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proposed site model


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I have an existing site model from the survey contours, no problem with that. The troubles start when i want to model a proposed site model. I have the proposed contours from my client, as well as some proposed spots. The spots i have entered as stake objects, made them modifiers, that seems to work fine. But what can i do with the proposed contours, would they be site modifiers? if so what kind? I am pulling my hair out with this one...

I have enough proposed information to make a whole new model, from the proposed contours, and maybe use the spots as stake modifiers. But the trouble with that method is there will be no comparison to the existing topography for cut fill calculations...

There must be a work flow to:

1 create model from survey contours - works fine

2 use proposed contours as site modifiers?

3 draw sections that would show existing vs modified site model

and advice would be great...


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done the above and get the following error

Problems were found do you want to continue with the site model update?

the following site modifiers were found

-pad intersecting a boundary

-two intersecting pads

site model can continue, but may produce unexpected results


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Pads must not touch or intersect. Vectorworks needs to create triangular surfaces between the points, and it can't cope with touching pads as it doesn't know which one to use to create the elevation at that point.

Move your pads slightly apart (sub-millimeter will be enough to get it to work!). If your pads touch at the same elevation, the error message can be ignored, but if they are at different elevations, one of the elevations will be ignored and you will not get the results you were expecting. Hope that helps.

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so is entering proposed counters as site modifiers, (pads) the way to go. i am really not having luck with this model. If you think of 2 contours oval shape, lower one at 1m and a smaller oval inside at a 5m hight... to create a berm. Wouldn't Vectorworks consider this to be overlapping pads?

thanks for your help...

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This is not producing a presentable model, I have existing terrain that seems to match the existing contours. But when I create site modifiers from the designed contours, the model has random areas of areas that are not smooth transitions from 1 contour to the next... hope i am making sense, refer to the attached pdf....

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So i have created a model based on only the new contours, and it looks good. But that does not allow me to do comparisons to existing and proposed grades...

Also i have made some hardscape areas and made them texture bed modifiers... and nothing shows in 3d.... any ideas. In top/plan view the hardscape areas are there... in 3d... nothing is drapped over the terrain.

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jet, sorry for your trouble! Two things, first it might help to know that version of VW's and what OS you are running (and you should put this info in a Signature by going the the My Stuff link above). Second, I think I would defer to Tamsin for all things Site Model. She is really really knowledgeable in this area. Tamsin? Got a minute?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Jet

Sorry - different timezone and have been training all day. Only just seen this!

Not sure what is happening here, but I suggest that you

a) check that the texture beds are getting their texture from a class? If so does that class have a texture assigned. It would help here to know what version of VW you are using...

b) Make sure the texture bed objects also have a solid fill set on the attributes palette. This is a standard thing for all 3D stuff - textures won't show unless the object has a solid fill.

c) do you have Show 3D checked? If so, uncheck it.

I can see from the black triangles that you have updated your site model, so I'm not sure what is happening, but I will do my best to help.

I guess the file is too huge to mail, but you can dropbox it to me if you like? Contact me on tamsin@vectorworks-training.co.uk if you want to set this up...

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

OK - I've had a look at the file and the issue is that there were hardscapes stacked on top of each other, all defined as texture beds. Textures cannot be stacked in this way. I used Modify > Clip Surface to cut the inner hardscapes from the outer hardscapes and the textures displayed after updating the site model.

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Actually, I've had the same question about getting Vectorworks Landmark to work with contours rather than pads or other site modifiers. Maybe it's because I'm a recent convert from hand drawing, but there are plenty of situations where a pad (of any shape) just won't do.

Jonathan Pickup has described a simple and rather elegant technique of drawing up the proposed contour (or importing it), converting it from a 2d polyline to a 3d polygon, assigning it a z elevation, then changing the class of that polygon to site modifier. I've done this only a few times, and don't understand all the details yet, but it allows a section view, and also works with cut/fill calculations.

Sorry if I have missed some of the details, but I thought you'd appreciate knowing this is quite possible with Vectorworks Landmark.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Your pads don't have to be "closed" shapes. They can be drawn as open shapes. Start on an existing contour, draw the new shape of the contour, ending back on the original contour line and then Send to Surface. This will send the open pad the same elevation as the contour line, but divert it, exactly as it would when you are drawing by hand. Works a treat.

But yes, you can draw any shape and convert to 3D Polygon. Then assign the Z value and place the polygon in the Site-DTM-Modifier class. This turns it into a modifier. It's cool!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm trying this method of modelling from drawn contours and am running into problems with the model where original spot elevations do not change (even though they are between two new contour lines drawn as site modifiers.) So in cut situations, I end up with little pyramids where the original spot elevation wreak havoc on the model. Any suggestions?

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