Construction Simulation Add-On

by Emőke Csikós and Szabolcs Mikó · updated: 04.26.2017

Introduction

In previous versions, the set of commands will appear in the “Document/Schedules and Lists/Construction Simulation” submenu by default. Since AC20 you can find it under “Document/Listing Extras/Construction Simulation”.

The commands of the Construction Simulation hierarchical menu allow you to simulate the construction process with ARCHICAD’s 3D model by associating construction elements to a task list. This list can be created within ARCHICAD or (in Windows only) imported from a Microsoft Project database.

Note: The Construction Simulation menu is only available when the Floor Plan Worksheet is the active Window. Only one Construction Simulation project (task list) can be linked to an ARCHICAD Project. Opening a Construction Simulation Project with another ARCHICAD Project will create unresolved references. The menu’s commands are:

  • Show/Hide Task List: opens the Construction Simulation dialog box, listing all the defined tasks with their status. Tasks can be defined directly in this dialog box or imported from a Microsoft Project database.
  • Open Project: allows you to import a Microsoft Project database.
  • Save Project: saves the task list in a database format.
  • Save Project as: saves the task list in a database format under a new name. Use this to avoid overwriting the original database.
  • Create Animation: allows you to create an animation showing the progress of the construction process.

How to use “Construction Simulation” Add-on

We will guide you through the process with the help of a simple ARCHICAD project.

 

Opening or creating a project

If you want to open an existing MS Project, go to ARCHICAD and choose the Document > Listing Extras > Construction Simulation > Open Project command. In the dialog that appears, select the file you just saved from MS Project. Click Open.

If want to create your own Project in ARCHICAD, choose the Document > Listing Extras > Construction Simulation > Show Task List command.

The Construction Simulation dialog box opens.

 

The dialog box includes the following fields: Tasks, Type, Progress, Start Date and Finish Date. Fields can be edited by double-clicking in them. Clicking on any header will sort the task list by that key.

The Tasks, Start Date and Finish Date fields are imported from MS Project. You can either keep these or overwrite them, and you can manually enter new tasks.

The Progress field is automatically filled by ARCHICAD to conform to the Current Date defined at the bottom of the dialog box. Otherwise, this field is not editable.

Types are defined manually with a pop-up menu listing task types. There are five types of construction tasks:

  • Build: Elements do not exist when simulation starts. They are constructed during the task and then remain there.
  • Demolish: Elements are present on the site when simulation starts. They are removed during the task.
  • Restore: Elements are present both at the start and the end of the task. Work is performed on them during the task.
  • Freeze: Elements are present both at the start and the end of the task, but no work is performed on them.
  • Temporary: Elements are not present when simulation starts. They are constructed during the task and are removed at the end of the task.

For example, here is what a finished Project Task would look like:

 

Linking ARCHICAD elements to Tasks

When the task list is complete, you can start linking ARCHICAD elements to the items of the task list.

Go to the Floor Plan Window and select some elements. In the Construction Simulation dialog box, select the task that you wish to link the elements to and click the Link button on the right.

Note: Any element can be linked to as many as 10 tasks at the same time.

The buttons on the right-hand side of the Construction Simulation dialog box allow you to manage the task list.

  • Link: assigns a task to selected Floor Plan elements.
  • Unlink: deletes the link between the selected task and the Floor Plan elements it has been assigned to.
  • Show Linked Tasks: highlights the names of the task(s) assigned to the element selected on the Floor Plan.
    Note: If you select a highlighted task in the list, the button’s name changes to Unmark Task.
  • Select Linked Items: will select the elements on the Floor Plan to which the highlighted task is assigned.
  • Select Unlinked Items: will select Plan all elements on the Floor that have not been linked to any task.
  • New Task: allows you to add new tasks to the list.
  • Delete Task: will remove the highlighted task from the list.

Creating a Simulation

Once the task list is complete, you can simulate the construction process using the controls at the bottom of the Construction Simulation Window.

The Current Date field allows you to check the date or to choose another day to show the state of the building.

The Show Built button will show elements in their current state. It will also move all elements whose construction has not started yet on a hidden layer called “CS Hidden Layer”. These elements will not appear in either ARCHICAD Window until you choose to show them again.

Clicking the Show All button will revert the display of all elements to their “normal” state. It will also move the elements hidden by the Show Built button back to their original layers.

Different construction states are displayed in different ways. ARCHICAD divides the linked elements into three categories according to the current date. This division is triggered when the Show Built button is clicked.

  • Completed elements are displayed with their normal color (pen color on the Floor Plan, material in 3D).
  • Started elements are displayed with different colors according to the task type. See section below for description of color changes.
  • Elements whose construction has not started yet are moved to the “CS Hidden Layer” and are not displayed at all. According to task types, the color changes are as follows:
  • Build type elements are not visible before their task starts; they are displayed with pen number 251 on the Floor Plan and with the predefined “CS Build” material while the task is carried out and are displayed with their full original colors when completed.
  • Demolish type elements are visible with their full original colors until the task starts; they are displayed with pen number 252 on the Floor Plan and with the predefined “CS Demolish” material while the task is carried out; and are not visible any more when the task is completed.
  • Restoration type elements are visible with their full original colors before the task starts and again when the task is completed. While the task is carried out, they are displayed with pen number 253 and with the predefined “CS Restoration” material.
  • Freeze type elements are visible with their full original colors before the tasks starts and again when the task is completed. While the task is carried out, they are displayed with pen number 254 and with the predefined “CS Freeze” material.
  • Temporary elements are not visible either before the task begins or when it is completed. While the task is carried out, they are displayed with pen number 255 and with the predefined “CS Temporary” material. Note: CS Build, CS Demolish, CS Restoration, CS Freeze and CS Temporary are predefined, transparent materials that have no texture or 3D hatching associated with them.

To start creating an animation, go to Document > Listing Extras > Construction Simulation > Create Animation command.

On top of the dialog box, you can define the starting and finishing date of the simulation.

In the middle section, you can define the interval in days. The number of frames field is grayed, as it uses the current setting of the Create Fly-Through command. In the bottom part, you can choose between using the current view or an existing camera path for creating the animation.

Note: If you choose the current view, check your settings in the Image > 3D Projection Settings dialog box and make sure that a perspective view is set up.

On the right, you can choose to save the movie in QuickTime Movie or AVI (Windows only) format and define additional information such as a caption and custom text. When you click Save, you can define the location of the animation file.

As an example you can watch a movie, what we have created through this process:

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • 3   ​0

Related content

Add-Ons and Goodies

Add-Ons are small applications that extend ARCHICAD’s core functionality. Many add-ons are integrated as ARCHICAD menu ...