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Big Buildings and Roofs
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* January 02, 2013, 06:23:15 PM
I bought the TFP SW in early Dec. so I qualify as a newbe, although I have used CAD SW for years.  I realize I should start with simple projects but I’m faced with two big things.

1.   I’m on the envelop committee for the ski area condo building. It’s large (75 units, 3 floors, lots of levels and built on a hillside) and requires new siding, windows, exterior doors and roofing.  The existing building is dark brown cedar clapboards with blue 1x4 trim around windows, exterior doors,  and blue fascia,  1x12 footer board and entry trim.  The blue on brown breaks up what would otherwise be very plain.  As we consider various proposals I’d like to model them and see what it would look like.  That means I’d like to put the trim on the window or door in one place then insert it 150 or 200 times.  For the next proposal I want to then change it one place and see the color and trims all over the mode.  Is that possible?  If so how?

2.   I am looking for a new house and I expect to have to add to it an attached shop, pool room and greenhouse.  Each house is on sloping terrain (I will be moving close to the ski area) and may or may not have a garage.  So I want a way to roughly model the exterior of houses on something that is visually like the property.  Then I want to draw the addition and connect the existing roof to the new roof.  In general that means an addition that wraps around a corner of the existing building and has a roof that extends beyond the walls of the addition to make a dormer-like connection to the existing roof.  I can’t figure how to do that.  When I add ‘roof by perimeter’ I get hip things with lots of illogical valleys.  When I try to convert hips to gables I get all kinds of strange things including at one pint a peak that ran diagonally across the addition. Specifically how do you start with a roof that has two offset but parallel peaks and add a peak that is perpendicular to one of those peaks, but where the width of the roof spans the existing overlap?  Note the second point is not disconnected from the first, I can get the roofs right on the condo either.

Thank you in advance, and if it’s been covered previously I will be delighted to follow a suggested link.


* January 03, 2013, 07:05:15 AM

I'm another newbie here as well though I've played with various IMSI software for years.

1. Never tried a project that big before.  For window trim go to your wall properties trim tab and select exterior openings. I would probably add a new casing element (right click on whichever one is the closest size) with the new size and colours. Then you only have to change it for each wall instead of each window to try different ones out.

2. I just upgraded to TFP Pro, largely to make it easier to play with the roof on a project.  I don't use roof by perimeter for anything complicated, it's easier to go point-by-point, or even do in peices.  From what I've seen browsing the forum if you throw a sample picture in the help discussion someone can probably help you out.

Good Luck on both projects.



* January 03, 2013, 08:20:00 AM
Hi Tom (and Abhann - Welcome to the forum by the way!)

Just another point on question 1. You can predefine a wall with the trim and colours you want and then all you have to do is select one of the walls, right click and choose Select All Similar and then on the right click select Replace. As long as ALL your exterior walls use the same wall type, then ALL the selected walls will be replaced with the new one (with its new Trim and colours) in just the one step.

On point 2, Roof by Picking Points is the way to go as Abhann said and also as he mentioned, a photo does wonders for getting some tips on how to do things. It is very hard to follow a written description - as they say a 'picture (or rough sketch) is worth a thousand words' !  ;)  Sometimes 'additions' work better if they are put onto a separate location.

Since you project sounds big I would suggest you do some experimental projects first to find the best way to do things.


Allan Chesney,
Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia

TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Pro V16.0.C1.901
Envisioneer Construction Suite V9.1.2.1234
TurboCAD V17 Professional

* January 03, 2013, 03:06:39 PM
This is to try adding pictures.  I tried to add 3 pictures, two showing the condo building from front entrance and from the back while the 3rd is a roof I'm struggling with.

The two condo pictures show about 20 to 25% of the building elevations and 3 of the 5 floor levels.  I will dig into the help text to understand how the advice on walls works.  The roofing complexity is similar to what is shown in the house example except the problem occurs about 10 times over the condo.

I added a house with two existing sections (plus a porch that still needs a shed roof) plus an addition I would add if I buy the house. The large section without a roof is the addition and it needs a roof.  The peak should  be centered and parallel to the long axis of the addition.  The addition is on a separate level that is between the height of the first and the second floor floors.  The actual height will have to be set to excavation efficiency. (Allow dirt to be pulled out of the hill on one end so that it fills the other end.)  The roof valleys must be well suited for snow and drainage and I can change the wall height as need. 

Finally there is a hole in the wall between the two sections of the existing building.  I think that is because I first made one part of the house than added the second part with walls that left and returned to main house walls but did not make a self closing path.



* January 03, 2013, 07:30:12 PM
Hi Tom,


You have to be careful with how overhangs relate. If they encroach / conflict, you will get some very odd results. I call them 'yikes' roofs, "yikes what is it that!"

You must also either extend an existing wall or add an elevated wall in order for Auto Extend to fill a gable end. If you don't need a window in the gable you can use the Display Gable option.

You may be interested in my training videos on roofs. See link below for more info.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 11:15:53 AM by Jack Zimmer »


* January 04, 2013, 06:13:53 AM
blue 1x4 trim around windows, exterior doors,  and blue fascia,  1x12 footer board 

As Abhann said...When you select a wall/ right click Properties go to the Trim tab.

Under 'Exterior' as opposed to Right or Left , under the Opening option you can define the Window and Door trim. If you add new , you can create a trim the exact size you want.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2013, 07:33:22 AM by Jack Zimmer »


* January 06, 2013, 08:11:01 PM
Spent the weekend figuring out the SW instead of skiing while conditions were super.  I have some more questions and probably some misunderstandings.
1.   I figured out most of the roofing issues although I did change elevations to make it easier.
2.   I have been trying to do the ‘wall properties’ thing all day.  I’ve been going to the 4” Exterior wall element making a new element then editing it to add to the external side ‘opening trim’, ‘baseboard trim’ and window and door sills.  Although they are all in the element model, and colored vividly for test purposes, it seems like the SW will only generate one trim.  I’ve tried lots of combinations but none seem to work, for example I see the bright red baseboard on the element list sample image, but only the green opening trim shows up in the test building.
3.   I may not understand the ‘replace’ command.  If I edit my new wall to change a trim color then select the wall and enter ‘replace’ I get the chance to select the replacement.  If I select the same wall name it does not seem to replace the wall (the color displayed does not change to the new color in the element list.) But if I change it to a completely different wall, then change it again to the original name the new color does show up.
4.   I have a need for a triple casement window.  (Three single left-side-hinged casement windows.)  When I put the three windows in a wall, squeezed together so there is no wall between them,  then the trim is still  applied to the inside seams.  Is there a way to create a new category of windows, ‘multiple unit casements’ where the displayed entries would have 3, 4 or 5 unit casements that created only one opening?
5.   I noticed that the 2 x 4’11” single casement has the panes pushed toward the outside while the 4 x 4’11” double casement have the panes pushed toward the inside.  All measurements in the ‘details’ section are identical.  That seems to be a drafting error but can it be corrected?
6.   I’ve been playing with modeling the terrain but so far I don’t get it.  I’ve played every bit of the landscaping and terrain training video several times but so far nothing seems to come out looking like what I see on the ground. 
a.   What file format should be used for an imported contour map?
b.   Is there any terrain treatments that look like fields and forest? 
c.   How do you keep track of where the terrain zero level is?  Is there a way to create section views through terrain?
d.   Is there any way to put in a retaining wall then cut out the ground on one side? On a contour map that would mean several contour lines converge on the length of the wall but I can’t see how to manually move contour lines to get that effect.  I also can’t seem to get the retaining wall to follow the terrain and there does not seem to be ‘stone wall’ type retaining wall.  Can one be created and of those operations be done?
e.   I have to put the first floor building sections on about 10 levels and then have 2 or 3 stories over the 1st floor units.  How do I make the terrain cut around all those first floor
f.   How do I control the uphill boundary between a slope and a hill or plateau? 
7.   Many of the houses in this area are sided with vertical grooved plywood.  I could not find that material anywhere.  And even if I had found it I could not see how to add it to any existing wall.  Just how much of element parameters can be changed?  (Also what is the difference between and exterior and a shed wall?

Tom B


* January 07, 2013, 07:54:12 AM
I'll try on a couple of simpler points:

2-3 - You need a new materials element for the casing and a new wall element for testing (see pictures). In larger picture I can replace the blue peice with red or I can select all similar and turn all of the red blue but I can't change both blue and red at once because they aren't similar with the different colours done this way.

4. Edit a casement window to increase the number of horizontal panels and you get a triple or more

5. If you put in a window from the outside the panes are out, put in from inside - in. You can change by right clicking and using "flip opening"

7. Under wood there are some vertical panels.

Good Luck,
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 08:00:46 AM by Abhann »


* January 07, 2013, 09:05:01 AM
Thanks for the quick reply Abhann.  On changing wall/window stuff I see where you are coming from.  I was trying to follow the Allen route (I think) where I customized a wall element with baseboard, door and window trim and sills.  Somewhat surprisingly, nothing really worked all day yesterday but when I started the SW this morning everything sort of fell into place and all the trims worked.  It must relate to needing to close down the program then restart it to get the library changes properly instantiated.  The triple casement worked exactly as you described and I've already put it into the model.  I did not think I had put windows in differently but I must have.  I was probably trying too many things at once.

Where did you find the vertical plywood material and how could it be used?  I found under the 'wall-appearance-select' a vertical siding but it had no lines.  Then I tried adding a line pattern to it but when I put it on the building it was just a featureless flat surface. (And I did restart the SW to see if that effected the test.)



* January 07, 2013, 09:41:42 AM
Hi Tom,

I had already written this and you replied before I posted it so it may not address exactly your latest reply to Abhann.

Below my earlier reply:

I will add a couple of further points to those already covered by Abhann.

2-3  What you need to do if you want to replace the wall with one using a different colour trim is first to create (for example) 3 new walls, one with red trim, another one with Blue trim and a thirsd one with green trim. Now when you right click and change the wall you select Replace and choose the 'red trim wall' or the 'blue trim wall' or the 'green trim wall'. You need a separate wall for each colour to use the Replace option the way you want to do.

6a. Use an image file JPG or BMP or a 2D DXF.

6b. Not sure what you mean by Terrain "treatments"? Do you mean grass etc?  If so you will find them under Landscape Materials. You can also add in your own photos of grass and low growing plants. You could not very well use a "forest" image as trees are vertical of course not on the ground. Use the Trees and plants for that.

6c. Setting / Program Settings / Terrain if where the Terrain level is and the default is zero.  Anything you do to the Terrain will build on zero unless you enter a minus figure. You can move the whole terrain, whatever its shape, up or down to suit the building, by changing the default setting. The normal Section tool will create a section through the Terrain also.

6d. If you drag the mouse over the Terrain you will see the countour lines that you have drawn (presumably) using the Plateau tool. Once you see the countour lines select the one you want and drag the nodes to where you want and repeat the process with the other lines so the all align along you retraining wall line. It is not possible to get this truely vertical - you sometimes have to infill using the Floor tool and give it the same texture as your Terrain. Floors can be any shape thickness or texture but cannot slope. 
If you need a Stone wall just change the texuture on the Appearnce tab - there are dozens of Stone textures in the Materials Library that can be used on walls.

6e. By default the Terrain is cut around the Ground Floor location. If you have multiple locations that are affected then you could simply create a new one and draw a wall the shape you want to cut out and just use the View Filter to turn that wall off.

6f. Sorry but I do not understand this question. Normally, I only use the Plateau tool. If you have a contour plan then the Plateau is all you should need. The only other tool I use (rarely) is the Slope but only if the site is just one single direction slope. The plateau does all the rest. If there is a hollow area in the terrain, then just use the Plateau with a negative dimension.

7. Under Siding and Wood there are dozens of panelling/siding images. Any can be rotated to be vertical. On the Appearance Tab of Wall Properties you can change the texture for the Exterior, Right side interior, left side interior and openings. The Exterior surface will only appear on walls where all walls join to make a continuous unbroken outside surface. Anything in Wall Properties can be changed. There is no difference between a shed wall and any other wall - you just set the wall Properties to what you want them to be.

Hope that helps,


Allan Chesney,
Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia

TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Pro V16.0.C1.901
Envisioneer Construction Suite V9.1.2.1234
TurboCAD V17 Professional

* January 07, 2013, 01:02:49 PM
Thanks to both of you for the help.  For me this has been like trying to take a sip of water from a firehose, but I realize that is what I needed to to do to get this model working by Jan 19.  Now I'm going to put my head down and just go at it. 

I found the stone and the vertical wood paneling.  Its all a bit more processed than what is used in my mountain area, but for now it will have to work.  For right now I can't put in a photo of meadow or a rock wall because everything is covered in snow, but maybe next summer I will have time to learn that process.



* January 07, 2013, 01:19:13 PM
Finally found time to sort my BIM files into catalogs and found some stuff - better read some old threads on catalogs and BIM's if you want to use them or you'll end up with a mess, I sure had one :)

Both from GreenHome3D website:

Pre-made multi-casements: Jen-Weld Windows

Vertical exterior panelling: Hardie

Sounds like you're making progress, way to go!

« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 01:23:27 PM by Abhann »


* January 08, 2013, 02:03:43 AM
I found the stone and the vertical wood paneling.  Its all a bit more processed than what is used in my mountain area, but for now it will have to work.  For right now I can't put in a photo of meadow or a rock wall because everything is covered in snow, but maybe next summer I will have time to learn that process.

Suggest you search around www as there are many sites for 3D models and textures; often Google will find what you want;  such as search by "images" and the common name for your textures. Or search for free stone textures.

 This forum has some links posted; try a search within this forum (look near top of page) for textures or for other help as many people using this SW run into similar problems and the solutions are posted here.


* January 08, 2013, 07:55:36 AM
Hi Tom,

For right now I can't put in a photo of meadow or a rock wall because everything is covered in snow, but maybe next summer I will have time to learn that process.

Actually changing the background photo is a simple process. Just go to Settings / Program Settings / Background and choose an image that is there or right click in that images list and Add your own photo.

When you can get a photo of the siding and stone you want, post it here and we can turn it into a texture for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. The photo must be taken at right angles to the surface.

Hope you are enjoying the snow! We have been experiencing day after day of 40+ degrees Celsius (105 degrees F) for the last few weeks and more to come apparently. One place today had 50 C (122 F)! A bit of snow would be great at the moment!! Guess it would last long!! ;D


Allan Chesney,
Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia

TurboFloorPlan Home and Landscape Pro V16.0.C1.901
Envisioneer Construction Suite V9.1.2.1234
TurboCAD V17 Professional

* April 02, 2013, 03:27:26 PM
I’ve created my big building model (it’s too big to upload) and now I’m trying to create models in different color schemes.  (As was suggested, I made custom elements for walls, windows and doors  but because of slight differences from floor to floor or with siding type or with trim I have about 100 top level elements used from 1 to 60 times each.)  Just editing the color of all the elements takes most of a day. I tried making a new copy of custom elements in the catalog, i.e. creating a brown group a maroon group, etc., then duplicating all original elements into in each group.  However it gets very confusing because the hierarchy of elements does not separate well.  For example I just found when I change the window jam to brown for one first floor element it also appears in what I though was the completed maroon model.   I ignored that problem and tried to select a first floor wall and then replace it with a first floor wall from a different group, i.e. one with a different color trim.  The replace action seemed to focus on the element name and use the first element with a matching named rather than the element in the selected group.  (I know that’s not clear but it’s hard to explain and it did not do what hierarchical directories are supposed to do so it did not help me.)

Now I’m thinking about: (1) Creating 4 catalogs where each catalog duplicates custom elements except with a different color scheme.  Additionally I will make four copies of the model.  (2)Then I can open a model / catalog pair and spend a half day doing ‘select all similar’ and ‘replace’ from the new catalog.  (Is there a way to direct a model to just refresh all the included elements from the current catalog that does not involve hundreds of ‘select all similar’ and ‘replace’ operations?)

Before I spend another two days on a dead-end, two more questions: (1) will it work?  (2) is there a better way?

I'm sorry for asking so many questions.  I do appreciate the answers and boy do I wish I never volunteered for this task.  Its clearly too big for an early project and probably too big for a volunteer effort (3months and counting)