This article describes how the Free Area in Front of Components rule works and how you can configure the rule. Although this rule template indicates by its name that it is checking the free area in front of components, it is actually checking a defined volume based on the checked components dimensions in conjunction with any adjustments within the rule. Failures are represented by shading the failed elements projected on to the 2D base of the defined volume.
Free area in front or around component is often required to ensure the products' operability in buildings. With the Free Area in Front of Components rule, you can detect required free areas for maintenance and safety requirements.
This article covers the following topics:
A typical use case for this rule is to investigate an equipment or building element to check free access into an electric cabinet for maintenance or installation. Also, free access on doorways, to ventilation machine, supply and exhaust air vents and pits and manholes for maintenance can be checked.
This rule calculates the defined area in front of the target component. As seen in the rule parameter visualization, the defined area is shown as a box, which can also be configured to extend this area to the left or right side of the target component, depending on the adjustments.
You can select any non-container components to check, typically they are a windows, doors or a specified piece of furniture, such as an electrical closet.
By default the depth checked for each component is defined by the width of the object. This can, however, be configured using the Checked Free Area Dimensions parameters.
In the Parameters view, you can define the checked components and free area dimensions. You can also filter any components which should be allowed in the free area.
In the component table, you can filter the components to be checked. You can select any non-container components, and no specific classification is not required in this rule. You can select properties with specific values to limit the filtering.
You can save the filter for further use by clicking (Save As), or use an already existing filter by clicking (Open).
Checked Free Area Dimensions:
If walls are found near components, only the directions away from walls are checked.
You can select from the following options:
Free Area Width (W): You can give a tolerance value (blue area) for the required width of the free area. By default, it is the same as the component (typically a door or a window) width (green area).
If you set the AW value to 0, it will adopt the width of the components checked. Positive adjustments to the AW parameter will reduce the width of the checked components either side by half the entered value. Negative adjustment values to the AW parameter will increase the width of the checked components either side by half of entered value.
Free Area Depth (D): You can give a tolerance value (blue area) for the required depth. By default, the depth checked is taken from the width of the object (green area).
If you set the AD value to 0, it will adopt the depth of the components checked. Positive adjustments to the AD parameter will reduce the depth of the checked components either side by half the entered value. Negative adjustment values to the AD parameter will increase the depth of the checked components either side by half of entered value.
Free Area Height (H): You can give a tolerance value (AH) to adjust the default height. By default, the height checked is taken from the height of the component.
If you set the AH value to 0, it will adopt the height of the components checked. Positive adjustments to the AH parameter will reduce the default height of the checked component by the value entered. The adjustment will reduce the height from the top and the bottom by half of the value entered. Negative adjustments to the AH parameter will increase the default height checked by the value entered.The adjustment will increase the height from the top and the bottom by half of the value entered.
Minimum and maximum values in the AW, AD and AH parameters:
As explained below, the width of the free area checked is taken from the width of the object. This can be increased or decreased by using positive and negative values in the adjustment areas.
The min and max values are designed for where there is a minimum or maximum value width that needs to be checked. If we have two windows with widths 900 and 1200, they will set the checked area to 900 and 1200 respectively.
By setting the min value, you can ensure a minimum value is checked irrelevant of the width of the component. Therefore a setting of 1000 will ensure that the smaller window of 900 will automatically check 1000 but the larger 1200 unit, as it exceeds the minimum value will still check its 1200 width.
Setting the max value ensures that however wide the window becomes, if it exceeds the maximum value entered, the maximum value is then used.
The same process for AD and AH is adopted. The real use case is the depth checked will by default will be based on the width of the component. This may be undesirable, and uniform depth may be required for all units of differing sizes. Setting the min and max values to the same depth required will ensure the same depth area checked.
Check Both Sides of the Doors and Windows: For doors and windows, this option allows checking both sides rather than only checking in front of.
For doors, In front of will only check the door opening direction, With this option checked, the rule will also check the other side.
This is important as although the door movement will not be affected by elements in this space on the non opening direction of a door, columns, bracing, beams etc found in this area are not desirable.
For windows, this is usually best left to Check Both Sides, as the orientation of the windows is based on the external position, and as such the opening direction of any sash components. Set to Both Sides will check that no other component is fouling the window on either side.
Allow Floating in Front of the Component: If the free area is not required to be centered, the free area can float horizontally to any position, as long as it covers the whole front of the component. This option makes sense only if the free area is larger than the component.
Allow Floating from the Edge of the Component: If the free area is not required to be centered, the free area can float horizontally to any position, as long as it is partly in front of the component. This gives more freedom than the previous option. This option makes sense also when the free area is smaller than the component.
Maximum Free Area Distance From Component: This parameter specifies how much the free area requirement can float away from the front side of the checked component. If this parameter is set to a value greater than 0, the rule searches for a free area that is at most the specified distance away from the front side of the checked component. If such an area is found, then no issue is produced. When this parameter is set to 0, the checking is not affected by this parameter: the free area is checked starting from the front side of the component.
Components Exceptionally Allowed in Free Area:
Here you can filter any components which should be allowed in the free area. You can select properties with specific values to limit the filtering.
Spaces are not taken into account as objects that cannot exist in this defined area.
The wording of the filter should be carefully observed. It stipulates that components that are allowed in the free area, therefore in the filter you need to include these items, not exclude them.
The rule creates an issue for each checked component listed in the filter, if there is any component in the defined area. Issues result shows a visualization of the checked area and the components found in that area.
In the results all components found on that defined are of clearance return a critical issue (). The results state that the component that is too close to checked component.
To specify the critical and low severities for specific components, open the Severity Parameters view and set the conditions in the filter table: