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Big Building Whitepaper

Table of Content
1 2 3 Preface ...............................................................................................................................4 Challenges ......................................................................................................................... 4 Definition of Big Buildings ...............................................................................................4 3.1 3D Polygon Count ................................................................................................... 4 3.2 The Project File size................................................................................................5 3.3 Layout Book Size .................................................................................................... 6 3.4 Team Size ................................................................................................................ 6 3.5 No. of stories ........................................................................................................... 6 3.6 Summary.................................................................................................................. 7 4 Hardware and Software Requirements.......................................................................... 7 4.1 Suggested configuration ........................................................................................ 8 4.1.1 Archicad NetworkKey Servers........................................................................... 8 4.1.2 File Servers.......................................................................................................... 8 4.1.3 Archicad Workstations ....................................................................................... 8 4.1.4 Rendering and Visualization Workstations...................................................... 8 4.2 Memory Requirements ...........................................................................................9 4.2.1 Windows XP Professional.................................................................................. 9 4.2.2 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition ..............................................................9 4.2.3 Mac OS X.............................................................................................................. 9 5 Speed Issues................................................................................................................... 10 5.1 3D Rebuild and Navigation .................................................................................. 10 5.1.1 The Polycount add-on ...................................................................................... 10 5.1.2 How to reduce the 3D model size? ................................................................ 11 5.1.3 Sections and Elevations................................................................................... 13 5.2 Rendering............................................................................................................... 13 5.3 Floor Plan Regeneration....................................................................................... 14 6 Setting up the Project Team ......................................................................................... 14 6.1 Mid-size Office....................................................................................................... 15 6.2 Large Office............................................................................................................ 15 7 The Modeling and Documentation Workflow .............................................................. 16 7.1 Small Projects Single File Concept.................................................................. 17 7.2 Medium Size Projects Model File and Document File Separated ................. 18 7.3 Big Projects Hierarchal File Structure.............................................................. 18 8 Sharing the Project......................................................................................................... 20 8.1 1. Teamwork.......................................................................................................... 20 8.2 2. Hotlinked Modules............................................................................................ 21 8.3 3. Xrefs................................................................................................................... 22 8.4 4. Documentation Separated from the Model File ........................................... 23 8.4.1 Master file Method ............................................................................................ 24 8.4.2 Complex and Distributed methos................................................................... 24 9 Company Standards....................................................................................................... 25 9.1 The Company Template File................................................................................ 25 9.2 Library Management............................................................................................. 25 9.3 Archiving and Data Safety................................................................................... 26 10 Case Studies .............................................................................................................. 26 10.1 Campus Buildings / Orcutt Winslow Partnership.............................................. 26 10.1.1 About the Company ..................................................................................... 26 10.1.2 Project Details............................................................................................... 27 10.1.3 Use of PlotMaker........................................................................................... 27

10.1.4 Use of TeamWork ......................................................................................... 28 10.1.5 Use of Hotlinked Modules ............................................................................ 28 10.1.6 Use of Templates.......................................................................................... 29 10.1.7 Use of Details ................................................................................................ 29 10.1.8 Use of Libraries ............................................................................................. 29 10.2 Offices and Retail Units /John Robertson Architects........................................ 29 10.2.1 About the Company ..................................................................................... 29 10.2.2 Project Details............................................................................................... 29 10.2.3 The Project Workflow................................................................................... 30 10.2.4 For Planning:................................................................................................. 30 10.2.5 For Tender:.................................................................................................... 30

1 Preface
The size and complexity of projects and other important factors like short deadlines or big project teams can significantly influence the design and documentation workflow in an architectural office. To find the most effective Archicad approach for your practice requires lot of experimenting and refining of your working methods. The main goal of this white paper is to provide strategy for using Archicad effectively on big projects. You may also find case studies in this document that illustrate how Archicad can be implemented successfully in large firms. Furthermore it is important to call your attention that the integrated layouting features of Archicad 10 require the complete revision of the documentation workflow even in those firms where Archicad has been used successfully for a long time. We hope that experienced Archicad users will also find useful information in this book.

2 Challenges
What are the possible problems that you have to face when designing big buildings? The project team size Communication with other team members (teamwork) Communication with partners (DWG-DXF) Office organization Document management File size Size of the 3D model (Polygon count) Hardware requirement

3 Definition of Big Buildings


There is no exact definition for which building is big however we can say that the following project attributes have to be carefully examined so that you can find the best Archicad approach: 3D Polygon count File size Layout book size Team size No. of stories

3.1 3D Polygon Count


Too many 3D polygons in the Archicad model can significantly slow down the regeneration of 3D, section and elevation windows that in worse case can freeze Archicad. The 3D polygon limitation of Archicad depends on many factors including the computers memory, the graphic cards memory and the type of the active 3D

window (internal engine, OpenGL, rendering, section/elevation etc.). For the detailed description of Archicads memory requirements please read chapter 4.2. Generally speaking we can say that more that 200.000 polygons results a big model in 3D views and in this case you have to make sure that your computers hardware configuration is suitable for the project. Projects with more then 2 million polygons can be unacceptably slow in 3D and may cause Archicad to freeze. Please note that large polygon count or huge file size not necessary means big buildings. In most of the projects significant part of 3D polygons are generated from library parts. The model of a room interior can easily contain as many polygons as a multistory building if the room is furnished with very detailed GDL objects. Please read chapter 5.1.2 for advice how to limit the polygon count.

3.2 The Project File size


If the project file exceeds a certain size the input-output operations (e.g. save, save as etc.) can be significantly slower. Furthermore the send and receive times in Teamwork will also increase. Again we can say that there is no explicit number to describe big files. The type and number of Archicad elements placed in the model, the number of layouts or the attributes defined in the project can largely influence the file size. According to the feedback that we received from large clients the maximum file size that Archicad 9 and earlier versions could handle easily was about 100-150 MB. If the project file exceeded this size these companies usually divided them into smaller logical parts to avoid any performance drawbacks. They also found that files bigger then 250-300 MB were slow to redraw in 2D and 3D views and in case of TeamWork files the send and receive time increased significantly. The handling of large projects has changed positively in Archicad 10 due to the following new program features: 1. File compression: Archicad 10 can save the plan files in compressed format thus less hard disk space is required for project file storage. 2. Intagrated layouting: The layouting functions of PlotMaker are now available in Archicad 10 with fully compatible user interface and interaction standards. With the integration we eliminated the need for a Background ArchiCAD to manage the update process of placed views on layouts. As a result the update time of views are shortened significantly especially with big projects. Furthermore the workflow of editing placed views on layouts is now much smoother. According to our tests Archicad 10 is able to handle even very big projects that contain the 3D model and the complete documentation in one file. In one of our tests we merged the content of a big PlotMaker 9 file (about 150MB) and a large ArchiCAD 9 project file (about 120 MB) in Archicad 10. We found that the size of the resulting AC10 plan file dropped to 70 MB due to the file compression and the merging of the identical project attributes. More importantly Archicad 10 was able to work smoothly with the project in plan, 3D and layout views. 3. Scalable project setup handling multiple project files: The new user interface provides a transparent overview of hierarchal file structure with multiple model and document files. You can see the structure of all currently running Archicad files of all sessions in the Navigator. This makes it easier to build up the Layout Book and navigate through different files. Layouts can be more easily linked to view data from several source model files.

No matter which Archicad version you are using it is very important to control the size of the project files. See chapter 5.1.3 and 7.3 for advice how to curb file size. The following project elements can extend the file size with tens of megabytes so its highly recommended to purge the unused ones from the project: Sections and elevations High resolution pictures placed on the floor plan and layouts Attributes (materials, fills, line types etc.). Note that the unused attributes can be easily deleted with the Attribute manager Merged DXF/DWG drawings including many lines, fills and polygons

3.3 Layout Book Size


Several layouts in one Archicad project can heavily expand the file size and in case of too many auto rebuild drawings the update process for the entire layout book can be unacceptably slow. You also have to consider that managing 100 drawings from one file could be more complicated then if the drawings were divided into multiple PLN files. Our users experience show that in case of more then 50 -100 layouts its worth to separate the documentation from the model file. This way the documentation team can work independently from the design team. If the number of layouts exceeds 100 we suggest subdividing the documentation into two or more files. For more information about the new documentation concept of Archicad 10 please study carefully the corresponding chapters of the Archicad 10 Reference Guide and the Migration Guide.

3.4 Team Size


Sharing and coordinating the tasks between the project team members is one of the most challenging jobs of the project leader regardless of which CAD software is used in the firm. Graphisofts TeamWork technology offers an effective solution for this problem even though TeamWork has its limitations mainly because of the send and receives times. If this process takes lets say 5 minutes for one team member, it can be easily calculated that in case of 10 team members sending and receiving changes for the entire team would take almost an hour. In addition to that the project leader has to regularly check and approve the changes made in the TeamWork file, which prevents the other team members to sign in during the project is being checked. Thus there seems to be a consensus among our TeamWork users that a maximum of 5-6 users can work effectively on one TeamWork file. If you have bigger team we recommend you to apply other working methods, like the hotlink-TeamWork combination suggested at chapter 7.3

3.5 No. of stories


Designing high rise buildings in Archicad sets the following problems: many drawings needs to be created and maintained in the layoutbook typical stories should be generated automatically from the master floor due to the complex nature of these buildings usually there are many polygons generated in the 3D model

Considering these points we can say that projects with more then 20 stories requires special attention from the project leader and the CAD manager. In case of more the 50 stories you very likely have to divide the project by different stories (e.g. basement levels, entrance level, typical floors etc.) and make a separate model file of the whole building for visualization purpose containing only the most important visible elements.

3.6 Summary
The following spreadsheet gives you a short summary of this chapter. Size is big 200.000-1M Size is critical 2-3 M Solutions 1. Reduce the polygon count. See chapter 5.1.2 2. Split the project file into smaller parts 1. Divide the project into smaller parts 2. Separate the documentation from the model file 1. Separate the documentation from the model file 2. Subdivide the documentation into more files 1. Split the project into smaller parts 2. Combine the TeamWork file with hotlink modules 1. Make a separate model of the whole building for visualization containing only the necessary elements 2. 1. Split the project into smaller parts (e.g. basement levels, typical floors etc.)

3D Polygon Count

Project File Size

100-150 MB

250-300 MB

Layout Book Size

50-100 layouts

200 >

Team Size

4-5

8-10

No. of stories

20-40

100>

4 Hardware and Software Requirements


Before Archicad is implemented in the office the existing infrastructure such as hardware, software, and network solutions, should all be evaluated by the CAD manager. This process is even more critical if the company works with large projects on a regular basis.

4.1 Suggested configuration


4.1.1 Archicad NetworkKey Servers
In case the office is using Archicad network licenses a WIBU key server machine has to be installed. This server has to fulfill relatively low hardware requirements: The server should support the minimum HW requirements of the operating system There should be a free USB port available for the network dongle The server should be accessible from the Archicad terminals through a network connection for 24 hours a day The WIBU technology support cross platform networks thus a Windows key server can support MAC and Windows Archicad versions simultaneously The WIBU driver should be installed as a service, so network users can see it even if no one is logged into the server

4.1.2 File Servers


File servers are primarily used to store Teamwork files, company libraries, templates or any other materials that are required for the daily operation of the company. File server requirements: High storage capacity Preferably redundant file storage (RAID) Fast data access Fast network connection to terminals High stability and continuous operation 24/7 Graphisoft do not recommend using cross platform file servers in order to avoid any compatibility problems (e.g. Windows servers for Mac terminals or Linux servers for Windows terminals)

4.1.3 Archicad Workstations


Most of the project architect will need the following computer configuration: RAM: 1-4 GB (depending on the project size) For more details please read chapter 4.2 HD: Min. 10 GB of free space on the system volume CPU: Min. PIV 3 GHz or equivalent Display: 1280x1024 pixels or higher Graphic Card: Standard OpenGL card with 128MB or more onboard video memory. For compatibility info, please visit: Archicadtalk.graphisoft.com/Compatibility.php

Archicad 10 supports the following operating systems: Windows XP Pro Windows XP Pro x64 edition Macintosh OS X 10.3 Macintosh OS X 10.4

4.1.4 Rendering and Visualization Workstations


Rendering and visualization requires the most powerful computers. Luckily only a few of these special configurations are needed in a typical architectural office. Requirements:

RAM: 2-4GB (depending on the project size) For more details please read chapter 4.2 HD: Min. 10 GB of free space on the system volume CPU: Fast dual processors are highly recommended since most of the rendering engines (including Lightworks) and imaging applications supports them Display: 19 monitor or bigger (1280x1024 minimum screen resolution) Graphic Card: Standard OpenGL card with 128MB or more onboard video memory. For compatibility info, please visit: Archicadtalk.graphisoft.com/Compatibility.php

4.2 Memory Requirements


If a requested operation consumes considerable amount of memory in Archicad, the applications responsiveness can drop significantly, thus making impossible to work effectively with the project. Furthermore if Archicad hits the limit of the available memory address space, the application and/or the operating system will most likely freeze or crash. To minimize the chance of these problems we highly recommend you to buy the maximum memory that Archicad can handle in case you need to work with large projects (See below). The maximum memory that Archicad can utilize depends on the Operating System and the available memory slots on the computers motherboard.

4.2.1 Windows XP Professional


Windows XP is 32 bit operating system that supports a maximum of 4GB RAM. Out of the 4GB, the OS allows only 2GB to be assigned to one application. Consequently Archicad cant address more then 2GB of memory.

4.2.2 Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


The 64 bit Windows OS supports up to 128 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and 16 terabytes of virtual memory. In this case the computers motherboard primarily determines the maximum physical memory. AC10 and AC9 (Build 2172 and above) can address a maximum of 4GB out of the total memory

4.2.3 Mac OS X
The latest MAC OS is also a 64 bit system therefore the similar memory limitations apply as for windows XP x64. A maximum of 4GB memory can be addressed from Archicad.

5 Speed Issues
5.1 3D Rebuild and Navigation
The most critical speed problems can occur when opening three dimensional views including sections and elevations- since these operations require the largest amount of physical memory. There are two risk factors to be considered: 1. not enough physical memory available to complete the 3D operation 2. the OpenGL card doesnt have enough RAM for 3D navigation Both hardware requirements depend mainly on the 3D polygon count of the Archicad model. One can easily draw a building on the floor plan and in the section windows which cannot be visualized in 3D due to the excessive number of polygons. The memory consumption at rendering depends on more factors, and the number of polygons is only one of them: problems can occur at lower polygon counts as well (ca. 200.000 polygons) depending on the texture and image quality. If the polygon count increases the next symptom will be the slow conversion to 3D and the unbearably slow navigation in 3D window especially when the entire model is visible. If the model contains approximately 3-4 million polygons the three dimensional navigation is impossible and the render projection outputs a blank image. In case the model contains more than 4 million polygons, chances are high that the application crashes thus preventing Archicad from generating a 3D view of the entire model. These limits of course highly depend on the hardware configuration and other specific circumstances so they cannot be determined exactly. The conclusion is that in case of big buildings its essential to keep the models polygon count in an acceptable range. The following chapters will give you useful tips for how you can reduce the number of polygons within your projects.

5.1.1 The Polycount add-on


Polycount is an Archicad 10 goody add-on that helps to control the number of 3D polygons in Archicad models. This tool can be used effectively if the project size or the limited physical memory of your computer makes the 3D model size a critical factor in your modeling decisions. Polycount can display the number of 3D polygons grouped by element types (walls, slabs doors, windows, objects etc.) and also their percentage compared to the complete model size. The add-on also allows you to change the 3D detail level of certain library parts in your projects. Most objects in the Archicad library includes a 3D Detail Level parameter with options for Detailed, Simple and Off representations. The Set Level of Detail function allows you to toggle between these values. The Polycount add-on can be downloaded from the Graphisoft Archicad 10 Goodies website or by clicking on the Goodies link in the Archicad 10 Help menu. After the successful installation the Polycount menu can be activated from Window/Palettes/Polycount.

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The interface of the Polycount add-on

5.1.2 How to reduce the 3D model size?


The following tips and tricks can help you to keep the model size in a controllable range: 1. Make layer combinations! They allow you to show only those elements of the virtual building model that are actually needed in the active 3D window. For example there can be one layer combination dedicated for external views such as renderings or elevations, which turn of all the elements that are located in the buildings interior thus cant be seen. Other layer combos can

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2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

be defined for internal renderings or sections where the external, trees vehicles or other environmental elements are all hidden. Use the marquee! Once you need to create a section, elevation or rendering of only a small part of the building (e.g. a room or a story) select it with a marquee. This simple trick can speed up the navigation in 3D views Turn OFF the 3D of unwanted objects! As a direct result of virtual building modeling each library part that you place on the floor plan (apart from 2D symbols) has a representation in three dimensional views even if you only intend to show them on the floor plan. Moreover many of these elements generates considerable amount of polygons in 3D. You can overcome this problem if you turn off their 3D representation with the corresponding parameter on the objects parameter list. Since all library parts in the Archicad library are having the same parameter name for this function you can select multiple objects on the floor plan and turn of their 3D at once. You can also use the Set LOD function of Polycount add-on for this purpose. Control the objects level of detail! Most library parts in the Archicad library have parameter for 3D detail level (simple, detailed, off) and curve resolution. Set these parameters to the possible minimum that is appropriate for the required 3D view. Avoid using memory excessive library part options! Some optional elements of Archicad objects can generate significant amount of 3D polygons without producing noticeable differences on the final drawings. Please be careful using the following parameters: Handles for doors and windows Taps for bath tubs and lavatories Curved railings on stairs (including StairMaker stairs) Too many leaves for plant objects Check the model with Polycount! This handy tool can identify elements of the model with too many 3D polygons. In addition to the previously mentioned library parts other problematic elements can be: MaxonForm objects Complex Mesh models (e.g. site model) 3D people, plants and vehicle objects. Particularly elements imported from 3Ds, which are usually very detailed models, intended to use in high end renderings instead of architectural visualizations.

The following table shows the polygon count of some Archicad library parts with different parameter settings for your consideration. Note that one detailed office chair object (Man Hands in Pocket) generates as many polygons as 1066 walls! Lets see one more example that underlines the importance of polygon reduction. One office chair (Office Chair 01) with the default settings makes 3759 polygons in 3D view that is the equivalent of 626 walls. Moreover there are typically many instances of this object are placed in an office project. Element Type Wall without opening Wall with empty opening D1 Door D1 Door with handle (Style 1) Basin 01 (Detailed) Basin 01 (Simple) Basin with tap (Detailed) 3D Polygon Count 6 10 80 1544 1031 685 1335

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Basin with tap (Simple) Man Hands in Pocket People Bitmap 1 Office Chair 01 (Simple) Office Chair 01 (Detailed, Resolution=8) Office Chair 01 (Detailed, Resolution=16) Car 01 Vehicle Bitmap Straight StairMaker stair with Post with Baluster railing Straight StairMaker stair with Simple Surface railing

869 6396 1 2594 3759 7433 5583 1 2093 789

5.1.3 Sections and Elevations


Other problematic area of 3D views is section/elevation and detail database handling. If a project file has considerable amount of sections/elevations or details, then error messages might occasionally appear during open, save and rebuild processes: Not enough memory in heap zone Cannot read temporary section file, etc. with the consequence of data loss in the affected project parts. The limit again cannot be determined exactly, because it also depends on the model complexity. As rule of thumb we can say that the number of the section/elevation and detail windows should never exceed 200. The other consequence of having excessive amount of these views is the file size bloat. Project files with extremely complex 3D models have usually a reasonably small file size (20-30 Mbytes) if the number of sections and details is limited, while a similarly complex project file can be bigger than hundred Mbytes, for instance if there are more than hundred section and detail views. Large files also have negative affect on the Section-elevation rebuild time. Prior to section-elevation generation Archicad runs a pre-filtering on the floor plan. Consequently an invisible 2D view needs to be created before each section-elevation generation. This process can be significantly slower in case the floor plan is big or contains slow to rebuild library parts.

5.2 Rendering
Reducing the number of polygons with the previously shown techniques helps in two ways in case of photo rendered views: 1. The generation of the 3D view is quicker 2. The calculation of the photo rendered image is also faster since the rendering engine has to work with fewer surfaces The major difference between a shaded view (e.g. OpenGl) and a photorendering window is that the latter one calculates cast shadows and light reflections. Any method that reduces the number of shadow casting or light reflecting surfaces will result faster renderings. The following techniques can be used: Turn off the shadow casting for those library parts that dont generate noticeable shadows in the actual view. There is a dedicated parameter for this purpose in every Archicad library part.

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Use texture mapping and the alpha channel effect instead of physical models. This trick can save precious rendering time in case of trees, vehicles, fences and other complex objects are needed in the photo render image. Reduce the number of light sources to the possible minimum. Too many lights sources can result significantly slower renderings. Turn off shadow casting for brightener lights.

5.3 Floor Plan Regeneration


Drawing on floor plan also has its restrictions, but these are much harder to reach then in case of 3D views. While Archicad is capable of manipulating 500.000 visible elements on the floor plan, a more realistic number would be 100.000 in case of an average construction plan. Although Archicad will not crash or write enormous files with more then 100.000 elements, but the responsiveness will be unacceptably slow even on cutting-edge hardware configurations. Note that more time will be taken to redraw the drawing if you zoom out from a smaller part of the project to the drawing extents. Also remember that the floor plan rebuild time influences the speed of the section-elevation regeneration as described in chapter 7.3. Please consider the following devices: 1. Use layer combinations to control the content of the floor plan! 2. Use bitmap fill representations instead of vectorial fills! Unless you need to print a drawing select the bitmap fill representations from the on screen view options dialog as it is regenerated faster then vectorial fills. 3. Avoid using symbol fills! Symbol fills can largely increase the floor plan redraw time especially if the fill pattern contains many line and arc segments. 4. Only use PROJECT2 commands in library parts if its really necessary. Those require the 3D view of the object to be generated for the 2D symbol thus making the floor plan redraw unreasonably slow. Note that MaxonForm objects also use this GDL command. In the MaxonForm manual you can find a description for how you can simplify the 2D of these elements. 5. Use a Symbolic 2D representation for static library parts without scripting the floor plan symbol!

6 Setting up the Project Team


Successful implementation of Archicad requires well documented office standards, trained office staff and proper organization of the project teams. This topic has been discussed in more details in the Introduction to Office Standards and in the Creating Large Building Models documents. Here we only want to give you a few points to consider for the project team set up: How many projects run parallel in the office? How many architects can work simultaneously on one project? How are the projects being shared (by Teamwork, hotlinked modules, layouting in separate files etc.)? Should you hire a full time CAD manager and/or IT manager? Will you need independent design and visualization teams in the firm? Naturally there are no generally applicable answers for these questions. Moreover the organizational hierarchy within the office can dynamically change during the lifecycle of a project thus there is no use to set up any strict rules. Based upon our users feedback we suggest the following:

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Get a full time CAD manager if more then 15-20 architects are working in the office Even in case of 5-15 architects it is recommended to appoint a part time CAD manager from the project team The CAD manager (in collaboration with the IT manager and the office principals) should be responsible for developing the office standard book As previously mentioned a maximum of 5-6 users can work effectively on one TeamWork file, consequently this should be an important factor when setting up the project teams

6.1 Mid-size Office


The following charts show the organizational hierarchy of a typical mid-size and a large office. In this example, there are two independent project teams with 2 architects and 2 draftsmen working in each. The leader of the first team also serves as a part time CAD manager in the office. Due to the relatively small firm size and the generally limited-size projects, informal communication is sufficient to handle project coordination issues in most cases. The typical problem for offices of this size is that they cant afford a full-time CAD and IT manager, so somebody in the office has to tackle these problems part-time, which naturally decreases that persons productivity.

Principal(s)

Project Leader 2

Office Administration

Project Architect 1 Project 1 Project Architect 2 Draftsman 1 Draftsman 2

Project Architect 1 Project Architect 2 2 Project Draftsman 1 Draftsman 2

Mid-size architectural office (10-15 employees)

6.2 Large Office


The large architectural office shown on the next figure is subdivided into 4 teams. The first two are working on a large project therefore their tasks are coordinated by a project director. The project director and the leaders of the other two project

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teams are reporting to the Design Director. In this example a full time IT and CAD manager assist the project teams. The biggest challenge for these firms is to automate the sharing of large projects and to ensure the adoption of office standards within the whole office team.

Principal (s) Design Director Project Director Project Leader Project Leader IT Manager Design Team Project Architects Draftsmen CAD Manager Visualizat ion Team Office Administr ation

Project Leader Project Architects Draftsme


Project Leader

Project Architects Draftsme

Large architectural office (30-50 employees)

7 The Modeling and Documentation Workflow

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The single file concept of Archicad has proven itself well in small firms with small to medium sized projects. More extensive organizations with larger projects have to divide them into several files for many practical reasons. Those reasons include performance drawbacks of single file method and workflow bottlenecks with multiple users working against one file. Archicad 10 supports different scale projects by providing a transparent method of handling multiple sessions and views to this complete collection of files. Basically there are three typical workflows in Archicad 10, which can be combined depending on the actual project:

7.1 Small Projects Single File Concept


This is the suggested Archicad workflow for small to medium scale projects. The complete 3D model (virtual building data) with its representations (floor plans, sections, 3d views, schedules etc.) and the final drawing sheets (layouts) are included in one Archicad file. This method can fully exploit the advantages of the virtual building concept such as easy file management, automatic drawing updates and listing. However above a certain project size and complexity the Archicad plan file has to be divided into smaller parts to avoid speed and project management problems. Our tests show that projects smaller then 50-100 MB can be handled smoothly in one project file. For more details please read chapter 3.2.

ARCHICAD PROJECT FILE (PLN) LAYOUTBOOK Floor plans Sections Virtual Building Database Details 3D views Schedules Layout Layout Layout Layout Layout

The Archicad single file concept

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7.2 Medium Size Projects Model File and Document File Separated
The next figure shows that the project documentation (layout book) can be separated from the project model file in order to reduce the Archicad file size or to allow two teams (e.g. a modeling team and a documentation team) working simultaneously on one project. As we have noted earlier in case the project contains more then 100 layouts you might have to consider this method.

MODEL FILE (PLN)

DOCUMENTATION (PLN) LAYOUTBOOK

Floor plans Sections Details 3D views Schedules

Layout Layout Layout Layout Layout

Virtual Building Database

Separate model and documentation file

7.3 Big Projects Hierarchal File Structure


In case of very big and complex buildings a combination of different file sharing methods is needed that is appropriate for the office organization and the size of the project. In the following example a multi-story office building is in the construction design phase. The building consists of two towers. From the very early stage a 3D model of the whole building was built, containing only those elements that were essential for visualization and conceptual design. Based on this model two Teamwork files were created (one for each towers) that served as the basis of the construction documentation. The Teamwork files are referring to external hotlinked modules and Xrefs such as column grids, land surveys and other consultantss drawings. The documentation is stored in two layoutbook files in order reduce the size of the Teamwork projects and to allow the project documentation team to work parallel with the designers/architects.

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Hotlin k Modul e

Hotlin k Modul e

Hotlin k Modul e

Hotlinks

XRE F (dwg

TeamWor k File 01 (plp)

Pictures (jpg, tif etc.)

Layoutbo ok File 01 3D Model File for Visualizati on

Layoutbo ok File 02

XRE F (dwg

TeamWor k File 02 (plp)

Independe nt Detail Drawings (dwg)

Hotlinks

Hotlin k Modul e

Hotlin k Modul e

Hotlin k Modul e

Complex file hierarchy

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8 Sharing the Project


Collaboration is essential for making the project team function and moving projects forward as rapidly as possible. Effective collaboration and project sharing techniques are able to adapt to the project team size and the office organization. Archicad offers various solutions for project sharing that can be used alone or in combination.

8.1 1. Teamwork
Graphisofts award winning Teamwork technology provides an effective method for sharing Archicad projects. TeamWork allows your office to define different team roles, such as "team leader," "team member," "administrator" and "visitor." Depending on the function assigned to them, team members have specific rights to access and modify the central project file. The basis for collaboration is a central project file shared among team members. Team members can reserve their own workspaces by applying restrictions to particular areas, stories, and/or layers: as a result, each Archicad element will have an owner with the exclusive right to modify it.

Workspace Workspace Workspace

TeamWork File (PLP)

Send & Receive Local Copy 01 (PLC) Local Copy 02 (PLC) Local Copy 03 (PLC)

The Teamwork concept Advantages: Team members roles are clearly defined Team members can continuously check the others work No conflicts can occur in the architects workspace The Teamwork file is always up to date Limitations Send and receive can be slow in case of large models (more then 100 MB)

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Users cant send and receive changes simultaneously therefore the CAD manager has to set up a schedule for the sending and receiving changes (Typically during lunch time and after the office hours) The maximum number of concurrent TeamWork users are limited by the send and receive times (Typically 5-6 architect can work effectively on one project)

Suggested Usage Teamwork should be your primary method for sharing the content of the virtual building. In case of very large files and/or more then 5-6 team members we suggest dividing the project into more TeamWork files. Thus you can significantly reduce the send and receive times.

8.2 2. Hotlinked Modules


Using Hotlinked Modules allows you to insert the content of external Archicad files (sources) into the currently open Project (host). Elements inserted into the host follow all modifications of the source files. Hotlinked Modules can be used, for example, to manage the repetitive structures of buildings such as hotels or offices with a large number of identical rooms by modifying all instances in a single step. Moreover, the same structures can be used in multiple Projects. This is also a good way to subdivide large Projects into easierto-handle smaller files. The elements of hotlinked modules are included in the Project, which means that even if the hotlinked source file is not currently available, the Modules are still present and visible, and they just can't be updated as long as the referred source file is absent. However this also means that using hotlink modules doesnt reduce the size of the master project

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Project File (PLN, PLA, PLP) Module File (MOD, Hotlink PLN) Modul Hotlink Modul Hotlink Hotlink Modul Hotlink Hotlink Modul Hotlink Modul Hotlink Modul Hotlink Modul Hotlink Modul Hotlink Module File (MOD, PLN)

NO Nested Module (MOD, PLN)

The Hotlink module concept Advantages: Module files can be updated automatically or manually Updating a module is fast and easy Repetitive elements of the project can be controlled and modified easily Limitations Access to the content of the modules cant be controlled in Archicad Nested modules are not updated automatically No protection against workspace conflicts A detailed module organization chart has to be created by the project coordinator before the project is started Doesnt reduce the size of the master file Suggested Usage Although hotlink modules can be used as an alternative to the TeamWork technology (e.g. different floors of a multi story building can be drawn in separate hotlink modules) they cant provide the same flexibility and security that TeamWork can. The main purpose of using TeamWork should be the management of repetitive elements in the projects.

8.3 3. Xrefs
Xrefs provide an easy way to manage and merge the consultants DWG/DXF drawings into the Ac project. External DWG/DXF drawings will be automatically updated in the

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Archicad project if they are referenced as an Xref. Note that Xrefs can also be located on an internal or ftp server.

Project File (PLN, PLA, PLP) Xref File (DWG,DX F) Xref Xref Manual Xref Manual Xref File (DWG, DXF)

Xref

Xref

Xref

Xref

Xref

Xref (DWG,DX F)

The Xref concept Advantages: External DWG/DXF files can easily brought in to the project Repetitive DWG/DXF can be controlled and modified easily Disadvantages and limitations A detailed Xref organization chart has to be created by the project coordinator before the project is started Xrefs hasve to be updated manually DWG Translator has to be set correctly Doesnt reduce the size of the master file Suggested Usage Xrefs should be used almost exclusively for merging consultants drawings, legacy AutoCAD projects or standard manufacturer details into the Archicad project.

8.4 4. Documentation Separated from the Model File


The documentation and the design teams can work simultaneously on the project if the documentation file is separated from the model file. The size of the master file can also be reduced if you adopt this method. AC10 fully supports this workflow

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since you can control complex file hierarchies in the new Navigator dialog. There are two strategic ways of separating the documentation from the model.

8.4.1 Master file Method


In this scenario there is a master Archicad file that contains the complete Archicad model, and the corresponding view sets. The documentation file refers to the view sets of the model file and automatically updates the drawings if the model file is changed. This method is applicable for medium to large scale projects. See the corresponding chart at chapter 7.1

8.4.2 Complex and Distributed methos


In case of very complex or large projects usually there is no master file that contains all the drawings due to size and speed problems. Consequently the building model is stored in multiple project files (some of them can be TeamWork files; others can be simple Archicad project files that refers to hotlinked modules). There are two ways to import the drawings into the documentation file 1. Drawings are saved individually as PMK files and linked to the Archicad documentation project file. In this case there is no direct link between the model file and the document file, thus the drawings on the layout doesnt follow the changes of the model file automatically. This method is only recommended if the PMK files are final or rarely updated or if the automatic drawing update from the model file is too slow.

MODEL FILE (PLN)

DOCUMENTATION (PLN) LAYOUTBOOK PMK

Virtual Building Databas

PMK PMK

Manual update

Manual PMK saving and linking to the document file 2. Drawings are imported into the layoutbook directly from one or more building model files and other external file sources (DWG, DXF, PDF-s, image files, PMK-s etc.). In case of very complex building the documentation file can also be subdivided into two or more parts for easier drawing management. See the corresponding chart at chapter 7.3 This is a complex system but very powerful and in some cases may be the only way to handle very large projects. In case of complex documentation structures are used in the office it is crucial that the CAD manager/project leader develops and publish

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the suggested file hierarchy for the project team members prior the CD phase is started.

9 Company Standards
Well documented company standards are essential for running a large office successfully. It is even more crucial in case of large building when typically big project teams are working the same project file. It is primarily the CAD managers responsibility to develop and maintain the office CAD standards. Below is just a short description of what should be included in the CAD standard document. For more details please read the Introduction to Office Standards document:

9.1 The Company Template File


The company template file is the most critical element of the office CAD standard. Whenever a new project is started the project leader must use this template as the basis of the project master file. A comprehensive office template should contain the following elements: Attributes o Layers o Layer combinations o Pens o Pen Sets o Materials o Line Types o Fill types o Composites Complex Profiles Schedules Model view options View sets Project preferences Favorites Layouts Layout Master pages

9.2 Library Management


Libraries are crucial parts of the Archicad projects. In a typical architectural firm four types of libraries are used: 1. Archicad Library is the most current version of the Archicad object library or in some cases just a subset of it. The subset library contains only those elements of the standard Archicad library that are regularly used in the company. 2. Office Standard Library is a collection of those objects that were developed according to the office requirements. This library typically includes annotation elements (e.g. markers, labels, drawing frames etc.) and 3D objects (e.g. doors, windows, curtain walls etc.). 3. Project Specific Libraries consists of those custom elements that were made specifically for the actual project. Most of these objects are made by the project team members.

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4.

A number of Third Party Libraries can be found on the Internet with useful objects that may not be found in the Archicad library.

The above four libraries can reside on the company file server or on the team members computer. For best performance we suggest the following library storing strategy: Archicad Library and Office Standard libraries are installed on every users computer by default. Libraries are stored in container file format (LCF) and users not allowed to modify them. Only the CAD managers have the rights to update them. Project Specific libraries are stored on the company file server. The library is not compressed and project team members can freely edit its content. The location of third party libraries depends on how often they are used. Regularly used objects should be installed on the users computer while the others can be stored on the company file server.

9.3 Archiving and Data Safety


It is also the CAD managers responsibility to develop the standards for: Proper use of the Archicad archive file (pla) Location of Autosave and backup files Backup and Autosave times

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Case Studies

The following case-studies illustrate that entirely different Archicad workflows can been adopted successfully in many large offices. The key to success is that the selected approach should be adequate for the project type and the office organization.

10.1 Campus Buildings / Orcutt Winslow Partnership


10.1.1 About the Company

Orcutt Winslow Partnership (http://www.owp.com/) is located in Phoenix Arizona. This prestigious architectural design firm has more then 30 years of history. OWP was recently designated as one of the best managed architectural firms in the United States by Architectural Record magazine. The companys main profile is designing campus type buildings (large high schools, hospitals). By the time this document was written the office was entirely using AC9 on MAC computers, thus they had no experiences with AC10.

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10.1.2

Project Details

OWP was working on two campus projects at the time of the interview. One was a 51000 sqf school building and the other one was also an educational complex with 4 buildings and a total of 94000 sqf floor area. Campus buildings are typically not more then 4-5 stories high thus the number of floors or the size of one building is not critical. More important is that the final construction documentation has to contain the complete documentation of each building. The complex hierarchy of drawing and the large number of layouts in the in the final layoutbook makes the documentation the most complicated part of the project

10.1.3

Use of PlotMaker

In most of their projects OWP reached the limits of live hotlinks in PlotMaker 9. Therefore they do not work with live hotlinks, but separate PMK files instead. They found that the most critical bottleneck of PM lies in the slow updating of hotlinks with background Archicad. The integrated layouting features of AC10 brought significant changes in this field so OWP is looking forward to test it on its projects. They usually work out 3 layout books for a typical project. They begin with one that contains sketches, then progress with a new one for schematic design and finally make a separate one for design development. The design development layout book is then converted into the construction documentation layout book. Because OWP mostly designs campus type buildings and have many building files, they do not use the auto numbering feature of PlotMaker.

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10.1.4

Use of TeamWork

The largest buildings they design is around 4-5 storey ones so this is not a critical factor for them. They work with TeamWork files not more the 100 MB. They found that this is the upper limit that TeamWork can handle smoothly. If they exceed this file size then they often take the project apart by stories as separate PLP files. They share the model by layers and have separate layer sets for interior design team. Most of the time only 1 or 2 architects are responsible for the design and they get help for CD-s and interior designs at the CD stage. Once they had a large Patient tower hospital building where they had 10 people working together on a single PLP file. This project required a full time CAD manager that worked only as an administrator for the teamwork model. They are committed to Teamwork; only the interior team prefers using hotlink modules for team working. Now they have a habit of saving plc files and send and receive only once or twice a day. Some of the office even signs in from home over the internet even though it takes around 20 minutes.

10.1.5

Use of Hotlinked Modules

As OWP typically designs campus type buildings, they often hotlink the different building model files into the site plan file. Interior team use hotlink modules mostly for repetitive or standard elements. The picture below shows the Willie and Coy Payne Junior High School in Gilbert Arizona. The following collaboration and coordination techniques were used during the design: Civil (dwg) site information was linked to Archicad site plan via x-referencing Teamwork was used on individual building files to share each building model 3D building were linked (hotlinked) to site for consistency All views of all buildings were linked to layout book for automatic documentation

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10.1.6

Use of Templates

OWP created an extensive template set for their practice. They have dedicated template files for: new building remodel (for refurbishments) site plans tenant improvements general notes (sheet index, consultant names and all the project admin info is within this file)

10.1.7

Use of Details

OWP have standard detail files where the details are kept in detail windows. As they have modified the details for the actual project, they create project specific details.

10.1.8

Use of Libraries

They were just in the process of changing the office library policy. They want to have the: Project libraries on the server Office library on the server Archicad library on local machines

10.2 Offices and Retail Units /John Robertson Architects


10.2.1 About the Company

John Robertson Architects (http://www.jra.co.uk/) is a London-based architectural firm with about 45 professionally qualified and support staff. JRA has worked on different types of projects including residential commercial design and urban planning. Many of their recent projects are new or refurbished office buildings in the City of London.

10.2.2

Project Details

Building type: Offices and retail units in the City of London. The scheme strips a 1950s office back to its frame and extends the building, doubling its size. Area: 26 000 192 m2 Cost: GBP 35 700 000 Client: Carlyle Group Contractor: ISG Interior Exterior JRA is the design architect. The project now is in tender stage. It is a 2 stage major works contract. JRA is currently in production of all the tender documents for all packages.

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10.2.3 10.2.4

The Project Workflow For Planning:

JRA has been the design architect of this project from the start. John Robertson (main partner, not working with Archicad) with a design architect (working with Archicad) worked out the scheme for planning approval. 2 other employees helped in creating the final CAD documents for the planning application. At this stage there was no teamworked model. There was a main 3D model file out of which all the plans, sections, elevations and 3D views were obtained.

10.2.5

For Tender:

When they received the go ahead from the client to produce the tender documents, they created what they call a Base Model. (see the figure below). The Base Model , which is a teamwork file, contains the main structure of the building (columns, slabs, main external walls, etc), but no 2D information. Only the most competent Archicad users work on this part of the project (about 2 persons) and access to this is password protected. The main reason for this is to reduce errors to the most important portion of the building, the structure. The Base Model is then hotlinked into the so-called General Architectural Model (GA). The secondary 3D information (raised floors, false ceilings, partitions, etc) is added together with all the necessary 2D info for the GA plans, sections and elevations that derive directly from this model. Sections and elevations come directly from this main GA model file, are kept in the file, but exploded to 2D and moved away from their original place by a certain distance. Then they are elaborated with 2D details.

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All other 2D information (soft floor finishes, screed layouts etc.) is made by hotlinking out of the GA Model to linked pln files. This keeps teamworking to a minimum and avoids bloating the size of the GA Model through the addition of 2D information whist ensuring that the 2D information remains up to date. Many other parts of the building (like entrance hall, core details etc) are kept as separate pln files and are directly hotlinked into the GA Model file. Final layout creation is done in PlotMaker. This project has a number of layout books that have direct links to views contained in the GA Model file. The main GA model file size is no ~ 50 MB-s. (what do they think on AC10 integrated layouting) This chart represents the current Archicad working method within JRA:

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