Preparing to Share Models

Preparing to Share Models


In this lesson, you will explore how to set up the elements of a project that enable teams to effectively share a building model. You will:

  • Create a dimensional framework for the model via levels, grids, and reference planes and use these elements to precisely place building elements.
  • Create views that expose and highlight the elements used by different members and disciplines on the design team.

Creating the Architectural Building Model

To prepare a model for sharing with a multidisciplinary team, it is essential to create a dimensional framework of levels, grids, and reference planes that all members of the team can use to place elements and keep their work coordinated.Designers typically place elements in their models to act as placeholders for items that will be designed and specified by other members of the team.

This approach enables them to consider the locations in their design decisions and indicate their design intent to other members of the team.The design team must work out the overall strategy for how the model will be sharedムas a single project file (which can be shared on a local network) or as a series of linked models (which can be remotely edited by different team members, then reviewed and checked for changes and conflicts). 

In order to avoid duplication of effort and conflicts, each team member must have a clear understanding of what types of elements are to be placed in each linked model and who will control the changes to that model.


Figure 4.1.1 Adding placeholder columns to the architectural model at grid intersections

Creating Views to Highlight the Structural Elements

Design teams can create many views of the building model to show specific features and highlight the elements used by each design discipline to assist with their design tasks.

It is often useful to create special views that isolate specific types of elements or hide other elements that obscure the ones involved in a design task, for example:

  • 2D and 3D section views
  • Views that hide selected elements or categories of elements
  • With visibility graphics overrides set to hide or highlight selected categories of elements

It may be necessary to adjust a viewユs settings to be able to see the structural elements in that view. If elements cannot be seen, students should check:

  • Visibility graphics override—has that category been hidden?
  • View properties—is the element outside the current view range settings?
  • Level of detail—is the level of detail fine enough? (Some categories of elements display as single line representations in coarse views.)
  • Hidden elements—has the element been temporarily hidden?
  • Section boxes—is the element outside of the range of the section box?

To ensure consistency between views, design teams can create view templates to quickly apply similar view settings to many views.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of creating a dimensional framework to facilitate model sharing.
  • Appreciate and apply the concept of using grids and reference planes to align and place building elements.
  • Explore creating special views to highlight key elements for different disciplines within the design team.


Creating the Architectural Building Model

In this tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Create appropriate levels for the project geometry.
  • Add horizontal grids, vertical grids, and reference planes to assist with placing and aligning elements.
  • Place structural columns and other placeholder structural elements in the building model.
Figure 4.1.2
Figure 4.1.2 Structural columns placed in the architectural model at the ground floor and lower levels
Video Tutorial

Practice Exercise
  • Place grids in the east-west direction (perpendicular to the ones placed in the tutorial.
  • Place reference planes on both sides of the first and last east-west grids to assist with aligning model elements.
  • Add structural columns at the grid intersections on level 1.

Figure 4.1.3 Grids and reference planes on Level 1

Creating Views to Highlight the Structural Elements

In this tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Create 2D building sections.
  • Use the section box to create 3D building sections.
  • Adjust the visibility/graphic overrides to display the building skeleton.
Figure 4.1.4
Figure 4.1.4 Using the Section Box to expose the building systems in a 3D view
Video Tutorial

Practice Exercise
  • Create additional 2D section views to show the structural features in the east-west direction.
  • Create a 3D section view showing the structural features in this direction.

Figure 4.1.5 3D Section view cutting the model between grids 4 and 5


Creating the Architectural Model

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the Array tool to place grids versus copying them individually?

Grids are typically placed at regularly spaced intervals, so the Array tool can be very helpful for rapidly placing a series of grids, each separated by an equal distance. If the array is associated, changes to the position of any one grid will affect all others, which are probably not desired. So if you want to move grids independently, you should disable the group and associate option when creating an array or place the grids individually.

How do you place non-rectangular grids (for example, radial grids or triangular grids)?

To place radial grids, start by placing the common center point. Then draw the grids radiating out from that point. After placing the first grid, you can create a radial array to quickly place a series of radial grids.

To place triangular grids (or any nonrectangular geometry), draw one grid, then use the Offset tool to create additional grids that follow the same geometry a specified distance away.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating more than one level per floor (for example, Level 1-Floor and Level 1-Ceiling)?

Creating more than one level per floor enables greater modeling flexibility. For example, if you define a separate level for a ceiling, you can place objects relative to that ceiling level (rather than offsetting from a floor level), and if you change the elevation of the ceiling level, those objects will move with it.

Creating too many levels can create a cluttered and confusing model. When placing elements, designers must be careful to choose the appropriate levels for the base and top constraints and having many levels can complicate this process.

If columns are placed at grid intersections, will the columns move if a grid location is changed?

Columns placed at grid intersections do move if a grid location is changed. This is one of the key advantages of defining the placement point as a grid intersection.

Creating Views to Highlight the Structural Elements

What techniques can you use to filter the information displayed in a section view?

You could change the visibility\/graphic overrides to hide or display model categories. Alternately, you can hide individual element instances. Using the far clip you could bring the distance forward in order to not see so deep into the view. Also, you might alter the view settings to control fineness of detail.

Can you cut a section view using a cutting plane that is not vertical?

By drawing the section in elevation view, you can draw a section line at any angle.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating duplicate views with different visibility settings?

Duplicate views allow you to have set views from which to do different tasks requiring different visibility settings.

On the downside, those duplicates views might be misleading and lead you to believe certain elements are missing, instead of simply hidden.

Key Terms

Key Term
Vertical reference planes that help divide the plan view of a model.
User-defined horizontal reference planes, defined by their level, that help divide the elevation views of a model. They typically match the floor elevations of buildings.
Section Views
Elevation views that show some cross section of a building design.
Graphic Overrides
Customs graphic settings for color, line, transparency, and other attributes that will take precedence over the default settings.