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Importing objects from other BriefBuilder models

When creating a new project model, you may not want to start from scratch, especially not if you have already done a number of projects in BriefBuilder.

It can, for example, be that you have specified an excellent set of requirements for a conference room in one model, which you then want to re-use for another model. Or, that you have made a requirements library for a particular type of asset (a school building, a bridge, a bicycle path, …) which you want to use as a source for own model.

To make this possible, we have developed an import function. That sounds very technical, but it is an easy-to-use feature that allows you to pick and choose objects from other models and to copy these to your own model. When doing so, you will get the properties, labels and description of those objects, and – optionally – also all the related objects.

See below for an explanation for how this works.

Please note: you can also re-use existing data by cloning a model. In that case, you get a full copy of the entire model, in which you can then you delete what you don’t need. What is best depends on how much data want to want to use from the other model:

– Do you want to use almost everything? Then clone.
– Do you only want a selection of objects? Then import.

Importing objects from another model may have a significant impact on your model (especially if you include related objects). We recommend therefore that you first try it out in a sandbox clone of your model.


The import button () can be found in header menu of a tree.

Please note: you can make imports for all trees, but the recommendation is start with importing objects in the spaces & locations tree, as this is usually the backbone of almost the entire model. When you include related objects in the import (see further below), this allows you to import not only the spaces, but also related activities, spatial elements and so on.

When clicking on this button, you have to go through four steps:

Step 1: Select model

First, you have to select from which model you want to import objects. This can be another project model or some kind of library model.

Step 2: Select version

Project models and library models may have different versions. So the second step is to select from which version of the model you want to import data.

(NB if you first want to check how versions differ from one another, you can go to the project models overview and use the compare function)

Please note: the recommendation is to stick to one version when importing data from a model. When importing data from different versions of the same model, there may be deviations and differences in the data (e.g. changed names, deleted data) that can create confusion.

Step 3: Select objects

And then, the most important step, which is the selection of the objects from the source model that you want to use in your model. You can select one object, a few, or even an entire tree (although when you are importing multiple trees from the same model, you may want to consider cloning a model rather than importing data).

Important: standard properties are automatically mapped if they are identical (= same name, same input type, same unit of measure).

So, if you have a standard property “height” in your own model, and the same property in your source model, the values will automatically be placed in the right field.

But, this requires that these two properties are truly identical. They will, for example, not be mapped if one is expressed in metres and the other in millimeters. If that is the case, you will get an extra property “height” in your model.

TIP: use the icon to select all the objects of a particular tree part in one go.

When importing an object from one model to another, you will automatically get its descriptions, its labels and its properties.

The question is whether you want more than that. You probably do. In BriefBuilder, objects are typically related to other objects and those relations are just as important as the properties of an object. The question is how far you want to go in this.

There are four options you can choose concerning related objects (as shown in image below):

You only get the selected objects’ description, labels and properties. Nothing else. This is the default option.

Example: if you want to import a meeting room, you will get its properties (e.g. concerning size, acoustics and temperature levels). But, you will not get the spatial elements that are linked to that space (e.g. meeting chairs or power sockets).

When selecting this option, you will get all the objects that are directly related to the object that you have chosen.

Example: if you want to import a meeting room, and you will not only get that room but also all the spatial elements that are related to it – for example meeting chairs and power sockets.

Please note: the related objects will be placed in the tree where they belong, in a dedicated folder called Imported at: [date/time]. So, you still have to organize those objects according to your own model structure.

With this option, you not only get the directly related objects, but also all the objects that are related to those objects. You get the entire network of objects so to say.

Example: when importing that meeting room, you not only get that meeting chair with it, but also the standards that are possibly related to that chair.

When adding this option to the other ones, you also get all the ‘parents’ of the related objects. Parent is database speak for the object that is above another object in tree structure. Typically it is the folder structure of which the object is a part, but for a spatial element it may also be the system of which it is part.

This option is very handy in the sense that the related objects will be imported in a ‘neat’ structure, instead of just being placed in a long list. This is particularly useful when starting up a new project model. Please note however that this option comes with potentially lots of new objects.

Example: when getting the earlier mentioned meeting chair, you do not only get those chairs, but also the folders above it, which may be called seating, furniture, fit-out elements, and so on.

See the two images below to see the difference between including parent objects or not.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend that you include the parents when you want to import data into an empty model. If you are importing data in a model that already has an extensive tree structure, you probably not interested in the parent objects.

This is what the imported related objects can look like if ‘parents’ are included. In this example, you do not only get the element ‘floor finish – sound absorbing’, but also the folders ‘(43) Floor finishes’ and the folder ‘(4-) Finishes’.
This is the same import as above, but without having selected the option ‘Include all parents’. As the image shows, all related objects have been placed in a simple list.

Step 5: Select which additional info you want to import

Requirements may be linked to analysis items, to verification plans and to verification outcomes.

You can choose whether you want to incorporate any of this information in your import.

It can, for example, be practical to include the verification plans in your import.

Please note: it is not possible to import the comments that are linked to an object.

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