On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.

Now we have some standard details, in the form of module files, which you can drop into whatever projects might appreciate them. They are located at 3 Resources / AC / External References / Standard Details. These are distinct from the Assembly Type details, which specify the components of walls, roofs, slabs, etc.

I will define a standard detail as a building condition always done in a certain way, independent of superficial architectural characteristics. For example, a brick window header will always be flashed with the same technique, regardless of the size or color of brick, the joint finish, or the shape of the brickmould. Those architectural specifications would be noted in other details and/or in the specs. Further, standard details represent CYA-type technical matters that we want to be sure not to forget, so the easier to drop them in the better.

The first wave of these details concerns the heads, jambs, and sills of openings (doors and windows) in walls finished with wood siding, stone, and brick.

How to use them

Create an independent detail window. Give it a descriptive name such as 'Typ Brick Window Head'. I like to use the ID field to keep the standard details separate from the 'real' details, so I would use an ID like 'Standard01'.

You can either merge or hotlink the desired module into this new detail window. Merge is essentially a paste operation, and the drawing elements will simply appear in the window and act normally.

Hotlinking maintains a live connection to the module file. If the module ever changes, you would get a notice to update it upon opening the file. Elements of hotlinked modules cannot be edited; the whole thing will act like a big locked group. (Module elements' nodes are square donuts instead of round.)

Which way is right. I will say merge in this case. As a 'Standard' detail, it shouldn't change often, and having fewer external references simplifies taking the project off-network.

Create a view of the detail window and drop it on a detail layout. Rinse and repeat.

More info

Don't be distracted by the Standard Details.PLN file in that External References folder. The project file is the administrative resource for generating the module files. Here is a summary of my detail method as it relates to the assembly types. Here is the really sick module generation method, which has nothing to do with the end user. 'Sick' can mean 'gross' or 'cool'.

Please let me know immediately if you encounter a module with multiple stories. How will you know? Such a module will not merge into a detail (or any non-plan) window, and you will get a warning to that effect. If you try the sensible workaround of merging the module into the plan window and then moving it, you will eventually notice multiple empty stories added to your project.

Both of these outcomes are sick in the uncool way.

This problem started in AC11, when it became possible to save multi-story modules. (Previously, if you wanted a three-story module, you needed three one-story modules.) This feature has a crippling bug that was reported in early beta, yet remains unfixed. When you publish a module from a multi-story project, you have a choice of what stories to publish: All, Current, or a range. It doesn't work. When you attempt to publish a single-story module, you get a module with all the stories of the parent project, with the content of only one story, the one that was 'current'.

So, after cool-sick publishing the modules, I have to gross-sick open each one of them and delete the extra stories. Of course, some day I will tune up a detail and re-publish it and then forget to fix it, and you will be sad when you try to merge it, and then you will tell me.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my great displeasure with Graphisoft's current quality assurance standards. This is a major bug in a medium-size new feature. They have known about it for months. They have released four patches to the shipping version on top of a number of beta versions. This bug impairs the ability of serious firms to use Archicad at a high level. It wastes your time and mine. It adds to the apprehension about future releases and how long they, in turn, will take to stop messing up our workflows, if ever. Archicad 10 still has what I consider show-stopping bugs, but it will never be patched again.

It is infuriating today and worrisome for the future.