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How to generate mesh based surfaces in Abaqus using python scripting?


I am trying to generate an element based surface in Abaqus using python scripts. I need to create this surface in order to create an offset layer of solid elements using the offset mesh method in the edit mesh dialogue. It is not possible to use this feature using geometry based surfaces. The surface that I would like to generate is not all in one plane, I think this may add to my difficulty (see image, part). If I were able to generate an element based surface from a geometry based surface this would also work for me as I can easily generate a geometry based surface.

The main difference I can see between surfaces defined based on geometry versus those based on based elements are the sides defined per:
For geometry based surfaces, geometric surfaces are defined here; for element based surfaces, element faces are defined. However, these sides have no further properties, i.e.
mdb.models['Model-1'].parts['Part-1'].allSurfaces['Surf-1'].sides[0] = SIDE1 #(geometry based surface)
mdb.models['Model-1'].parts['Part-1'].allSurfaces['Surf-2'].sides[0] = FACE1 #(mesh based surface)

Element based surfaces are defined using the following commands:
p = mdb.models['Model-1'].parts['Part-1']
f = p.elements
face1Elements = f[140:160]+f[172:192]+f[212:232]+...
face2Elements = f[0:20]+f[60:80]+f[736:756]+...
face4Elements = f[163:164]+...
face5Elements = f[15:20]+f[35:40]+f[55:60]+...
face6Elements = f[1176:1177]+f[1180:1181]+...
p.Surface(face1Elements=face1Elements, face2Elements=face2Elements,
face4Elements=face4Elements, face5Elements=face5Elements,
face6Elements=face6Elements, name='Surf-2')
#: The surface 'Surf-2' has been created (1272 mesh faces).

I am able to identify the elements relevant to the surface; however, I do not know how to identify which of the element faces lies on the desired surface in order to define the surface correctly.

Can anyone tell me how define a surface based on elements as described using python?? Maybe I'm going about this in completely the wrong way. It would be of massive help. Images of the relevent surface attached. Thanks.

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