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ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 3
3-4. Adding an Upper Story with Windows & Doors, Adding Floors, Cutting Sections

ArchiCAD Training –  (Quick Start Course – 3-4)

This 45 minute video lesson starts the process of extending the virtual building beyond a simple model with a single floor. An upper story is added with windows and doors, floors are added to support the walls, and sections are cut and examined.

Here are two PDF files, one for USA users in feet and inches, and the other for International users with metric standards. Please open the appropriate PDF and print it out as a reference while you go through this lesson.

Your Downloads

You may need to right-click the following links and select Save Link As to download the file to your computer.

The development of the QuickStart Building continues from the last lesson. We switch to the upper story, and right-click on the ground floor to show it as a trace reference (or in ArchiCAD 10 as a “ghost story”). The eye-dropper is used to pick up the settings of the ground floor exterior walls, which are seen in the trace image. The trace reference is turned off to simplify the view, then the starting point for the first wall is determined using an automatic guideline projected from the left hand wall up towards the back wall of the building.

At the intersection snap point, the first wall is started, and the outline is quickly created using the tracker palette. In addition to coordinate input, occasionally other snaps and references are used to determine the wall placement.

The trace reference is again turned on, so that the window tool can be activated with the eye-dropper clicking on one of the lower floor windows; then the reference is turned off to make it easier to work. The windows are placed, with some of them set to different sizes and in one case, to a different glazing pattern with a horizontal-vertical grid.

One window is dragged into position in line with a window in an opposing wall. A copy of this window is then mirrored across the centerline of its own wall so that these two windows are symmetrically arranged. The doors are inserted in quick succession using the special snaps.

The building is viewed in 3D, and studied, where it is clear that the walls of the two stories are stacked directly on top of each other. In this case, the option is chosen to place slabs in between the lower and upper walls, so the ground floor walls are lowered to make room. The Edit menu > Select All command is used with the Wall tool active, which then becomes Select All Walls; the height is easily adjusted for all the walls in a single step using the Info Box.

The slab tool is activated, and the polygon method chosen so that the wall footprint can be manually traced. The process is repeated for the upper story, then the building is again viewed in 3D. The slabs (in the USA version) have a different edge material, so they contrast to the exterior walls. The slabs are selected in 3D, and in the Slab Settings dialog, the edge material is changed to match the walls. Now the surfaces blend together nicely.

On the floor plan, the section tool is chosen, and a straight section is drawn from right to left. Then the section geometry is changed to “staggered”, and a section is drawn vertically that starts in line with the openings in the upper part of the building, then jogs over to include the lower window. The section marker needs to be extended beyond the wall face, so it is selected, and using the Stretch option in the Pet Palette, it is stretched so that it will include the upper right part of the building.

The sections are examined by double-clicking on each section listed in the View map folder. An alternate method is shown, in which you can open up the section viewpoint by right-clicking on the section marker on the floor plan and selecting Open Section. (While this is very convenient, a limitation of this method is that the correct layers for the section may not be visible, since only the layers shown on the floor plan will be turned on; you can correct this after you open the section by switching the layer combination or finding the matching section item in the View map and double-clicking it to activate the View Settings.)

Each series of actions is demonstrated first in the USA version (with metric distances referred to during the process), then repeated with the INT version as a quick review. At the end, the distances and placement are verified with the use of the Measure tool.

TROUBLESHOOTING NOTES: Remember, if you start to draw something and the geometry method (e.g. polygon, rectangle, polywall, etc.) or construction method (left / center / right or center/corner) are not set properly, you may be able to change it “on the fly” while in the middle of the process by going to the Info Box or even opening up the tool Settings dialog. However, if it still isn’t working right, simply hit the Escape key (if you are still in process) or use the Edit menu > Undo command (if you’ve completed it and it is incorrect), and start over.

If you are in the middle of clicking a series of points (for example, to create the polygon outline of a slab), and you get one of them wrong, use the Backspace or Delete key to go back a step or two. If you hit the Escape key, you will have to start over from the beginning.

Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website. The video lessons are available for members only. If you are an active member and would like to watch the ArchiCAD training video on this page, please login to the website. If you are not currently a member, please visit the following pages for more information and to sign up for the Best Practices Course, the QuickStart Course or for the Best Practices ArchiCAD Coaching Program. Eric Bobrow, Creator of the Best Practices Course

Your Downloads

You may need to right-click the following links and select Save Link As to download the file to your computer

Click here to see the transcript of this ArchiCAD training lesson...

ArchiCAD Training: Adding an Upper Story with Windows & Doors, Adding Floors, Cutting Sections

Let us know how you feel... (24 comments so far)

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  1. BryanEnterprise
    BryanNyhof
    2 years ago

    Do we get into how to mark the top of door and window openings? Also, what if I want the top of my first floor elevation to change from 10′ to… let’s say 9’6. I know how to drop the wall fine but not the markers. Have loved the lessons. Amazing how fast you can learn the program with your good instruction.


    • Eric Bobrow
      2 years ago

      Bryan –

      Thanks for your positive comments about how fast you’re learning with these training lessons!

      Re your question about changing the first floor elevation, you may do this in the Story Settings dialog. This may be accessed from a variety of locations, including right-clicking in the Project Map on a story, or in the View Map on a floor plan view. For what you are referring to, change the Height to Next setting for the first floor, which will drop the second floor down the appropriate amount (and any stories above as well).

      I’m not sure what you mean by “how to mark the top of door and window openings”. Are you referring to setting the top elevation for openings you are about to place, or editing the height of ones you already have in position; or indicating this information in a marker on plan, or using a dimension annotation in an elevation?

      Eric


  2. MauriceNathan
    3 years ago

    Hi Eric

    Sorry I found it on the on screen view option


  3. MauriceNathan
    3 years ago

    Hi Eric
    In start edition when opening section tool it does not appear in the view option to have true line, to make the section more clear your help will be greatly appreciated


    • Eric Bobrow
      2 years ago

      Maurice –
      The “true line” option is turned on or off in the View menu > Onscreen View Options menu. It is available in all versions of ArchiCAD, in all drafting views (it does not apply to schedules or renderings). It can be turned on or off at any time, and is not associated with the tool (e.g. section tool) – it is a viewing mode.
      Eric


  4. MagdalenaKrakowska
    3 years ago

    Hi Eric,
    I have some troubles in sections. I followed your tips and when I try to see my sections which I have done, program shows me elevations, not sections. When I try to make a new sections I see information: “The layer named MarkerSectKey is hidden. Please show it or choose another layer for this tool”. What I should do? I use ArchiCAD 17 trial version


    • Eric Bobrow
      3 years ago

      Magdalena –

      A section in ArchiCAD works much the same as an elevation, in that it cuts through the model at a particular line or plane, then shows an elevation of the model facing a chosen direction. The depth of the elevation can be infinite (seeing everything in the model in that direction) or limited (seeing only up to a particular depth, set by the limit line), or 0 depth (purely a section). This is determined by a setting in each section marker. When “uncut elements” are seen (those that are not cut through) you may choose in the Model panel of the section settings to show these surfaces with a shaded color based on their materials, or a single color (such as white) or make them empty (so there is no actual fill).

      Re the error message about the MarkerSectKey layer being hidden, go ahead and show that layer. In my tutorial, the context or layer setup may be somewhat different than your copy of ArchiCAD, so this issue may come up. It’s not a problem. As you work with ArchiCAD, you’ll get used to turning layers on and off, and using different layer combinations to speed up this process and allow you to show different categories of elements at different times.

      Eric


  5. ChesnelHenry
    4 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    Perhaps, I am missing the exact training on the subject. I have been trying to figure out why is it when I use the marquee cut, the bold one, I can’t see my slab between the floor. Yet my slab is there.
    The other question is how do I keep objects on their specific floor? I can’t seem to figure out why my cabinet or slab is showing on the wrong floor.

    Also why is it it the training you can select one object and modify it so it can apply to all the same object. However, I don’t see that option when I try to select all columns for example. Instead it shows the deselect option. I know there are many questions, please explain.

    Thank you

    Chesnel


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      Chesnel Henry –

      When you use the marquee and select Show Selection/Marquee in 3D, it will show all the elements on visible layers, either from your current story (with the thin marquee) or all stories (with the heavy or bold marquee). If you are not seeing the slab, then it is likely that the layer is turned off (hidden) that the slab is on. Open up the Layer Settings (Command-L or CTRL-L) and you can see what layers are showing and if any are hidden; you can manually turn on layers, or use the select all option and then show all layers.

      When you place objects ArchiCAD generally is set to set their home story to the story you are looking at (the current one, onscreen), unless the height or elevation of the elements are set to a different vertical range. For example, if you are looking at the ground floor, and click to place a wall or object, but the base elevation of the tool is set to be on the story above, the element will end up being placed on the upper story – you may then get a message saying that the operation has placed elements on an unseen story.

      When you draw, place or move elements in 3D, this will happen as well.

      You can change the Home Story of elements by selecting them and either opening up their Settings dialog and selecting a different Home Story (in the Floor Plan and Section panel), or doing something similar in the Info Box; you may also be able to right-click and use a similar command to Set the Home Story. Elements will always show on their home story (as long as their layer is visible) and may have the option to be seen on remote stories, such as one story up or down, etc.

      I’m not sure I understand your final question. If the active tool in the toolbox is set to a specific element type, such as Column, then the Edit menu command for Select All will change to Select All Columns (or whatever element type is currently active). This also affects the Command-A or CTRL-A keyboard shortcuts, which will then select all elements of that type.

      Note that Select All is also modified by the marquee, and generally will select elements within the marquee area.

      Note also that simply selecting an element does not change the active tool in the toolbox. You can change the active tool by simply clicking on that tool in the toolbox, or using the eye-dropper on an element onscreen (which changes the active tool while also picking up the settings for the element that is clicked).

      I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you have additional questions that I can help you with.

      Eric


  6. RoyGacus
    4 years ago

    Hi Eric!

    I had a bit of a problem with putting slabs in first floor because it was place at the top of my building. What should I do?

    Thanks,

    roy


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      Hello Roy –

      When you place a slab, there are settings available that control the elevation of the element. Either before you draw this slab, or afterwards, you can set the position using this parameter.

      If you’ve already drawn it, select the slab and look in the Info box and adjust the height there. You can also do this in 3D or a section by dragging the slab down to the proper elevation, snapping to the bottom or top of adjacent walls.

      I hope this helps you – let me know if you need further guidance.

      Eric


      • RoyGacus
        4 years ago

        Thanks Eric I got it..!


  7. Nurani
    4 years ago

    Hi Eric,

    I noticed that in the international version that I am running (ArchiCAD 14) the slab and walls still have a line seperating them when looking at the model in 3D. Is there a way of cleaning this up to create a seamless finish as was evident in your model?

    Thanks,

    Nurani.


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      Hi Nurani –

      In general, ArchiCAD will create a line in 3D or in Elevation drawings when two elements have different materials or are not precisely aligned. In the 3D window, even for elements that are perfectly aligned and matching materials, the working view may still show a faint line due to limitations of the OpenGL rendering engine; however in an Elevation the drawing should clean up nicely.

      So if you are seeing a line in the Elevation, then you will need to double-check that you are stacking things cleanly, with exactly the same elevation for the top of one element as the bottom of the next one; also that they are precisely aligned on the plan (you can use Virtual Trace to help snap one to the other, if they are on different stories); and thirdly, that the surfaces have the same material. Note that slabs have 3 materials – top, bottom and edge, while walls also have three materials – reference side, other side, and edges.

      I hope this is helpful. Let me know how it goes when you experiment in your model and try to clean it up!

      Eric


  8. Olof Bern Antonsson
    4 years ago

    In my international version of ArchiCAD 16, “your” first floor is actually called floor “zero” (or 0), with two more default (and thus before this lesson empty) plans, i.e. the second and third stories (which in my version thus are called “storey 1” and “storey 2”). This would be using some type of standardized/default Swedish version/template of the software, so that might explain the discrepancy perhaps.


    • Eric Bobrow
      4 years ago

      Olof –

      The settings you describe are consistent with what I’ve seen in the International version of ArchiCAD, which follows the convention observed in many countries to designate the ground floor as story 0, and stories above that starting with 1. (With the spelling “storey” instead of “story” too…)

      I have tried to refer to the story structure in a general way whenever possible, talking about ground floor and upper floor rather than U.S. terminology of First Floor and Second Floor or International numbering of Storey 0 and Storey 1.

      Some templates may come with two stories, some with three. You can add or delete stories by right-clicking on a story in the Project Map or a View of a story in the View Map and selecting Story Settings. This dialog allows you to review and adjust the number of stories, their names, and the elevations or distance from one to the next.

      Eric


  9. EltonAnderson
    5 years ago

    Module 3-4 doesn’t download for me. Please help.


    • Eric Bobrow
      5 years ago

      Elton –

      As we discussed in our phone call today, you signed up for the FastTrack! Course and have access to all the lessons under the FastTrack menu. Module 3-4 is part of the QuickStart Course, and you did not sign up for that.

      I understand that the two names might be confusing, since they both refer to speed. QuickStart is the basics course for beginners STARTing out, and FastTrack is the specialty course for any type of user to learn how to work FASTer in ArchiCAD.

      Eric


  10. JulianoMandinga
    5 years ago

    I am happy to have invested in your training programme. Going through the quick start is allowing me to learn archicad clean up basic mistakes. Thank you for creating this course.

  11. MariyaLilith
    MariyaLilith
    6 years ago

    I didn’t know you could pick up settings from a traced reference. Doing so will be a great time saver, I won’t have to go back and forth between levels to do that anymore.

    Thanks,

    Mariya

  12. JulianaPerrucci
    JulianaPerrucci
    6 years ago

    very nice eric… always great to go back and take a “journey” through the basics. well done

  13. PANAGIOTISTSIKOS
    PANAGIOTISTSIKOS
    6 years ago

    OK sorry!


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Sometimes the video takes a while to appear on the page – I’ve seen it take 10 or more seconds in some cases. In addition – you’ll only see the videos if you’re logged in to the website.
      Eric

  14. PANAGIOTISTSIKOS
    PANAGIOTISTSIKOS
    6 years ago

    Where is the video? I can’t see it.