Should I import, simplify or re-draw my geometry for Sefaira?

I have a model now how do I get it into Sefaira?

One of the most asked questions is what level of geometry is required for analysis in Sefaira. More often than not, the user has an existing model and is deciding whether to simplify what has already been created for other purposes or to start again and create their own geometry.

The short answer is that neither is ideal but we will elaborate on both the ideal use case and what happens in the real world.

First, The Ideal Case

  • A simple conceptual model is created following the with perfect understanding of the trade off between speed and complexity.
  • This model uses the Sefaira Realtime Plugin within the modeling environment to inform the design from the first penstroke i.e. before form, facade, zoning, systems are fixed,
  • The model is then uploaded to the Sefaira Web Application for further analysis and sharing among the design team.

This workflow allows collaboration between architect and engineer at the earliest stage of the project and uses analysis to inform the design rather than validate it. 

Next, The Real World

In a lot of cases the model will already exist and the target is to check something specific or inform a design decision as quickly and as accurately as possible. In this case, the general options in order of preference would be;

  1. Request an earlier, less detailed model from the author which complies with the Sefaira modeling guidelines,
  2. Simplify the existing model to conform to the guidelines,
  3. Request support from a Sefaira team member to learn how to simplify the model yourself,
  4. Quickly re-draw the geometry in SketchUp or Revit,
  5. Try to import another format (RhinoMicrostation, .ifc and ArchiCAD, etc) into SketchUp or Revit and then into Sefaira

There is clearly a difference between the ideal case and the real world. There are many ways to alter or create new geometry for use in Sefaira bearing in mind that more detail does not always mean more accurate design decisions. The general checklist for what is most important in the Sefaira model is;

  • Floor area,
  • Context and shading,
  • Weather file information,
  • Area and orientation of glazing,
  • Occupancy patterns

And what is not as important in the Sefaira model;

  • Internal walls,
  • Geometric details - window frames, ramps, curved walls, context detail, etc,
  • Thickness and build up of walls and floors,
  • Holes or overlaps in geometry,
  • Internal interaction between zones
  • Furniture, stairs, interior details, etc..

This means that a model with the correct floor area and roughly drawn context will produce similar results to one with a lot of detail drawn or a lot of time spent checking for holes/overlaps caused by re-drawing or export/import of file types between other softwares. A lot of relative-result analysis can be done without carrying the detail of the final model.

TIP: If you want to watch videos on how to prepare your model in SketchUp or Revit, visit these articles:

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