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Discussions about managing ARCHICAD in architectural practices (Project Setup, Templates, Attributes, Migration, Compatibility with Previous Versions, Preferences/Work Environment, User/Project/Application Administration/Management etc.)

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By sjoelte
#250919
Hello,

our office it's ArchiCad preferences aren't the most optimized/structured. So i've assigned myself into creating a new office template/custom library/layout setup/structure etc.

Before I start doing this I wanted to ask you guys for your input. How have you organized everything archiCAD related in your work environment.

remarks:
°server: we have an office server where the libraries/templates/textures are stored. This is running 24/7

°libraries: this is my biggest worry because its all messed up. Different folders host every single ArchiCAD library we ever owned. Should we gather all the libraries, resulting in having to relocate the missing libraries in every project or should we keep working with this messed up situation. To me it would be a possibility but in order to implement this I need to know if this is the best method. We're also working with a Bim Server, is it better to upload everything to this server and add BimServer libraries instead of adding "regular" libraries stored on the server. Is this flexible in adding objects to our custom office library? And, if we gather all libraries (like 20 in total or something), I don't want to add folder "All ArchiCAD Libraries" since this would take for every to load. But adding our 3 most used libraries individually doesn't seem like the most optimized way either. Should I make 2 folders: 1) Current libraries 2) Outdated libraries? My biggest fear here is to mess up older projects...

°custom office library: before I started at the office, no objects were made and everything was in 2D... Meanwhile, we have our own way of drawing for example kitchen elements, chairs, toilets, electric object, etc. Therefore I want to start our own office library. I'll be using the same folder structure as our bill of quantities (we also use this for the building materials). I want this to be something that grows gradually as we make the elements when we need them. Everyone of the office should be able to add these objects and use them (i'm guessing no library containers here). My guess is that when I add the office library to the template, it automatically reloads and finds possible new objects that were made... This way everyone can benefit someone else his work without having to add a new library. Hence my previous question, if we should work with bimserver libraries i don't think we'll be having this flexibility, or...?

°textures: we have a folder on the server "collage" in which we store elements we could use for photoshops or renderings. The problem is: at the moment, these textures aren't linked. I wan't to link these image files to the corresponding texture, to the corresponding building material, so that people don't have to set everything up every time they want to render... How would you guy's fit this in the office (archicad) folder structure? Will this make opening up a project slow?

°office template: setting up a template is a lot of work... what's your opinion in best managing an office template... Reviewing the template every month/year? This isn't very handy since new projects are started every month and when reviewing monthly they soon work with an outdated version of the template...

°folder structure:
to start up the discussion I've created a possible folder structure. I would appreciate your feedback very much!

-Libraries
--Current libraries
---library 1
---library 2
---office library
--Past libraries
-Textures
--I like the categories as the are on textures.com, I'll be using this
-Work environment
--Templates
--Office profile (shortcuts, window ordening, visible pallets)

missing something?
btw when I export my complete work environment it doesn't always take every possible setting...


Looking forward to your feedback!
regards

ps: as an indication of size, our office exist out of 10 archicad users
User avatar
By eldhead
#251485
Library's and textures, it´s just a mess. I have no clue. One tip is to erase everything local, everything should be downloaded from the server. But people save things local so...
User avatar
By Jeff Kogut
#252781
I'll describe our setup which will answer how we worked out some of the issues your office has.

We do mostly larger single-family homes. We have 5 AC seats, a server, and a BIM server (just a dedicated PC - Win7 Pro, i7, 24gb RAM, SSD). Both servers are backed up nightly via Crashplan.

We are PC based except one user works one day a week from home on a Mac. The other users probably account for an additional 4-5 man-days work from home per month on their PC's (to cover appointments, etc.).

About 2/3 of the jobs are just done as solo .pln jobs working off the main server, 1/3 end up on the BIMServer. Finished Teamwork jobs are saved as a .pln file and put back on the main server and the BIMServer is cleaned of the job.

Our own in-house library has a modest amount of custom objects and a fair amount of texture files. But just the one library and I review it every 6 months or so to weed out any bloat.

Our in-house library is in our company 1gb Dropbox folder. Our template and all job files point to it, and all home users need it installed in the same default C:\Dropbox\ location. If they have personal Dropbox accounts we ask that they access it at home via a the web interface with their personal login. We did this with Dropbox because of the PC/Mac and home/work situations, and ease of connection for various tech level people. We also save a copy of the latest template and favorites file in another folder in Dropbox.


We have spent a huge amount of time working on the template. It is updated as needed, sometimes daily. Sometimes monthly. Yes, as soon as it is updated all other active jobs are on an outdated template. We have users on chat and I explain changes or post a pic and they update their project if necessary.

The template is as plug and play as we can make it with sheets set up, views placed, PDF ready to print.

We have around 350 details in our template currently. We have an older 'detail repository' .pln file that we used to copy details from with another 200 or so less used details. We found that copying in details took a lot of time each job (usually around 40 details) so we did put the most used ones in the template. I am generally annoyed with the way details are managed in ArchiCAD and I wish they had a 'Detail Manager' similar to the Attribute Manager to bring details in from a central 'Detail Library'. With all those details in our template it weighs in at about 105mb currently.


Here are some pics of how we have some aspects of the template arranged:

Basic landing area, with 'test bulding' on left area, cabinets/furniture/railings/artwork/fireplaces/etc. in lower center, and where we start the model in the upper right.
Image

Here's what it looks like in 3D. We had a bunch of this set up as Favorites but they seem to break themselves with various updates and management became a nightmare so we just inserted things like kitchen cabinets and got rid of the Favorite. We eyedropper the settings or move what we need in to our model and delete the rest. We still do have around 80 Favorites in total.
Image

Details are placed on sheets for easy browsing and dragging on to actual working drawing detail sheets.
Image

These are the layouts as shown above.
Image

And here is the view map.
Image

Here is the '!DETAIL TEMPLATE' from the View Map, easy to start a new detail or copy our standards into a newly created detail view.
Image

Layouts for site notes based on various jurisdictions.
Image

Some of our modified/custom surfaces, prefixed with '4D | '
Image

Many views have a 'parts bin' of frequently used items we have ready to go. This is the one for sections.
Image
Last edited by Jeff Kogut on Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
By Josh Cuthbertson
#263066
Jeff Kogut wrote: I am generally annoyed with the way details are managed in ArchiCAD and I wish they had a 'Detail Manager' similar to the Attribute Manager to bring details in from a central 'Detail Library'. With all those details in our template it weighs in at about 105mb currently.


Jeff, what about creating a separate .pln file for strictly details and hot-linking in the drawing sheets? Would something like that work?

You might even be able to separate the .pln files into construction types / materials / products, etc. etc.
User avatar
By Jeff Kogut
#263067
Hi Josh,

We tried the .pln file of details and linking them a few years ago and last spring I tried again (the hot-linking broke).

We also had an internal debate about linking details and we ended up not wanting to do it. The thought was that the details for a project need to be for that project and never change unintentionally. (We do have various levels of technical proficiency with our staff.)

For example if a detail is for 2012 code and we update it for 2015. We have job permitted under 2012 and we do some revisions and the details get updated to 2015. That's an easy fix - just a different detail .pln file for each code revision since a new code is a good milestone. But what about revising a standard detail with a correction or improved construction method? Do we only make new details and never revise any? Do we implement some revision naming? Do we update details and published sets be damned, they are getting the latest details? (The last one sounds really bad to me!)

I did add a wish for a Detail Manager here where some of this is also discussed:
http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/vie ... ht=#253533
User avatar
By Michael Scheltema
#269244
In response to the detail issue, I've recently set up a teamwork file that everyone can access with all of my details categorized in a simple format that is easily read by the dialogue box in placing a drawing from a teamwork file. In doing so we have centralized the details and also eliminated them from the template.
My rationale for this is that the template should only drive the attributes and the layout book. It is a central point to access these items. It's also where I build my favourites. Details are something that multiple users should simultaneously be able to work on. Therefore team work makes sense to me.
I hope this helps.
By JaseBee
#275551
I like the idea of teamwork files for details, though the updating issue that the hotlinks are susceptible to (that Jeff noted) would still be present for a teamwork file (though you could lock out less technically proficient people from modifying).

But I was wondering if there is an easy way to generate a list of the files that call up a particular drawing?

The only thing I can think of at the moment would be the drawing title object would have a write out script to a text file if it saw your detail files name in the view source or something to that effect.

Interesting solution though, I definitely want to look into splitting up elements of the template that aren't necessary essential or can be easily added when needed like this.

Have you had any issues with the drawing links being broken Michael?
By benjamin_chan
#276602
Jeff Kogut wrote:I'll describe our setup which will answer how we worked out some of the issues your office has.

We do mostly larger single-family homes. We have 5 AC seats, a server, and a BIM server (just a dedicated PC - Win7 Pro, i7, 24gb RAM, SSD). Both servers are backed up nightly via Crashplan.

We are PC based except one user works one day a week from home on a Mac. The other users probably account for an additional 4-5 man-days work from home per month on their PC's (to cover appointments, etc.).

........


Hi Jeff

Thank for you this post. Unfortunately all the image links seem to be broken and I am very keen on seeing those screenshots. Any chance that they can be updated?

Thanks,
Ben
By furtonb
#276794
+1 for updating the image links!

Jeff Kogut wrote:About 2/3 of the jobs are just done as solo .pln jobs working off the main server, 1/3 end up on the BIMServer. Finished Teamwork jobs are saved as a .pln file and put back on the main server and the BIMServer is cleaned of the job.


Do I understand correctly, that you archive as .pln and don't embed the used objects? Isn't it risky/waste of time when reopening - to find everything and link back? Or do you have a bulletproof library archive as well?