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How to avoid issuing drawings with objects accidentally moved


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We recently ran into a problem whereby floor plans were issued with some key walls out of position by -x 19 mm (external walls of a flat and an adjacent communal stair core).

It didn't result in problems on site (because it was only the first floor plan and the builder had simply projected up from the ground floor, which was correct). The problem is the builder loses trust in our documentation and is far more inclined to ignore our drawings.

I don't know what caused the problem. We have 3-4 people working on this project and although we've recently had a myriad of problems with objects disappearing and moving of their own accord I'm more inclined to blame this one on us.

Thing is I don't know what the answer is. I've had a look at the relevant files and it's very difficult to see the error, especially given that the flat layouts between floors change (so the eye doesn't pick up the offset easily when flicking between floors) and with all the dimensions associated they don't give much of a clue either.

Without a hugely onerous checking process of printing every drawing at full scale and going through it with a fine tooth comb every time we issue any minor or major amendment I don't think we would have avoided this mistake.

Any thoughts?

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Don't get me wrong, but this kind of error mostly comes in to play when not drawing in a way you are certain that an object is at the correct position. To better clarify what I mean:

In VW, when an object like your wall is off by a very small amount, you can't get it right by just moving it manually until it snaps to it's location. VW will let you think it does, but it doesn't. The only way to make sure it's at the correct location is by manually dragging the wall far off the location (yes farther away first.), and then dragging it back until it snaps to it's location. While doing this, you NEED to see the exact screen hint that's correct. Only then you are certain it's at the right spot. The screen hint is a very big factor. When you know it needs to be at a crossing of two lines, the screen hints has to show this, because otherwise the object will be off! Many people I know doesn't care that much about screen hints and the precision issue, and their drawings are always off by little amounts, which lead to bigger issues every time they need to work on the drawing.

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we try to avoid such mistakes via dimensioning examination.

We do too. We didn't in this case but I think this would have been hard to spot even then. Unless the checker was doing a very thorough job, which shouldn't generally be the case for a minor update like this was.

I'm wondering if there could be a technical fix to this kind of thing. For instance the ability to lock object positions with a check box in the OIP like you can with Viewports. The behaviour would have to be carefully designed so as not to get in the way but I think it could be done. Think I've posted this to the wishlist previously.

i can't believe the wall moved by itself, too. i suspect the wrong position from the beginning.

It was originally placed correctly so I suspect an accidental move with the move command. Perhaps someone was trying to move something and didn't realise all these walls were selected.

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I could also speculate that it was "operator error", but there is no way to know when or how that might of ever happened. If I were to ask all our design assistants in my office if they have ever seen a wall "move" out of place without them actually doing anything, I am sure they would all raise their hands, even if it might have been borne out of their own devices. With all the automated features of VW, I personally have experienced "wierdness" right in front of me as well.

Regardless; to help with prevent this in the future, once certain "control walls" are established, why not lock them? That way once a wall is locked by someone, others will know it's importance? If someone needs to mod it, simply unlock it.

Of course you may already do this.... :)

Good luck,


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Drawing technique?

Zoom in and mistakenly select a large object or group with borders out of view can result in the group moving unintentionally.

Changes in the snap controls may be involved. In older versions, the screen hint was same as snap confirm. In newer versions, the screen hint can indicate the target point, but until the red highlight comes on, the drag may release off target.

Also, some folks draw with the snap grid activated by mistake (it's always off in my work). If it's set to 10 cm or something small compared to drawing scale, the snap will look correct, but actually end up on the closest grid point.

Location Lock is a great idea.


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Position lock only... I get it.

That would be very cool indeed. Of course that doesn't address why they are mysteriously moving in the first place.

I've had a lot of examples on this project where objects have mysteriously moved, i.e. walls disjoining and extending themselves, individual walls moving and doors and symbols disappearing. But I think in this case it was user error.

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A good solution is to:

Place guidelines/gridlines colinearly with your walls.

Constrain Colinear

Lock the guideline/gridline.

We have gridlines. They're on another design layer though so not necessarily on all the time. Also many of these walls are skewed so they don't align with the grid. Guides would help I guess but, again, easily turned off. Plus at 19 mm, still easily missed.

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Position lock only would be a great help, probably one for the wish list. It would definitely put your mind at ease, when working on complex models.

This might be silly or too futuristic, but here goes anyway. I wonder if NV could do something with the wall style core option.

We have the ability to set the wall styles up with a core, and usually this would be the structural element of the wall. Most of the time (but not always) the structural part of the wall styles should align vertically, would be possible for the walls to have some sort of intelligence to know where the cores are in the walls below and above them, and then have the ability to warn if the structural cores are not stacked vertically?

I can see already there could be problems with structural walls supported on beams etc... just thinking...

or how about being able to lock cores in the wall styles this means that if you edit parts of the wall style the core position wouldn't move. I should probably stop thinking!

Edited by Alan H
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Or let us draw ONE wall that goes up all the way instead of several walls.

yeah, thats definitely the best option!!! I agree with Christiaan regarding the levels, it creates far too much complication to the drawing process, when it could be so much simpler.

How would you deal with materials changes vertically tho e.g. If you have a brick cavity wall that changes to insulated single skin clad walls etc?

I guess you would have the main structural wall element as a wall style that would run through all floors, and then have other walls styles somehow connected or drawn next to it to show various external finishes.

How do other programmes do this?

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I guess you would have the main structural wall element as a wall style that would run through all floors, and then have other walls styles somehow connected or drawn next to it to show various external finishes.

How do other programmes do this?

it is not very practicable. in archicad you'd have to do boolean operations in order to cut in the slab parts on each floor which is not a very good idea.

generally nobody errects one single wall going all the way up (except for some acoustically separated shafts, like an elevator one). normally each wall stands on an appropriate slab underneath, or at least on a concrete tie.



ok, it can work for structural glass walls or other sheathings...

Edited by gester
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Use a series of brightly colored loci at key core locations and place them in a class. Duplicate and send copies up to each story (layer). They will be very visible markers and indicators of alignment.

I've turned off associative dimensions after finding walls have moved mysteriously.


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Use a series of brightly colored loci at key core locations and place them in a class. Duplicate and send copies up to each story (layer). They will be very visible markers and indicators of alignment.

A better way for this is to use a layer for these loci/lines that's always on and that is on top of the stack, so you can't accidently move these items (if edit all isn't on.) and you will always see these lines. We always have one layer for the top of the building layers and one at the bottom to show objects and things that must be shown through the building like center lines, shafts, plot lines, ....

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I've turned off associative dimensions after finding walls have moved mysteriously.

Ah, that might well be the issue we've had in other situations where walls move and stretch themselves! Turning off associative dimensioning might resolve the problem but it will increase our work load quite a bit. What a shag.

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As much as I applaud the feature suggestion of position locking,or improved associative dimensioning, I'd more prefer a bug fix from NM and a "promise" for walls and dimensions to stop moving around for mysterious and unknown reasons. When I draw or dimension a wall on velum, it takes a lot of effort to move it, but I can sure trust that it won't move on it's own.

I don't ever remember experiencing lines (or "sticks" as I called them) moving in AutoCad, or walls moving in ArchiCad - even when dimensions were stuck to them.

Loosing "trust" in a product is the kiss of death, in my opinion. This should really be looked at by NM.

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Good alternative, DWorks. I love that bright colors can be applied to loci but having them always visible would drive me buggy after a while so I toggle visibility off and on, as needed.

The other thing I have to mention regarding walls moving, is that I DON'T draw in Layers with Show/Snap/Modify Others as the active setting. In that setting it's easy to reach in and grab something from a layer three of four layers deep and move it. I draw only on Show/Snap Others.

Note also that if you are using the Magic Wand tool, you may be selecting objects on other layers that are then selected and moved inadvertently. Another reason to only draw in Show/Snap Others since the Magic Wand won't reach down into multiple active layers in that setting active.

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