Building Materials: Attribute Migration Issues

(Migrate from ARCHICAD 16 or earlier)

Building Material: The New “Super-Attribute”

Starting with ARCHICAD 17, all construction elements use Building Materials instead of Cut Fills.

Editing the Building Material attribute makes changes throughout the model.

Building Materials Are Generated and Assigned Automatically

When opening an earlier-version (pre-ARCHICAD 17) file in ARCHICAD 21, the program automatically creates the required Building Materials and assigns them to all elements to maintain the model’s original graphical appearance in all model views.

The migration algorithm searches through all of the project’s model elements, defaults, favorites, unused composites/profiles, etc., with their Priorities, Cut Fill, Fill Orientation, Surfaces and Pen settings.

Where the settings are identical, a new Building Material is generated. (Variations in Cut Fill Pen and Surfaces are handled as element-level overrides, to minimize the number of newly created attributes.)

The names of the new Building Materials are generated from the original Cut Fill’s name and will be extended with a unique nine-digit identifier (explained below at: Working with Hotlinks: What Happens to the Attributes).

This automatic generation is the best that can be created via the model analysis process when opening older files in ARCHICAD 21. This process results in a true representation of the settings used within the project, because it checks all elements in the model and creates all the necessary Building Materials. However, since the Building Material introduces a new logic into ARCHICAD, the generated set of attributes should be reviewed and finalized by the user.

See What to Do About Attributes in a Migrated Project.

New Composites and Profiles Are Generated

Some element-level settings (including Cut Line, Cut Line Pen, Separator Line, Separator Line Pen and Enable Skin Priorities) that were previously available for Composite and Profiled Elements are no longer available at the element level in ARCHICAD 21. For Profile and Composite elements, these settings are defined in their structures.

Thus, if a composite/profile element used the element-level settings in the older-version file (its “Apply Structure’s Settings” option was unchecked), a new Composite or Profile will be generated in ARCHICAD 21.

What to Do About Attributes in a Migrated Project

It is recommended that you spend the time to go through your attribute set manually, to ensure you keep what you need and discard what you don’t.

Before Migration

1.Make a Backup

Make a backup copy of your project. If you later inadvertently delete attributes, you can use Attribute Manager and append them again from the backup copy.

2.Remove Unnecessary Attributes

Use the tab pages of the Attribute Manager to view the lists of each attribute type and delete the ones you do not use and will not need. Go through each attribute type (each tab page) one by one.

For each attribute type, delete each unneeded attribute one by one (select it in Attribute Manager, then click Delete).

If you are not sure about a particular attribute, you can rename it (e.g. append the tag _delete to its name), then review the project to see if it is in fact being used.

Do not use the Purge Unused command unless you are confident that your project is not using any of the attributes to be purged.

If any of your element defaults or Favorites uses a particular attribute, but has not been placed in the project, the Purge command will delete that attribute as “unused”.

The Purge command will delete attributes that are used in GDL scripts of Library Parts.

If you are migrating multiple projects:

If you are migrating multiple similar project files to ARCHICAD 21, the Replace Attributes by File function can help you speed up the migration process: it automates the Delete and Replace attributes function, instead of you having to issue repetitive “Delete and Replace” commands in each attribute settings dialog. This requires generation of a text file in a particular format, and running a command that calls this file.

See a description of this process at Attribute Migration article on Help Center.

3.Review Element Defaults and Favorites

When you migrate a project to ARCHICAD 21, Default and Favorite element settings will potentially generate new attributes when migrating. Before migrating, make sure your defaults/favorites are necessary and up to date, based on elements that are actually used in the Project. (ARCHICAD 21 will generate new attributes to correspond to defaults or favorites, even if they are not actually used in placed elements).

After Migration

1.Remove Unnecessary Attributes (Again)

Review the Building Materials in Building Material Settings to determine which can be deleted and replaced with another.

If you need Building Materials that are not part of the generated set, you can easily add them from another ARCHICAD 21 project via Attribute Manager or directly create them (click New) within Building Material Settings.

Eliminate Duplicate Cut Fills: Many older-version projects contain multiple Cut Fills that use identical cut fill patterns; these duplicates were necessary to differentiate them by their other properties (e.g. Physical Properties). In ARCHICAD 21, a single Cut Fill pattern can be associated to many Building Materials: check your list of Cut Fills to eliminate unnecessary duplicates.

See below for Workflow Tips for Reducing Generated Attributes.

2.Review and Modify Names of Building Materials

Review and modify Building Material names as needed (a Building Material will inherit its name from the Cut Fill).

Note: It is recommended that you do not change Building Material names in files that are to be used as or with hotlinks, until all of the participating files have been migrated. Such name changes should be made before the hotlinks are updated.

See Recommendations for Hotlinked Files.

3.Review Intersection Priorities

Some generated Building Materials may have an Intersection Priority of 0 (most likely from those imported elements, like Columns and Slabs, that had no intersection priority in earlier versions, as well as profiles imported with a default Intersection Priority of 0). Review these and assign Intersection Priorities as needed.

Workflow Tips for Reducing Generated Attributes

Use the new Delete and Replace feature (available after clicking Delete) within Attribute Settings: define which attribute should replace it throughout your model (available for Building Materials, Line Types, Fill Types, Composites, Profiles, Surfaces, Zone Categories)

Use Find & Select to search for model elements with certain Attributes within the Project (it is recommend to use the 3D window, and to turn on and unlock all layers, and adjust the Filter Elements in 3D settings, to make sure all 3D elements are visible and will be found)

Use the Interactive Schedule to find and list elements within the Project to easily modify them directly, using the Interactive Schedule environment.

Working with Hotlinks: What Happens to the Attributes

When you add or update a hotlinked file, if the attribute sets do not match, ARCHICAD automatically manages them as follows:

Attributes from the hotlinked file (module .MOD or native ARCHICAD .PLN files) are associated to attributes in the host file, via their name within the same attribute type. For example:

If the same name exists – “Attribute A” in the hotlink will link to “Attribute A” in the host.

If the same name doesn’t exist – “Attribute A” in the hotlink will create a new “Attribute A” in the host.

If “Attribute A” is renamed to “Attribute B” in the host, and the hotlink file is updated, a new “Attribute A” will be created (see point 2)

When migrating hotlinked files, the same ‘use attribute name’ logic described above still applies to maintain an accurate model appearance.

As described above, in ARCHICAD 21, Building Material attributes generated from a migrated project will use the Cut Fill name and a unique nine-digit number. This identifier represents the contents and settings of the generated Building Material; therefore, attributes with the same unique number have identical settings. If you change Building Material names (including the ID number), such attributes will not be paired with their identical counterparts in hotlinked files, so new attributes will be created after the hotlink is updated.

Recommendations for Hotlinked Files

When working with hotlinked files in a Project, it is best to use the same set of attributes in both the host and hotlinked files.

It is best to migrate all hotlinked files to the same version to maintain consistency between files.

If you are migrating both the host and hotlinked files to ARCHICAD 21:

First consolidate and update attributes in the host

then do the same with all hotlinked files before updating any hotlinks – otherwise an update may cause unnecessary attributes to be generated

It is recommended that you do not change Building Material names in files that are to be used as or with hotlinks, until all of the participating files have been migrated. Such name changes should be made before the hotlinks are updated.

If you do change Building Material names, make sure you do so consistently in all linked files

In some instances, you may not want to migrate hotlinks to ARCHICAD 21 (perhaps they are still being used in older-version ARCHICAD version files). Due to automatic attribute generation and naming, again: it is recommended that you do not rename the Building Materials generated from these hotlinked files in the ARCHICAD 21 host. If you do rename them, this will cause new attributes to be generated the next time these older-version hotlink files are updated in the host.

Alternatively, after updating the Host, Module files (.mod) can be exported from within the Host file, using the Hotlink Module Manager: select the module and click “Save to File”. This will generate a new Module file based on the cleaned up attributes from the Host. This can save you from cleaning up all the Modules individually and separately. However, if this Module is used in other files, then they will then need to be relinked to this updated Module.

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