IFC First Steps, Tags & Categories Panel

In planning for the future, and in preparing for building higher quality models which are truly Building Information Models (BIM), one of the first areas on which we can focus is the Tags & Categories Panel of any Element's Settings Dialog in ArchiCAD.

In the Tags & Categories Panel we want to be sure to, as accurately as possible, appropriately assign just a few settings in order to more accurately describe the Element modeled.  These ArchiCAD Settings are mapped to and become IFC parameters outside ArchiCAD.

ID - This is a field we often do not pay enough attention to.  We use it for Doors and Windows, and we use it for Wall Partition Types currently (Partition Types are in for a major overhaul and unification in the near future), and we use it for Furniture identification, and we use it for Toilet Accessory identification, but we rarely use it for anything else.  Consequently, many Projects will have LOTS of Objects (Beams, Columns, Room Tags, Cabinets / Millwork) with "TA.--" as their ID.

Even if we are not fully utilizing this field in Interactive Schedules or in automatic Labels, we need to assign something in this ID field that signifies that it was at least addressed when the Element was modeled.  Put in CAB or BaseCab for a piece of Millwork, put in COL for Columns / BEAM for Beams, put in RoomTag for Room Tag Objects, Put in ROOF for Roofs, put in CLNG for Ceilings, anything.  If you're feeling generous, put in a number identifier after the text as well.  Give this one field a second of attention, and it will make things easier if down the road there are errors in the script for an Element - that ID shows up in the Error Report and makes tracking down the culprit a lot easier.  Also, the ID field becomes a prominent name of the Element when a Project is Published as an IFC file.

If you haven't ever used it, consider using the Element ID Manager to automatically assign IDs to lots of like Elements at once.

Structural Function - Don't leave it on Undefined.  Most of what we do will be Non-Load Bearing, but some Slabs and Walls, or if we model structural columns and beams, will be Load Bearing.  When you model carpet with the Slab Tool, it should be Non-Load Bearing.  Ceilings?  Non-Load Bearing.

Position - Again: Undefined?  No.  It is either Exterior or Interior.

Element Classification - For the most part, we do not want this set to a default of ArchiCAD Type.  Exceptions: 2D Elements and some Objects.  For the most part, we want to as accurately as possible assign the correct classification here: an ArchiCAD Wall as Wall, an ArchiCAD Slab used as a floor slab as Slab, but if we use the ArchiCAD Slab Tool to model a ceiling or a roof, we'd want to select Ceiling or Roof here.  The Element Classification Building Element Proxy is used for anything not caught in any of the other IFC standard classifications.  Many ArchiCAD-native Objects have an Object Sub-Type that classifies it pretty well.  I will be researching this more and will provide more information on this in the near future, so that we can more accurately assign an appropriate Element Classification for any Object we would place or anything else we would model in ArchiCAD.

Renovation Status - Our Template is set up such that if the Project is a New Project, everything in the Project should be set to New.  If it is a remodel or renovation, it is crucial that all Elements be set to the appropriate status: Existing, To Be Demolished, or New.  Elements' status can be assigned here, in the Tags & Categories Panel, or by selecting the Element and then choosing the appropriate icon in the Renovation Palette (which should be open at all times).

Show on Renovation Filter - Typically All Relevant Filters, unless Reno Filters are being strategically used to display different Design Options.  I've got a post in the works for how to use pinning Elements to specific custom Renovation Filters to present various Design Options.

Below the Tags & Categories Panel is the most elementary Settings to which we must pay attention.  Place Elements on the appropriate Layer.  Full stop.

Don't put a Roof on A-FLOOR-CASE, don't put a piece of Millwork on A-ANNO-NOTE.  Don't use the ArchiCAD Layer for ANYTHING modeled in ArchiCAD or for ANYTHING in any Plan View.  Don't even use it in a Worksheet.  Just be in the habit of not using it.  Except on a Layout.  Drawings can go on the ArchiCAD Layer on Layouts, as can other Elements put on Layouts (Seal Objects, etc).

Between Layer, and these other few Settings in the Tags & Categories Panel of an Element's Selection Settings, we've begun accurately assigning some settings inside ArchiCAD that also travel outside ArchiCAD when we share BIM with outside entities (Consultants, Contractors, Owners, etc).  These settings in the Tags & Categories Panel are mapped to IFC parameters to exist attached to the Element, even outside ArchiCAD.

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Bonus: there is an Interactive Schedule in the Template, the sole purpose of which is to audit the above information.  In the Project Map, look for the Schedule called BIM CHECK; it is not intended for output, only for model checking.  It is set by default to look for all Element Types on all Stories.  Feel free to change it up - try looking just at Walls or just at Objects on the A-FURN or I-FURN Layers, and then check these Settings for each of the Elements Scheduled.