ArchiCAD is considered to be a modeling program for architects only. We at Eptar Ltd. however do not think that is the case. We believe that ArchiCAD can be made capable of handling not only architects’ but other designers’ preferences as well.
The [eptar] Reinforcement solution was developed to make sure that architects and structural engineers can work together in ArchiCAD on the same BIM model. While developing the solution we were mainly thinking about medium size architectural firms where architectural and structural planning goes hand in hand. But the [eptar] Reinforcement could be useful for anyone who has to draw and model reinforcing of buildings. Our aim was to build a cheap and easy-to-use tool, which can help with this problem and complement ArchiCAD.
ArchiCAD users are already used to elements and objects that can be defined by giving them parameters in the settings window. Elements of the Reinforcement solution are no exceptions. Individual elements such as rebars, meshes, and stirrups can be found in the Objects category, and be set and placed as any regular ArchiCAD object. Users can define the type, diameter, quality, measures of the steel elements, choose their position and set different display options and labels in the settings window. Placed objects appear in both 2D and 3D views at the same time, and most features can be adjusted in these views as well. The basic and most used rebar shapes are prepared in the library, but users also have the opportunity to use the polygonal form, where edges can be added and altered with the help of moving hotspots on the plan, and therefore make almost any shape they want. In fact, almost any reinforcement plan could be modeled with the use of individual elements only; however there are a few more options in [eptar] Reinforcement, which can make your work easier.
If you have got the free-to-download ArchiCAD Accessories Add-On, you will be able to place rebar and mesh elements into slabs of any shape automatically. This feature is really useful if you have a slab that has slanted or arched contours; there is no need to adjust the rebars one-by-one as the Add-On accomplishes it in one easy step.
It could also be useful to define the structural elements that are used several times in the same plan. We have special commands in the Reinforcement menu, which link the rebars, stirrups and concrete elements together and make complex elements (column, beam and crowning) as a result, and those can be placed as coherent items.
A feature of the newest version of the Reinforcement tool is that stirrups and meshes can be rotated in three directions of space. That enables users to adapt to the different needs of architects and be able to draw even the wildest reinforcement constructions.
The solution also lends a hand with the final step of the reinforcement design. Cutting lists can easily be generated from the placed steel elements. The “Generate cutting list” command not only lists and counts length, overlapping, weight data, and sums weight by quality, but also ensures there is no mistake in the numbering of different steel elements; if two rebars have got the same ID number, [eptar] Reinforcement renumbers one of them. Data from cutting list can be exported into tabulated TXT format, so different programs can handle them.
We often get the question if our solution supports local standards. Reinforcement is designed to be a general solution. Weight data and diameters can be set generally, so anyone could modify them according to local needs. Shapes that differ from the preset ones could be defined with polygon option. We have also got many requests for different display options and are working on integrating them into the solution. We also accept suggestions from our users on how to make the solution even better, and provide quick and efficient technical support.
To sum up, our aim is to create a really useful tool, which can transform ArchiCAD into a great program for drawing reinforcement plans. If you are interested in the program come to our web shop and try the DEMO version. The newest version came out just two weeks ago, so if you have tried the solution before, check it out once more, you may find some interesting improvements.
There are also videos on our Youtube channel that show the functionality of [eptar] Reinforcement.