In Solibri Model Checker (SMC), there are many existing use cases around the idea of space checking.  To take advantage of the rules used for space checking requires correct modeling of spaces, and measuring of interferences or inaccuracies to ensure that results in SMC are correct.  Only when model spaces are detailed to the level that they are an accurate representation of the real world environment will the results of these use cases be valuable.

To ensure space requirements are modeled correctly, SMC uses several different rule templates.  One rule template, Space Validation, will identify several key space issues that are commonly found in AEC models.  These issues pertain to space components not being aligned with bounding surfaces such as walls or floors, as well as areas of a model that do not contain spaces at all.

Using the Space Validation template, you can ensure accuracy so various space checks can then be run, with confidence.

One example use case is if you are aggregating spaces to calculate areas, or total square feet, it would be important to verify that all spaces are correctly modeled to the real as-built square footage.  Any gaps in square footage, or where spaces are missing from the model, or where the space is actually overlapping with another component, will first be caught by the Space Validation rule.  This allows the designer to make the necessary corrections before proceeding with more complicated space checks.   In order to perform any sophisticated space checks, such as code-based checks like Egress Analysis, spaces must not be missing or inaccurate in the model, as that would probably have significant consequences.

Luckily, while this all may sound complicated, the Space Validation template is relatively simple to use, and it does all the hard work:



The acceptable gap or intersection between a bounding component and a space.  If the intersection or gap between a bounding component (walls, floors, ceiling, etc.) and space is more than the tolerance, an issue is created.

Acceptable error in space perimeter

The acceptable length of a space perimeter where the space is not touching any bounding component. If the perimeter segment length is greater than the entered value, an issue is created.

Required Space Height

The minimum acceptable space height. If the space height is less than the required value, an issue is created.

Check Top Surface

If checked, a slab or a roof or the bottom surface of another space has to touch the top surface of the space. Suspended ceilings are not always modeled, and in such a case, this option should be left unchecked.

Check Bottom Surface

If checked, the bottom surface of the space must be touching a slab or another space.

Intersection Components

‘Intersection Components’ are considered by the rule to be those components that shouldn’t generally intersect with spaces. If a space is intersecting with one of these component types an issue is generated and should be visually reviewed.

Check Unallocated Space

When checked, the unallocated spaces (any area that is not occupied by spaces, walls or columns) are checked and flagged as potential areas of the model that are missing modeled components. With very few exceptions, areas of the model should always contain a space or object modeled for an accurate BIM.

Maximum Allowed Unallocated Space

The allowance for interstitial areas between walls and/or utility closets is one exception to the above rule.  In such cases, you can enter a maximum allowed space size that can be ‘excluded’ from future space checks.  These ‘empty’ spaces are allowed by SMC because they can be ignored for the sake of checking things like square footage or egress analysis.  Space between walls should have no bearing on area calculations, just as utility closets should not affect occupancy loads or egress routes.

Result Categorization Method

You can categorize results either by spaces or by problem types. If you categorize results by spaces, each space creates one and only one issue. All problems related to that space are described within the issue. If you instead choose to categorize results by problem type, each individual problem type will appear as a category, regardless of which space they are occurring in.

Use Arrows in Visualization

When checked, arrows are added as a visual aid when reviewing the issues that are generated.

It is crucial when doing space checks in Solibri Model Checker that a model is first checked for accuracy and completeness.  The Space Validation template provides a first step in checking that the required detail has been modeled and should be considered an important element for any ruleset designed for space checking.  Without this first important step for space verification/validation, space checking results might not accurately reflect the real-world conditions of a building.