Outline Block

An outline block is created and edited in exactly the same way as a building block but is just a 3-D shape without associated building elements such as walls, floors, roofs, etc.


Because Outline blocks are not part of the model they do not appear in the Navigator panel.


Outline blocks are very useful in the creation of more complicated models. Because they are relatively simple objects, they are much faster to create, copy, move, etc. than conventional building blocks and can be manipulated freely without worrying about intersections. Once the required geometry has been established, outline blocks can be converted to conventional blocks. Outline blocks can also be used as a temporary device to create drawing planes from which building blocks or other outline blocks can be extruded. You can remove all outline blocks from a model by selecting Remove all outlines from the Edit menu.


For example, to create a dormer window, first set the Block type to 'Outline block' and lock the active drawing plane to the front surface of the first floor block by selecting it and pressing the SHIFT key, then draw the base line of the dormer face perimeter:




Create the angle of the dormer pitch using the Protractor:



and then complete the perimeter:



Now drag the dormer perimeter all the way through the main roof block:




Select the dormer block and click on the Divide block tool, making sure that the ‘Cutting method’ on the ‘Drawing options’ data panel is set to ‘Select plane’ and click on the forward facing plane of the main roof block to create a cut in the dormer block in the plane of the roof:




Click again to finish the cut and then select the section of the dormer block that is not required and delete it:





Select the dormer outline block and click on the Convert outline block tool to complete the process:




The finished block after adding openings:



Note: Sometimes when converting outline blocks to component or building blocks you will notice that the new block has a very slightly different size to the original outline block. This can happen when DesignBuilder needs to slightly adjust the size in order to generate a viable zone with 3-D slab surfaces. It is therefore advisable when using outline blocks to create complex geometries to draw and convert the outline blocks individually. This avoids adjacencies between touching outline blocks from getting 'broken' when they are converted 'en-masse'.