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Integrating web-based data into your project using Airtable

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Vectorworks doesn't incorporate hyperlinks very well.  So much of the BIM universe is web-based now, but I have yet to find a way to easily link that information into my VW documents.

 

For example:

  • In my plumbing fixtures schedule I would like to include a hyperlink to the product cut sheet.
  • For my lighting schedule I would like to link to the fixture, lamp, etc.

It should be feasible to include hyperlinks as a format in symbol data and then report that to worksheets, but I haven't been able to do it ...

 

So, I looked to other tools and after a lot of experimentation settled on Airtable.com

 

  • Airtable is a web based application that looks like a spreadsheet, but functions like a database.
  • If your "table" contains less than 1200 items, then it is free for you and an unlimited number of collaborators.  I find this amount to be more than ample for my residential projects.
  • I have found the interface to be extremely fast and intuitive to use.
  • Because it's web based (with controls built in for who has read-only or editing permissions), it allows for instant updates across the team.  During construction I find this to be MUCH simpler than the constant re-issuing of sets.  It also allows for crowd sourcing data from the entire team.  For example, I provide my clients with a generic list of appliances and they fill in the ones they want.  This shares the load of data management and ensures that my clients get exactly what they want.

 

Here's an example of how it can be used:

 

Lighting Schedule

This link is to a basic template for light fixtures.  We call out the symbols i.e. LX-101 on the lighting plan, but instead of including a worksheet / schedule in the drawing set, we provide a link to this table.  One challenge of digital publishing is making sure that everyone is tracking changes.  You can do this by disabling links to the database and re-issuing new ones with an updated issue date.  That helps contractors etc. stay aware of updates, but since it's a database, you can rearrange sorting, display, etc. in any number of configurations.

 

For our typical projects, we include product schedules for appliances, plumbing, fixtures, millwork, lighting and equipment.

 

This tool has been a great resource for us and may be of use to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great idea!

Is there a place where one can find some basic templates or did you make your own for each schedule?

 

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