November 25, 2009

ACA Scheduling by "Mark"

The out-of-the-box Door and Window Schedules and Schedule Tags are set up to identify each Door or Window with a unique identifier and list each one in the Schedule Table. While that suits many practices (including mine, for Doors), there are many who prefer to assign a "mark" to a particular Door or Window configuration and use that mark on all instances of that configuration. The Schedule Table would then list each mark only once. This is easily done in Autodesk AutoCAD® Archtecture, with the addition of a few properties and some tweaks to the Schedule Table and Schedule Tag you are using.

You can find a sample file done in the 2010 release (and, therefore, in the 2010 drawing format) posted in a reply in this thread in the Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture Discussion Group. The purpose of the sample file is to demonstrate a way of scheduling Doors by Mark, and the Property Sets, Schedule Table Style and sample data focus on that, and are not meant to represent a finished system, ready for use (or a compelling architectural design). Several other properties are included in the Property Sets and Schedule Table, to give a sense of context, but do not show all of the information you would want in a Door Schedule.

I made the following assumptions:
  • There would be a unique mark for each combination of Door parameters, including size.
  • Most Doors would be a "standard size" and that the mark for those Doors would be entered in the standard size description.
  • The system had to allow for an occasional, non-standard-size Door, without requiring that the Door Style of that Door be edited to have the non-standard size added.
  • An office-wide set of standard mark designations can be established and built into the office-standard Doors Styles, so that the standard sizes and associated marks do not have to be added to the Door Styles for each project.
If you have a unique Door Style for each mark you require, then a simple manual property in a style-based Property Set can be used to hold the mark value, add that to your tag and schedule and you would be done. If you can not establish office standards that will cover a large majority of the Doors on your projects, you may be better served with a manual property in an object-based Property Set and entering the value for each Door.

In the sample file, there are four Door Styles in which standard sizes have been entered and the desired mark has been assigned as the Description. The image below shows the Standard Sizes tab for the Single - Wood Full Flush - No Light Door Style.
There is an automatic property source for Doors, Standard Size Description, that will make the Description entered in for a Standard Size available in a Property Set. The DoorObjects2 Property Set in the sample file makes use of this for the MarkFromStdSize property. If you only use Standard Sizes, you can use this property directly in your Schedule Tag and Table. This property will display the value of the Not Applicable property of the assigned Property Data Format (NA for the out-of-the-box Case - Upper Property Data Format used in the sample file) if a non-standard size is used for a Door, so I included two additional properties: a text-type manual property (MarkOverride) to hold the value of the mark for non-standard-sized Doors and a formula property (Mark) to pass through the appropriate value for each Door.The Mark property is the one that appears in the tag and schedule. The MarkOverride property has a default value of EDITME, so that if a non-standard size is used and a MarkOverride value is not entered, it will be obvious in the tag or schedule.

The formula property checks the value of the MarkFromStdSize property. If it is "NA", then the value of the MarkOverride property is passed through; otherwise, the value of the MarkFromStdSize property is passed through. Note that in this example, changing the value of the override property is not the trigger for the formula property - the override value is only passed through when a non-standard Door size is used.
Add the Mark property to your Door Schedule Table Style, and delete any other "Mark" or "Door Number" column. To get all of the Doors with the same Mark to collapse into one row, add a quantity column to your Schedule Table Style. Hide this column if you do not want it to show in the final Schedule Table, as I did in the sample file.Keep in mind that for rows to collapse, all of the columns must show identical information. If you have an object-based Remarks column, such as the sample file has, you would need to add the exact same text the to Remarks property for each Door of a given mark for the rows to collapse. The same will hold true of any other columns in your Schedule Table.

The Door Tag in the sample file is simply a copy of the out-of-the-box Aec6_Door_Tag that has had the Multi-View Block and the assigned AutoCAD block renamed. The Attribute Tag of the assigned AutoCAD block was edited to reference/display the DoorObjects2:Mark property.

All of the Doors in the sample file are a standard size of their Door Style, except for the A4 Door, which is not and derives the "A4" mark from the MarkOverride property.


course|notes are six-page reference cards that provide quick access to the basics of a particular program. Paul Aubin now has three titles available for the 2010 releases of AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP and Revit Architecture. If you are interested, you can find out more in this article in his blog.

Full Disclosure: I helped Paul with the AutoCAD Architecture 2010 course|notes and was compensated for my efforts.

November 18, 2009

Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 Available

As reported in his blog, Paul Aubin's Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 is now available. Read more about it in his blog article or at his website, from which you can also link to to order the book if you are so inclined.

November 13, 2009

Best Error Dialogs Ever!

We migrated our project to Revit Architecture 2010 this week, for reasons too boring to relate here. Our computers, however, remain the same, and what in 2009 was a relatively infrequent out-of-memory error situation has become a multiple-times-a-day nightmare. Add that to the even more frequent loss of the floating network license and this week has been a real treat. (Thankfully, the transit strike was settled early Monday morning, so I have not been walking six miles each way this week.)

Even under the stress of trying to get a progress printing done today, I could not help but laugh at this incredibly helpful error dialog that appeared on my computer today.
I thought I had seen it all until this beauty came up.
You really have to admire the efficiency with which it fails to communicate what the problem is. At least there was no question as to the action to take, since "OK" was the only choice. Sadly, after clicking on the OK button ten or so times, Revit crashed and burned.

November 04, 2009

Off Topic: Transit Strike

The oh-so-considerate union leadership called a strike at 3 am on Election Day (yesterday, November 3), giving commuters (including me) no opportunity to make alternate arrangements and squandering any sympathy those same commuters might have had for the strikers. Thanks to the intervention of the governor and the mayor, the strike was postponed until after those rich enough to afford World Series tickets but too cheap to pay for parking at the stadium were able to get home from Game 5 in Philadelphia. So those who only ride public transit when the Phillies make it to the World Series were accommodated; those who ride every day were [insert expletive of your choice here].

I now find myself with a 6-mile walk each way, in and out of work. The good news is I have been able to do it in 90 minutes (average rate of 4 mph!), which is much faster than I would have estimated. The bad news is my commuting time is now about two hours longer than it was, and my schedule needs to adjust accordingly. As such, it is unlikely I will have time to post much to this blog until such time as the transit strike is resolved. As of Day 2, no additional talks have taken place (or even been scheduled).