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I start a lot of projects with Existing Conditions. When I begin my Construction Documents I need to create Demolition Plans. So here is my question.

If the walls I draw are put into classes such as Walls-Exterior and Walls-Interior How do I go about graphically distinguishing walls that will remain and walls that will be removed.

So far I figure the following process would work. I am just not sure if there is a better way.

If you see anything wrong with the following process please let me know:

1. Draw my existing conditions

2. Use the trim tool to cut my walls (at the points where demolition will begin\end)

3. Create a new class for my demolished walls

4. Select all the walls that will be demolished.

5. Go to the Object Info Palette and place the demolished walls on the newly created class.

6. Create a new viewport and with the newly created class I should be able to differentiate between walls that will remain and walls that will be removed.

*This process should also work to distinguish existing walls from newly constructed walls.

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That seems to be a good plan - sometimes for clarity I poche either existing or new construction then include a small Legend...

Edited by Wes Gardner

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Yeah including a legend is a good idea. The reason I am creating the new classes is so I can adjust what my walls will look like graphically, such as poche. Thanks Wes.

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I like it! Anything improving the graphic quality of our work is what I'm after. I think NNA has done a "bang up" job of providing some very fine tools - yes, there's room for improvement but it is my opinion that this graphically rich environment is what separates us from the pack.

Your scheme as outlined, I believe you'll have the most flexibility and control over the "look and feel" of your work.

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Max, try this little experiment.

New a new file draw a simple house with four walls and add some door and windows to all walls put 3 of these walls in a class called Wall-EC and the remaining one in Wall-EC-1.

Make the demolition class active( use the VW default for this)and accept the attributes and draw a new wall directly on top of the (EC-1) wall to be demolished and place the doors/windows in the proper positions.

Next over that same wall draw your new one in the Wall-Spec class and add some doors/windows.

Now alternate the visibility of the Wall-Spec and Demoltion and Existing Conditions classes do this in an isometric view as well.

Next make all of the walls visible and send the litlle house to a sheet layer using the Create Viewport tool.

Copy the viewport so that you now have 3 of them.

Select viewport number 1 and in the OIP click on the classes button and make the Wall-Spec and demolition classes invisible.

In viewport number 2 turn off the Wall-EC-1 class class and make the Demolition class visible.

Use viewport number 3 to show the Wall-Spec class.

Check it out

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Looking at the Alexandria Lofts Project there are two layers for each level to handle existing, demolition and new construction.

All new construction is on layer "Mod-Floor-X" and existing conditions and demolition are on "Mod-Floor-X-Existing"

The demolished walls and doors are in the demolition class.

Windows are in windows-main and created as cased openings. They are inserted into walls.

A rectangle in the Demolition Class is overlaid for windows to be demolished.

Generally, there are no additional classes, just the additional layers for existing/demolition.

Of course the interior is a gut job, so selective demolition would require a little more modeling in regard to the walls, but it looks to me like the system is scalable.

Pretty much everything appears to use the built-in setup.

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brudgers, that's basically the way that I've been dealing with new vs. existing vs. demolition.

The only real complication with this approach is that moving doors and windows to the demolition layer requires you to turn off Auto-classing (at least temporarilly) and that you need to add a "false" cased opening to the existing layer in order to have a new window acually cut into the wall. It takes some extra work and I screwed it up a few times before I figured out how to do it right.

The Alexandria Lofts example is a pretty good example except, as you noted, it's a complete gut job so it doesn't have to deal with the subtleties of a more "surgical" project.

It would be great if VW had an option in Model Setup to create the existing layers so that we don't need to add them after the fact.

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I thought you would have to have a demo-layer. But Alexandria Lofts doesn't.

It places Demo on the existing layer and uses the demolition class.

For simple cases, like the walls and doors for the gut, the objects are just placed in the demolition class.

The more complex situation at the windows is addressed graphically with a rectangle in the demolition class.

So Mod-Floor-X contains all new construction.

And Mod-Floor-X-existing contains all existing construction regardless of if it is to remain or be demolished.

The Mod-Floor-X-existing shows up in all the viewports. It is greyed in those showig new construction.

Mod-Floor-X shows up in all viewports except those showing Demolition (or pure existing conditions).

The only thing controled by class is demolition.

The only deviation from the standard modeling is the creation of the additional layer for the existing conditions co-spatial with the layer for new construction.

Even for projects with more selective demolition, this is probably a pretty easy way to handle it...particularly if you are willing to resort to graphically adressing the most complex relationships rather than trying to model them.

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brudgers, Yup - that's exactly how I'm doing it.

In fact, this is almost exactly how I did it in ACAD.

It sounds a bit easier than it really is because autoclassing must be turned off to move doors and windows to the demo class and because you can't put a new window or door directly into and existing wall (window/door and wall must be on same layer.) You have to be careful turning Auto-classing on and off because VW asks to put everything back on the "correct" layer every time you turn it back on. I also have had things mysteriously jump back to their autoclassed layers when I stretch a wall or move a door.

All in all this method works pretty well. It just doesn't feel like VW had existing work and demolition in mind when they built it - which is kind of odd given that there is more renovation work than new work in the life of your average architectural firm.

You're right about not necessarily modeling everything. Things can get pretty complicated quickly and in most cases you only need things to work in 2d.

Edited by billtheia

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That AutoCad background threw me...you said mentioned moving items to the "demolition layer" rather than class...and sent me off to the races.

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Oops. I'm still suffering from 15 years of ACAD use. That stuff will eat your brain.

I meant demo CLASS.

Edited by billtheia

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Hey guys, Now I'm thinking maybe it's just easier to create the existing and demo drawings on 1 file and then copy that file and create the new construction on a 2nd file.

The process of re-drawing walls and windows is too tedious.

I'm trying to incorporate this new type of BIM drawing method into our office. I don't want to confuse everyone by having the files to cluttered. I know it is probably possible to create a file that can create all the drawings I need. Although, I wonder if it is the right solution just because the program can possibly do it.

Any thoughts on that? Thanks for all your help so far :)

Edited by MaxStudio

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Look at the Alexandria Laundry Lofts.

The organization is pretty simple (and nearly straight out of the box).

There is no redrawing of any significance.

The approach for replacing existing windows is a little complex, but reasonablly logical once you look at it. [see mod-floor-2]

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Max, If you are talking about two separate files that aren't referenced together, you can certainly do that but duplication of work can make coordination more difficult, resulting in more errors. I think that it's worth the little bit of extra work in the beginning because changes are easier to make and it's easier to keep new, existing, and demo coordinated.

I use the same file from schematic design through CDs. It evolves over time, of course, but the basic structure is the same throughout - 1 set of layers for existing and demo, 1 set for new work, and a basically "stock" set of classes. I'm able to produce really nice 2d plans and simple perspectives in SD and then I just keep adding detail as I go through DD & CD. I'm a sole practitioner so I keep everything in one file but this setup could easily be split up using Work Group Referencing (and/or Design Layer Viewports - I'm not even really sure what the difference is in 2008.)

If you haven't already, download the Alexandria Lofts project files and take a close look at them:


Unless you have clients that demand BIM or some other compelling reason to implement BIM, I wouldn't get too caught up in the hype. It certainly has it's advantages but it almost always creates more work for the architect. So, unless you're getting paid more, I wouldn't be in a big hurry to go "true" BIM. Unless the owner or contractor are going to use your model for estimating, construction, and/or facility management, you're probably better off using the "BIM" features of VW where they make sense and then going 2d for things that would be more difficult to model (as brudgers said.)

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May have missed this along the way, but for the actual construction documents I grey all existing walls layers on the viewport and show all items removed as dashed. And for multiple reasons I think it's better to keep your walls (ie. demo 1, wall 02, etc.) on layers vs. classes... especially if you need to export the file as a dwg.

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This is an small example (the numbered explanations correspond to the numbered images):

1. This is a small existing building. Just 4 walls, 2 windows and 1 door. Everything is on Layer-1. The walls are placed in a class named 'Existing Walls'. The windows and doors are placed in their default classes.

2. I trim my walls with a line in two places. I select the trimmed walls and place them in a class called "Demo Walls". I take the window that is to be demolished and place it in a class named "Demo Windows" and change it's fill to class and line to class.

3. This is an existing rear elevation. (the rear wall is the top wall in plan) everything seems ok.

4. I then draw my new walls and window on Layer-1. I put them in a class named 'New Walls'. I use the Wall Join Tool to connect my New Walls to my Existing Walls.

5. This is the same plan with the class 'Demo Walls' turned off.

6. This is my new rear elevation which includes the new walls and window that I have created.

7. I return to my Existing Elevation and there is a problem. There is a hole.

8. I proceed to rip my hair out and decide to make another layer called 'Layer-2'. I duplicate all the walls, windows and doors except those in the 'Demo Walls' & 'Demo Windows' classes. I then place these duplicates on 'Layer-2'. I select all my new walls and windows and place them on 'Layer-2' as well.

I make 'Layer-2' invisible and produce this rear elevation.

9. I make 'Layer-2' visible and make 'Layer-1' invisible and produce this rear elevation.

Thoughts. . .?

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I think I see what you're after. You're trying to generate EXISTING elevations in addition to NEW.

I think that your problem could be solved by changing the way that you join new walls to existing. DON'T mitre them - use butt joints instead (see attached image.)

Funny thing is, it never even occurred to me that I COULD use the wall join tool between existing and new walls. I seldom turn on the ...MODIFY Others option with Layers. This forces me to change active layers every time I want to change something on the existing building but it keeps me from accidentally changing something I don't intend to.

Anyway, I think a butt joint will fix your problem.

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You have a seperate classes for demo-walls and demo-windows, but do you ever show demo'ed walls and windows seperately?

If not, why make two classes?

Typically, they would always appear together and could be in the single class provided, "demolition."

ALL (alexandria laundry lofts) groups all the existing info on a single layer regardless of if it is to be demolished or remain.

The demolition class is displayed as needed.

The existing walls doors and windows to remain are on their normal classes.

Their graphic display is largely controled at the layer level as it relates to the fact that they're existing...typically as a grey layer.

Which part of each object is displayed is controlled by class and is the same for both new and existing.

If you're duplicating info between layers or classes, then I would say there's room for simplification.

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bill, Thanks for your example I can see how your example will work. My office is strict about how are drawings look so I'm really trying to get them to look as much like our old drawings as possible.

brudgers, I use two different classes, 1 for walls and 1 for windows because it allows display the windows differently than the walls. If I used the same line weight for windows as I did for walls it would make the window look to cluttered.

I'm going to try a few more things I'll keep you posted.

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it seems like the butt joint is the way to go. I deleted the duplicated existing information on "Layer-2" and set the layer to Show/Snap Others. I think the "Modify" was what was giving me the problem. My walls kept wanting to snap and create corners.

Thank you.

So when it comes down to it I have the following:


'Layer-1' for new construction walls, windows and doors

'Layer-2' for Existing and Demo walls, windows, and doors


'Walls-New' for new walls

'Walls-Existing' for walls to remain

'Walls-Demo' for walls to be demolished

I also included New and Demo Classes for Windows and


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Different classes for windows and doors makes sense for new and existing since these are shown in many views.

But for demolition it may make less sense since this information is only shown only once on the demolition plan (and maybe a second time on an existing conditions plan).

ALL uses layers to separate existing and to toggle it's display as grey or full visibility.

The advantage I see is that there are no additional classes, and simply one additional layer which is either visible or grey....It's hard to think of a situation where I would turn off the existing info in a renovation project.

Of course the other advantage I see is that it's fairly well supported out of the box. The only change to the standard viewports is one layer "existing" going from off to grey.

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<<<'Walls-New' for new walls

'Walls-Existing' for walls to remain

'Walls-Demo' for walls to be demolished>>>>

To this I add a Walls-'Existing to Remain' LAYER. Why? Because on occasion that new DOORS straddle or overlap the wall cuts and the new door cannot be inserted on the edge of a wall nor into two separate walls at once. Also, I like to show the dashed demo lines on new plans which means that that new walls that occupy the same location as existing walls create overlaps and graphic confusion.

For the sake of the RCP and ELECTRICAL PLANS etc. that use the plan as a backdrop, an entirely new plan is the easiest way to go.

BEST ALTERNATIVE: Convert all Walls and Doors to be demolished to 2D.

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instead of using layers for the wall plans, you can use one layer and use wall styles. the wall styles will assign the walls to the correct class if you set them up correctly.

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