A common problem in BIM Design is objects that are frequently left in the model at incorrect locations. A typical example of this would be light fixtures that are not correctly attached to a ceiling or are floating in space at heights that are not aligned with the design specifications, or worse yet, not located under a ceiling component at all. These issues can be easily identified and corrected during design review using the Solibri Model Checker (SMC) Rule Component Distance – (SOL/222)

The Component Distance rule can be setup to check minimum or maximum distances between components using one of eight methods:

Horizontal Distance Between Footprints: Distance Calculation between two components in two dimensions.

Shortest Distance Between Shapes: Distance Calculation between two components in three dimensions.

Facing Within Distance: Two components facing each other that are overlapping.

Directly Above: Vertical distance between two components, measured upward from the source component (shown as blue) to the target component (shown as red).

Directly Below: Vertical distance between two components, measured downward from the source component (shown as blue) to the target component (shown as red).

Horizontally Alongside: Horizontal distance between two components.

Above within Offset Footprint: Distance above the source component that is extended horizontally by the ‘Footprint Offset’ value to the target component (shown in red).

Below within Offset Footprint: Distance below the source component (shown in blue) that is extended horizontally by the ‘Footprint Offset’ value to the target component (shown in red).

(For more information on these calculation methods, please see the article New in SMC v9.7.15: Component Distance Improvements)
For our example, we will focus on determining the distance between the bottom of the ceilings in the model and the bottom of any light fixtures. For this check we will use the “Directly Below” method of calculating the distance. We will also set the Component Surfaces drop down box to “Bottom to Bottom” and check the “Maximum” distance option, as we want to set a maximum allowable distance from the bottom of the ceiling to the bottom of a light fixture. In this example any light fixture hanging more than 1’ 6” from the ceiling will be violating our rule and will be flagged and assumed as hanging too low into the space.

If we wanted to check for a minimum distance between components (for example, to ensure the distance between the bottom of ceilings and the top of floor is ‘at minimum’ 8 feet), we would select the “Minimum” distance option.

The final step in our ‘maximum check for components below’ rule configuration is defining which components we are interested in checking.   In this example, we setup the ‘source’ component to be suspended ceilings, and the ‘target’ component to be light fixtures.

Running the check will reveal any results that are in violation of our 1’ 6” distance rule.

Since the light pictured below hangs 2 feet from the ceiling, it shows up as an issue when our check is run. If we were to change the maximum allowable distance to 2’ 1” the light would pass the requirement and would not appear in our checking results.

The highly customizable nature of the Component Distance rule in SMC allows users to experiment with different calculation methods, and to fine-tune any type of complex distance check while avoiding tedious false positive results.   Many different use cases can be devised and added to your model checking toolbox using this one rule template.

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