Terrain Import and moving your design

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I successfully loaded survey data and moved and rotated my design to the site location geospacially using the "Area Edit" tool.  Now there are all sorts of issues arising....such as walls that are being reported as not being at the correct angle, roof framing that isn't able to connect and just general drafting issues (among others).  So, the other obvious choice is to move and rotate the survey data to be where the house is designed...but of course you lose all the X/Y coordinates....everything remains relative, but has no field value.


It would be really handy if there were a "View Rotate" capability which would allow the user to see the house and site "square to the screen" (and allow the software to calculate correctly behind the scenes) but leave the house design "data" in its true site orientation....all the survey data would be available for query (offering correct information) but also be oriented properly.  Seems like a very basic CAD function that I've not found in HDP....


Any work arounds??  Does this exist in Chief Architect Premier??


Thanks in advance.

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Are the house walls parallel to the edges of your computer?


If you rotated the house, the rotation could be causing your problem. 


If you have a copy of the plan saved without the terrain, and house is aligned with your screens edges, open it and the current plan with the terrain. Copy the terrain and paste it on the copy of the plan that is correct.


Rotate the terrain to locate the house correctly on the terrain. 


Save it under a new name. This should resolve you issue. 

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Thanks for your thoughts.  I did the house design with the walls parallel and perpendicular to the system axis (yes, parallel to the screen).  All worked well.  The problem is that I have site design (drainage) around the house among other things (like utilities) that need to keep the geospatial coordinate system intact in order to export coordinates for stakeout.  If I use your approach, then the coordinates would be lost.


The house design rotation is no doubt the problem.   The software should appropriately account for any element rotation when it runs its algorithms. 



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Hi - I  have had similar issues where I have designed walls that are not rectilinear to the X and Y orthographic directions too;

Apparently the software is setup for nicely placed walls at 90 degrees to each other - I was told.

Following a one-on-one computer lesson with the Chief Architect gurus - I learnt about prescribed or 'Allowed' angle settings in the Plan Defaults.

This tells the software that these strange angles, or rotated angles are ok.

It sorted out my problem - it may assist in yours.

See Plan Defaults image.


I believe it is better to rotate the site to suit the location of the building - and not rotate the model. 


Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 3.19.20 pm.png

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Robborito - thanks for your thoughts....i consulted the reference manual and it indicates that the "Allowed Angles" setting is used when the "Angle Snaps" are enabled.  This would be for selecting (snapping) to elements and setting elements.  The smallest setting is 1/2 degree which is OK, but not precise.  I set an optional setting at 0.5 degrees and used the "Area Edit" command in conjunction with the "Transform" command to move and rotate the building to the site.  I first rotated the building at its current location and that's when everything went downhill.  The first thing I noticed was that the roof trusses that I had placed across the long axis of the building were now redefined to be parallel to the long axis.  Walls then started giving me warnings about inconsistent angles.


Unfortunately, designs will often start (floorpan programming, visuals of the elevations and general structure) long before the survey data is received.  There needs to be a way to move the design to any precise angle and any precise position in space to accommodate the survey data.  Moving the survey data (terrain) to accommodate the building only serves to provide a visual tool for design, not a tool that results in coordinates or angles that are sufficient for construction documents.


Thanks again for your thoughts.


Does anyone know if Chief Architect has this issue?  I've been contemplating the upgrade (steep as it might be) but if it doesn't solve this issue then maybe I need a different solution....advice appreciated.

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I think what you are looking for is the civil engineering part of the project and not the architectural. Most plot plans that you see will have the building shown in relation to the survey information. Architectural works best when the plans are drawn along the x and y axis on paper. I don't know of too many contractors who would want to lay out a plan on the hood of their truck at some oddball angle to try to measure something they need off the plan. If Chief Architect were to try to make the program allow for every conceivable angle that you want, there would no room left in the program for the building design information. Let the civil engineers work their magic and their information can mesh with the architectural for a complete project to give the client.

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I respectfully disagree with your perspective.  Let me explain.


The issue is one that differentiates a "view" of the design work and the actual functioning of geometry used behind the scenes to create the design.  If you examine the AutoCAD or Bentley based architectural products, they all have the ability to orient the "view" to whatever the designer wishes to present on the drawings.  I am in full agreement with you that no contractor (or anyone else) wants to look at a set of construction documents where the design is oriented in a way that impedes the design intent.  Framing the design in the construction document is a production issue and not a design issue.


In this case, there appears to be no way to rotate design elements to place them in the correct site orientation after the fact.  In the products noted above, the orientation of any design elements is completely independent of the "view" orientation.  In other words, the design data is maintained and utilized in a separate database.  So, in effect, you can rotate elements to any angle desired (quite precisely) since the rotation means changing values in the design database.  When you rotate (or for that matter, scale or move) views of the design to orient them on the plan sheet (layout in HDP) there is no modifications of the design database...it simply is an interface that applies the appropriate routines to visualize the elements in the plan.  Even when selecting those elements in the plan (layout), you can query real world coordinates, bearings and angles.


I'm not quite sure I understand your comment about "CA were to try to make the program allow for every conceivable angle that you want, there would be no room left in the program for the building design information."  It concerns me that this may be an issue with precision management within the software.


Really appreciate your thoughts.  I've had the great opportunity to work in the AEC industry for the past 40 years and was hoping that HDP would be a low cost tool that I could use to accomplish my personal home design and associated site work.  Don't get me wrong...HDP does some really cool things....it got my wife and I through the floorpan programming process and offers some nice visualization capabilities, but I need to produce construction drawings which doesn't appear to be one of its strengths.


All the best.

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I've been using this program since 2013 and with over 300 projects drawn and construction documents created and built from, I'd have to disagree with you. If you're looking for site plans too, then this probably isn't the program for you and maybe AutoCAD is something for you to look at. I don't know what Premier does for site plans, so maybe I am incorrect in my thinking, yet I can't say I have seen anywhere that it professes to do site plans other than via imported coordinates from another source.

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Thanks for your thoughts.  So, when you complete your construction documents, are they only inclusive of the building and then you pass that (or perhaps just a foundation outline) to a Civil Engineer to perform the site grading?  Seems like the architect would have great interest in the views out of the house and its appearance on the site.  The terrain tools in HDP seem to move in that direction, but as you suggest, doesn't support the construction plans very well.


The site design in my project is not very difficult and I could simply do the grading and the like by hand calc and then display that as offset/elevation/slope to the house.


Yet the basic problem still remains about rotating the design resulting in corrupt trusses, walls, etc.  I have CA looking into this and will post their results.


Good dialogue....thanks.

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Since my projects are residential, often the builder will notate the location on a plot plan that is drawn from a new survey most towns require to be submitted along with the permit application. For the little bit of landscape design I put on the plans, I use the built in elevation building part of the program and go from there. I adapt it to the x-y coordinates as the plan is drawn and it's very simple. Walls stay straight, trusses go in the correct direction, angles are mostly eliminated (except for interiors if needed), and all is right with the world and comes out just fine.

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Based upon a survey of the property on which you wish to build, and local building code requirements, one can manually generate the existing and finish grade elevation views of the building as you have stated. Use  X, Y, and Z data you obtain from your first floor view, survey and and finish terrain/contours.


As you probably already know, the property survey will provide data for the existing grade, and the appearance you or your client desires plays a large part in the finish grade and appearance of the building on the lot.  If the property is in an allotment, uniformity with the neighboring houses will need to be considered, as well as surface drainage.  Sometimes the developer of the allotment, the builder, or the grading contractor can provide input for the finish grade.


Attached is a *.pdf  site plan of my own house drawn 3 years ago with HDP 2016 used as a part of the con-doc set. The lot is tilted and has irregularly shaped boundaries, keeping the house's exterior walls aligned with the edges of the computer screen . Utilities are marked, and surface drainage was sketched within. Utilities located under the driveway were abandoned.


All of the data our county required was drawn on the site plan as shown. If course, where you are located may have totally different requirements, but the concepts are the same.   


A south elevation view shows the existing grade and the finish grade desired, obtained from the process noted above.   Permits were granted and the house is built on the lot pretty much as shown in the drawings.


site plan with stormwater data.pdf

south elevation.pdf

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I was thinking this issue thru a bit further.  Perhaps this will help illustrate my point....


It is possible to create a layout that receives data from the plan file that includes the design completed in one location and the terrain located at its geospacially correct location.  Further, it is possible, after sending "screens" of both areas to the layout, to overlay and rotate.  This is an example of managing the "view" of the design data, not manipulating the design data.  I'm glad to see this capability, but it doesn't solve the issue.


As soon as the design data is rotated, in this case, -19 degrees relative or absolute, the trusses and walls resolve with design failures.  As a designer, I would be concerned that the stability of the design algorithms playing against the design data is volatile when dealing with angles other than 90 or 0 degrees.


As an update, my first response from CA support showed how the design could be moved to the terrain data area.  No issue with that....it's the rotation that is the single issue I'm raising.  For those of you that would like to give it a go, here's the design and terrain in the same file.  I added a CAD block in the terrain area representing where the design needs to reside.  First, display the framing in a perspective view to see what it looks like in its pristine condition.  Then use the "area edit" command to rotate the design....then take a look at the framing.


Thanks again for the dialogue!


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