A quick review of the model

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When a model is imported into the software, the first step is usually a quick review of the model. At this early stage of reviewing the model, several things are examined, for example:

  1. How many sources does the model contain?
  2. How many categories, families, and elements does the model contain?
  3. Are all families’ names defined according to the BIM Execution Plan?
  4. Are the elements modeled according to their family names definition?
  5. Are the elements located at the right level?
  6. An overall review of the model to find visual inaccuracies.
  7. Are elements modeled according to the level of detail (LOD) stated in the BIM Execution Plan (BEP)?
  8. Are materials modeled according to the BEP?

Bexel Manager offers a variety of tools for performing a quick overview of the BIM model. Commonly, the findings are represented in a report for the internal or external control of the model. This report is sent to the author of the model, usually the designer.

General information about the project

When opening a BIM model for the first time, the basic statistics should be known, for example, the number of sources, elements, categories, etc. To get this kind of information, follow the process below.

Activate the Manage tab → Click on the Project Information command → A project window opens → Activate one of the tabs General, Project Information, Statistics, and Cost → Finish the review process by clicking on the OK button.

The picture below demonstrates different sources that a BIM model contains:

Activate the Manage tab → Click on the Sources command → A Sources window opens where all sources are listed.

A Hide Empty Sources option is demonstrated within the Sources window. To examine empty sources, which means they do not contain elements, the box in front of the option should be unchecked. This option can be helpful when dealing with projects containing dozens or even hundreds of sub-models. It can be examined if all sources were imported correctly into the federated model in BEXEL Manager software.

To check how many different categories, families, and elements the model have, follow the process:

Activate the Manage tab → Click on the Families command → A Families window opens where all categories, families, and number of elements are listed.

This kind of information can also be found in the Building Explorer palette in the Elements tab. The only difference is that the Elements tab lists the categories with the number of families (groups) in parentheses and not the number of elements.. Underneath the category level in the Elements tab are listed families with the number of elements, in the parentheses, included in the specific family.

Within the Families window, choose a particular family and add a new property or edit and delete an existing one. To do that, choose a certain family from the list of families on the left side within the Families window and then click on the Property command on the right side of the window. In the drop-down menu, choose one of the options: New, Edit, or Delete, depending on what you would like to do with a certain property of the selected family.

To rename a family select a particular family and choose FamiliesRename Family in the Families window.

To delete one or multiple families select FamiliesDelete Family.

Additional functionality for merging families is available within the Families window. Select the families and choose FamiliesMerge Families.

Building explorer palette

Building Explorer palette is located at the left side of the screen and is divided into four tabs: Elements, Spatial Structure, Systems, and Workset Structure. If some elements in any tab are selected, they will be highlighted in all types of viewports.

The Elements tab contains the list of all elements in the project. The elements are sorted into categories, each containing certain families (families are subgroups of categories). Each element belongs to a corresponding family according to common characteristics, such as dimensions, material, finishing, etc. The distribution of elements into families and categories is done in the authoring software.

The Spatial structure tab represents element breakdown by buildings and building levels. Spatial structure is inherited from the authoring software. In addition, BEXEL Manager has a tool for moving elements to different levels and buildings and reorganizing spatial structure if necessary.

Editing individual elements by floors and objects → Activate the Manage tab → Select the Edit Spatial Structure tool → Move to Building or Storey.

Within Edit Spatial Structure new building or storey can be created. Also the existing building can be renamed or deleted and storeys can be renamed, deleted or modified in terms of storey elevation.

Auto Distribute Elements command, within the Spatial commands in the Manage tab, allows automatic distribution of selected elements through storeys based on their position.

The System tab represents the breakdown of the elements by MEP Systems inherited from authoring software. In BEXEL Manager, elements can be moved in or out of systems, but new systems can not be created.

To move elements in or out of systems, click on the drop-down arrow next to the Systems button in the Manage tab → Two options will be displayed: Add Elements to System and Remove Elements from System.

The Workset Structure tab allows viewing the elements’ breakdown by worksets defined in authoring software. For example, project elements can be organized in worksets such as architecture, structure, site, sewage, water supply, etc. The workset structure is inherited from the authoring tool and is not editable in BEXEL Manager.

To activate either of these tabs, activate the Building Explorer palette and then the Elements, Spatial Structure, Systems, or Workset Structure tab.

The circle before each group can be colored yellow, orange, or white. If it is white, the group is not active in the viewport. The group can be seen in the viewport if the circle is yellow. The circle appears orange if not all elements from a certain group, for example, a family, are visible.

Some families within the Building Explorer cannot be selected, and the circle that defines if the category is visible in the viewport is always empty, for example, Curtain Walls in the Sample Project. Curtain walls are an assembly that consists of elements of Curtain Panels and Curtain Wall Mullions families. But they can be selected within the Properties palette in the Relations tab, where you can click on the Curtain Walls and isolate them in the viewport.

Properties palette

Building Explorer enables a review of the elements within the viewport. On the right side of the screen, a Properties palette is located, which allows reviewing the properties of a specific group of selected elements. Based on these properties, a custom breakdown structure, smart selection sets, quantity takeoffs, and various other analyses for different phases of the BIM model can be further created. The Properties palette is active only when elements are selected.

All properties of selected elements are grouped by their corresponding property sets.

In the upper part of the properties palette are located the tabs: Properties, Favorite Properties, Relations, and Sub-element Properties.

Properties can be added to favorites by right-clicking on the property and choosing the option Add to Favorites. They will be displayed in the Favorite Properties tab.

In the Relations tab, the relation between elements and the selected elements is shown. For example, if windows are selected, this tab will show the walls they are attached to.

In the Sub-element Properties tab, the sub-elements of composite elements and their characteristics are shown. For example, Layers of multilayered floors or walls with their thicknesses and materials.

Selecting elements based on a property or a value

To select elements based on a specific property, for example, MasterFormat, within the Properties palette, follow the process below:

Activate the Building Explorer palette and the Elements tab → Click on the Element Structure group to select all elements of the project → The selected elements are colored yellow in the viewport → Activate the Properties palette and choose from the list MasterFormat property → Click on the MasterFormat property with the right-click and in the menu that opens choose Select Elements With this Property option and afterward the All option.

To select elements with the same property value, follow the process below:

Select the element → Select the Properties palette → Right-click on the selected property → Select the Select Elements by Value command → Choose All or Only Visible option.

Preview of values of a certain property

To select elements with a certain or no value for the chosen property follow the process below:

Activate the Properties palette → Click on the chosen property, for example, MasterFormat, so it colors blue → With the right-click, activate the menu, where the View Values of Property option should be chosen → In the Property Values (MasterFormat) window, click on the Selected Elements option within the Filter section → In the Values window choose the first row, where there is no value displayed → In the Selection section choose the New Selection option and click on the Select button.

For a better preview of elements that have a MasterFormat property but do not have a value, Isolate, and Selected Elements commands from the contextual menu can be used. The contextual menu is activated by clicking the right-click in the empty space in the viewport.

Adding property

Adding a property to the BIM model is usually performed in the BIM authoring tool but can also be done in the BEXEL Manager. The software enables exporting as an IFC file format, meaning the properties added to elements can be preserved. For example, the process below will add a new textual property to the Spaces category.

Activate the Building Explorer palette, and in the Elements tab, choose the Spaces category → Click in the empty space of the viewport in the Perspective view with the right-click and choose from the contextual menu the Isolate option and afterward the Selected elements option → Activate the Properties palette and then click on the New… command from Property drop-down menu → In the New Property window define the name of the property and the group were the new property will be placed → Under the Property Type define the Text as the type of created property → Finish the process by clicking on the OK button.

To review if adding a new property is finished correctly, activate the Properties palette and find the property.

By clicking on the Fx button in the New Property window, a new form will open for defining mathematical formulas using basic mathematical operants. Other properties for selected elements can also be used in the formula.

Bexel Manager will not let you create two properties with the same name even if they are in different property sets.

If the property that was created is not on the list of properties within the Properties palette, click on the Property command in the upper right corner, and choose the Options and Filters command in the drop-down menu. In the Options windows, click on the Check All button. By that, we have defined that all properties will be displayed in the Properties palette. 

Deleting a property

To delete a certain property, follow the process:

Click on the property with the right-click → In the drop-down menu, choose the Delete command.

Editing a property

Select the element to edit its property → Select the Properties palette → Right-click on the desired property → Select the Edit command.

BEXEL Manager allows adding a new property to any element or modifying the existing property that element has from the authoring software. It is recommended that editing and adding new properties is done in the software in which the 3D model was created. When properties are changed or added in BEXEL Manager, they remain unchanged in the source file. When the model is updated, element’s properties that are changed in the BEXEL Manager will be rewritten again as per the properties defined in the authoring software. If new properties are added in the BEXEL Manager and not defined in the authoring software, when the model is updated, new properties will remain in the BEXEL Manager project on the elements on which they were added. If some new elements are added to the project during the update process, those elements will not have new properties previously added.

Copy to Clipboard or Copy Value to Clipboard command

Copy to Clipboard command is used to copy the property’s name and value to the clipboard.

Select the element → Select the Properties palette → Right-click on the selected property → Select the Copy to Clipboard command → Open the desired program → On an empty sheet, paste the values using the Ctrl+V keys.

Copy Value to Clipboard command is used to copy properties value as Avg, Min, Max, Sum, Median, and Standard Deviation.

Select the element → Select the Properties palette → Right-click on the selected property → Select the Copy Value to Clipboard command → Choose one of the options, for example, Sum → Open the desired program → On an empty sheet, paste the value using the Ctrl+V keys.

Level map palette

During the navigation through the model, a Level Map palette can also be very useful. It is located on the right side of the screen. There are two windows in the row under the palette’s name: Buildings and Storeys. In the Buildings window,  choose the building, and in the Storeys window, quickly navigate through different stories. The main window of the Level map palette has a camera marked as a light-yellow circle. Moving it quickly adjusts the camera’s position in the viewport. A level map palette can also be used to examine and identify the model’s clashes.

The Level Map Option command is in the upper right corner of the Level Map palette. It contains commands such as the Level Map Options… (change the background color, the render type level elements, which category of elements will be displayed), the Level Map Ruler options (the shape and the position of the ruler), and the Clash options (collision display in the Level Map).

Choose the Level Map palette → Activate the Level Map Options… command → Set the background color, render the type of level elements, select the category of elements that will be displayed, etc.

The difference between the use of the Walking mode tool and the Level map palette is that by using the Walking mode tool, you can only move through doors, while using the Level map palette, you can move through walls and doors at a certain level.

Materials palette

The Materials palette is placed on the right side of the screen and is activated while selecting an element in the viewport. This can be done in different ways. First, select an element, activate the Materials palette, and click on the Use Current Selection command. Or first activate the Materials palette, then click on the command Select Elements within the Materials palette and afterwards click on the element in the viewport or Building explorer to select it. To add elements to the selection, click on the arrow next to the command Select Elements, and the command Add to Selection will be displayed. Either way, by selecting an element, certain information occurs in the Materials palette, where the materials of the elements can be analyzed. The materials of one element will be displayed as a list of materials for each layer.

Select elements in the viewport → Activate the Materials palette and click on the command Use Current Selection.

The Selection Info palette can also be used during this process. In the Structure window, choose the option Materials, and the name of the family of the selected elements appears in the palette. This can be very useful while examining if the materials of layers the elements contain correspond to the family’s name.

This type of segregation is very useful for detailed BIM models, where the layers of walls, floors, and ceilings are formed through the process of reassembling them into parts or by exporting them to layers. The layers are grouped according to the material’s name and further by the original type of wall, floor, or ceiling to which the layers belong. 

Selection info palette

The Selection Info palette is part of the palette group, also located on the right side of the screen. It contains options Select Elements, Select Structure, and Structure. This tool is used to further inspect the current selection and extract some elements from it.

The Structure button has several options for selection classification: Family, Spatial, Selection Sets, Systems, Worksets, and Materials. The items will be arranged and displayed in the selection information window according to the selected classification. If there are no selected elements, the information window is empty.

Activate the Selection Regime tool → Select any part of the object → the Selection Info window contains the information about the selection.

The number of selected elements is shown at the bottom of the Selection Info palette.

Elements can be selected from the list, and by clicking the Select Elements button, a new selection from previously selected elements will be made.

Documents palette

The Documents palette is used to attach a file to a specific element or group of elements, such as a display of detail, photos from a site, a link to a web page, etc. When clicked on the Document Registry button, the register of all assigned documents opens.

Select the element to assign the document to → Click on the arrow next to the New Document button → Choose one of the listed file types: File Document… or Web Document…→ The Add Linked Document(s) window will open → Click the Add button and select the desired file → Finish the procedure by clicking the OK button.

Files can be attached to the elements as Embed files in the project or Linked files to selected elements. The embedded files are integrated into the project. They can be accessed anytime, but the size of the whole project file is increasing. In the second case, a link to the documents can be stored By using BEXEL’s cloud-based solutions, the BEXEL CDE and BEXEL DOCS, all projects and documents are stored on the cloud and users with access credentials can access the projects and documents throughout the web browser.

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