Using the Component Distance Rule to Verify Compliance with Design Requirements

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.

Using the Component Distance Rule to Verify Compliance with Design Requirements

Expanded Wildcard Search of Property Set Data

The wildcard can be used in various ways throughout Solibri Model Checker (SMC), allowing for more intelligent searching and sorting of components based on some common value. In previous versions of SMC, wildcards could not be used when searching or identifying information from Property Set data.   In the latest version (v9.7.15), this feature has been added so users can now perform extended wildcard queries on the Property Set information that is embedded in a model.

To illustrate this functionality in SMC, refer to the image below, where the “IsExternal” Property will typically reside within one of three Property Sets: Pset_WallCommon, Pset_DoorCommon, or Pset_WindowCommon.


In previous versions, three separate columns were needed for each individual Property Set, making the grouping functionality restricted to each individual component type. This also restricted the ability to “colorize” the components based on a single value (True or False, in this example), since the color scheme will be based on the values returned from each individual column and will then colorize the components based on their unique Property Sets and True/False value.


Now, the asterisk/wildcard is allowed. The three separated columns can therefore be deleted so only the combined “Pset_*Common” value be considered.  Regardless of which property set the True/False value resides in, the components can be grouped together. Users can colorize the components using the single, combined column of information, resulting in the True/False two-color scheme shown below.


Expanded Wildcard Search of Property Set Data

Getting Comfortable with the Solibri Solution Center (SSC)

Getting Comfortable with the Solibri Solution Center (SSC)

The Solibri Solution Center (SSC) is an online portal for users to gain access to Solibri software, third-party content and administrator functions. There are two different sections of the SSC, the Admin View and the Products View.

When logging in, you will be taken to the Products Views of the SSC unless you are an account administrator. In that case, you will be logged in to the Admin View. The Admin View is ONLY accessible to those who have Admin privileges as an option when logged into the SSC.

Admin View

As a Solibri software administrator there are many functions at your disposal. These may include adding users, creating new pools (project, location or personnel) reassigning licenses, checking and tracking usage statistics or confirming software purchases or downloads requested by other users. The Admin View only appears if you’re an administrator and will be the default start page when you login, so if you do not see the Admin View option, you are not registered as an administrator.

Below, we will briefly explain the purpose of each section of the Admin View.

Summary View: A Brief overview of the Company information and listed administrators. Subscription expiration date is displayed, and the preferred language for users can be changed from the Summary View window.


Billing Details: Lists company information and address, as well as additional billing details. Administrators can make changes to address and company details from here, as well as select a preferred payment option.


Users: users can be added, deleted, or edited from the Users tab. For single users, an administrator can select the Add, Edit, or Remove functions. If importing a large list of allowed users, the “Excel User List” option allows for an Excel file to be uploaded to the SSC.


Users License Details: Currently active users are listed under this tab. Any active SMC user will be displayed here. This will also be helpful to identify where specific licenses may be being held up in case users are getting license request denials. An administrator can use this tab to identify if a user has potentially forgotten their Solibri license is active for a very long time, and notify the user to verify this is the case.


License: A full accounting of all Products and Extensions owned and assigned to the company. This is a useful page for administrators or buyers to assess what license rights they currently have, and where there may be a need for expanded licenses.


License Assignment: An administrator can choose which versions of products any one user can access. For example, a user may request an Extension, or a floating license to use for SMC. The administrator would find the request (or ‘wish’) in the License Assignment tab and could then grant the user”s request.


User Pool Management: Create and manage user pools from here. Administrators can create new pools for sub-groups of users and then choose how many of the Company’s licenses are assigned to that pool. Examples might include an upcoming training session that requires dedicated licenses to be available, or a specific project that always requires a certain number of licenses. The Administrator can also move employees into and out of specific Pools, as necessary. A typical use case would have all the company users located in the Company Pool, then it might be desired to move one (or more) licenses and users to a newly created Project Pool. This would ensure that those users would have licenses ‘reserved’ for them, when they logged in. License access to these subgroups is best managed from the User Pool Management Tab.


Company Extensions: Companies can create extensions of their own, and store them on the SSC. These extensions, which include customized rules and other elements of SMC can be managed via the Company Extensions Tab. For more information about the Company Extensions capability and functionality, please see the article at:


Statistics: The Statistics tab provides information regarding License usage. The usage information can then be exported to a standard Excel report. Administrators can collate or group information using several different Report Types for different types of information, such as peak usage, usage per user, the SMC version being used, and total number of users.


Time Periods and intervals are easily adjusted, and reporting can be modified to include information about all licenses or just specific license pools.


Products View


Under the Products view, there are three distinct locations to find and download different types of Solibri product offerings. They are: 1) Product 2) Solibri Model Checker Extensions 3) Training and Documentation.


Location: When the location dropdown is set to Product, the options listed will include Solibri software products. These currently include both paid and free standalone items, such as Solibri Model Checker, Solibri Model Viewer, Solibri Model Viewer Pro, and Solibri IFC Optimizer, as well as plugins to other software such as BCF Manager for Archicad.


Solibri Model Checker Extensions: When this option is selected, the items listed will be extensions for Solibri Model Checker. The items listed will be limited to your user privileges depending on whether you are an administrator, buyer, or basic user. Extensions may include rulesets pertaining to such topics as ADA (American Disabilities Act), COBie Calculations and Resources, and any other specialty resources relating to many various BIM Guidelines.


Training and Documentation: Training materials are stored on the SSC in several supported languages. This includes documentation such as the “Getting Started” manual which also comes pre-installed with Solibri Model Checker, as well as an SSC “Administrator Guide.” For a very detailed, feature-by-feature explanation of the Solution Center, please refer to the Administrator Guide.

If you have additional questions related to the solution center, there are additional resources available via the solution center (as detailed above), as well as on our blog at:

Getting Comfortable with the Solibri Solution Center (SSC)

Automatic Visualization

The best way to view the results in Solibri Model Checker will depend on what sort of model checks have been run, which means they will change for different rules or rulesets. Solibri Model Checker attempts to create the best visualization experience for the user by picking the most appropriate visualization settings. As a user scrolls through the results, the visualization method will also change by default. This “automatic visualization” is very often the best way to view the results, but there may be instances where the user would like to modify the way results are being displayed.

Typically, the automatic visualization setting will show the components related to an issue and hide other components in the model. For a coordination check, where the goal is to find intersecting components, that would mean the result would look like the image below.

Automatic visualization can be supplemented with other components, as well. If, for example you would like to add all the 1st Floor ductwork to the above image, you can use the Model Tree to choose the components you would like to add, then select the (+) icon in the Model Tree to add them to the view. The results in this example will look like the image below.

In rare cases, the automatic visualization setting can also be changed to either ‘no visualization’ or ‘transparent.’ The transparent setting will turn everything transparent except the components related to the issue, providing you with a perspective that includes all the surrounding elements and systems, while the ‘no visualization’ option will turn off all visualization of results; nothing in the 3D window will change to reflect the results.

Using the Automatic Visualization in Solibri Model Checker is an effective method of reviewing checking results. With the added flexibility to modify the 3D view, you can create explicitly detailed reports and presentations with very little extra effort required.

Automatic Visualization

Using the Space Validation rule to Ensure Model Accuracy

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.

Using the Space Validation rule to Ensure Model Accuracy

Using the Markup Tools: Stamping XYZ Coordinates in Solibri Model Checker

Solibri Model Checker (SMC) boasts some excellent tools in the 3D view.   One of the best is the stamping tool found within the Markup menu. This allows you to add ‘stamps’ of images, component details, or coordinates to the model.  For example, if you would like to include the location of an element so the user who will be reviewing the issues and making corrections can easily locate the issue, the coordinate stamp is the easiest method.

Choose the drop-down “Tools” menu in the 3D view, and select “Markup.”


This will reveal a Markup tool Menu in the top left corner of the 3D view.


The middle icons are stamping tools.  We can mouse over these tools to see that the first icon is the Component Stamp (used to add the component details directly to the 3Dmodel), Coordinate Stamp (used to add X,Y,Z coordinates), and Image Stamp (for adding an image to the model, on a wall surface for example).
Placing these stamps is quite easy.  We will use the Coordinate Stamp tool as an example.  If there is an issue or a location in a model that you would like to notate for a future reviewer to be able to quickly see in the 3D view, select the Coordinate Stamp icon.  Once in the Coordinate Stamp mode, hover over the location you would like to place the coordinates, and a small yellow mouse icon will display the location you are selecting.


Once you have decided on the location for the coordinate stamp, simply left click in the model where you would like the x,y,z coordinates to appear.


This stamp will remain here, unless you choose to reset the model in the 3D view (by selecting “Show All,” for example).  To preserve this stamp going forward, you may want to create a Slide in the Communication tab, which will retain the stamp in new iterations of the model and will not be overridden by a model reset in the 3D view.

Using the Markup Tools: Stamping XYZ Coordinates in Solibri Model Checker

Correcting Widely Scattered Models

When bringing models into SMC, you may find some components being displayed outside the normal 3-D View. These components can be the result of accidental placement of components outside the building, or simply legacy objects that are left behind from previous model versions.

In SMC, these components cause issues with navigation because they generate such a vast 3-D View. A single misplaced object may be miles away from the building in the 3-D view, which results in SMC trying to accommodate for the single misplaced object by creating much more navigable space then is needed. You can correct for these issues in SMC when importing a file.

When first bringing in a model, if there is an issue with a component that is far away from any other relevant model components, a pop-up window will appear suggesting that the models are “widely scattered.”   Again, this is implying that the amount of space that will be generated in SMC’s 3-D view will be extremely large, and will almost certainly affect performance and navigation in SMC.


In the screenshot above, there are 553 components in one location, and one component in another that is several miles away.  Obviously, the single component is likely to be an error.

You can select the Zoom To Components zoom_to_components  icon to ‘zoom in’ to that object to see what it is.

Select the object in the 3D window to see the Info about the object and make a determination about what should be done.

If it is determined that you would like to ‘remove’ the item from the model, you can do so by clicking the Set to Selection Button Set to Selection Basket  to place that object in the Selection Basket.

From the Selection Basket, choose the Component Hierarchy COMPONENT_HIERARCHY icon, then right-click on the object and choose ‘Remove from Model.’


This will remove the object so that it is no longer in Solibri Model Checker.  It does not remove the component from the IFC file, however, so it is best to go back to the original design software at some point and correct the issue for future versions of the model.  By removing the component in SMC, you are temporarily removing the issue so that you can proceed with your model review.

Correcting Widely Scattered Models