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Defining standard properties

As explained in the theory section, objects in BriefBuilder (spaces, systems, processes etc.) can have particular properties (e.g. size, capacity or width). You can create these properties on the detail view of an object, but you can also predefine them as standard properties in the requirements settings menu.

You may, for example, want to predefine that spaces should have a property Minimum floor-to-ceiling height, that technical systems should have a property Warranty or that deliverables should have a property Submission moment.

Below, we will explain how to do this. You can also watch the video.

TIP: Think carefully about whether something should be a property or an object. For example: a property with the name “Number of power sockets per room” is (formally) not a good property because power sockets are objects in their right (spatial elements to be precise), which may have their own properties (e.g. voltage).

Settings menu

Standard properties can be defined in the requirements settings menu, which can be found at the very bottom of the navigation bar.

The settings menu can be found at the very bottom of the navigation menu.
Under Settings, you have to go to Requirements, and then to Standard properties.

When you have clicked on standard properties you get to see a selection window in which you can select the object type (systems, spaces, spatial elements etc.) for which you want to define standard properties.

Select the object for which you want to define a standard property

In building projects, the spaces are typically the most important carrier of standard properties. Think of floor area sizes and indoor climate requirements.

Creating blocks

To create standard properties, you first have to create a block. A block is a group of standard properties, usually covering the same topic (e.g. functionality, sustainability, maintenance) under a shared header.

You create a block by clicking on the Add block button.

Next, you have to give the block a name. Note: this will also be the name that features on the objects’ detail view.

Next to adding a name, you can indicate whether the block is optional or not.

An optional block is a block that it will not automatically appear on the detail view of an object. It can, however, be selected from an object’s detail view, as explained here.

The general recommendation is to make a block optional if it is relevant to only a subset of the objects. For example: when working a university building, and you have a set of properties that are only relevant to the teaching spaces (e.g. with properties concerning sight lines), and not to all the other spaces (office spaces, lab spaces etc.), it is best to make it an optional block.

Read more about working with optional blocks in this article.

Creating standard properties

Once you created your block, you can add standard properties to it by clicking on Add standard property at the bottom of the table.

If you do so, you get a row in which you can define the following property attributes:

Name

The name of the property, indicating the quality or topic for which you want to define a requirement. For example, ‘energy usage’ or ‘floor area’.

TIP: aim for a meaningful name that covers the subject of the requirement (e.g. size, material, capacity). Avoid generic terms such as ‘requirement’ or ‘quality’. This will make it easier to understand the requirement and to find requirements in the model that cover the same topic.

Description

Some explanatory words about the property, if relevant. Preferably the description is a formal definition from an accepted standard (e.g. an ISO or EN standard).

Comparator

A symbol (>, <, =, etc.) that explains how the property’s value should be understood. Does it, for example, concern a minimum value (e.g. floor size ≥ 30 m2) or a maximum value (e.g. temperature level ≤ 20 °C).

Input type

The type of input that is allowed in the value field. There are four options:

  • Text: allows the entry of text values (the most flexible option).
  • Integer: allows only whole numbers (e.g. relevant for quantities of elements).
  • Decimal number: allows decimal numbers.
  • Picklist: enables you to predefine values (e.g. class A, B and C).
  • User/role/organisation: allows you to select (BriefBuilder) users, roles or organisations that are tied to your project model (Please note: these are not really property values. This option is only relevant in very specific cases, such as when defining verification settings)

Unit of measure

The unit in which a value is expressed. For example: is the property value for floor area referring to square meters or square feet?

Picklist values

If you have chosen picklist as input type (see earlier), this is where you can define the value options by clicking on Add value in the pop-up. You can also add a (short) description for each picklist option.

Good to know: for some object types (i.e. spaces) you will see properties marked with an asterisk (*): these are properties that cannot be removed because they are needed for particular features in BriefBuilder (e.g. calculation of the total number of square meters of a project). It is possible however to customise them (e.g. change their name or description).

Changing the sequence of properties

You can change the sequence of standard properties in the table by means of the little arrows behind it (). When clicking on those arrows and holding on to your mouse button, you can move properties up and down.

Drag properties up and down by means of the little arrows

Deleting standard properties

It is possible to delete a standard property by clicking on the icon. You will get a warning notification to ensure that you actually want to delete that property.

Please note: this can be quite a far-reaching action as the property will be removed from all objects that have it. To see how many times a property has been used, you can look at the Used column that shows how many objects have a value for that property.

The last column (‘Used’) of a standard property shows how many times it has been used in the model.

Good to know: we also use the concept of standard properties for the definition of the settings for analysis and verification.

Importing standard property blocks

If you have a good set of standard properties in another project or in a library model, you can easily import these into your own model.

This can be done via the import property block button () at the top of the page.

When doing the import, the software checks whether there are properties in the source model and the target model that have the same name.

If that is the case—and if these properties are already in use in your model—none of your property attributes (description, input type, …) will be overwritten. The import action will only add data. This is to avoid changes to existing data.

But when properties have not yet been used in your model, you will get all the property attributes from the model from which you are doing the import.

Note: if property names are different (e.g. Floor-to-ceiling height in one model and Ceiling height in the other), you will get two properties that say something about a room’s height, which may not be your intention. It is therefore recommended that you take a close look at the property names in the both the source and the target model before you do the import. This to avoid unwanted duplicate properties.

Subdividing blocks into tables

It is possible to subdivide a block into smaller tables by clicking on the Add table button.

This can be relevant when you have a long list of standard properties in your block and your prefer to group those e.g. by discipline or topic.

A good example are indoor climate properties for spaces , which are usually presented in one block, but subdivided into separate tables for acoustic comfort, thermal comfort, visual comfort and air quality.



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