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Workflow for large projects

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I'm looking for advice on what the best workflow is for a large multifamily project. The project is 5 floors, 145k+sf. Currently my file is 500mb+ and is seriously killing my computer. It takes forever to do simple tasks. Should I break apart the floors into separate files, then reference them into a master file to pull all my sheets together? Or is there a better way?


Thank you!

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Basically you only have to use your resources wisely. Splitting into several files and referencing is useless because hidden objects don't need computing power and referenced objects need exactly the same amount as if they were in the file itself.
What brings a lot is to use parametric objects and symbols. EVERY object that occurs several times belongs in a symbol.
Also look at which external resources you use in your plans. Especially trees and 3D furniture and apparatus often have unnecessarily detailed geometry. Reduce them to a minimum.
Since apartments should not be packed into symbols, there is another method. Create a layer for each apartment. Use viewports to reference the apartments to your floor plans. With this method you can also use story levels.
Observe your RAM and VRAM. If they get full while drawing, I would recommend upgrading your RAM or graphics card.
500mb plans is rather small for Vectorworks ratios.

Edited by herbieherb
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@herbieherb Thank you for your input. I hadn't thought of creating a layer for the units and then referencing them onto the individual stories. This particular project is a historic building, but the units stack vertically so that could save me a boat load of time and frustration. I'll give that a shot and hopefully it will help with the computing power. Currently I have 16mb of ram and a decent graphics card. I may be upgrading near the end of the year so we'll see.


Thanks again!

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Another simple thing you can do is to split your file into two: one file for your model and another file (or multiple files) for your sheet layers (referencing the model file).


Viewports can really slow things down and while this method introduces additional steps between model editing and seeing those edits in viewports, it's mostly your model file that you want to be really nimble.


The only caveat to this would be section viewports. You might want to leave those in your model file so you can edit them directly, and because I've found section viewports in referenced files a buggy in the past.

Edited by Christiaan
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I've found just pulling the rendered viewports out of the main file to be a real stress saving measure.  Model and Plan sheets stay in one file so most working can happen at the coal face. As noted above you could also have a Library File for Apartment layout or other parts that need greater detail in presentation but not in general arrangement.  With workgroup, it should always be a linear flow most detail/interaction to least. 

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My most sincere thanks for the input you've all given so far. This particular project is a little complicated so I'm going to adopt a hybrid of just about all the suggestions above. Breaking out the units so that I can reference them (i.e. only draw/detail them once) is going to be a huge savings. Pulling out the elevations, section views and other details into separate referenced files is also going to be a huge savings of both time and CPU power. This will also allow me to bring in outside help without necessarily having to go the Project Sharing route. There have been too many bugs with that lately.


Thanks again!

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