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Matthew Lohden
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

monkeybrain wrote:
I want to make an informed decision on a strategic level. At the end of the day I will be responsible if the drawings are issued late and not the paid consultant.


I understand your dilemma. On one hand you have a known system (2D CAD) which, however flawed, provides a known path to a completed project. On the other is BIM which offers great advantages in the long run if you can get over the trials and tribulations of implementation in time to successfully complete the project.

I can tell you from my own experience that the answer to this will depend entirely on the people involved. The software can be made to work if all players (particularly the directors) support the project and there is sufficient expertise on board.

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Matthew Lohden
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

monkeybrain wrote:
I also find that most forums are an equal or better resource than a single expert.


No the fora are neither equal nor better nor worse than hired consultants. Only different. It is very useful in these decisions to get a variety of viewpoints, but I think the point is well taken that an online forum cannot provide advice that is specifically tuned to your needs.

In this case you are taking the role of expert to apply the information you get here to your own circumstances. The fact that you are here saying this suggests to me that you are not entirely confident of your consultant's objectivity. Ultimately of course you need to assess the overall situation and decide what path to take.

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Thomas Holm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

monkeybrain wrote:
As we had problems meeting the clients requirements in regard to linetypes and layers converting the files from Microstation I am positive that it will be impossible to achieve it in Archicad. Unless I get some wizard to write a custom plug in for me.

I managed to customize translations both ways between Archicad and Microstation AND Autocad using Microstation's DWG conversion tools already in 1995. YOu shouldn't need a plugin, just thorough knowledge of the various settings files and options in Microstation.

And this issue should have evolved considerably 14 years later AND with Bentley's DWG exchange agreement with Autodesk.
Since this issue (the client's DWG requirements) seems to be the key, be specific and ask Bentley's rep how this should be done in detail. Use

Autocad Architecture(al Desktop) is a dead end as I see it, Autodesk even considered killing it completely a couple of years ago in favor of Revit. (Market pressure and Revit's immaturity at the time stopped that)

So since you have both Archicad and Microstation competence in-house, I'd use Archicad for modeling and Microstation to co-ordinate drawings and models from all sources. It's xref handling is still it's greatest strength. Microstation is 3D from the ground up and can handle dwg input from every source, and fast at that. Archicad still has issues when it comes to import 3D dwg content, I think.

And if the project is that large, you should be able to have a guy dedicated to formatting the dwg output for the client.

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monkeybrain
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

I know what you are saying but the client has the strictest requirements. We will have compliance software installed on every PC and before anything gets issued it has to pass the test.... if it does not you can not load it up. It will be a nightmare.

Here are some of the issues that have come up so far:

Apparently some of the problems are that Autocad will import Groups from Archicad or Microstation as Blocks, and the clients compliance software will not pass the drawings if it includes unknown blocks. Also Microstation has dynamic line types which do not translate well into Autocad.
Our consultants have written software that ungroups the groups but sometimes we still have problems with the conversion... therefore the client insisted that all package drawings are to be done in Autocad.

Archicad is apparently off the table as a 3D resource because the consultant thinks it could not cope with the size of the project. (500 meters long, 37 meters wide and about 6 stories high. Value 1bn)

A suggestion came up to build the model in 4 slices and assemble it in a master file. Would that be easily achieved? (I know that is what some Ozzy architects did way back on high rise projects)

I still have this dream of using Archicad for 3D coordination but I do not think there is a way of making it compliant with the clients stringent rules.
The senior staff think it is a great opportunity to look at new possibilities but the consultant argued that Graphisoft only have 1% market share and are too niche. He also said that Archicad was made to create single dwellings and not huge infrastructure projects. True? (By the way he advices all the big London firms)

The consultant is proposing that we use Autocad 2009 for 2D and 3D.

He wants to create all the different floors, facades, roof, columns etc etc as references and feed them into a master model. Autocad 2009 has a section creation tool, which is not intelligent but it does the job. The advantage would be that any section created would immediately comply with the clients layers, styles, blocks etc requirements.

I think the plan is to have 2-4 dedicated 3D staff updating the 3D model and to have the other 35 people working on 2D. All in Autocad.

It sounds ok but is still nowhere as efficient as using BIM.
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Ignacio
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

[monkey, there are much larger projects happily done in AC; it seems that all the wrong people are responding to your questions, like your consultant responding about ArchiCAD supposed capabilities based on supposed market share considerations and guys in the ArchiCAD forum that cannot know exactly how your office works and what you need to deliver responding about workflows in Microstation and Autocad 3D.]

For a knowledgeable 'strategic decision' on a project that size which you don't know straightaway how you would CAD-manage, my strong recommendation would be that you guys allocate some budget to competitive testing in these four weeks you have available. You make a call for proposals after putting together a clear scope, building size, project schedule, tentative drawing list, drawing formats and drafting conventions, etc., and the guys get invited to your office to talk with management and staff.

You would not (should not) be the guy to set up such a project if it were to be done in ArchiCAD --so make a call for one or two ArchiCAD CAD managers/consultants willing to set up a project that size for your office with that schedule and those output requirements, and see what they come up with (among other things they would probably recommend a couple of PCs with AutoCAD for the final DWG), pay them the equivalent of two weeks of their time for a proposal requiring acquainting themselves with your office and putting together a proposed workflow, demos of how they would handle funky geometry if that is what you end up doing, demos/preliminary versions of any scripting wizardry they would need to produce, and sample final files. And you do the same thing with a couple of Microstation gurus, and a couple of Autocad gurus, and just to make sure I would get a couple of Revit gurus too. You see what they propose, and then you take the decision.

All of that will be peanuts for the budget of a project that size, and will more than pay for itself in the first month of real work --I don't see any other way of getting that 'strategic decision' right, and you won't get burned with a 'strategic decision' taken without an understanding of the details of how the thing will work or not.

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monkeybrain
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

You are absolutely right. We talked about this yesterday in the office and I will propose testing to the people in charge.

I think the budget for licenses and training is 500k so it should be possible.

I will keep you update on how we are going to move forward.
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owen
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

monkeybrain wrote:
I know what you are saying but the client has the strictest requirements.


it sounds like this is the only real issue you may have with using ArchiCAD - converting non-AutoCAD entities to AutoCAD entities. It is impossible to say anymore without knowing exactly what those requirements are.

monkeybrain wrote:
.. therefore the client insisted that all package drawings are to be done in Autocad.


Well really what your company decides they will use get the job done is none of the clients business, so long as you deliver the product in the format they require, i.e compliant DWGs. So as others have suggested you could do most of the work in ArchiCAD and have a few guys on AutoCAD as kind of a 'clearing house' for your drawing output. I would assume you could do a similar thing with Microstation which you already use (i have not used in so long i cannot remember).

monkeybrain wrote:
Archicad is apparently off the table as a 3D resource because the consultant thinks it could not cope with the size of the project. (500 meters long, 37 meters wide and about 6 stories high..)


Well i don't think he knows what he is talking about. There are plenty of projects towards that size that have been done in ArchiCAD. How you structure the model will be critical but it is the same in any CAD program (Microstation sounds like it has a bit of an advantage here though)

monkeybrain wrote:
The senior staff think it is a great opportunity to look at new possibilities but the consultant argued that Graphisoft only have 1% market share and are too niche.


Well although they seem to be doing their best to lose market share and stay niche they are nowhere near 1% ... yet.

If you compare ArchiCAD to Revit difference is much closer - its just most of the world still thinks it is flat. ArchiCAD and Revit are much closer to each other as programs than Revit is to AutoCAD as far as i know. Anyway, this is a stupid argument - its like saying we shouldn't use hybrid cars because they are 0.01% of the market. They still get you from A to B, just in a much more efficient way. Maybe i am wrong and i should throw out the Mac i've been using all these years...

These new possibilities - Is your firm considering a complete switch to a new program or will this be used just for this project? Is this a 'pilot' so they may consider a complete switch in future?

If they are thinking of moving the firm, or part of it, to a new platform then this should not be dictated by a single client but what the practice believes is the right tool for this and future jobs. I assume they are not going to throw out their 500K of new software, training and experience once the job is finished. What's to say the next big client doesn't come along and say 'you must use Revit'.

monkeybrain wrote:
The consultant is proposing that we use Autocad 2009 for 2D and 3D.


Sounds like AutoCAD is what he knows so understandable that is what he is going to push. I wouldn't go out and tell a client they should be using Microstation. As Ignacio suggested I would strongly recommend getting some further opinions from people experienced in the other options you have ..

monkeybrain wrote:
...It sounds ok but is still nowhere as efficient as using BIM.


Well if it is less efficient then it is not really the best option then is it? If it is possible to do the work in less time using a program other than the mandated AutoCAD and still deliver to the clients requirements then that is the option to go with.

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monkeybrain
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

I appreciate the detailed responses. Very helpful.

Just to give you an example of how a nal the contractor can be:

Drawings completed in Microstation and exported to DWG. No real issues, only a problem with the font. The capital B was had a fill on the drawings and the contractor made a big fuss about it not complying. Rolling Eyes

Actually the client can insist on what software we should use as they are one of the biggest airport owners in the world. Would you want to risk losing a client like that? I don't think so.

Especially in this economic climate. You do as you are told....
Also I think they will contribute towards training and licenses.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:10 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

monkeybrain wrote:
The senior staff think it is a great opportunity to look at new possibilities but the consultant argued that Graphisoft only have 1% market share and are too niche. He also said that Archicad was made to create single dwellings and not huge infrastructure projects. True? (By the way he advices all the big London firms)


There is a UK survey that came out not long ago that tells about the numbers of various softwares in the UK. ArchiCAD is doing very well in it. YOu might want to show it to the senior staff:

http://www.graphisoft.com/company/press_zone/archicad_tops_rivals.html

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monkeybrain
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Advice on Cad strategy for a new airport Reply with quote

Very interesting. I have printed it and will present it today hopefully.
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