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Document & Visualize forum

Validating (Auditing) Property Assignments for Take Offs

Karl Ottenstein
I received a private message from an architect in Argentina and wanted to share my technical reply here. The question is about validating or auditing the properties assigned to model elements to assure that takeoffs are correct:
archi_00 wrote:
I have win98 and ArchiCAD 6.5, English version.
I make sets of plans of houses and I make a personal database to obtain:
Amount of work,
Prices of the jobs,
Quantity and prices of bricks, iron, wood, concrete, and others.

For this reason, I LINK PROPERTIES to each wall, column, beam, window, door,
object, slab and roof in my projects and designs.

I make link properties INDIVIDUALLY in each one, because I give different
uses to the wall tool for example:

The wall tool is good for make a wall or for make a beam, or for make a
glass, so I have to check, all the time, that the wall tool have the right
With the slab I can do something similar. I use the slab tool like foundation, or like a floor, or like a ceiling.

If I choose a mistaken PROPERTY, I will have glass for a brick wall.
Everything could be wrong if I choose a wrong property.

And, when I have helpers in my work, I spend all the day checking the right
properties in each tool, inside ArchiCAD.

So, in this order of ideas, my work could be very complicated.

Well, I write to you because probably you can give me some ideas to make all
this easy.

I am looking for a procedure, or for a GDL object, or for a utility that
lets me check in an easy way WHAT IS THE PROPERTY LINKED to each wall, column, beam, window, door, object, slab and roof in my work.

Now, I have to select each element on the screen, and then open the TOOL
SETTINGS DIALOG to check the correct property. Is a big work, overall in a
big project.

I am dreaming now, and I think could be a new tool, GDL tool probably, that
you can put inside of the "object wall, slab or another", and then it will
print the Linked property in a few seconds.
To be sure we’re all clear: the problem with property objects, as I’ve mentioned in the past, is that they can generate any information, regardless of the physical characteristics of the object that they are associated with. Archi_00 notes this in his comment that the wrong property script could cause a brick wall to generate takeoff data as if it were made of glass instead. A 2x6 wall with a script written for 2x4 walls will generate a list with 2x4 studs instead of 2x6 ones. Etc.

Archi_00 is asking for an audit feature – a quick way to see what the properties associated with each element and object are so that he can verify that his employees (and he) haven’t made any mistakes.

First, as to his current method of opening the Tool Settings dialog for each element… we know that in 8.0 and above, the property can also be seen via the Info Box, although the button for the flyout menu in the properties area must be clicked, so it isn’t a huge time saver.

What Archi really needs is a listing, from Calculate if possible (he’s in 6.5) or else (if he upgrades) from the 8.0 and above Interactive Scheduler (IS) or the SQL query option of the Calculate menu.

Looking down that road, I see what looks like a bug on one hand, and a serious inconsistency on the other. See below.

Another option is a custom add-on by a 3rd party using the ArchiCAD API … but that shouldn’t be necessary if the problems here are addressed in a future release.


Let’s try to get a listing of every element and object in the model along with its associated properties.

In the attached screenshot collage, I create a new criteria (for testing purposes) that matches all walls that are 5.5 inches thick. (Note the cosmetic bug discovered there.)

In step 2 attached, you’ll see that Calculate list schemes have two possible fields for displaying the names of property objects associated with elements: one gives those properties that are linked by criteria (as defined in step 1), the other gives those properties that are linked manually (via the settings dialog or 8.0 and above Info box). An object can have both kinds associated with it.

Step 3 shows a listing for 3 walls, giving the correct results. If the thickness and fill name or composite name isn’t sufficient for auditing, then perhaps materials and other fields might need to be displayed as well. This is just an example after all! 😉


Most of us are becoming quite fond of the new Interactive Schedule capabilities of versions 8.0 and above. As step 4 and 5 show, however, the IS only allows linked properties to be displayed (unless I’m missing something) … and so is unsuitable for auditing property associations.


Step 6 show the 8.0 and above SQL option in the Calculate menu. In principal, this permits SQL queries of the database to extract information similar to that obtained via Calculate list schemes or the IS. Yet, no fields are documented for the retrieval of property object association, so nothing can be done here.

I may have missed something of course, and welcome comments and corrections! But, it seems that the conclusion is that Archi can get his audit report – via a Calculate list scheme - but also that this reveals yet another case of inconsistency within ArchiCAD: all three of Calculate list schemes, Interactive Scheduler and SQL Query should have access to both of these fields – linked properties and assigned properties. As we’ve seen, only list schemes have access to both; IS has access to one, and SQL seems to have access to neither. Also, we’ve seen a minor (cosmetic) bug in the linked criteria dialog.


One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.8, iMac Pro

Karl Ottenstein
(Second part of image for previous message - apparently there is a pixel size limitation for postings irrespective of small file size.)
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.8, iMac Pro

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