I'm getting a little concerned about what I'm reading here, so think it responsible for anyone else reading this that I (re)join the discussion.
I hope that my 18 year's worth of building highly customized templates for ARCHICAD users all over the world, and my years as a BIM Manager for a large firm may be considered in context with my comments. I also assume that since we have the only ARCHICAD Templates at the price-points discussed, that you may in fact be referring to the BIM6x Template Kits.
These template kits were created primarily for our clients (we are ARCHICAD Resellers) in the US who are just starting out in ARCHICAD, because we see so many new users either not use the software at all, start off on their own and set up their templates incorrectly or not at all, or buy someone else's template which also leads them down the wrong path. All of this makes them inefficient and ruins their experience using the software, which leads to poorer resales and a bad name for ARCHICAD.
But these kits are also designed for people who already have ARCHICAD and perhaps even their own template. Either way, anyone is welcome to download our free BIM6x Starter Kit
for evaluation purposes. The kit comes with a 171 page BIM Manual that explains all the concepts and may even teach the reader a thing or two about ARCHICAD best practices, plus an example project to reverse engineer along with work environment profiles and libraries, etc. Everything they need to show them what can be done in ARCHICAD and put them on the right path. Afterall only then can they really focus on their architecture.
If anyone likes the Starter Kit, they can upgrade to the Launch Kit or the Power Kit. No obligations, no pressure, but the offer is there. Our aim is not to make a bunch of money from these, but to help fill in some of the gaps for people on their journey from first discovering ARCHICAD to becoming highly successful users, so this is not a plug for our products.
Creating these templates however literally took thousands of hours, so to suggest a user can learn how to create and maintain a template in three hours is a gross underestimation of what it really requires to understand the intricacies of dealing with a complex list of attributes that are forever being evolved by both GSHQ and our local distributor, both of whom we happen to work very closely with. Not to mention exploiting all the features that GRAPHISOFT intended the user to take advantage of, and delivering it in a way that appeals to a wide audience of users in a manner that has the least impact on their learning curve or customization process.
Regarding layers, I don't understand the fascination of trying to cull the layer list down to a minimal few. I think they should total less than 100, but layers are important. You mentioned earlier that layers only serve four purposes:
1. They can be turned on or off to hide/show content.
2. They can be locked to prevent accidental editing (although, Holtinked Modules work better in preventing accidental editing, and, if you use Teamwork, they also provide much more secure access control)
3. Allow for intersection control among structural elements
4. Can be turned into wireframe in 3D to make complex 3D views easier to read
So what about filtering by extension, using layers for scheduling criteria and fields, including layers as Find & Select criteria, assigning layer combinations to views, using layers for mapping during export to other applications, using layers to reserve elements in teamwork, mark-ups, label association, the list goes on. Layers are important. Maybe for more than what each individual user may require but we're trying to show off all of ARCHICAD's amazing capabilities here.
So I would suggest coming up with something that works for you, but I would be wary of new users cutting their layer list down drastically. Manage them wisely, consider all their uses, hide locked layers if you need to, but most of all use favorites to control your layers and consider using views with specific layer combinations assigned to them. Not only will this be intuitive and easy for any newcomer to understand and use, but if you pre-link the views onto layouts, you won't really need to deal with them much, allowing you to focus again on architecture.
Some other statements which show a lack of understanding or at least a misrepresentation of the intended workflows:
Alternatively, one can buy some predefined template he/she did not set up and do not really understand, pay 100, 200 or even 500 dollars for them and the only result would be that you spend 5 hours deleting all 500 linked views in the most expensive template, 2 hours in the one for 200 and about an hour in the one for 100. What is the point?
So, templates, especially extended ones (some of which are even commercially marketed for upward $500) will take an enormous time to clean up, move every preset elevation, section, publisher set etc. Just imagine editing some 400+ items every time you start a new job. Do you have better thing so to?
I believe our template system is as flexible as an ARCHICAD template is able to be. It's just a fact that ARCHICAD templates can only be so flexible (hence the original topic of this thread), but we intentionally provide a bit too much so that it can be quickly stripped down, and we provide instructions on how to do that. A subtractive methodology is easily better than an additive one IMHO. If you're taking 5 hours to delete the views and then you're doing that every time you start a new project, then you're doing it wrong.
I'm all for customizing templates to suit your business needs. That is our complete intention and we preach it every day, but let's keep it real.
Try a free pre-linked Template and speed up your workflow: BIM6x Template Kits
for ARCHICAD 21!