Week #18 – Complex Projects
18-5. Multi-Building Projects

ArchiCAD Training (Best Practices Lesson 18-5)

This 71 minute ArchiCAD training explores various methods for managing projects with multiple buildings.

For certain situations, it’s best to create all the buildings inside the same file. Some potential trouble-spots have straightforward solutions. For example the question of how to create door or window schedules for each building separately, which can be managed by using a different criteria for each schedule that restricts the elements listed to a single building.

Another challenge may occur when the site is sloped, and each building may have a different base height. If the height difference is large enough, the walls may start to show differently for each building, since the walls in one building may be above the Floor Plan Cut Plane (FPCP) of the View, causing them to appear as if they were “overhead” in a lighter line, and openings may disappear from the plan. To work around this, one can alter the FPCP settings to extend what is shown, or possibly create separate Views each with an appropriate FPCP for one of the buildings. In this latter case, these Views may be placed on the same layout sheet as if they were one drawing, or on different sheets.

There are a number of reasons for separating buildings into different PLN files:

  • Each building model may be worked on separately, by the same designer or different team members
  • Each PLN may have different settings for the Views, and possibly entirely distinct layout books or subsets
  • File sizes may be more manageable when a large project is broken into pieces

When a project is broken up into separate PLN files, they may be placed as Hotlinked Modules (HLM) to create overall Site Plans as well as extended Elevations, Sections, 3D views and presentations. See lesson 18-4 for an extended training on HLM’s.

During this lesson, some additional nuances are explored with regard to HLM’s including the use of single story vs. multi-story modules, saving out parts of a project using a “heavy marquee” as a MOD file for placement as an HLM, and the option for turning off “nesting” to prevent circular references when a site PLN is referenced back in to a building PLN.

Another option for placing an entire building into a site model is to save the building as an object. This provides a one-click placement for the building, which can be the “entire” model or a subset based on a limited number of layers (for example, including only the building shell rather than any of the interiors).

The question of Story Lines for complex projects was briefly addressed at the end of the lesson. When a long section or elevation is generated that shows buildings with different floor plate heights, it’s often best to turn off the automatic Story Level Lines since they will extend on both sides of the view. Instead, use the Dimension marker to place elevation references, and if desired, turn off the witness lines and draw them in manually with dashed lines (since you cannot make the standard witness lines dashed).

Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website. The video lessons are available for members only. If you are an active member and would like to watch the ArchiCAD training video on this page, please login to the website. If you are not currently a member, please visit the following pages for more information and to sign up for the Best Practices Course, the QuickStart Course or for the Best Practices ArchiCAD Coaching Program. Eric Bobrow, Creator of the Best Practices Course

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ArchiCAD Training: Multi-Building Projects

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