Understanding Element Classification for IFC 2×3 exchange in ARCHICAD 19 – Part 2 – ArchiCAD Type and Library Parts

Introduction

In the last post we looked at the relationship between Components/Elements and Types when using Element Classification.

In this second post we share information about how these Element Classifications are setup by default in ARCHICAD. We will cover how these are set up for elements (i.e. walls, slabs etc) and how they are configured with the out-of-the-box ARCHICAD library.

At the bottom of the post we share some observations and some perceived minor errors with the out-of-the-box ARCHICAD library.


‘ArchiCAD Type’

In the list of available Element Classifications there is also ‘ArchiCAD Type’. This at its most basic level means that the tool being used will classify it as the most logical classification for that tool. i.e the Wall tool defaults as a Wall, Slab as a Slab, Column as a Column etc etc.

Generally the advice is to leave these as ‘ArchiCAD Type’ unless you want to use the tool for another purpose. Changing the classification is particularly true of elements that don’t have a dedicated tool such as Ceilings which often are modelled with the Slab or Roof tool.

I do see 2 negatives with using ‘ArchiCAD Type’. Using ‘ArchiCAD Type’ means you can’t use Find & Select on Element Classifications and also IFC mapping means more of a manual mapping process (time consuming rather than a massive issue).

2D elements do not have an Element Classification. A Grid cannot be changed to another classification.

These are how the standard tools are configured out-of-the-box:

Key:  black – ARCHICAD Tags and Categories; blue – IFC classification at the Component/Element level; grey – further notes and additional explanation from buildingSMART of what this element classification includes; green – IFC Type level; purple – PredefinedTypes (we will cover more on this in the next blog post).

  • Beam Tool > IfcBeam > IfcBeamType
  • Column Tool IfcColumn > IfcColumnType
  • Corner Window Tool IfcWindow > IfcWindowStyle
  • Curtain Wall Tool IfcCurtainWall > IfcCurtainWallType
  • Door Tool IfcDoor > IfcDoorStyle
  • Grid > IfcGridAxis
  • Lamp Tool IfcFlowTerminal > IfcLightFixtureType
  • Mesh Tool > no Element Classification applicable > no Type applicable
  • Morph Tool > IfcBuildingElementProxy > IfcBuildingElementProxyType
  • Object Tool > Varies depending on which object is selected. See next section for more detail.
  • Roof Tool > IfcSlab [with predefined type of ROOF] IfcRoofType 
  • Shell Tool > IfcSlab [with predefined type of ROOF] > IfcRoofType 
  • Skylight Tool IfcWindow > IfcWindowStyle
  • Slab Tool IfcSlab > IfcSlabType
  • Stair Tool IfcStair no Type applicable
  • Wall Tool IfcWall or IfcWallStandardCase > IfcWallType
  • Wall End Tool IfcCovering [1] > IfcCoveringType
  • Window Tool IfcWindow > IfcWindowStyle
  • Zone Tool > IfcSpaceIfcSpaceType

Library Parts and Element Classification

Anything that is placed in the model using a GDL object in ARCHICAD (Door Tool, Window Tool, Corner Window Tool, Skylight Tool and Object Tool) is already classified as part of the GDL setup. This means the user does not need to setup the classification themselves. For objects it is best to only use ‘ArchiCAD Type’ as this will deliver the best results.

ArchiCAD Library

Image: ARCHICAD Library 19


ArchiCAD Library 19 Element Classification – ‘ArchiCAD Type’ settings

The ARCHICAD library for version 19 has the following default settings for each object:

Key:  black – ARCHICAD Tags and Categories; blue – IFC classification at the Component/Element level; green – IFC Type level; purple – PredefinedTypes (we will cover more on this in the next blog post).

  • ArchiCAD Library 19
    • 1. BASIC LIBRARY 19
      • 1.1 Furnishing 19
        • Appliances 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement except Built-in Hood 19 and Hood 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcAirTerminalType. Dryer 19 and Washer 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcElectricApplianceType. Kettle 19, Tea Cup 19 and Tea Kettle 19 are all IfcBuildingElementProxy.
        • Bathroom Accessories 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Beds 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Built-in Wardrobe 19 is an IfcDoor
        • Cabinets and Shelves 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Chairs 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Couches and Sofas 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Decoration 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement except Clock 19 & Mirror 19 are IfcBuildingElementProxy and Text 3D 19 is IfcDiscreteAccessory
        • Furniture Layouts 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Health and Recreation 19 – Billiard Table 19, Piano 19, Piano-Upright 19, Rowing Machine 19, Stairmaster 19, Stationary Bicycle 19, Table Tennis 19, Treadmill 19, Weight Bench 19, Weight Machine 19 are IfcBuildingElementProxy. Book Cluster 19, Flat Panel TV 19, Hi-fi Set 19, Speaker 19, TV 19, Widescreen TV 19 are IfcFurnishingElement.
        • Kitchen Cabinets 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement except Cabinet Base Corner C with Sink 19, Cabinet Base Double Door 19, Cabinet Base Single Door 19, Cabinet Base Triple Door 19, Cabinet Belfast Double Door with Sink 19, Cabinet Belfast Single Door with Sink 19 which are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminalType with PredefinedType SINK. Cabinet Base Dishwasher 19 is an IfcFlowTerminalIfcElectricApplianceType with PredefinedType DIRECTWATERHEATER.
        • Medical Equipment 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement except Infusion Stand 19 which is an IfcBuildingElementProxy.
        • Office Equipment 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • Retail Furniture 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
        • School Furniture 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement except Laboratory Workstation 19 which is an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of SINK.
        • Tables 19 – All IfcFurnishingElement
      • 1.2 Doors 19
        • Empty Door Openings 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Garage Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Hinged Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Rotating Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Sliding Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Sliding Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Sliding Folding Doors 19 – All IfcDoor
        • Storefronts 19 – All IfcDoor
      • 1.3 Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Basic Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Bay and Bow Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Empty Window Openings 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Historic Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Single Double Hung Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Sliding Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Special Windows 19 – All IfcWindow
        • Storefronts 19 – All IfcWindow
      • 1.4 Building Structures 19
        • Cladding 19 – All IfcCovering
        • Concrete Structures 19
          • Beams 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Columns 19 – All IfcColumn
          • Foundation 19 – Precast Sleeve Found 19 is an IfcFooting
          • Slabs 19 – Precast Slab 19 is an IfcSlab with PredefinedType as FLOOR.
        • Fences and Railings 19 – All IfcRailing
        • Moldings 19 – All IfcCovering with PredefinedType as UNDEFINED.
        • Roof Construction 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
        • Steel Structures 19
          • Curved Beams BS 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Curved Beams EN 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Light Steel Beams 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Light Steel Columns 19 – All IfcColumn
          • Spaceframes 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Steel Beams BS 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Steel Beam EN 19 – All IfcBeam
          • Steel Columns BS 19 – All IfcColumn
          • Steel Columns EN 19 – All IfcColumn
          • Steel Frames 19 – All IfcBeam except Inclined Column 19 which is an IfcColumn
          • Steel Joists 19 – All IfcBeam
        • Structural Elements 19 – All IfcColumn except Curved Ramp 19 and Straight Ramp 19 which are IfcRamp
        • Vaults 19 – All IfcRoof
        • Wall Extras 19 – Architrave 19, Architrave 02 19, Quoin 19 and Window Header 19 are IfcCovering. Boulder Wall 19 and Movable Wall 19 are IfcWall. Masonry Arch 19, Masonry Arch Jack 19 and Masonry Arch Segmental 19 are IfcDiscreteAccessory.
        • Wood Trusses 19 – All IfcBeam
        • Window objects – All IfcWindow
      • 1.5 Special Constructions
        • Accessory Elements 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
        • Basic Shapes 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory except Conceptual Tree Model 19 and House Model 19 which are IfcBuildingElementProxy. Grid 19 is an IfcCurtainWall.
        • Fireplaces, Stoves, Chimneys 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Ladders 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Louvres and Headers 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
        • Shading Devices 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
        • Shutters 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
      • 1.6 Mechanical 19
        • Elevators and Escalators 19 – Elevator 19 is an IfcTransportElement with OperationType of ELEVATOR. Escalator 19 is an IfcTransportElement with OperationType of ESCALATOR. Moving Walkway 19 is an IfcTransportElement with OperationType of MOVINGWALKWAY.
        • Fire Protection 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy except Swing Rack Semiautomatic 19 and Swing Reel 19 which are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcFireSuppressionTerminalType.
        • Heating and Air-Cond 19Air Conditioner 19 and Air Source Heat Pump 19 are IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcUnitaryEquipmentType. Air Diffuser 19 is an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcAirTerminalType. Biomass Boiler 19 and Electric Water Heater 19 are IfcFlowTerminal IfcElectricApplianceType. Ceiling Cassette Air Conditioner 19 and Wall Mounted Air Conditioner 19 are IfcBuildingElementProxy. Central Vacuum 19 is an IfcFurnishingElement. Floor Mounted Fan Coil Cabinet 19 and Wall Mounted Fan Coil Cabinet 19 are IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcCoilType. Gas Furnace 19, Gas Heater 19 and Gas Water Heater 19 are IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcBoilerType. Radiator Cast Iron 19, Radiator Horizontal Bars 19 and Radiator Panel 19 are IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcSpaceHeaterType.
        • On-site Renewable Systems 19 – Rainwater 19, Solar Collector Evacuated Tube 19 and Solar Collector Flat Plate 19 are all IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcUnitaryEquipmentType. Solar Photovoltaic Panel 19, Wind Turbine Household 19 and Wind Turbine Industrial 19 are all IfcBuildingElementProxy.
        • Plumbing Fixtures 19
          • Basins 19 – All IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of WASHHANDBASIN.
          • Bathtubs, Showers, Jacuzzis 19 -Bathtub 19, Bathtub Corner 19, Freestanding Bathtub 19, Jacuzzi 19 and Shower Cabin 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of BATH. Shower Tray 19 is an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of SHOWER.
          • Partitions 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
          • Sinks 19 – Mop Sink 19 is an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of WASHHANDBASIN. Sink Belfast 19, Sink Corner 19 and Sink General 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of SINK.
          • Taps, Fountains 19 – Drinking Fountain Standing 19, Drinking Wall Fountain Wall Hung 01 19 and Drinking Fountain Wall Hung 02 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of SANITARYFOUNTAIN. Shower Kit 19, Tap 19 and Wall Mounted Tap 19 are IfcBuildingElementProxy.
          • WC, Bidets, Urinals 19 – Bidet 19 is an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of BIDETSquatting Toilet 19, WC 19, WC Corner 19 and WC Disabled 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of WCSEAT. Urinal 19 and Urinal Corner 19 are IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminal with PredefinedType of URINAL.
      • 1.7 2D Elements 19 – All 3D object are IfcBuildingElementProxy.
    • 2. VISUALISATION 19
      • 2.2 Site Improvements 19
        • Garden 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Park and Street 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Sport 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
      • 2.3 People and Vehicles 19
        • People 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • People Contour 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
        • Vehicles 19 – All IfcBuildingElementProxy
    • 4. ADD-ON LIBRARY 19
      • Roof maker Library 19 – All IfcDiscreteAccessory
      • Specialities 19 – n/a
    • General Light Sources – All IfcFlowTerminal > IfcLightFixtureType
    • Interior Lamps 19 – All IfcFlowTerminal > IfcLightFixtureType
    • Street Lamps 19 – All IfcFlowTerminal > IfcLightFixtureType
    • Complete Stairs 19 – All IfcStair
    • Landings 19 – All IfcStair
    • Stair Elements 19 – All IfcStair

Also all Wall End Tool objects are IfcCovering and all Skylight Tool objects are IfcWindow.


Default settings that need the user to alter the Element Classification

The following objects default to assuming they have a sink (IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminalType with PredefinedType SINKas part of their configuration. If the object was configured without a sink then the user would need to alter the classification to Furniture (IfcFurnishingElement).

  • Library Workstation 19
  • Cabinet Base Corner C with Sink 19
  • Cabinet Base Double Door 19
  • Cabinet Base Single Door 19
  • Cabinet Base Triple Door 19
  • Cabinet Belfast Double Door with Sink 19
  • Cabinet Belfast Single Door with Sink 19

Minor errors with ArchiCAD Library 19

Through this research I would suggest that the following are currently (Library build 3003 for the UKI template) minor errors in the ArchiCAD Library 19 (in alphabetical order):

  • Alarm Siren 19 should be an IfcDistributionControlElement > IfcAlarmType with a PredefinedType of SIREN rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Bench 01 19, Bench 02 19, Bench 03 19 and Bench 04 19 (under Park and Street 19) should be classified as IfcFurnishingElement > IfcFurnishingElementType rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Cabinet Base Dishwasher 19 should have a PredefinedType of DISHWASHER rather than DIRECTWATERHEATER.
  • Ceiling Cassette Air Conditioner 19 should be an IfcEnergyConversionDevice > IfcUnitaryEquipmentType with a PredefinedType of AIRCONDITIONINGUNIT rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Cooktops Electric 19 should be IfcFlowTerminal > IfcElectricApplianceType rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Cooktops Gas 19 should be IfcFlowTerminal > IfcGasTerminalType rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Dryer 19 should have a PredefinedType of TUMBLEDRYER rather than RADIANTHEATER.
  • Fire Alarm 19 should be an IfcDistributionControlElement > IfcAlarmType rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Gutter Head Leader 19 should be an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcStackTerminalType with a PredefinedType of RAINWATERHOPPER rather than IfcDiscreteAccessory.
  • Microwave Oven 19 should be an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcElectricApplianceType with a PredefinedType of MICROWAVE rather than IfcFurnishingElement.
  • Mop Sink 19 should have a PredefinedType of SINK rather than WASHHANDBASIN. Personally I don’t fancy washing my hands in a Mop Sink. 🙂
  • Range Electric 19 should be IfcFlowTerminal > IfcElectricApplianceType with a PredefinedType of ELECTRICCOOKER rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Range Gas 19 should be IfcFlowTerminal > IfcGasTerminalType with a PredefinedType of GASAPPLIANCE rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Shower Cabin 19 should have a PredefinedType of SHOWER rather than BATH.
  • Shower Kit 19 should be an IfcFlowTerminal > IfcSanitaryTerminalType with PredefinedType of SHOWER rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Smoke and Heat Detector 19 should be an IfcDistributionControlElementIfcSensorType rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy
  • Wall Mounted Air Conditioner 19 should be an IfcEnergyConversionDeviceIfcUnitaryEquipmentType with a PredefinedType of AIRCONDITIONINGUNIT rather than IfcBuildingElementProxy.
  • Washer 19 should have a PredefinedType of WASHINGMACHINE rather than TUMBLEDRYER.

* PredefinedTypes will be covered in more detail in the next post.


Conclusion 

As mentioned above when using library parts the user should endeavour to use the ‘ArchiCAD Type’ but there are some areas where this needs to be tweaked to produce an accurate IFC output as noted above.

For Elements such as Walls, Slabs, Beams, Columns etc care needs to be taken to use the correct Element Classification. These can be setup as Favorites to help make users lives easier.

One benefit of going through this research into the details of the out-of-the-box library is it will allow us to setup rules in Solibri Model Checker to ensure that the correct Element Classification has been used. By simply creating a rule looking for the Library Part Names we can then compare this to the Element Classifications to ensure they are correct. This could also be extended to a company office library.

One thing to note is that simply using the Element Classification will prevent a PredefinedType being selected at the Type level. For example if a user wanted to use the Morph Tool to model a toilet pan then they could classify this as an IfcFlowTerminal which could create an IfcSanitaryTerminalType at Type level. However, the user would need to edit this manually at the Type level in order to give it a PredefinedType of TOILETPAN.

In the final post in this series we will look at how these PredefinedTypes offer further sub-classification opportunities.

Rob Jackson, Associate Director, Bond Bryan Architects

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