Rather than just extruding a profile, would we be able to get the option to revolve the profile instead? Just like how the revolve option for the Shell Tool works at the moment. In this way we can easily model vertically complex columns that have rotational symmetry while still being a singular dynamic object.
In one project, I've modelled the columns as curved walls. This allows me to stretch them according to the material accurate complex profile, but I'm assuming this would create issues if you are needing to schedule them as they are actually 2 curved walls. In in the case you wanted a column with more sides, this issue would be compounded.
In a second, I've modelled them as revolved shells, which have then been converted to a morph in order to modify surfaces, then saved out as an object. In this way I can create a column that consists of a singular object as long as it has rotational symmetry. The down side of this is that they are static meaning that a new object needs to be created for every size variation.