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detailing tools, structural elements and schedules - best practice

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I'm looking for best practice of creating structural elements in the model and getting out both: correct plan/elevation/section views and correct schedules.

If used only in 2D the Detailing tools would be just fine. The trick is - those elements (I-beams, Angles, Channels, Square Tubings) have to be drawn in 3D and then placed in the model in varying directions and meantime remain their high-level object parameters for getting info in schedule.

The workflow I'm thinking about is like this.

1. Create Detailing element, say Channel, and make a symbol from it. Modify Channel's parameters until they are as needed. Then duplicate it, ungroup and extrude the duplicate. If diagonal members needed then just 3D Rotate and cut the extrude. Select Channel, assign Record Format to it containing Fields for Number of element and may be something else (extrusion height for having the length of element in the schedule). The element is done. Then insert structural symbols in the drawing as needed.

In this manner it should be fine with plan/elevation/section views. Correct?

2. The schedule should have such main columns: number (manually given with Record Format), height, width, thickness, length, total amount of elements, and some other stuff which easily can be get from Record Format or worksheet formulas.

I want to get the data automatically with Database row and to have maximum of information arriving in the schedule from model.

So my Database Criteria is "My Record Format" is present, include Symbols.

Number cell formula is ='My Record Format'.number

height cell formula is =IF(channel.d<>0, channel.d, IF(('i-beam'.d)<>0, ('i-beam'.d), IF(('angle'.a)<>0, ('angle'.a), ('square tubing'.a))))/G5

G5 cell is =COUNT

then I drag SUM option to Number column and all identical rows are combined.

Width and thickness are same as height cell with little modifications.

The rest of schedule is peace of cake and not worth mentioning here.

This way my schedule is good.

And now, where I see shortcomings for such workflow and you expertise could be in place:

1. If changing parameters of 1 element, the both - extrude and Detailing object - have to be modified. Double job - the root of error.

2. Total length of element have to be manually re-written from specific symbol's extrude object to Record Format. Double job - the root of error again.

3. If I want to see the Plan view of all elements with their 3D bodies I'm out of luck, right? Because in Plan view you can see only 2D part of 2D/3D symbol.

And also, where I see advantages:

1. If structural symbols are treated carefully enough I get Sections/Elevations and schedule correct.

2. If Plan view question is solved I get everything I need automatically from the model and this is closer to real BIM.

What do you think? Is detailing tools with 2D/3D symbols the correct direction at all?

Any other ideas & experience?

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