Instructions from Video:

To quantify the materials required for an element, you attach an assembly to the object. For example, when you draw a wall, you assemble the materials like drywall, mud, tape or paint in the definition of the wall so they quantify when you draw the wall.

For this tooltip we will look at the assemblies and how variables are used to quantify elements. We will use walls as an example.

Select Insert>Walls>Walls or select the Walls icon under the Building tab.

In the catalog panel, select the Interior Framed Partitions Folder and then the Wood Framed sub folder, then select the 2×6 Garage/House Wall. Right click and select Edit Element.

The Walls(Catalog) dialog box will appear. Select the Quantity tab.

Here the assembled materials to quantify are listed on the right. The products are arranged in groups, like individual shopping carts, and are defined by the blue title.  Each product in the group has an associated formula and unit of measurement. Let us look deeper at the drywall formulas and variables. Select the assembly group and then click the Edit button.

The Assembly dialog box appears. Here various assembly groups, or shopping carts can be selected to quantify the items that are contained in the assembly group. To edit one of the groups, to add more products or change their formulas, right click on the group and select Edit Assembly.

The Edit Assembly dialog box appears. Here the name of that group is at the top and the associated products that it holds is listed below. Each listed product has a formula beside it. Click on the formula and a button will appear, click on the button to edit the formula.

The Define Formula dialog lets you define or edit a formula for an assembly. Formulas are mathematical equations (e.g. Count x Price) that are used to calculate a value (e.g. Cost).

In the Define Formula dialog box there are a list of Variables. The available variables vary according to the element type. For example, if you are defining fields for a door, variables such as Count, Height and Width will be included in the list. For a wall you are likely to see variables such as Exterior Wall Area and Interior Wall Area. You will notice, for our example wall item, that there is Area, Exterior Wall Area and Interior Wall Area. All three are different.

Area is the area of the wall from its center point. It looks at the 3D wall and automatically calculates the area of the wall along its centerline.

Exterior Wall Area, recognizes that the exterior face of a wall can sit lower or higher than the stud wall and you would, therefore, need more sheathing, or finish product like siding or brick. Under the Basic tab of a wall you can define a Lower Exterior Face and Raise Exterior Face value to accommodate the finish materials height and changes made there directly affect the exterior wall area. Exterior wall area matches the exterior wall finish face so you get the correct quantity.

Interior Wall Area is the area of both sides of an interior wall so you can calculate the drywall required on both sides.

But what if you want only one product on one side of an interior wall? You can use the generic “Area” variable, or you can take the formula equation and divide by 2 as we did in this example. One side of the wall has ½” drywall and one side has 5/8” drywall, so the Interior Wall Area was divided by two for each product.

It is important to note that the software only knows the variables listed. You cannot just type a word for a variable, it must be in the list for it to be recognized and correlated back to the 3D element. It is also recommended that you click on the list to add the variable to your formula. If you type it instead and make a spelling error, it will not recognize the variable.  Variables are specific to the type of element that you selected, and you can only use those listed to define a formula.

Using the variables, and the operators, you can define a formula to precisely count the amount of material you need when you insert an element.