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.
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Sheet T1

Most of the advice about sections and elevations applies to interior elevations as well. We do interior elevations because the larger scale lets us show more information. Some of this information is already in the model and the scale change reveals it. Some of it is fine modeling that doesn't need to be done until you start the interiors. Some is very fine detail that is done in 2D within IE windows.

In AC11, there is a dedicated interior elevation tool, which works if you keep a close eye on it. You will also probably have some IEs that are made with the elevation tool.

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Sheet A4-1

The reflected ceiling plan is a universal drawing type that Archicad simply does not handle very well. We took a medium-size step forward in Archicad 11 with addition of the 'Ceiling Plan' model view option for GDL objects. This allows object developers to make objects that draw themselves differently whether the 'Ceiling Plan' or 'Floor Plan' setting is active. But this switch only applies to objects, and beams, slabs, etc. don't know you want a different linetype when they're overhead as opposed to on the floor. Hopefully, this switch will soon apply to all elements, and we will have dedicated attributes for 'Ceiling Line Type', 'Ceiling Pen', and 'Ceiling Cover Fill'. I have wanted this for a while.

In the meantime, the RCP still demands a lot of tracing of modeled elements. It's better than it used to be, but it's still one of the least unified drawings.

What shows:
• Walls
• Ceiling trim and finishes
• Ceiling fixtures including lights, fans, and mechanical fixtures
• Floor elements, including deck edges, stairs, counters; traced with a dashed line

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Sheet A3-2
The big difference between a building section and a wall section, besides the scale itself, is that the wall section has much more fine detail.

The additional detail of a wall section comes from (some) scale-sensitive model elements, along with 2D geometry and annotation placed in/around the modeled section. That's right, drawing. But this kind of drawing doesn't leave the model behind, and the section window remains live. In section, your modeling goal is an accurate 'envelope' of empty poché that looks clean at 1/4" scale, and can accommodate fine detail and annotation at wall section scale.

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Site plan fragment
What Shows

• General. The site plan is generated from the First Floor story. The 3D grade mesh is not shown because its pen and linetype options are too limited.

• Property boundary with metes and bounds. For the boundary, use an empty fill. (Only a fill can report its area, and you'll need the property area for the project information.) If north is set correctly and the boundary is precisely drawn, you can use and object for the metes and bounds, Survey Dim RND9, located in Graphic Symbols. Layers: +C Site Line.E for the boundary, and +C Site Note for the text.

• North arrow object. North Arrow JAM9, located in Graphic Symbols. If north is set correctly, you can turn on the 'Use Project North' parameter. Layer: +C Site Note.

• Setbacks. Layer: +C Site Line.E Use lines, arcs, or polylines. Setbacks should be labeled 'BRL' (building restriction line). Special restrictions can be labeled more specifically; 'Conservation Easement', for example. Layers: +C Site Line.E for the lines, and +C Site Note for the text.

• Topographic survey contours. If available. Use splines. Don't use lines, polylines or arcs. If you have lots of little segments, the dashed lines will never look right. Typically, we will get contours at two-foot intervals. The sea-level elevation of each contour should be called out, unless the contours are very closely spaced. In these cases, labeling only the ten-foot contours is OK. Layers: +C Contour.E and .N for the splines, and +C Site Note for the text.

• Building footprint. Layer: +C Footprint.N The footprint is the outline of the building as it meets grade. You will probably use the basement plan to get it. With the Site Plan layer combination active, show the A Wall Ext and S Wall2 layers. Trace the wall outlines with a polyline. You can show the basement story as trace (FKA ghost), or draw the polyline on the basement story and cut/paste it to the first floor.

Show dimensions from the footprint to the property boundary at key locations. For an addition project, the addition portion of the footprint should be filled with a diagonal pattern.

• Trees. If available. Use the object Tree JM10, located in 02 Site / Trees. Don't show removed trees unless you need to. Layers: L Tree2 or L Tree A. Trees on the 'A' layer will also show in the architectural plan. If you have modeled trees, you can place them on these layers or use L Tree3 to hide them in plans.

• Top view of building. This can be a roof plan or a 3D top view. This is a separate drawing overlaid on the site plan drawing.

• Additional building-related 2D elements. Anything you can't get to cooperate with the top view drawing can be drawn separately. Layer: +C House Line.

• Driveway. The layer L Drive2 shows in the site plan layer combinations. If you find that showing this driveway conflicts with the site plan somehow, you can modify the layer combination to hide it, and then redraw it with lines, arcs, and polylines on the +C Site Line.N layer.

• Street. Layer: +C Site Line.E Use lines, arcs, or polylines.

• Notes. Label the major site and project elements. These are, at least, the existing house and addition, the driveway, pools, large terraces, septic fields. Layer: +C Site Note.

Line Types

• Boundary: Property Dot-dash
• Setbacks: BRL long dash
• 2' contour: Dense dashed
• 10' contour: Long Dashed
• Driveway and street: Solid
• Footprint: Dense Dashed

Fonts

The usual, but to review: Lucida Sans for notes. Tahoma for dimensions including boundary data. The street name looks nice with a serif font; use Times.

Sheet E1
What shows: Walls, stairs, counters, decks, appliances and mechanical equipment, and all electrical symbols.

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Sheet T1
Things on the cover sheet and where they come from.

First of all, the cover sheets have their own master layouts, C Cover, D Cover, and E Cover. The 'data zone' at the bottom of the sheet is proportioned differently for each sheet. This way, if you need to change the sheet size, you just change the master and you don't have to worry about resizing the legends and whatnot.

Because the cover sheets are all customized, a lot of the information rests on the cover master rather than in the cover sheet layout itself. Throughout, I'll refer to the 'master' and the 'layout'.

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Sheet A3-3
The distinctive feature of the detail sheet is the grid. The grid encourages us to think about how details align, and forces us to be economical with the space we have for annotaions. And it looks better, and it's standard practice.

The grid deployment has two parts: The Grid Cell object, and the 'Detail' master layouts.

You should always develop details with the Grid Cell object. Place it before doing any annotations, so you can use it to align the notes. Most details should need only one grid cell. For larger details, stretch the object to an adequate extent. Much more on how the grid is laid out can be found at the Grid Cell documentation link above.

The Grid Cell object doesn't draw the grid itself. That is handled automatically by the Detail masters. The master also takes care of numbering the drawings by their position on the sheet, and it automatically eliminates lines that would cross a multi-cell drawing. Grid setup can be found in the master's settings.

There are three detail masters in the templates, one for each sheet size. The number of available cells depends on the size.

Detail drawings use automatic titles. There is a guideline within the Grid Cell object to help with placement of the title.

Wall sections need not be placed on a detail grid, although you can place a wall section on a detail sheet if you have space and there aren't many wall sections.

Sheet A1-4

Roof plans used to be a wormhole to the drafting dimension. With cover fills and flexible story display, they're just regular plans with a couple special annotations.

To be clear, all that old fashioned stuff about pasting from 3D and whatnot is no longer with us.

• What Shows.

Roofs on the A Roof2 layers. Gutters (on F Gutter). Top elements of chimneys on A Fireplace or A Roof2. Notes on +A Arch Note Reg Scale. +A Misc Line. There is no longer a layer for 'roof plan lines'. The roof plan uses the same layer combination for output as the rest of the plans, A1 Floor+Roof Plan.

Roof elements will be placed on the lowest story on which they should be visible, and they need to show enough stories above to be visible on the roof story. For some roofs this means 'one story up', and for some it means 'all stories above' (custom setting). Much more on roofs in plan in AC10 here.

• Annotations.

For the slope arrow, use a line with an arrowhead at one end. The arrow points down.

Note the roof materials, gutters, crickets, etc.

Sheet A2-1
Everything I can think of about sections and elevations. Updated for AC10.

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Sheet S3

Everything in the general framing plan discussion also applies to roof framing plans. There's a few special considerations:

• The roof framing plan should usually be generated from the top occupied story, not the roof story. For most projects, this is either the attic or the second floor. In the past, we have used the roof story, but not any more. It is very beneficial to show walls in the roof framing; in fact, we should show walls from multiple stories where applicable. By using an occupied story for the plan, it's one less story to be shown using the trick linked above.

• Show the outlines of the roofs. It is not feasible to show the roofs themselves, you must trace them or copy and paste from the 3D window in the classic style.

If you are showing the actual roofs in your architectural roof plan, put the traced/pasted roof lines on the +S Struct Note layer. If you are using the cut and paste method for the architectural roof plan, you can use the same lines for roof framing.

If you have dedicated structure roof lines (not reused in architectural), change the hips and valleys to a dashed linetype.

To put it another way.

Option 1 (preferred): Use roof elements on A Roof2 for the architectural roof plan. Use copied lines for the roof framing, on +S Struct Note. Switch the hip and valley lines to dashed.

Option 2: Use copied lines for the architectural roof plan, on +A Roof Plan Line. The same lines show in the roof framing. You can't do the dashed line thing.

• If hip and valley framing members are modeled, they require special attention to place them right. It's often OK to show these members as 2D only. There are two ways to do this: 1) The wood beam object has an option to turn the 3D off. 2) Put the beams on the S Framing layer, which is hidden in section.

Sheet S1
Rules for framing plans. Foundation plans are slightly different. Roof framing plans are very similar. I'll have a separate note for them. I wonder what the difference between 'slightly different' and 'very similar' is.

• Walls. Display of walls is controlled by Display Options. The 'Cut Fills' option should be set to 'Separators Only'. The walls will be clear, with lines at the separators; for example, between concrete and stone. Use the 'S' Display Option Combination.

• Bearing Walls. To show a bearing wall, draw a fill on top of it. This is a non-associated, additional element. Use the fill '*Masonry Block', with a background pen of 50. Use the layer +S Struct Note. So: Walls are clear, except bearing walls, which are shaded.

• Rafters & Joists. Fill elements of the fill 'Joists 16OC' or 'Joists 12OC'. If you need other spacings, you need to make more fills. The fills go on the layer S Framing, which only shows in the framing plans. Rafter and joist placement is diagrammatic.

• Rafter & Joist Labels. Object 'Joist Note JAM9'. With the joists shown as fills, you don't need to show the extent in the note object, although it has that option.

• Beams. Beams should generally be modeled and labeled in sections. Use the objects Wood Beam JM9 and Steel W Shape Beam JAM9, etc. Most beams should be on the layer S Beam, which shows in section. If the beam is just used as a note, place it on S Framing.

Beams can reference their calculations by use of the ID tag in the objects.

• Annotations. All annotations should go on the layer +S Struct Note, unless you want an annotation to show in the foundation plan simultaneously. In that case, use +S Note All. Use a background of pen 91 on text blocks to make them readable when placed on fills.

• Structure Notes. Loads, criteria, etc. are part of the General Notes PDF. Specific notes can be added to the plans using text blocks.

Sheet A1-1
• What Shows. Full height walls. Counters, appliances, and plumbing fixtures. Stairs, decks, driveways, floor finish fills. Stair and deck railings. Some roofs. Overhead elements including beams, ceiling lines, and roof overhangs. Room names, preferably in the form of zone stamps. Dimensions. Centerline markers. Names of cabinetry elements ('Bench'). Floor elevations. Markers for sections, elevations, interior elevations, plan enlargements, wall sections, and details. Door and window tags.

• Wall Cleanup.
Plan layer combinations should have different intersection codes for plan and 3D walls. (E.g., A WALL EXT has '1', A Wall Hi has '2'.) This eliminates gaps where visible and invisible walls meet.

Wall cleanup in plan is still tricky for complex intersections. The use of patches is encouraged.

• Display Order.
(Front, back, etc.) Use display order to to make overlapping elements stack correctly. In order for elements to mask elements behind them, they need a fill with a background pen. If you don't want a fill pattern, use 'Empty Fill'.

Generally, annotations should be all the way in front so they aren't obscured by anything. Walls should in front of everything except annotations. Beyond that, you have to pay attention. Counters in front of floor fills, soffit lines in front of counters, stair railings in front of treads, etc.

• Pens.
More on pens here. Walls are 5-weight (usually 15). Edges (Counters, stairs) are 3-weight. Dashed overhead elements are 2-weight. Appliances, plumbing fixtures, and other such objects are 2-weight. Floor finishes are 150. The background pen of walls in new construction is 50, and existing walls are 91.

A note on composites: Contour, separator, and background pens should set correctly in the composites. Walls in plan should be set to use the composites' pens. Stud wall composites should have the separator lines hidden.

• Floor Finishes. There is a steadily-expanding group of ways to show floor finishes. 1) Fills on F Floor Fin2. 2) Slabs with a cover fill on F Floor Fin2. 3) Cover fills on the zones.

• Dimensions. Here. For small rooms, consider enlarged plans and put the dimensions there.