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Jeremiah Russell

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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Referencing is one way to improve operational speed, especially for layers containing quite a few items that rarely change. It may take a bit longer to load the master drawing but it can improve speed.

 

What version of VW are you using and what are your computer specs (processor, RAM, graphics card etc.)? It could be that the hardware is somewhat underpowered. Though at some point things will get slow if you put in enough objects of certain types and much more powerful hardware would not give that much improvement after all.

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Maybe there is some improvement potential in how the geometry is generated.

(E.g. more use of Symbols, deleting Object History, ....)

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We tend to break up large projects into model file + sheet layer file.

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If there is much repetition in unit types, you might try creating unit types as symbols - this should save crunching geometry.  Another different strategy would be to separate core and shell into one model, and residential units into another.  I'm not a fan of separating models by floor, because then coordination between floors becomes more difficult.

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Yes, large projects can be a challenge to manage. Beyond the software, I find the team is the most challenging part (requiring each team member to put on their big boy/girl pants 😉). Team members will often begrudgingly only use unfamiliar workflows unless forced – but that is all part of going to the next level in their skill level.

 

On 2/26/2019 at 7:44 AM, zoomer said:

Maybe there is some improvement potential in how the geometry is generated.

(E.g. more use of Symbols, deleting Object History, ....)

1. As per Zoomer's comment, invest in your libraries by making sure you are using symbols as much as possible. If you have purely 3D symbol's, convert them to hybrid symbols (or auto-hyrid objects if appropriate0 as much a possible. 3D geometry can slow down redraw times dramatically in Top/Plan views.

 

2. Use saved views to switch between levels and working states. Using the Navigation Palette, and viewport visibility settings is okay for basic switching on smaller projects. But saved view will really switch up your navigation between levels and drawing states (that is, general arrangement plans, RCP's, Floor Finishes, Slab Setout, and so on).  

 

3. Echoing points 1 and 2, as much as you can, turn off 3D geometry, or complex 2D (such as site survey's, and so on).

 

4. Objects need to be classed correctly. One renegade team member can really throw a spanner in the works by using objects assigned to the wrong class.

 

5. Work on your templates and standards. Keep them simple enough for small projects, but be able to import classes and layers from your standard files.

 

On 2/28/2019 at 11:17 AM, Chad Hamilton HAarchs said:

I'm not a fan of separating models by floor, because then coordination between floors becomes more difficult.

I concur.

 

On 2/26/2019 at 10:39 PM, Christiaan said:

We tend to break up large projects into model file + sheet layer file.

Once again, I concur. Although this is an option I would generally only recommend for rendered 3D views, as Saved Viewport Cache can dramatically increase file size.

Alternatively, we tend to break up files into

  • Survey, site, + terrain
  • Model + plans
  • Sections, elevations, + details

 

HTH.

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Couple of things to bear in mind if you split sections off into a file separate from the model file is that you'll lose the ability to use Section in Place. And in my experience  Section Viewports in referenced files are notoriously buggy.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Christiaan said:

Couple of things to bear in mind if you split sections off into a file separate from the model file is that you'll lose the ability to use Section in Place. And in my experience  Section Viewports in referenced files are notoriously buggy.

Yup. And section reference markers. Depending on the project and skill level of the team, we use a hybrid 2D/3D process, so these feature aren't always important.

 

5 hours ago, Christiaan said:

Section Viewports in referenced files are notoriously buggy

I find using layer referencing as apposed to viewport referencing achieves better results for sections and elevations in a referenced file. But then it does bring in all of the resources of the referenced file, and I find stairs linked between storeys can bug out.

 

On the flip-side splitting a project up into multiple files provides some redundancy if a file is corrupted.

 

No one said managing large projects was easy 😉.

 

Hopefully project sharing in 2019 is more robust. We have been having huge challenges with project permissions and changes not being submitted. It can get cray-cray when you have more than ~3 people on the same file. @Christiaan, @zoomer Any suggestions how you manage this?

 

Edited by Diamond

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12 hours ago, Diamond said:

We have been having huge challenges with project permissions and changes not being submitted. It can get cray-cray when you have more than ~3 people on the same file. @Christiaan, @zoomer Any suggestions how you manage this?

 

Yes we run into the odd problem. We will usually create a new project file when we hit problems. One sure way to screw things up, at least when using Dropbox, is for people to do a save and commit and then shut their computer down and go home before it's finished uploading to Dropbox. When somebody else comes in the next day and cracks on with things we've found this to cause problems. So watch out for that one if you're using Dropbox.

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1 hour ago, Christiaan said:

We will usually create a new project file when we hit problems

That is what we have been doing also.

 

Thanks for heads up re: Dropbox. 

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One thing we have noticed about project sharing is that it works much faster/better if we don't check out complete DL's, just objects on the fly with the "check out automatically" option checked when prompted.

 

Then releasing the objects via "Custom release" by simply pressing ok.

 

This has greatly reduces save/commit times and crashes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, JMR said:

One thing we have noticed about project sharing is that it works much faster/better if we don't check out complete DL's, just objects on the fly with the "check out automatically" option checked when prompted.

 

We've also experienced the other side of the coin on this one, at least when working in conjunction with Dropbox. If your network is congested in any way, say because your internet upload speed is slow or because you're working with large files, Dropbox is slow or you're doing a lot of uploads, then this method can actually be debilitating. You end up with no choice but to sign out whole layers, otherwise you can spend hours in a day waiting for objects to be signed out.

Edited by Christiaan

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We are only on a local NAS, it's probably very different with a cloud, as you say. 

 

On this setup we don't notice any lags, it's just like working on an ordinary .vwx file after having answered the first prompt. Thinking of all the multitude of issues we had, I'm rather surprised it has worked so much better now.

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Thank you, everyone, for your replies and advice. This has been incredibly helpful and instructive. Moving from mostly single family and light commercial to large Multi-family has been an interesting transition. I appreciate all your advice!

 

Cheers.

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