Creating an IFC parameter: Hyperlinks and ArchiCAD (Part 5)

Creating an IFC parameter: Hyperlinks and ArchiCAD (Part 5)

If you’re just joining us, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and  Part 4 of this series.

Timothy Ball Director, JHD Architects, shared a video on the ArchiCAD LinkedIN group, which is a awesome continuation of my posts on Hyperlinks in ArchiCAD. You can read Timothy’s discussion here.

In the above video Timothy walks you through how to create an IFC parameter, add that parameter to any element, and then view that IFC parameter in an external IFC viewer. He also mentions how that parameter can be scheduled and thus have access to the clickable hyperlink in a PDF. This video is great. Since Timothy doesn’t cover the schedule creation component, I thought I’d add that. Here are the steps.

Open Up Scheme Settings

1) Open up Schedules Scheme Settings

Create a New Schedule

2) Create a new schedule. Your new scheme will be selected and also appear under the first tab (Schemes).

3) Under the second tab in the Schedules Scheme Settings set up the Criteria for the Schedule. For this example schedule I decided to schedule all 3D Elements. In a future post we’ll talk more about refining the criteria of elements in a schedule.

Criteria and Fields

4) Set up the Fields you want to show in the Schedule. The available parameters will be listed. Since in the example we set Element Type to 3D Types, we see available Parameters for all 3D Elements types. If instead we limited the schedule to just Walls, or Beam, etc. we’d only see the parameters for those elements, and those parameters listed under General. For scheduling purposes, what I like about parameters listed under General is that they are available for all scheduleable elements. So for instance, in this example I’ve selected Type (which Tool was used to create the element in ArchiCAD) and ID (Element ID).

Select IFC Properties

5) Now it’s time to add the IFC parameter(s). You’ll notice under Available Parameters, there are no IFC parameters. To get access to those, you need to click on the down arrow next to the Add button below Available Parameters and choose “Add IFC Properties”. From here you’ll see a list of available IFC Properties and you’ll be able to select and add the URL field created by following Timothy’s video. And just like parameters listed under General, IFC Properties are available to all scheduleable elements. For that reason (along with the benefits to OpenBIM and IFC collaboration), I am making the shift to using as many General parameters and/or IFC Properties for all my Interactive Schedules. This way I can have schedules that combine multiple Element Types yet condense the information in a unified way. I’ll explain more in future posts on Interactive Schedules.

Schedule of Elements with Hyperlinks

6) At this point you’re done. Everything from here is just making it prettier and more useful. You can reorganize your Schedule Fields and then open the schedule to tweak its appearance. In my example schedule I’ve sorted it by Element Type (by checking “show headline”).

Create a New Schedule show headline

A couple other notes. You’ll notice that to get your new IFC Property to show up in an element you need to go to the settings and turn that property on (watch the video). This might feel cumbersome. But remember two things. You can retroactively add parameters in batch by selecting multiple elements of the same Type, opening the selection settings and making the same change to all elements. If you wanted to add an IFC Property to all your Windows, you could open the 3D view, select all Windows (select the Window Tool and hit CMD+A or the equivalent PC shortcut), open the selection settings and follow the same process as the video. Note if you have a lot of elements that you are affecting, ArchiCAD might take awhile to process the changes. If it’s taking too long, or your machine crashes, try selecting by floor instead of all the elements at once.

While that route works, it’s more of a fix than a solution. The better route is to add the IFC Property to your saved Favorites. That way when you place a new element from the Favorites, all that information is already there (or at least the placeholders for that information).

The last thing I’ll say is this: what I love about this route to adding hyperlinks to elements is that it is harnessing the power of IFC. Instead of using a unique, native ArchiCAD solution, it is using a property that will be readily accessible by any number of other programs and IFC viewers. Adding hyperlinks in this manner not only adds more value to your models, it also promotes OpenBIM, and moves your work towards being more accessible.

But this is just the beginning. We’ll delve much deeper into these larger concepts throughout 2014 and beyond. Ask questions and leave comments so that we can better focus our discussions in the future.

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