Jump to content

Any Advice for Setting up Walls When 3D Modelling Renovations

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I do a lot of home renovations but typically do those drawings in AutoCad because it's quick and easy. However, I then often end up having to model in SketchUp to help homeowners visualize spaces. I'd like to be able to handle the entire workflow in Vectorworks, which I typically use for new builds. I'm having trouble figuring out how to model in 3D in a way that I can show the walls of the existing home, the walls to be demolished and the new construction. I tend to define a set of classes for the existing house with the prefix EX while new construction gets prefixed with CD (construction development/document). This works well for 2D drawing but I'm having trouble trying trying to figure out how to set up a drawing for 3D modelling. Does anyone have suggestions for a seamless way to integrate classes in a 3D model that clearly shows existing, demolition and new construction? In AutoCad 2D draughting it's just a matter of creating a plan where layers (classes) are toggled on and off to show the desired information. I'm having trouble trying to figure out how to achieve this in Vectorworks 3D drawing. Any recommendations or examples of workflow would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Edited by MaltbyDesign
lousy grammar and spelling

Share this post

Link to post

I think each user prefers his own unique aproach of many available.

It also depends on the project and how complex your Class (ACAD=Layer) Setup is.


I personally would prefer to use VW Layers (ACAD=n/a)

I would create 3 Layers for each Story, 1 for each.

Because for me it is easier to switch between states.


That could interfere wich Wall Connections or Slab Auto Binding when being

separated on different Layers though.

Also you won't save much if you want different Appearance and PIO-Styles

per state anyway. In case those 3 states will not need to many extra Classes,

Classes might be the better way.


Beside you can toggle Classes and/or Layers on and off in DesignLayers

(ACAD=Model Space) as well as in Viewports on Sheet Layers (ACAD=Paper Space)

as much as you want. Filters and Saved Views may help for Visibility Management.


And basically I don't see any difference for that kind of Separation of states between

2D or 3D.



I think there have already been some discussions about renovations here on the Forum.

Might be worth to do a search.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post

My method:

model the extg building accurately.with seperate Site, Floors & Walls, Ceilings, Roofs layers. These layers have an “- Extg” Suffix in the layer name. Also everything in the extg model is also placed in classes which have a “_Extg” suffix in their class name. E.g. “MODEL-WALLS-Framed_Exterior_Extg”.


Layers will be set to the correct real world RL. 

For demo drawings I just create floor plans, elevation viewports of the extg model and in vp annotations place a Red Cross hatch over items to be removed plus explanatory notes as required.


For proposed drawings I duplicate the layers of my nice accurate extg model and change the layer name suffix to “ - Prop”.


If there is not much siteworks I may not duplicate the site layer, instead just use classes to differentiate extg, demo and proposed site work. 


For the proposed layers I trim out / delete all demo items.

I draft in my new walls, floors etc placing these items in classes with a “_New” suffix. The new and extg classes will have different graphic attributes so that it is clear which is which.


For 3D hidden line render views I often use textures for new walls and roofs which have a hatch fill as part of the texture whereas the extg walls and roofs, if they are of the same material, will have duplicate textures but with no hatch. Hidden line renders will show new walls and roofs hatched whilst extg walls and roofs will have no hatch. This really helps graphically distinguish new and extg in elevation and other hidden line views.


I use other render styles for 3D presentation drawings and in these new and extg of the same material will look the same.


Overall this system works really well for a variety of different project types. It is handy to have an accurate seperate  model of just the extg bldg as with most projects there are design changes and it can be used as a reference point.


Both extg and proposed models need updating if further site measures call for changes however if the Bldg is measured and modelled accurately from the start this is not usually a problem.


As @zoomer mentions this topic has been covered on the forum before so a search is worth the effort.

  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Posted (edited)

Sorry for the late reply @Boh . Thanks very much for the detailed response. I think I understand your process for working in plan but with the existing model having objects demolished and, effectively, deleted from the model does one need to have two models? One model showing the entire existing building and then one model showing all of the modifications? It seems to me that it would be really difficult to show both demolition and new construction in a single model.

Edited by MaltbyDesign

Share this post

Link to post

Yes exactly , I have 2 models. As explained in my earlier post, one with design layers which have an “-extg” suffix in the design layer names, the other with a “-prop” suffix.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
1 hour ago, MaltbyDesign said:

I think I understand your process for working in plan but with the existing model having objects demolished and, effectively, deleted from the model does one need to have two models?

Note also, I don’t delete anything from the extg model. Demo plans are simply extg plans with annotations identifying items to be removed. 

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Posted (edited)

Here’s a link to the Vw Recommended Model Setup for Renovation Projects.
It has a ZIP file containing a descriptive PDF along with sample .VWX plans.

Also a link to an old related thread on this topic:


Edited by rDesign
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


7150 Riverwood Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21046, USA   |   Contact Us:   410-290-5114


© 2018 Vectorworks, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Vectorworks, Inc. is part of the Nemetschek Group.

  • Create New...