Need to manually draw rooms? AutoCAD BOUNDARY may help.

Support questions regarding the use of automated room creation and methods for creating room (aka space) and floor boundaries manually. Also any questions regarding use of any of the other Drawing Discovery tools like ceiling grids, floor match placement, or representative object placement.

Need to manually draw rooms? AutoCAD BOUNDARY may help.

Postby forumadmin » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:10 pm

You've looked at the architect supplied floor plan and have either decided that you will have to manually draw your room boundaries (e.g. only PDF supplied) or you have tried Drawing Mapping + Auto Room Creation and had mixed results. Either way, you are stuck with manually clicking each and every vertex of a bunch of rooms...right?

Not quite, there is another option: the AutoCAD BOUNDARY command.

BOUNDARY is not as smart as DraftLogic Electrical about figuring out where rooms start and end and which layers to pay attention to and which to not, but for drawings that you can isolate linework to give you a clean room interior face, BOUNDARY will generate a nice closed polyline room boundary for you. The linework that demises the room interior face can be on standard DraftLogic Electrical layers or on any layers, the key is just to have linework that connects to each other, i.e. no gaps between wall corners or where walls meet windows. Note standard DraftLogic Electrical layers post Drawing Mapping would be zDL_WALL, zDL_DOOR, zDL_WINDOW, plus more zDLWRK* layers if you ran Automated Room Creation.

When I said 'not as smart' I mean that BOUNDARY will slavishly use the available/selected lines to make the closed polyline. This includes things like door swing lines, counters against the wall, boxes around architect room annotation...everything! So hopefully all things not related to room inner faces are on separate layers that you can just turn off and not have interfering with BOUNDARY's work.

Keeping with the theme of 'how to get the job done properly and fast', your main decision points is: do I have uninterrupted linework for each room interior or can I quickly fix holes/gaps? Weigh the time to resolve any room interior linework issues versus simply manually drawing the room boundaries. What follows are step-by-step instructions for using BOUNDARY to make DraftLogic Electrical room boundaries for those cases where you feel your time is well spent to resolve any room interior face issues and use BOUNDARY.

Using BOUNDARY to Make DraftLogic Electrical Room Boundaries

1. Audit your drawing for clean room inner faces with irrelevant layers turned off. Any line on any layer can contribute, they must simply properly intersect where they meet each other (i.e. no gaps). Where there is not any linework, add some using the Drawing Discovery > Room Gap Lines tool or manually draw lines in AutoCAD. If you must draw lines, using DraftLogic Electrical standard layers like the Room Gap Lines, Wall Lines, and Window Lines tools do will benefit you during Automated Placement. Alternatively, use the 'Create All Layers' tool to have the layers created for you and manually draw lines on the relevant zDLWRK* or zDL_ROOM_DIVIDER layer. Sanity check: if you are spending too much time per room cleaning up gaps and drawing lines, you should likely just manually draw the room boundary and move on with the project...

2. Visually verify that all the rooms you want to create have complete and clean inner faces and there is no junk lying around in them. Turn interfering layers off and close gaps and draw closing lines as required to achieve this.

3. Ensure that zDL_ROOM_BDRY is set to be the current layer. The 'Create All Layers' tool can be used to create if it it is not already in your layers list, make it current by selecting it from the AutoCAD layers list.

4. Type BO or BOUNDARY and <ENTER> at the command line [funny guys insert suitable joke here about BO]

5. You should see the BOUNDARY dialog as pictured below (my picture from AutoCAD 2011). If your version has the same defaults as pictured and you opted to prep the drawing and layers in advance you are ready to proceed, so click OK. NOTE: if you want to pick specifically what lines BOUNDARY should use in attempting to create the polyline for you, use the 'New' button in the Boundary set area of the dialog.
The BOUNDARY Dialog from AutoCAD 2011
BOUNDARY_Dialog_ACAD2011.PNG (9.05 KiB) Viewed 16509 times

6. You are prompted to 'Pick Internal Point:' on the command line. Left mouse click inside each room space that you want a room boundary created for as this prompt is repeated. Complicated or large rooms might take a second or two for BOUNDARY to be ready for the next selection. OK through any island detection or other errors, worst case take another look at the layers you left on and rerun if islands or some other geometry caused trouble.

7. Click inside rooms until you want to see results or have done them all, then press ENTER to tell BOUNDARY you are done selecting and ready for it to do its trick.

8. BOUNDARY will tell you how many boundaries it successfully created.

9. I found it best to use the AutoCAD layer manager to have all layers EXCEPT zDL_ROOM_BDRY 'on' and use the Tools > Draw Order > Send to Back command to make my new room boundaries easier to see. Alternatively, isolate the zDL_ROOM_BDRY and use the Tools > Draw Order > Bring to Front command.

10. If you have any architect room annotation that you want automatically absorbed, ensure it is on the zDL_ROOM_ID (Drawing Mapping will do this for you or you can do manually).

11. Execute the Drawing Discovery > Complete Room Review function to have DraftLogic Electrical place Room ID symbols in your new rooms and leverage off any available architect supplied annotation. Complete Room Review will walk you through all the rooms so you can verify the room boundary shape, Room ID descriptions, ceiling type/height, reflectances, and room type selection are all OK. If BOUNDARY made an unsatisfactory polyline, delete it and redraw it manually. If the architect annotation for most rooms absorbed into the Room IDs correctly but one or two were missed, try deleting the Room IDs from those rooms and place again with the Drawing Discovery > Room Identifier tool. If it doesn't work again, you'll need to type in the values or copy and paste yourself.

12. You're done!

NB, useful tip from the web about BOUNDARY: Sometimes this BOUNDARY won't react properly to your selection. Try to have the display showing the whole thing together (AutoCAD is a bit sensitive about its display) and/or point to another location. I.e. don't have any of the lines needed for the poly line creation out of the displayed area of model space, zoom out so everything can be on screen at once.
Before and after DWG samples for trying out BOUNDARY
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