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Architects BIM/2D/3D Workflow

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Happy day everyone!


I am a new user of VW of about 6 months now. I have been graciously given command of our ship to help the office learn better workflow and techniques for creating our plans. Would anyone be generous enough to share some pointers or their workflow and an example file? We use the walls for laying out our plans but we are doing our sections and elevations in 2D line work the old fashioned way. We also redraw our windows for our schedule, this seems to take extra time since the floor plan updates and we must follow through to the elevations and the schedule. We do mostly commercial work and very little residential here and there. What kind of scripts or marionettes do you use to enhance your workflow and become more efficient. I have been a power AutoCAD Architecture user for 12 years now and VW just seems very clunky and maybe not to user friendly. I am not here to compare or bash software I just want to know any tips and tricks to help our office. Thank you very much for your time! Have a powerful day!

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I don't have a lot of experience with vectorworks, but I would recommend using a fully 3d workflow. This way you can use vectorworks to automatically generate the sections and elevations as needed in viewports.


On 3/15/2017 at 4:44 PM, Luis Calderon said:

We also redraw our windows for our schedule

Vectorworks worksheets have a way to include window symbols in the worksheets.


Hopefully some other users will chime in. This section of the forum is a little less traveled, being further down the main page. If you have any specific questions, such as how to generate a specific elevation or section, or properly scheduling walls and doors, I would recommend posting in the general questions or architecture forums as those see a lot more traffic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

thank you for your help. Unfortunately the YouTube channel does not really help. For instance what is the best way to create a channel set glass system with a door and have it insert into a wall rather than breaking the wall into multiple pieces? Should we be using Curtain walls for this and making them a symbol then inserting them into the walls? Thank you for your guidance. It is much appreciated!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

@Luis Calderon

Hi, I am also six months in using Vectorworks and also struggling with the file management and workflow, I would like to know if you have had any success finding the answer and suggestion for where to look at? I am fighting with thousands of classes and layers, and honestly it is a clunky program so far- by any means I am not giving up yet! Thanks a lot and have a nice day!!


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It can be difficult to keep a handle on classes - and it's easy to end up with thousands on them unless you keep a close eye on things - but it shouldn't be necessary to end up with thousands of layers. You shouldn't need much more than a layer per storey - I usually have two per storey, one 'existing' and one 'proposed' because I'm often working on alterations to existing buildings. At early stages of a project I might also have duplicate layers for different design options, and these get trimmed back later in the process.


As for drawing in 3d - I have made this transition over the past few years. It does have many benefits and I don't think I'd go back to 2d elevations/sections now, but in my opinion it does not yet work properly in VW. There are a number of limitations that mean you really need to 'fight the system' to get what you want. As soon as you move away from anything fairly rectilinear, it becomes almost impossible to set up a model that will give you a decent floorplan as well as elevations and sections. For me I typically hit this in loft spaces where rooms exist within complex pitched roofs. I now, sort-of, have my own setup that works for me but it's far from ideal and it's not really how VW imagine us setting up our drawings. It's also only any good up to a certain level of detail - so, my general arrangement drawings up to about 1:50 scale are set up like this but for larger scale detail it's mostly back to 2D drafting.


The existing door, window and stair tools are not very good, so they will sometimes get you to something similar to what you want, but once I get to the point where I want them to properly match the design I want, I often end up modelling them manually.

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I confirm everything said by @line-weight. I also advise to work in 3D so far as you can go. In small formats, we are going until 1:20 detail. Then if necessary do Detailed Drawings separate at 1:5 or 1:2 scale at 2D 

Having everything in 3D will cost a lot of time in the beginning, but it will pay back a lot more in the long run (layout modifications, adjust, re works, etc). 

Please note this is only valid if you have many similar projects where you can re use over and over the same library of objects (doors, windows, furniture)


i hope i could help.

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