The Master Complex Profile

The Master Complex Profile

ArchiCADI use Complex Profiles a lot. Here’s a typical project. It has 112 Complex Profiles, although 29 weren’t being used by the time I issued Construction Documents.

ArchiCADA lot of Complex Profiles (CPs) are created during a typical project (if you don’t agree, we need to talk). Some are standard sections that can be reused project to project. Others are unusual sections that are needed every so often, but not on every project. And the rest are one-offs. Even if we ignore the rares and the unusuals, the list of standard complex profile sections can get fairly long. The use of Morphs and saved objects can further reduce this list, but only so far. While it’d be nice to keep all of the Complex Profiles in your standard template, doing so gets very unwieldy.


What to Do?

A year or so ago I saw a file that ArchiCAD expert Til Breton did. Of course after looking at whatever the file was shared for, I started snooping. I LOVE seeing other people’s templates. There are so many good ideas to learn from. Well Til did something I’d never seen before. He had a Master Complex Profile that contained a bunch of fills that he regularly used in Complex Profiles. It was a simple list of fills with names next to each, describing what each fill was for. This was great. It made creating new Complex Profiles that much easier. No guess work, no reinvention. Just copy the fills you need and start building your new Complex Profile.

archicadLet’s go one step further…

I like the idea of a master Complex Profile with all the fills that should be used. I hadn’t thought of that before. It’s a great way to direct coworkers to follow the template and speed up the production of new Complex Profiles. So what’s the next logical step? Create a Master Complex Profile that contains lots of Complex Profile sections and just copy them out into new Complex Profiles as needed. With this Master Complex Profile, your template can contain a few very common CPs and then one giant Master Complex Profile with everything else you might need. This will prevent a new file from having 100s of Complex Profiles, but allow you to maintain all the good ones. And since no one in their right mind would PLACE this Master Complex Profile in the model, it can contain as many individual sections as you want. And remember that in the Complex Profile window you can use text, dimensions, lines and other documentation tools to add notes and information that won’t appear in your model. With this solution, your starting list of Complex Profiles might be as short as a dozen, including this Master Complex Profile. A list short enough that it doesn’t require scrolling. Now that’s a good sign of a clean template file.

Finally, it seems like there’s a GRAND solution that combines both Til’s list of fills and my Master Complex Profile. Maybe into one Grand Unified Master Complex Profile. Or just two Masters.

A Word on Naming Conventions

Once you’ve created your Master Complex Profile you need to name it. Til and I use a similar naming concept, but with a slightly different bent. His Master Complex Profile is called: ! — MASTER matieres and I title mine: z_MASTER COMPLEX PROFILE. The weird naming logic puts Til’s Master CP always first in his list of CPs while mine appears last in the list. You want to side with one of us so that your Master Complex Profile is easy to find. No need to argue over who’s order makes more sense (I think he’s more correct). Til also has a few generic Complex Profiles in his template. All of those CPs also start with ! to signify that they are generic/standard and not customized for the specific project.

Bonus Explainer: Why not keep your complex profiles and prototypical fill types in an independent worksheet or empty plan? Fills in the Profile Manager contain extra information that is lost if you copy the fills out. Each fill side can have a unique pen, line type, and material. Each fill has information about core/finish/other and priority numbers. All that is lost if you copy the Complex Profile out of the Profile Manager into a normal window. It is worth noting that there are a few things that are lost when you merge all your complex profiles: Horizontal and Vertical Stretch, and Opening Reference. But that’s not the end of the world. Drafting lines can be used to illustrate where those should be, if it’s not standard or obvious.

Further Reading: Want to know more about the project with all the Complex Profiles that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Follow this link and you can see some more images and download a BIMx file showing off the new Limited Navigation feature that was just added with ArchiCAD 16 Hotfix #2.