 8

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hi Karl

Just wondering if this might help you at all. Door and Window Builder (available from CadImage) has an option to turn wall skins in or out. Haven't had the chance to use it yet myself, but it might be just what you're looking for?
(test run below, not perfect but getting there, used with composite wall, you choose how many skins of comp to turn in(or out)).

Cheers
skins2.jpg

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thank you SO much for your help Karl, you have no idea how much this helps me.

My worst fears, however, were realized concerning the lack of layer on/off for composite walls in AC.

Just seems like a lot of work and tricks to get a CMU or durisol block to show up correctly in AC in all views. I hate tricks because they disrupt the logic of the CAD package. It's like patching a pair of jeans.

Going about it the GDL way, does AC then remain advantageous over let's say AutoCAD? Can I quickly move a wall in this way or does it all of a sudden involve more work?

I'm really just trying to find the right CAD package to model the Durisol blocks, and have the ability to change drawing plans quickly. Accurate plans with no "tricks" would be great.

I guess I have a tall order. I was hoping ArchiCAD would save me from the perils of the AutoCAD interface (which I despise with a passion).

Thanks again for your quick response. Greatly appreciated.

Gerald Hoffman
Booster
I thought I would wade in here.

I purchased the Accessories package from CadImage a while ago because it could do a board & batten surface which I needed for a project I was doing at the time. I was very happy with 90% of what I could do with it. They just updated it awhile ago and they fixed some of the issues I had with it. It can now do curved walls and has very good control on pen settings in both the 3D & 2D windows. I just did this up quickly and I don't know if it would satisfy your requirements. I did it with one of the styroform block wall systems as the main wall which you could show differently for your purposes and then added a brick veneer with the accessories tool with a 1" airspace. You can control all of the trim around opening with the surfacer rather than using the trim around doors & windows. I find this works very well. For what it's worth.
Gerald
"The simplification of anything is always sensational" GKC
AC 25-4013 USA, CadImage Tools
2019 MacBook Pro 16" w/ AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU
OS X 11.6
2.4 Ghz 8 core i9, 64 GB RAM
27" LG 5K Monitor

Gerald Hoffman
Booster
As it seems I could only add 1 attachment at a time I am posting a view of a project I did with the CadImage Accessories on all of the walls shown. All of the horizontal, door & window trims are part of the wall surface. As these are on there own layer I can turn them on of off depending on what I want to show.
Wall Access-Sample.jpg
Gerald
"The simplification of anything is always sensational" GKC
AC 25-4013 USA, CadImage Tools
2019 MacBook Pro 16" w/ AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU
OS X 11.6
2.4 Ghz 8 core i9, 64 GB RAM
27" LG 5K Monitor

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Gerald wrote:

I purchased the Accessories package from CadImage a while ago...
Gerald,

That is perfect, and your rendered post is excellent. I have several clients who will no doubt switch to this package based on what you've accomplished there.

Thanks,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS 12.6.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
repicb wrote:
Thank you SO much for your help Karl, you have no idea how much this helps me.

My worst fears, however, were realized concerning the lack of layer on/off for composite walls in AC.
You're welcome. Durisol was a pet interest. I think the Cadimage Accessory will resolve the brick visibility issue for you, though, based on Gerald's plan-view screenshot. Extra $$ though.
Just seems like a lot of work and tricks to get a CMU or durisol block to show up correctly in AC in all views. I hate tricks because they disrupt the logic of the CAD package. It's like patching a pair of jeans.

Going about it the GDL way, does AC then remain advantageous over let's say AutoCAD? Can I quickly move a wall in this way or does it all of a sudden involve more work?

I'm really just trying to find the right CAD package to model the Durisol blocks, and have the ability to change drawing plans quickly. Accurate plans with no "tricks" would be great.
I think GDL is the way you want to go to have the blocks show up in all views properly, particularly section. Note, too, that once you've modeled your block objects and assembled them, you can subtract them from a concrete wall (mass) to obtain the concrete core shape for both structural drawings as well as concrete volume for ordering material. That concrete wall will actually be the host wall for all doors and windows, as well as the host for the brick veneer accessory.

Yes, some of these things are workaround/tricks ... but the exact needs of building with Durisol aren't matched by other materials, so I wouldn't expect any CAD system to handle it in a completely 'normal' way. 😉

Changing quickly will depend on your expertise and the route you choose.

Quick changes are easy if you don't model every block. With blocks, you'll have to add/remove blocks as you move or stretch walls. If you plan on doing a lot of Durisol projects, then a smarter GDL object that represents walls would make more sense... as you would stretch such an object, it would add or remove blocks at unit increments.
I guess I have a tall order. I was hoping ArchiCAD would save me from the perils of the AutoCAD interface (which I despise with a passion).
Revit is the only Autodesk product that I would consider if you don't go with ArchiCAD. I wouldn't touch AutoCAD for this. Either way, allocate time for the learning curve. 😉

Regards,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS 12.6.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Anonymous
Not applicable
Gerald and Karl... Thank you both!!!

The learning curve has begun.
Brian

Gerald Hoffman
Booster
Brian & Karl,

One thing I should add is that the CadImage Acc. package has the ability to extend the surface above or below the wall to which it is applied as well as doing angles. This has long been a wish for composite structures which of course would still be great thing to have. It has other tools as well for the roof including gutters & soffits although I found that for complex roofs with tight valleys on the one job I tried it on it had a few problems.

No, I am not a salesman or Rep. but am finally happy to have a good tool to apply some realistic surfaces to walls which cuts down on generating good elevation views etc.

I am also impressed with their support. They often get back to me within a day or two and have added a feature to be able to add a trim piece under the sill which was a long standing wish for me. I noticed that the new SE Library finally has it too.

If you buy this tool I suggest drawing a piece of wall and trying all of the different settings out and then looking at them in 3D to see the effect. It took me awhile to figure some of them out although most were pretty intuitive. Overall I was very exited with what I could do. I definitely think it is worth the cost if you are doing residential work.
Gerald
"The simplification of anything is always sensational" GKC
AC 25-4013 USA, CadImage Tools
2019 MacBook Pro 16" w/ AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU
OS X 11.6
2.4 Ghz 8 core i9, 64 GB RAM
27" LG 5K Monitor

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