Occasionally you may encounter drawings that use a single symbol for different items.

A good example of this is wall mounted socket outlets vs DADO trunking mounted socket outlets.

In both cases the socket outlet symbol used may be the same, but, because they have different installation and costing requirements, they need to be counted separately.

Why is this a problem?

This is tricky because once you make a selection of the socket, Countfire’s matching algorithm will find all other socket outlets that look the same, whether they’re on trunking or not.

In the clip above, you can see the socket outlet symbol is the same across the entire drawing, and when a selection is made, Countfire’s automatic matching algorithm finds all instances of the socket outlet. However, because some of the sockets are located on trunking, they need to be counted separately as different items. 

How can I work around this?

There are two approaches:

  1. Differentiating symbols
  2. Using demarcations.

Differentiating symbols

This involves using elements or parts of the drawing that aren’t generally related to the specific symbol you’re trying to count but can be used to tell Countfire you want to count it separately.

  1. Copy the existing symbol description’s name to your clipboard (Shortcut = Highlight & Ctrl + C).
  2. Create a new symbol description.
  3. Paste the existing symbol description’s name in as the name for your new symbol description (Shortcut = Highlight & Ctrl + V).
  4. Add a suffix to describe how this symbol is different (e.g. “On Dado”).
  5. Make additional selections, including elements that make those selections different from the base symbol.

In the clip above, you can see a new symbol description is created with the suffix “On Dado”. Then, additional selections are made which include parts of the actual DADO trunking, which Countfire then uses to count those items separately.

Using demarcations

This involves counting the different symbols as one item and then adding demarcation areas to split the different symbol types out into separate columns in the Excel spreadsheet.

  1. Add a demarcation area covering the entire drawing.
  2. Add an additional demarcation area covering any symbols you need to count separately.

In the clip above, you can see all symbols are counted as one thing (IE: they’re all just counted as “Socket Outlets”) and then two demarcation areas are added, one to cover the specific symbols located on DADO trunking, and another to cover the rest.

Which approach should I choose?

This depends both on the design of your drawings, and how you want your quantities represented in the Excel spreadsheet.

Pros and cons — Differentiating symbols

Pro: Within the Excel spreadsheet, two separate line items will be created, each representing one of the symbol types. This simplicity within the Excel spreadsheet is often desirable.

Con: Depending on how your drawings have been designed, it might not always be possible to make selections that are different, and in those cases, using demarcations may be the only available option.

Pros and cons — Using demarcations

Pro: You don’t need to make any additional selections and are maximising Countfire’s automatic counting function. 

Con: You need to add relevant demarcation areas, which, depending on the number and extent of those areas, can take additional time to complete.

Con: Within the Excel spreadsheet, a single line item will be created, and then multiple columns added for each item you’ve split out (according to your demarcation areas). This added complexity within the Excel spreadsheet may be undesirable.

Learn more

How to: Count single symbols that represent multiple items.

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