On Land

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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.
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July 2014 Archive

We reviewed some things that people were a little sketchy on.

Which libraries should you use

• The current version's Archicad Library, which is located in the Applications folder, at Graphisoft/Archicad [n]. When you migrate a project to a newer version, you might also pick up an Archicad [n-1] Migration Library.

• The current version's Rill Library, which is located on the Carrot at 2 Libraries/Master LIB [n].

• Do not load the Development library, located within the Master Library folders. Objects in there are in an unreliable state from your point of view. They may vanish or turn into something else without notice.

• Do not load the entire Master LIB folder. That would give the Development folder hazard above, as well as potential duplicates from the Archived Items folder.

• When you migrate a project to a new version, change to the matching version of our Rill library. I do not maintain library parts more than one version back for very long. You will soon be out of date.

• If you have missing or duplicate parts, fix them. You should never see the library loading report.

Here is more on library management and what libraries are where.

Projects need to be on the server

If you take a project file elsewhere to work on it, make sure you put the modified version on the server when you return. If you aren't here and someone else needs to access the project, we need to be confident that it is current.

Where is your drawing list

I have seen cover sheets with no drawing list, and the drawing list box is still titled, "Drawing List". This looks dumb and bad. Drawing lists are generally required by permit authorities, and it is bad user experience not to have them.

Linked detail markers

This is an old, very important, core feature of Archicad. Here is a very old post about it. Nothing has changed.

Here I will re-summarize the detail workflow:

• The default settings of the detail tool in the templates are: create new viewpoint (source marker), in reference to the viewpoint, with the layer +Z SE Hide. To draw details based on other viewpoints' content, use the marker Detail Area JM10.

• Place the new marker with the "Create new detail viewpoint" option. This becomes a source marker. Develop the detail content.

• Save a view of the detail in the CDs/A3 Details/ subset.

• Place the view as a drawing in a layout.

• Return to the detail marker and change the reference to the first placed drawing of the viewpoint. (This is generally robust because there is probably only one drawing instance of that detail.) Change the layer of the marker to +Z SE Print.

• If you need to call out the detail from other locations, drag or copy/paste the marker. The new copies will be linked markers in reference to the selected viewpoint, which is the original detail.

• You can use other detail marker objects to refer to details you have developed using the Detail Area. Those would be placed as linked markers to a selected drawing.

• You can move the detail drawing around the set as you like. If you have to move the drawing to a different sheet, drag it in the navigator rather than cut/pasting it. If you cut or delete the drawing, the markers will go bad.

• To call out any placed drawing, use a linked marker in reference to "the selected drawing".

Composite separators should be off for stud walls

For composites representing 2x4 and 2x6 stud walls, the lines showing the drywall and sheathing should be off. At 1/4" scale, they don't read individually and add extra wait to the main wall outline.

• In the composite settings, Use Skin Separator Line should be unchecked.

• In the wall settings, Use Structure's Separator Line should be on.

You Actually Do Have To Split Walls To Demolish Openings

I have much more to say about this.

Keep junk sections junky, and don't have too many

It is very useful to use non-output sections to work on the model. I call these junk sections. They use a simplified marker, a subtle pen color, no names, and IDs of the series x1, x2, ... They are set up in the templates and in the favorites.

Junk sections should never have names like output sections. This makes your Project Map and View Map very confusing. If you have junk sections with real names, fix them.

Never use junk sections for anything important. If you use a junk section to create a detail, or turn one into an output section, then change the pen, marker, and/or name to account for this.

Don't have too many. It is better to have a handful and move them around. Having many sections and elevations will eventually affect file performance. In order to move them around without worry, you need to be confident they are truly junk; see the rules above.

Don't use Up, Down, Left, Right in section or IE output names

Elevations of the exterior should be called Front, Rear, Left, and Right.

Interior elevations, by default, should be named after the room and the compass direction of the elevated wall. Both of these can be automated if you are using zones (for the name) and have Project North set correctly (for the direction).

Up, Down, Left, and Right refer to the plans, not to the building. It looks odd to see a title like "Kitchen Down"; what is that, the floor?

Interior elevation names can be customized if it makes the title clearer. If there is only one elevation of a room, you can just name it after the room. In the kitchen you can name it after the equipment on that side. At a kitchen island, you name them after the things they face, e.g., "Island Facing Sink". For most walls worth elevating, it is evident what is special about them, and beyond the room name the title doesn't add much. It just shouldn't be confusing.

I think the Up, Down, Left, Right idea comes from the IDs we use for building sections. (A2-4R Cross Section looks to the right, A2-4L looks to the left.) These are good, because the help make the name-ID combination unique. But they have nothing to do with output.