Space Group Containment – SOL/175

Solibri Model Checker (SMC) includes the rule template named Space Group Containment (Rule Template # SOL/175) that is able to check that specific space groups exist in your model and that those space groups contain the correct spaces and counts of those spaces. Since the list of required space groups and their required spaces varies from project to project, you must configure the rule parameters with your own values rather than using default values, as with some other rules in SMC.

You are able to find information for this rule in the help topics by following the link below to the Solibri Solution Center:

The following article will provide an additional explanation, using the SMC Building.ifc and the “Example Rules” role.  To open this role, select Roles under the File tab, click the Open button, and browse to the Example Rules role.


This role includes examples of all the rules templates in SMC.

After opening the SMC Buidling.ifc, switch to the Checking tab.  When you click to add a ruleset, a window opens that allows you to select rules from the Example Rules role. Please, select the #175 Space Group Containment.


Click the checking button to view the results of the check.

The first category of results listed is “Not enough spaces”.  This category occurs when a space group does not contain a required space.  You can see in the Info view, the Elevator space is not included in the Common Area space group.


Checking the rule parameters of the rule, we see all the required space groups and what spaces are required to be contained in those space groups.  Space Groups named Common Area must contain a single Elevator, Lobby, Stair, and Corridor space.


In the model, the Common Area space groups contain a single Lobby, Stair, and Corridor, but not the required Elevator space, which explains the result previously seen.

The second category of issues is listed as “Too many spaces.”  These issues occur when a space group contains additional spaces that aren’t listed in the requirements.  The Common Area 231 space group includes a Restroom, Gym, Kitchen, and two Corridors instead of a single Corridor, which explains the result and description in the Info view.


The last category of issues is “Inadequate Information.”  These results are listing space groups that were not listed in the requirements.  The requirements in the Rule only allow for space groups named Common Area, Education and Conference Area, Petty Education Inc., Arbor Doves, Inc., Tomorrows Lubrication, Inc. and Biochemical Startup, Inc..

Checking the Classification view, there are two types of Space Groups, Gross Area and Other.  Only the space groups from the Other type are listed in the requirements of the rule.


These results of additional space groups have a low severity denoted by the yellow warning icon, so you could approve their results as non-issues or you’ll need to fill in all the required spaces and their counts for the Gross area on each floor. Alternatively, you could remove gross areas from the classification rules of the Space Grouping classification.






Space Group Containment – SOL/175

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

University Space Audits

University Planners need the ability to audit the spaces in their buildings to determine current occupancy, availability and accuracy. They need to keep pace with student enrollment and allow for planned expansion and capital projects. In many cases the buildings have not yet been modeled in 3D.

Auditing of building spaces or other resources has become a popular BIM Use Case for the Solibri Model Checker (SMC). In SMC, the way a space audit is conducted starts by creating a 3D model to represent the spaces and data in a building. Then, it is brought into SMC and initially checked against a Ruleset that has been created to verify the accuracy and completeness of the model and its information. This Ruleset check may include many different types of specific Quality Assurance checks, including verification that all areas of the building have spaces (or rooms) modeled, and that those spaces are modeled correctly. Additionally, the Ruleset may include checking for naming conventions, verifying that all required information is included in the model, and identifying any accessibility and egress concerns.This custom Ruleset gives a user quick and easy automated verification of their model information, and saves the user significant time in the process. Compared to a manual review of design documents, hitting the “Check” button in Solibri has proven to be a great, time saving alternative, while delivering greatly improved accuracy and consistency.


Once the accuracy and completeness of a model is confirmed, a customized Information Takeoff can be created to calculate and output the final estimates for the building. For example, SMC can be customized to do a takeoff of all the spaces, sorted by their Name, Category, or any other information that is available as a space property (e.g. area, space type, etc.).


All the customization that is required to meet a user’s individual needs can be done with help from the Solibri Team. Customization of Rulesets and Information Takeoffs are part of our offering to assist this customer segment. We work with the university facilities departments and planners to create a space audit program that they can run, and we are always available to help, as needed.

OSU Template

Summary: Solibri LLC and the Ohio State University, the 3rd largest university in the United States,, with a student population exceeding 56,000, collaborate on the Buckeye BIM Initiative.

The Facilities and Technology Services Department is responsible for auditing existing buildings, which includes maintaining 2D plans and converting each building from existing 2D designs into 3D models, then conducting an audit of the spaces within each structure. Currently, more than 800 buildings have been identified, equaling more than 35 million square feet of space to be audited.

The Buckeye BIM Initiative is a project that started in May, 2013 with a planned end date in May, 2016. The original plan called for a team comprised of students and staff to conduct a manual conversion (2D to 3D) and a subsequent manual audit of model spaces. Another project deliverable was the creation of a University BIM Standard.

After 2 (two) web-based familiarization sessions, a review of the University Audit Process Template, and the creation of some custom rulesets focused on spaces, floors and properties, the team was introduced to an SMC-led audit process. The focus was on model verification and included the requirement for spaces to comply with naming conventions that were contained in the OSU Space Information and Management System.

The Results:

  1. Reduced the Audit Manual from 22 pages to 5
  2. The Average model audit takes 5 hours (as compared to 2-3 days, previously)
  3. And, each audit delivers consistently higher quality
  4. The entire process now takes 1 day, as compared to 1 week (at a minimum) previously.

This has been an excellent opportunity to work with a leading Owner, on a significant BIM Use Case. We can do the same with YOU. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any project that could benefit from applying a consistent rule check to verify compliance.

University Space Audits