In the early stages of ship design, compartments need to be defined and arranged to meet functional and operational requirements. Various spaces must be reserved for systems and equipment, such as trunking for pipes, cables and ventilation, major machinery, equipment, and access. All are subject to specific design regulations, such as fire resistance and allowed content.
In later design stages, weights, centres of gravity, numbers of parts, areas, drawing lists, attributes and so on, are all related to the spatial arrangement of the ship. Ease of adjusting spatial subdivisions and automatically updating their dependencies therefore saves time and effort as the design evolves.
A space arrangement is defined by an envelope (typically the shell surface and the upper deck, forming a closed volume) and a number of boundaries derived from the Common Reference Model. The automatically generated spaces can be merged, and spaces from other arrangements, or any closed volumes, can be added or subtracted from the arrangement.