Home » BIM and Energy » Material layer composition, tips for creating building envelopes


Material layer composition, tips for creating building envelopes

Material layer composition management: check out the Edificius tools to manage your building envelope layers

Are you looking for a much more efficient and innovative procedure to compose your building envelope material layers, horizontal slabs, roof elements, etc., in order to correctly represent Material Layer structures, both from a technical and graphical point of view?

Try this 3D building design software for free now and follow me in this article.

As we know, material layers management on opaque building envelopes is extremely important as the layering process must meet predetermined values and characteristics such as: fire resistance, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, etc. In this article, I’ll explain how to operate easily and quickly in order to manage and compose good quality material layer set-ups for your project.

With the help of the Edificius BIM software, we can see how to easily define your building envelope material layers (walls, floors, roofs, etc.) while establishing a series of characteristics for each individual layer starting right from the design stage (setting up a Layers hierarchy, Glaser diagrams and so on).

So, let’s see how to make the most of these tools.

edificius interface for material layer editing


What is a Material Layer and what is it used for?

Let’s see what material layering is and why it can be useful to set it up correctly before starting with the operational phase of the software.

A material layer is a cross-section of the horizontal, vertical or oblique building envelopes in which you can analyze the material structures forming the envelope itself (plaster, thermal insulation, perforated clay bricks, etc.) and obtain information on the type of material and the thicknesses of each layer.

But why is it useful to manage our material layers? To understand this aspect, here’s a practical example.

Imagine having to carry out energy improvement works for an existing building in which you need to increase the thermo-hygrometric comfort of indoor environments. Before proceeding with the necessary design choices, you’ll certainly need to analyze the composition of the existing envelopes to identify the most suitable interventions for the project.

In this regard, I recommend you read the in-depth article “Wall Material Layers: what are they and howq are they calculated” – in which you’ll find everything you need to know about this specific topic with detailed explainations.

Material layer management with Edificius

To get a complete BIM model with all relevant information, it’s important to correctly set up your building’s the material layers. But let’s take a look at how easy it is to create new Material Layer compositions with Edificius, or maybe even customize those already present in the rich catalogue proposed by the software.

Before we begin, let me remind you that:

  • if you already have the software and can’t see these features, simply upgrade to the latest version which is completely free and follow these simple steps:
    • access your my.accasoftware.com personal area;
    • use the “Updates from internet” feature that you can find in the “menu” or on the software’s home screen.
  • if you don’t have the software yet, download the free version of Edificius now.

Add, delete, modify, or move material layers

To create customized Material Layers that fit your specific case, you can easily modify existing material layers or add new ones with Edificius.

Let’s see how to proceed to add, delete, modify or move the material layers in a simple and fast way.

First, enter the editor (wall, ceiling, roof, etc.) by selecting the element of interest and then the BIM library object editor command (Editor elementi oggetti BIM) that you can find in the “Properties” section on the right of the screen.

When the screen opens, click on the "Edit" command on the toolbar. At this point, access the new window where, by individually selecting the elements present in the material layer, you can change the properties in the appropriate fields.

In this section you can:

  • add new layers to the right or left of a selected layer (Aggiungi a destra-sinistra);
  • assign a material to an existing layer (Assegnare materiale ad uno strato);
  • move a layer to the right or left (Spostare lo strato a destra e a sinistra);
  • delete a layer (Cancellare uno strato).

As soon as you have finished with these changes, you can also:

  • view the temperature diagram (Grafico delle temperature);
  • view the pressure diagram (Grafico delle pressioni);
  • view the entire material layer with and without the hatch patterns (Comando per la visualizzazione del retino).

Now you can click on the "Finish" command to confirm and save all changes made.

Material Layer Envelope Management with a BIM Software

Material Layer Envelope Management with a BIM Software | How to modify the material layering

Material Layers hierarchy

Once the material layer has been created and assigned to the building, you can dedicate yourself to the management of details, to make your work precise and, of course, coherent with reality.

For example, you can control the intersections of the various materials and make sure that there is continuity betwenn layers of the same type. The image below illustrates how to manage the building envelope layers correctly at the intersection points between two perimeter walls.

Immagine che mostra come gestire le stratigrafie dei muri con Edificius

Managing wall material layers with Edificius

With Edificius, to obtain correct intersections between the different materials and the different material layers (as in the image above), you can assign each layer with a different priority by creating a real hierarchy between the different layers. Higher priority layers are assigned in order to penetrate through other intersecting layers until they join up with other materials with the same priority. The objective is to represent the true physical condition of the building.

To do this, simply select the “layer type” (surface finishes, insulation, structure, etc.) and, if necessary, activate the “core” tick. This last aspect allows you to give continuity to each element within it and not to be “interrupted”, at the intersections between casings, by elements that do not belong to the core.

For a better understanding, simply follow these steps:

  • materials that have the active tick on their “core” material do not intersect with materials not belonging to the core of other envelopes. This means it can continue without interruptions until it meets a possible connection with other elements of the same priority level;
  • the priority increases from the “finish” up to “structure”. These layers are assigned with a value that you can display in the properties window under the heading “Priority” (the higher the value, the higher the priority);
  • the “+” and “-” symbols, present in “layer type”, increase or decrease the priority degree of a given layer, assigning an increase or decrease in the score visible in the properties.
Gestire le stratigrafie dei muri con un software BIM | Priorità delle stratigrafie

Managing Material Layers with BIM Software | Material layering Priority

This methodology allows you to correctly represent the intersections between the different layers of material of the various elements.

Material layers view

Imagine that you have associated all the material layering with the wrappings and want to display them in your model.

With Edificius you can view the material layers:

  • in the 3D view – after selecting the “Plan view” object from the 3D view, activate the “Preview” option, from the toolbar, and the “Envelope Material Layer” check box, in the properties;
  • in the drawing models – check the “material layer” in the properties window.

With this new function, you can now view all the changes made to the material layers in real time and always keep track of your design choices.

Visualizzazione stratigrafia

Manage wall material layers with BIM software | Material layer view

To learn more, I recommend watching this video that illustrates all the essential steps to create a material layer composition with Edificius.