Visual Assemblies Overview

A visual assembly is composed of a collection of cost items that have calculations built in to calculate the actual quantity and costs of the cost items that make it up. The number of visual assemblies available depends on the system you purchased. There are over 40 different types of visual assemblies available. For each one of these, you can select different sizes, cost items, and values to generate an infinite number of visual assemblies you can save in your catalogs and estimates.

Visual assemblies work the same as all other cost items, except they have a wizard that steps you through creating the visual assembly. You can move, copy, delete, and edit visual assemblies the same way you edit other cost items in the catalog and estimate.

You build visual assemblies using a wizard format, which walks you through entering the dimensions of the visual assembly and selecting cost items that make up the visual assembly. The main difference between visual assemblies and list assemblies is that visual assemblies have calculations built in. For example, a visual assembly for a concrete slab calculates the volume of concrete required for the slab based on the length, width, and thickness of the slab. You don't need to calculate the volume. In this example, the visual assembly can also calculate reinforcing quantities. You can change the quantity of a visual assembly and it will recalculate without opening.

Click to expand the assembly. The expanded assembly appears highlighted in blue and its members are highlighted in light blue. Click to collapse the assembly.

A part of a visual assembly is a piece, measurement, or method used to build the assembly. For example, a part of a concrete wall is the type of concrete needed. A part is selected using either a cost item or a value.

A cost item is a part of a visual assembly that has a cost value assigned to it. A cost item can be the cost of a material, the hourly rate for a worker, or a combination of costs that define the actual cost value of a part of a job. For example, the cost item for the concrete part of a concrete wall might be the type of concrete material used.

A value is a measurement, quantity, or type of part needed for a visual assembly. For example, a value for a wall is the height of a wall, or whether a wall is standard or battered.

Visual assemblies provide preview images of the assembly as you select cost items and values for parts, providing a visual reference to ensure that all the specifications in the plans are added to the visual assembly. They also provide the overall dimensions in the graphic. Note that visual assembly rebar shows dynamically in visual assembly graphic.

Visual assemblies have some of the same basic information you will need to enter, which correspond to the visual assembly pages:

  • Information page

  • Detail pages

  • Openings page – wall assemblies

  • Equipment page

  • Crews page

  • Miscellaneous page

The detail pages that are used to select materials for the visual assembly depend on the visual assembly itself.

Note: The visual assembly Graphics, Labels, and Dimensions features can be turned on or off.