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VisualAnalysis 12.0 Help

Bill of Materials Report

The Bill of Materials report will perform a quick take-off of objects in the VisualAnalysis model. Results of the take-off are displayed in a Report View. Results include calculations of quantities, areas, volumes, and costs. Items included are members, plates, and connections. In addition, forming costs for concrete members and plates may be calculated. Find it under Report | Bill of Materials in the main menu.

Using this Report

The welcome page allows you to choose between either editing the pricing information or customizing and displaying a report. If you choose to edit the pricing information, you will be presented with pricing information for each material group and it's associated structural members or plates. If you choose to customize and display the report, you will be presented ways to customize various aspects of the report.

Editing Pricing Information

This allows you to edit pricing information for members and plates in the current model. The pricing information is organized by materials. The members and plates can be displayed by expanding the material type header in the dialog. The material grouping allows for unique pricing information of various material/shape combinations. For example, a 1" round member made of steel can have a different price than a 1" round member made of copper.

By checking the apply default cost check box under a material group heading a default cost for the material group can be applied to all members and plates in the material group. If the box is left unchecked, each member and plate can be given its own cost.

The pricing information is automatically written to a tab-delimited file named "Material-Prices.txt" in your data files location. You can edit (carefully!), delete, or share this file to another machine.

Material-Prices.txt Format

If you wish to manually edit this file to add some materials, use a plain-text editor like Notepad and add materials with two rows per material. And be very careful, extra characters, lines or missing information could cause the file to become unreadable. For best results, simply replace numbers that are already in the file with different values, and let VisualAnalysis do the rest:

[Material] Material-Name
dp, bc, cc, bmc, cmc, wf, cf, bf, sf


Customizing and Displaying the Report

Customizations and connection/form costs for the report are presented prior to displaying the report. This you to specify what will be included in the report.

Column Alignment

This option allows you to specify which global coordinate axis is vertical. The software assumes the Y-axis is vertical. However, you may want to make the X- or Z-axis vertical. This setting determines where base plate connections are used and distinguishes between beams and columns or walls and slabs when performing take-off calculations.

Included Items

You may include item quantities such as areas, volumes, weights and member or plate counts. You may include calculated costs of items. Connections and form costs can be excluded for all materials by un-checking the connections check box. Connection and form cost information is stored in the data file. Finally, you have the option of reporting only selected items. Selections must be made in VisualAnalysis prior to entering the Bill of Materials tool. If this option is not checked, everything (for each of the selected material groups) is included in the report.

Connections and Forms Cost

Connection and form costs may be edited in the Connections and Forms Cost box. All information for a specific material group can be excluded by disabling the Include this material group check box in the Connections and Forms Cost box. You may also exclude connections and form costs for specific material groups by disabling the Include connections costs check box.

Changing the Report

When you create the report you determine what information is included. You have some control over how the report looks.

Before you create the report you can set fonts, margins, headers and footers, etc. These items are found in Edit | Preferences. These options affect all reports in VisualAnalysis.


The following are potential sources of problems with this tool:

Missing or corrupt "Material-Prices.txt" file

Cost values are calculated based on settings in this file. If this file has been modified manually there could be application errors. If the file is missing, the software will create default prices and generate a new file automatically. This file is normally located in the Data folder, which consists of files that you will want to backup periodically.

Column widths set too small or too large

Depending on the magnitudes of numbers displayed, the column width settings could cause report columns to overlap. If columns are set too wide, lines may wrap around. Both of these problems could make the reports difficult to read.


Check the materials that should be included in the report. Only materials actually present in the model will appear. There is no need to clear check boxes for unused materials.

Align Columns

Select the vertical axis. This field is used to distinguish between beams and columns or walls and slabs. It is also used to locate base plate connection types.


Check this box to include take-off counts, areas, volumes, etc. for items in your model. Clear the box to exclude these counts.

Selected Items

If you have pre-selected items in the model, you can check this box to report only those items. Clear the box to report everything in the model. If nothing was pre-selected, this option is not available.

Wood Board Feet Calculation

The Bill of Materials Tool calculates the volume of wood members and plates in Board Feet. 

What are board feet?

"Board Feet" is a measurement of lumber volume. A board foot is equal to 144 cubic inches of wood. Actually it's easy to calculate using the following formula:  (Thickness x Width x Length) / 144 = Board Feet, where all values are in inches.

How does the BOM tool calculate board feet?

For members, if nominal dimensions are available for the shape, the tool uses these as the thickness and width in the formula above. If nominal dimensions are not available, it uses the shape's Area (defined in the IES Applications property set).

For plates, the tool performs the calculation based on the plate thickness and overall length and width dimensions.