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Reporting Assemblies (composites schedules)

Rastko Pecar

Hi, this is a long one...


I have an issue with reporting composite structures (walls, floors, roofs). I'm working this for a couple of months; Ive been able to solve many aspects but certain problems still prevent me from achieving the desired format which is also prescribed in the guidelines by our Chamber of Architecture.


Note: I will use the word assembly report when talking about my deliverables that are compliant with abovementioned guidelines and composites and schedules when talking about ArchiCAD tools and methods specifically.


What I would like to achieve is to have an assemblies report in the form of a schedule which contains all the desired information, is structured in a particular way and maintains associativity with attributes (composites and materials) as they are defined and updated throughout the project development.

If we go from specific to general my assembly report has to:

1/ list the skins of assemblies and provide information about the function that a skin has in the assembly (construction, vapor control, thermal insulation, ect.) , specification of material and the skin thickness in centimeters.

2/ equip the skins list with Assembly ID and Assembly name (for example "FW-1 -  Typical Facade wall") as a headline and the sum of skin thickness in centimeters

3/ group assemblies into types (for example: Facade walls, interior walls, partition walls)

4/ group types into divisions: horizontal and vertical assemblies

How I set to achieve this:
- the foundation of the whole thing relies on writing the Assembly ID into the composite name and extracting this info with SPLIT function for scheduling and labeling purposes. Because the Assembly ID is written into the composite name itself and not in element ID (which pertains to model elements) I have to define it once on the attribute level and it will maintain associativity across all elements with that composite. If I decide to change the naming of particular assembly ID or assembly of particular element, the label will change.
- In certain cases assemblies are modeled using more than one composite (like balcony which is made of top composite - inclined slab modelled with roof tool ("1_BF-1") and bottom composite ("2_BF-1") with concrete console and bottom side finish material). Ive made another property similar to previous one that extracts numbers written before Assembly IDs and arranges composites into assemblies. The schedule now lists skins in correct order, even if a single assembly is made from more than one composites. Okay, sometimes it messes up, so you have to go to scheme settings, click and OK "keep components together in the schedule" and unclick and OK again. It should be in correct order now.
- function of material is provided via property assigned to building material themselves as options sets. It doesn't take much time to define the option set and assign your materials with their functions (sometimes one material performs different functions in two assemblies. This is rare so duplicating materials and changing functions is not a problem for me in terms of attribute management.)
- Because schedules work on model elements not attributes my assemblies schedule will list all composites that it finds in the model which wouldn't be a problem because of merge function which works great for strings but starts to sum thicknesses of composites in the model (your skin sums will show really fat values). I went around this by creating another property called "sample assembly", its an option set with <undefined> as default values. If default value is changed to "Yes" the schedule will pick it up. I went to my model and "tagged" with "Yes" one model element of particular assembly (be careful with multi-plane roofs which AC will still count twice so you have to "explode" them to single faces for the values to display correctly)
- specification of material: this is the main problem since SPLIT function in components schedules works only on composite name (composite is the element in this type of schedule) but not on building material name (material is the component in this type of schedule). I could OfCourse list the full building material name but I don't want to show internal information like "high" or "low" referring to Bmat priorities which I have written into the material name (you need to have this in the name because ArchiCAD doesn't allow to have 2 materials with different material properties and same name).
- thickness in centimeters: another problem because you cant call "component thickness" parameter in properties to make a conversion to centimeters. Changing dimensioning settings in view options also doesnt work for schedules which is unfortunate. Changing dimension units in project preferences is a bad idea since it will change all my dimensions in centimeters and I want them in meters.
- grouping assemblies into groups and divisions: Im still working on this. Hoping I can achieve with field merge options (icon with two squares and a grey intersection that gets displayed if you click on the field name in the schedule). A possible workarround is to have this hand typed (they are the same for all projects) on a layout but would necessitate spliting my single schedule to many (walls, floors, roofs) which I dont want to do because you loose overview.

So this are my problems. I'm really close to what I want to achieve, had many breakthroughs (merging more composites into a unified assembly was a nice issue to crack) and don't want to go back to exporting my schedules and finishing them in Excel.



Hope somebody walked the same walk and has solutions to share, thanks in advance!





Rastko Pecar

forgot to mention: I saw somewhere you can export an .ifc file where composites are "exploded" to individual skins that build up the assembly. Would it somehow be possible to capture this information by listing .ifc properties in fields but doing so without actually performing exports?


If this could work I could capture these elements in elements schedule (no longer components) which means I could specifiy my materials by using SPLIT function on the Bmat name...