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VectorWorks in an AutoCAD World... BIM/IFC??...

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I am a residential custom designer; I do contract work for architects; and I'm developing small house plans to sell via the Internet.

I love VectorWorks and very much dislike AutoCAD.

But, except for custom residential design, VectorWorks' incompatibility with AutoCAD is suddenly seeming very problematic for me.

Those selling stock plans on the Internet frequently offer AutoCAD drawings as an option, so that their buyers can have them modified locally.

My architect client's client, a school, now wants AutoCAD drawings for a huge ongoing project: 6 buildings, each represented by about 240 drawings (viewports) on 30 sheets.

Simply exporting files to .dwg format is consistently disastrous: huge text; empty viewports; no crops; viewport scales changed; and on and on...

Abandoning the model and attempting to simply send WYSIWYG line-drawing versions of the sheets (un-grouping everything, converting viewports to lines, composing all the line objects to reduce their numbers from 55,000 to hopefully 500, attempting to re-scale and re-coordinate annotations, and on and on...) is extremely time consuming. If I managed to average only 15 minutes per drawing for the above project, for only one building, it would take me 60 hours! Clearly not something a client wants to, or should, pay for.

So, I've started looking into IFC... maybe a BIM that I can export and that they can import (they'd even mentioned Revit) is the solution! I'm not sure wether or not this would help me with selling plans via the Internet thought, but it could be a step in the right direction.

Only problem is... I can't even import even the simplest little IFC project into VW that I've just exported out of VW! (Well, okay, the very simplest, 4 walls created in a brand new default file did work), but not even a very small, simple model of a little house. Forget the school project.

I've followed the online help instructions; my permissions are good. What am I missing? Not a great introduction to the much-touted world of BIM...

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I can appreciate that both DWG and IFC import/export may have evolved significantly over the past few years. I certainly hope they have, as it would make sticking with VectorWorks, which I really hope to do, a possibility. However...

I have a client that probably doesn't need much; a reasonable IFC model would probably suffice. VW 2008 is supposed to be able to export such a model, but all it creates is "Bad IFC" files (even Solibri thought so...). Upgrading for new and enhanced features is one thing; upgrading because my current version doesn't work properly is quite another...

Further, and maybe more importantly, I have not been reading good things about the performance of VW 2011. I've consistently read that it's slow; it crashes a lot; it's Open GL is dysfunctional; textures and sometimes objects from previous versions don't work; it has difficulty importing image and/or PDF files; it generates significantly larger file sizes; and, evidently, it can be incapable of importing files from previous versions.

If I can't effectively import and work with my 130 +/- Mb files from VW 2008, how can I possibly take advantage of VW 2011's improved export capabilities?...

Thirdly, it sounds like my hardware, particularly my graphics card, may not be up to the task of what seems to be a very systems-demanding VW 2011... It all sounds like a tremendous investment to facilitate a questionable upgrade, all for the sake of experiencing a meaningful existence in this AutoCAD World...

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