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Wall With Interchangable Assemblies

Tom Klaber


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From my Microstation I was used to get an extended cursor hint when hovering over an object.
It gave me information like Object type, Layer and those things.
Helps you to select or snap to the correct object or simply gives information.
I would really like to have something like this in VW too, similar to the tool tips when hovering longer
than a second. So :

Object : Wall
Layer : X_Layer
Class : X_Class
Wall Style : Style_1
Component 1 : Plaster
Component 2 : Concrete CIP
Component 3 : ...

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For the most part I agree. Right now, as you correctly stated, you have to have different wall styles if the only difference is just the paint colors. (Your formula doesn't include how many more wallstyles you need when you factor in using Stories with Levels).

Where I'm concerned about your proposal is you would no longer be able to look at a Wall on the screen and know what its assemblies are, unless you click on it.

I guess I'm not certain of the best way to acheve what you're asking, but I agree that the current Vw approach requires more wallstyles than seems necessary.

Currently, I just juggle 30+ different wall types.

Edited by rDesign
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Well - you would know what the assemblies are just as well as you do now - in that the components show it.  While it would make sense to map different finishes with the same construction to the same assembly - if you are going full blown you could class the components of the different assemblies to show ST-1 as light gray and ST-2 as light blue or something.  But I think the real answer is that they wall would come with smart tags.  Something like:

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 11.18.31 AM.pngThat you could turn on or off.  This could really completely replace the current way wall styles are done.  The only exception being rated walls which need to show the whole assembly.  

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Yes.  I like that.  Once placed, those tags would update if you changed the finish assembly.  You could even imagine VW keeping track of all combinations of assemblies and then automatically creating a wall type legend that reflected only the unique combinations you were using...  I think we are on to something - the future is calling.  

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15 minutes ago, Tom Klaber said:

Smart Cursor for working information and then smart tags for exportable information.  

Yes maybe both options.

If the plan is crowded I think I would like to renounce of too much extra information in the drawing
and prefer the temporary information. If there is enough space, it is nice to have information (tags)
accessible for all objects at once.

Edited by zoomer
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I'm kinda liking your idea @Tom Klaber

Essentially a more intelligent wall system with the tags.  Far more complex then we have now.  It certainly has more of a BIM like feel to it

in the sense that a building is started out as a shell and inner partitions and then it gets finished and those finishes can vary greatly.

Not likely to be in a version of VW near you.  I'll give it a +1

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@Markvl- Thanks.  Yeah... probably a while off - and will probably need more than 3 upvotes to get it noticed, but there would be real power in linking the finish database with associated assemblies.   I like it because it works like we think.  Walls are not thought of as monolithic types - but rather as core elements with interchangeable finishes.  This could work for slabs and ceilings as well.  Rather than picking a slab style - you simply choose a floor finish and the associated assembly would be applied.

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@Tom Klaber,

I see this is a bit of an old post, but I really appreciate the thought you put into this! 

There would need to be a bridge between finishes assigned to walls and those assigned to spaces, so the information could be linked or transferred, rather than only belonged to one or the other. Also, there's the issue of tracking rated assemblies, as you mention, so a bit more thought is needed here, but I think what you propose offers a lot of flexibility to deal with all assemblies, whether rated or not. The tagging of a rated assembly would need to belong to the combined wall assembly (structural + finish). So if you changed the finish assembly, you would cancel out the rating data. Rated assemblies, irregardless of software capabilities, is always going to be a complex issue in terms of documentation. It conflicts with documenting walls the way you show above (finish assemblies and structural assemblies kept separate). When rating isn't an issue, this method works great though!


Regarding wall ratings: 

Another wishlist item, and I know this has been talked about on the forum already, would be a simple way to control the graphical representation of rated walls, floors, and roofs, unrelated to any assembly graphics. Has VW2018 addressed this at all? If not, we need this feature! This should be a simple check box ("show wall rating"). It's essential from schematic design through to construction documents to be able to see a (class dependent) annotative graphic attribute running down the center of (or maybe sandwiching) any rated assembly. Even before specific wall assemblies are dialed in, and well before that amount explodes to 30 different types, we still know the general TYPE of wall assembly - as far as required rating is concerned - and need to track this information and represent it in our drawings. Building this into the wall tool as an annotative component would greatly help improve the efficiency of documentation, as well as overall quality control.



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I imagine this hasn't been looked at for a while nor implemented into new versions of Vectorworks (unless I'm wrong?). I have been doing a lot of research on this for renovation/conservation projects and for making the jump from 2D to a BIM workflow and creating walls is the real sticking point for me. All the projects I have worked on have been very high-spec and to suit existing structures - it's a real pain to have the exact same wall build up (double stud, p'board, skim, paint) to then have to duplicate this over and over again to suit the different spacing between the studs to match an existing wall thickness (100mm spacing? 101mm spacing? 105mm spacing...existing walls are not neat and tidy and friendly). I have always faced the argument of "BIM is great for new builds, but not the renovation"...I always want to argue back but it's things like this that makes me think they're right.


Even in new builds, you are all right, we shouldn't be limited to a workflow that assumes that we only require a few types of finishes and walls...The project I am working on currently has 48 internal wall styles! In reality there is only 2x different cores and 3x different finishes and 3x different lining methods. Prior to BIM workflow, we documented exactly as @Tom Klaber explained - a core sandwiched between linings, and then use RDS to specify the wall paint colour or marble type...I feel like it's a bit too much to have to create a new wall type/component/style when the client wants to change from one type of blue to another type of blue...I think RDS or classes can cover that. 


Another element I would like VW to address is, as I haven't seen a convincing method yet, lining existing walls...Again, majority of projects in all, and certainly 100% of our office's work, is renovation and conservation. A lot of the buildings are listed...elements must be retained. So we have to line existing internal walls to provide better acoustic performance for example, but we want to put a new door in...VW can't expect us to a) duplicate openings to penetrate the existing wall and linings either side; or b) delete a portion of the existing wall and recreate as another wall type. I'm pretty sure Revit has a feature for this where if you insert a door into a new lined wall type, you could extend the cutting path manually...


Then finally...you're lining an existing wall that is not straight...it's aged and it's not perfect...so typically we would line with something like a GypLyner and it would be nice to be able to contour a portion of a wall to suit undulations, like Archicad does. This also translates to modelling existing buildings from a 2D survey...how do you draw existing walls that are not uniform thicknesses?...again....multiple upon multiple wall styles, or, model it "dumb" in 3D and manually cut openings where required.


I want to love Vectorworks BIM capabilities but it feels like it's forever patching not very good tools rather than just overhauling something that, I believe, is broken. 

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@AJIsaaks To put it in perspective, we had a recent project (a new building), where there were over 300 wall styles and over 150 slab styles. The problem was the same, that there were a number of wall cores and then a number of finishes that could be applied to any of the cores, the combinations get out of hand quite fast.

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On 9/6/2016 at 12:12 PM, Tom Klaber said:

This is a little complex, as it requires a subtle conceptual shift in the way walls and wall styles work - but I think it would be worth it.

The wall styles are great, but when you get deeper into DD - you realize you need way too many to cover all the situations you need.  If I need three stud sizes (1,2,3), and three finish assemblies (A,B,C) I need 18 wall styles! - A1A, A1B, A1C, A2A, A2B, A2C, A3A, A3B, A3C, B1B, B1C, B2B, B2C, B3B, B3C, C1C, C2C, C3C.  I think the equation is (nF(nF+1)/2)*(nC).  Where nF is the number if finish assemblies, and nC is the number of core assemblies - (Now known as Tom's Equation. Math people please correct if I am wrong).  This can get out of hand quickly.  

Obviously, you do not necessarily need every combination - so your true total will less than Tom Equation - but the issue remains. We realized this when doing our wall type pages and started to develop a new wall type system that I think holds the answer. Rather than every wall being a fixed style that has to account for every combination of finishes, walls should be broken down. Walls would be composed of mixed and matched assemblies consisting of 1 core or structural assembly and 2 finish assemblies.  This could be handled in a similar way to how the Rendering tab thinks of walls: core, left, and right.  

Right now - the only way to handle wall styles is to dumb it way down.  We try to lump all finish assemblies into GWB / Stone.  Even with that - we usually have at least 5 different core assemblies, then several rated versions - not counting exterior wall constructions. We can quickly balloon to 20 - 30 wall styles, which is pretty cumbersome and even with that do not achieve the degree of precision we would like.  If the finish schedule and wall styles are tied together and controlled via the OIP for the wall - rather than the space object, you can get robust control that easily scales as a project progresses.  The project could start with 1 finish assembly, then move generic categories, then when in CDs, the full finish schedule could be applied to walls.  

The idealized future benefit of this would be the ability to paint bucket finish assemblies onto the core assemblies without having to change the wall style.  As an added benefit to the increased precision, this would then let VW 'know' precisely what finish is being called for and then schedule that information, create keyed finish plans, and display the wall with dimensional accuracy.


Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 11.45.28 AM.png

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 11.15.47 AM.png

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 12.10.43 PM.png


Picking up on this thread - as I thought of an added advantage.  There are many times that we have a wall that frames multiple rooms with different finishes.  Right now we typically need to split the wall and have different styles meeting at T and X joints even though the studs are designed to be straight.  If we were to move to this system - you could have a single wall - the core assembly be continuous - but then change the finish assembly inside rooms.   You would need to auto detect wall joins, as to know when to stop the finish assembly, but then the wall really becomes all about the studs / structural assembly and the finishes are just applied.  

This too would could eventually yield really useful framing plans. and you could assign a stud size / symbol for to the wall and have it better show you the framing compared to now where a generic stud is applied at the center or the wall regardless of the components. 

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