While our pre-built assemblies support most workflows, you may need to expand them to include new items for your trade or build a brand new assembly to represent a unique building condition or material system. This article explores your options for customizing an assembly.


Topics

  1. Customize an Assembly

    1. Copy a STACK Assembly

    2. Create a STACK Assembly

  2. Ways to Expand an Assembly

    1. Create Item Groups

    2. Add New Items to an Item Group

    3. Add New Items to Required Items

  3. Unit of Measurement Mismatches


Customize an Assembly

There are two ways to customize an assembly:

  1. Copy an existing STACK assembly.

  2. Create your own assembly.

Copy a STACK Assembly

Existing STACK assemblies listed in your account cannot be modified. Instead, you can copy an existing assembly and customize from there. The copied assembly will have the same items, the same structure, and the same formulas! We recommend this method for when you only need to add a few more items.

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To start:

  1. Go to the Assemblies tab in the top right corner of STACK.

  2. On the left menu, find the STACK assembly you would like to copy.

  3. Click on the assembly name to open the assembly.

  4. Click Save As.

  5. Select the folder you wish to save the copied assembly to.

TIP #1 We recommend to alter the name of the copied assembly to differentiate from the existing STACK assembly. Otherwise, when you search for an assembly by name, all options will appear, making it difficult to distinguish between your copy and the original.

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Create Your Own Assembly

If you'd rather start from the beginning, you can create your own assemblies too! By creating your own assembly, you have more control over the structure, which items you include, and even the formulas of each item. We recommend this method for when customizing a STACK assembly would be more effort.

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To start:

  1. Go to the Assemblies tab in the top right corner of STACK

  2. On the left menu, locate the folder you wish to create the assembly under and click the three dots.

  3. Click on Create an assembly here.

  4. On the middle screen, at a minimum, provide an Assembly name and select an option from the Unit of Measure drop-down list.

  5. Click Add to create the assembly.

TIP #1 You may have noticed the measurement type listed at the end of the assembly name. You may need measure the same building condition in a different way (i.e. measuring from an elevation view instead of a floor plan), and therefore you may need to create multiple assemblies since different measurement types provide different data. Adding the measurement type associated with the assembly helps other members of your team quickly identify which assembly they need to use.

TIP #2 The Unit of Measure field is locked as soon as you create the assembly and cannot be modified afterwards. Remember, the Unit of Measure defines which measurement types we can add this assembly to. If you're unsure which measurement type you may use, select Each from the drop-down list. All measurement types provide count data, so this means we can add the assembly to any takeoff. Don't worry, you can still use a different takeoff variable in the formula of each item!

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Ways to Expand an Assembly

With either method above, you can add more items and create item groups to expand the assembly. These options below are a great way to bring everything you need together in one assembly!

Add New Items to Required Items

You can add STACK items, your own items, or BNi Items to the required items category. Required Items are a great way of eliminating potential errors in item selections since these items will automatically appear on the Item Reports and Estimates every time you use the assembly. Using BNi items will allow you to apply national or regional cost data to your estimates.

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To start:

  1. Click Add Required Items.

  2. Find and select the item(s) you wish to add.

  3. Click Add Items.

TIP #1 Since these items are required, the order that they appear is not relevant. All required items will be displayed automatically on the item Reports and Estimates.

TIP #2 Required items can still have custom formulas too! Custom variables for required items will be listed along with other custom variables for items in item groups, you just won't see the required item on the Edit Assembly screen.

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Create Item Groups

Item groups are a great way to add more options to your assembly, or to also select an item that's conditional upon selecting an item from another group.

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To start:

  1. Click Add Group.

  2. Provide a name for the group.

  3. Click the check mark to save.

TIP #1 We recommend starting the name of item groups that require a selection with "Choose", and groups that are optional with "Add".

TIP #2 Since you can only choose one option from each item group, we recommend creating another item group with the same item list if you need to choose another item from the same group. For example, you need to choose drywall for both sides of the wall, but you're installing different types on each side, create two item groups - one named Side 1 and the other named Side 2 - with the same items to represent each side of the wall.

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Add New Items to an Item Group

You can add STACK items, your own items, or BNi items to any item group, and you can add the same items in several item groups in the same assembly.

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To start:

  1. Click Add Items to Group.

  2. Find and select the item(s) you wish to add.

  3. Click Add Items.

TIP #1 The order you select items will be the order they appear in the item group.

TIP #2 You can use the arrow button to the right of each item to reorder the list.

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Unit of Measurement Mismatches

In order for data to compute properly on your estimates, the items you add to your assembly must have a unit of measurement that matches/is compatible with the assembly unit of measurement.

For example, adding an item with a sq ft unit of measurement to an assembly with a lin ft unit of measurement would cause an error on your estimates because the assembly would be missing the second dimension needed to compute square feet.

There are also some cases where item and assembly units of measurement don't match but still compute properly. For example, if the item unit of measurement is linear feet and the assembly unit of measurement is square feet, STACK can calculate the linear feet of the item by taking the perimeter of the polygon used to measure the assembly.

The table below shows item and assembly unit of measurement matches and acceptable “mismatches.”

In cases where the item and assembly units of measurement don't match and aren't an acceptable "mismatch," you can create a custom formula to provide the additional data needed to avoid errors on your estimates.

Acceptable Mismatches - Assembly / Item Units of Measurement

Acceptable Mismatches - Assembly / Item Units of Measurement Table

The Y cells in the table show the item and assembly unit of measurement combinations that work together without the need for custom formulas.

The N cells indicate unit of measurement combinations that will prompt error messages (example below) on the assembly information screen and produce a ZERO Qty on your estimates unless you create a custom formula.

Assembly / Item Units of Measurement Error Screenshot

More on Items and Assemblies

What is an Item?

Import Items Into Your STACK Item Database

What is an Assembly?

Working with Assembly Formulas

Mastering Custom Formulas

Excel Functions in Formulas


If you need additional assistance, please contact us.

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