How to Use the “Model Options” Tool in MiTek to Increase Productivity – Part 1

Today we’re going to look at the Model Options tool in MiTek Sapphire. Utilizing this incredible tool is certain to enhance productivity on designs that—in this case—share the same wall layout but have different roof elevations. There are many varied uses for this tool that are worth exploring so don’t consider this article an exhaustive treatment of the tool. It is more of a “get to know” type article and in future articles we will dig a bit deeper.

Utilization of this tool will allow a component designer to:

  • Remove redundant effort in structure and engineering
  • Allow labeling across different model options to avoid discrepancies
  • Allow for quick adjustment of walls, planes, etc. while maintaining a uniform design cohesiveness
  • Allow the base model, options, and truss .TRE files to share the same folder

Instructions on the use of the Model Options tool

This tool normally sits unused in the job tree. If you click on the job tree in MiTek and scan down the list you will see a line that reads “Options (Active: Base Model)”.


We will use the job tree for the creation of options and navigating between the options. Base model is what it sounds like. It is your benchmark or template from which your “options” will be created. Because you are making copies from the base model make sure you do as much of the legwork as you can with it so that you avoid replicating effort later on.

Here is our base model designed and labeled:


Creating different elevations in the same job

After the base model is fully designed and engineered, right-click on the “Options (Active: base model)” and select “Add Option”. Name the option whatever is relevant for quick reference. For this example, I will label it “Single Hip” in the properties.


Then I will repeat those exact same steps and create a second option labeled “Double Hip”. These new options will then show the in the job tree. What I have told the program to do is copy the base model 2 times, but to keep all the files in the same job folder.


To navigate between the options that were created and the base model, just double-click on the title in the job tree. The model that’s text that is bold is the active model. Right-click on the options for more functions.

Adjusting the base model layout to the unique elevations

When we double-click on “Single Hip” the first thing we notice is that the “Single Hip” model is highlighted in blue. This signifies that it is unchanged from the base model.


I went ahead and made the modification to the model per the new elevation and after changing the gable end into a stepdown hip condition, the blue highlighting isn’t on the new trusses. You’ll notice the new hip trusses and jacks don’t have any labeling yet. I’ll wait until I make changes to the other option to label them, as there may be similarities or alike trusses that can be combined. In the next image you will see the differences.


Here is the 3D view that shows the same highlighting.


Next, repeat the same steps in the “Double Hip” model.

Labeling the trusses in the new elevations

After making all the changes to both options we are now ready to label the trusses. To perform this task, select: Label Trusses>New>Label Across Options.


With proper configuration of your MiTek default settings, the labeling should continue in sequential order. The key here is to plan ahead and think this process through. The program will label the trusses in the order they are input into the layout. In this example, the hip trusses picked up the “A” series labeling where the base model trusses left off. As you can see, I put it in as a hip condition and the #1 hip setback girder was the first placed on the layout. Notice that all the similar jacks were labeled the same. This is especially useful once we get into engineering these jobs.


Engineering the trusses for the new elevations

Once we have verified out plans to ensure compliance and have double-checked everything in 3D, it’s time to engineer. If we are satisfied that our designs are ready for importing to engineering, we have a couple of additional steps that must be pointed out that we do not normally have to take on a regular job.

First, we’ll right click on the base model in job properties and click “Solve Site Specific”.


This creates a new .mmdl file option in the same location as the base model. We will do this step twice. One for each option.


Once this is complete, you are now ready to open these as new jobs.


All set!

From there navigating through the jobs will be exactly the same as you are used to (tabs on the bottom left of your screen like normal). The only difference being is that they now all share the same folder. This will allow your company to build the same trusses from the same engineering seal for different model designs. This not only reduces your cost, but it also increases your design productivity!

In the next installment for this series, we will delve a little deeper into the job folder itself and its organization.

If you managed to stay awake through this I’m sure you realize the incredible power of this tool. If you fell asleep, well, I hope you had a good nap… scroll back up so you can see what you missed!

Enjoy playing around with this tool and let us know how you have used it, or plan to use it in the future.

Stay tuned for Part 2.