MEP Routing Function

Use the Routing function to place multiple connected MEP Elements with a series of clicks.

Routing is available in the Floor Plan and in the 3D window.

Topics in this section:

Set Routing Preferences

Start Routing

Finish Routing

Vary Elevations During Routing

Routing Options

Begin Routing at Existing MEP Element

Routing With the Magic Wand

Set Routing Preferences

Set the desired options on the MEP Routing palette (Window > Palettes > MEP Routing) These options can be changed in the midst of a routing operation, so that each element can use separate options.


1.Choose either Ductwork, Pipework or Cable Tray from the top dropdown menu.

2.Choose a cross-section geometry preference for the routed elements: Rectangular, Circular, Oval or (with Ductwork only) Flexible.

Enter height and width values for the cross-section. (Enter a predefined value from the pop-up, or type in any value.) The list of predefined Duct and Pipe sizes can be edited in MEP Preferences. (Design > MEP Modeling > MEP Preferences).

3.Choose a Construction Method by clicking on one of the four icons. (Can also be set in the Tracker.)

Every routing operation begins at the elevation set as “Constant Elevation” (the horizontal arrow). Once you click in the window to begin routing, you can switch to another construction method if you want to change the routing elevation as you proceed. (See Vary Elevations During Routing.)

4.Choose an MEP System attribute for this Routing operation.

5.Reference Line location: Choose one of the nine points in the Routing palette to define the location of the reference line of the routed elements. (The Reference Line is relevant only during a Routing operation, and indicates the anchor point of the routed elements when you click on screen to place them.)

In this image, the Reference line during routing runs along the top left corner of the duct, as viewed in the direction of routing.


You can switch the reference line location at any time during a routing operation.

6.Adjust Routing Options as needed. (See Routing Options.)

7.Choose a Layer on which to place the routed elements.

Start Routing

Click Start Routing at the bottom of the MEP Routing palette. The button’s text changes to Stop Routing, indicating that Routing is in progress.

The Toolbox automatically switches to the relevant straight segment-type tool (Duct, Pipe or Cable Tray).

Click in the active window to begin Routing. The Tracker appears along with feedback to indicate the placement of the first element.

Note: You can begin a Routing operation at the connection port of a placed MEP element. See Begin Routing at Existing MEP Element.

Start placing the elements: as you click, multiple MEP elements are connected to each other using the parameters and spatial arrangement you just set in the Routing palette. (The Routing palette settings will override the corresponding default settings of the active tool.)

Draw a straight segment as long as you need. When you click to complete this input, the program will divide the segment into duct/pipe segments whose length is defined in Design > MEP Modeling > MEP Preferences: Duct or Pipe Segment Length Limit.

Note: In the Floor Plan window, ARCHICAD's Guide Lines appear during Routing to assist you (provided that Guide Line display is turned on). The Guide Lines during an MEP operation automatically reflect the Standard Bend Angles defined in Design > MEP Modeling > MEP Preferences.

The next click completes the element, but the operation continues: keep clicking to place additional elements on the route.

Press Backspace to delete the most recently placed route element.

Press ESC to cancel a Routing operation.

Finish Routing

Click the Finish Routing button at the bottom of the Routing palette, or Double-click to complete a Routing operation.

You can also finish Routing by connecting to an already placed MEP element: click on the connection port of the placed element.

If the connection geometries of the connected elements do not match, a Transition element is automatically inserted to ensure a proper connection.

Vary Elevations During Routing

When starting any Routing operation, you will click in the window at the elevation value shown as Constant Elevation in the Routing palette (the Construction Method represented by the horizontal arrow). Once you have clicked at that elevation, however, you can choose among alternative methods:

Vertical Rise: Switch the construction method to “Vertical Rise”. In the Floor Plan, a dialog box appears: enter the elevation at which the next element should end. Click OK to close the dialog box and place the vertical segment, and continue routing. In the 3D window, just draw the segment along the vertical editing plane.

Constant Slope Angle: Switch the construction method to “Constant Slope Angle” and enter an angle for the desired slope. Subsequent routed elements during this operation will be placed along this slope until you change the angle value or switch to a different method.


Note: The angle unit (such as degree or mm/meter) of the slope is defined in the MEP Preferences: Rise/Drop Unit control.


The 3D Editing Planes construction methods are valid in the 3D window. To use any of them, you must start Routing and place at least one element using any of the construction methods described above. Then switch to one of the following construction methods (click one of the three fly-out options of the 3D Editing Planes icon) to continue routing along the chosen plane:


Width Plane: Routing will continue along the width plane: the plane created by the center line and the “width” direction of the last placed routed element.

Height Plane: Routing will continue along the height plane: the plane created by the center line and the “height” direction of the last placed routed element.

Perpendicular Plane: Routing will continue along the plane perpendicular to that of the last placed element of the Routing operation.

3D input planes are shown as feedback during routing, so it is easy to visualize the result of your chosen input plane.

Routing Options

On the MEP Routing palette, click Routing Options to access these.


Options you set here will affect the next Routing operation:


Connection: Choose the Connection Type (e.g. Flanged, Welded, Simple) as appropriate.

Insulation: Click the checkbox to add an optional Insulation layer to the outside of MEP elements placed in this Routing operation. Define an Insulation Thickness.

For Bend Type, click the pop-up black arrow to choose a Bend Type for Bends automatically placed during this Routing Operation.


These are the same Bend types that you can choose from the Duct Bend Default Settings dialog box:


Transition Rule: Transitions are straight segments placed automatically to ensure correct connections if you switch segment geometry (width, height, or shape) in the middle of a routing operation. If the switch occurs at a bend in the route, the transition element can be placed either before or after the bend. Choose your preference (“Place before bend”/“Place after bend”) here.

Begin Routing at Existing MEP Element

If MEP elements have already been placed, you can begin a new routing operation from any of these elements in three different ways:

Start Routing at Connection Port of a Straight Segment

Click Start Routing on the MEP Routing palette

Click on the connection port of a placed straight MEP element.

The Routing will begin at the connection port you clicked.

Note: The connection ports of straight segments are editable (shown as a diamond-shaped hotspots). This means that if your routing takes a sharp turn, then the original straight segment might be shortened automatically to accommodate the bend.

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Start Routing at Connection Port of Other MEP Element Types

Other MEP elements (e.g. Bends, Junctions, Terminals) have connections whose geometries are fixed. You can start a new Routing operation from any of these connection ports. To start Routing, click on a connection port: Guide Lines appear corresponding to the standard bend angles. Click along the Guide Line you want the Route to follow.


You cannot place the newly routed element at an angle that would require you to truncate the existing MEP element.

In the 3D window, Guide Lines are not available. Instead, begin routing by pressing Shift to constrain the first placed element to an orthogonal direction. If you want the first routing element to be placed at any other angle, enter the desired angle value in the Tracker.

Start Routing by Placing Junction on a Placed MEP Element

You can begin a Routing operation by placing a junction at an already placed straight MEP segment.

Click Start Routing on the MEP Routing palette

Click on the centerline of a placed MEP element

The Routing will begin at the place you clicked, by inserting a Junction.

The Insert Junction Element dialog box appears. Choose the type of junction you wish to insert (e.g. Duct Tee, Duct Takeoff, Duct Wye), then click OK. (The possible junction types vary depending on whether the clicked element is a Duct, a Cable or a Pipe.)


Next, depending on the Junction type you choose, you may be prompted to choose among several possible geometries:

If you place a Duct Wye junction, you must click twice:

First, click to define which side of the existing element to place the Wye.

Second, click in either direction to define which of the two Wye branches to connect the next routed element.

If you place the Duct Take-off in Floor Plan:

1.First, click to define which side of the element (right, left, top, bottom) to attach the takeoff.

2.If you click “top”, then the program assumes that the next placed element will be at a right angle to the takeoff, and you are prompted to choose one of the four horizontal directions shown as you move the cursor around the insertion point on screen.

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(If you prefer that the next placed element be vertical, do not choose any of the four horizontal directions indicated by the on-screen feedback. Instead, switch the Construction Method (use the MEP Routing palette or the Tracker) to Vertical Rise and place the next element.)

3.After you place the horizontal segment, Guide Lines will prompt you to click to define the angle at which to continue the next routing element.


Similarly, if you place the Duct Tee in Floor Plan, Guide Lines will prompt you to click to define the angle at which to continue the next routing element.

The newly placed MEP elements will use the parameters (Element type, MEP system, shape, elevation) of the clicked connection port, overwriting the current parameters of the Routing palette with those of the clicked connection port.

Note: Several MEP elements placed at varying elevations can appear, on the Floor Plan, to have connection points that coincide. If you begin routing by clicking on one of these connection points, you will be prompted to choose the connection port you want.

Routing With the Magic Wand

Use ARCHICAD's Magic Wand function to place a series of connected MEP elements with a single click:

Set preferences on the MEP Routing palette and click Start Routing.

Press the Spacebar to activate the Magic Wand, then click on an existing polyline or polygon.

The MEP route is placed.

In contrast to the Magic Wand operation with regular ARCHICAD tools, the Magic Wand used during MEP Routing will not reproduce curved elements; a straight segment will connect the two endpoints of the curved element. Thus, all MEP routed elements placed using the Magic Wand method will be straight segments (connected by bends as needed).

Note: The Magic Wand method for placing routed elements works only as the initial step in an MEP Routing operation.