AECOsim Building Designer - Compound Cells - Non Parametric Doors

So why in the world of BIM would I want to create non-parametric doors?

1. So users can place a range of pre-sized standard objects

2. Non-parametric cells are lighter but carry the same data

3. Creating non-parametric Compound Cells is fairly quick.

Step 1 - Create the Cells

For this example I have created a set of UK metric doors (UK_Metric_DoorCompundCellSourceModels.dgn LINK) with 5 sizes based around standard door leafs. They contain a simple 3D model, as 2D plan and a perforator set to the structural opening.

This is how the source model looks:

A Compound Cell is made from each of these:

Once the Compound Cells are created, move the that cell library file into your Company Dataset folders, or into your project if you don't have Company Dataset folders yet, to W:\SS6\Dataset_Company\frame\doors or the project equivalent. This will ensure the cells are available to the DataGroup without addition configuration (look at the values for ATFDIR_DOOR if you are interested in the configuration).

It also means that the Compound Cell library won't be listed in the Compound Cell Manager avoiding the risk of cells being placed directly without their DataGroup properties. Having the same cell placed in a project as a standard compound cell and as a DataGroup cell would be confusing.

Step 2 - Add the ability to use Compound Cells as DataGroup doors

Following user feedback and to avoid potential confusion, some users were attempting to apply parametric modifications to non-parametric objects, the ability to add Compound Cells to DataGroup Door items was omitted from ABD.

This is simple to restore.

Copy the file C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\datagroupsystem\ArchDoor.xsd into your Company Dataset folders.

It needs to go into W:\SS6\Dataset_Company\datagroupcatalogs (using my previous Company Dataset examples.

Open the copied file in Notepad++ or similar and after line 19 add a new line containing "BXC".

Save the file. Do not rename it or edit any other content.

Step 3 - Create the DataGroup Items

  1. Refresh the DataGroup.
  2. Open DataGroup Catalog Editor
  3. Go to the Doors Catalog Type
  4. Create a new Catalog Item

Note that in the Parametric Definition drop-down BXC is now listed:

Create a new Catalog Item for each door with appropriate entries.

Note that the entries that would be editable for parametric cells have the Editable property unticked. This is an essential setting that locks the dimensions to avoid mismatches between the cell graphic dimension and the dimensions listed in the DataGroup.

It must be made clear to users that these DataGroup Items are not parametric!

The object names used in this example have an '-NP' suffix to indicate this.

I have hidden the Frame Dimension property as it is not relevant to this example. All of the Door_PAZ properties lower down have also been Hidden, they are not relevant.

All of the useful non-graphic properties are available for editing as usual, IDs, manufacturer etc.

The doors are then available for placement:

and appear with auto annotation and are listed in DataGroup Explorer:

Other Applications of this technique

This technique also applies to:


Apply the same procedure to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss6\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\datagroupsystem\ArchWindow.xsd", placing a window cell library in "W:\SS6\Dataset_Company\frame\windows".

The variable ATFDIR_WINDOW can be used to control the library location.


Apply the same procedure to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss6\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\datagroupsystem\Casework.xsd"", placing a casework cell library in "W:\SS6\Dataset_Company\frame\casework".

The variable ATFDIR_CASEWORK can be used to control the library location.