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Cadplan Architecture

organisation and numbering of drawings

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I'm really thinking here about small one or two person studios rather than a large Architects practice as there seem to be different conventions of varying complexity out there.

 

  • I would be interested to hear how other people organise their drawings when working on small residential projects or similar. What I mean is; Do you have one VW file for drawing up your site survey with the 'as existing' plans and elevations sheet layers and then generate another for the design stage?

 

  • If you have a new drawing for the design stage; Do you then use duplicate design layers and sheet layers for each revision to the design, or do you generate a new file for each revision?

 

  • Secondly; how do you number your drawings and each revision that you issue? 

 

  • Lastly; Do you use multiple classes or try to restrict to just a few e.g. mainly the None class?

 

I tend to keep my numbering quite simple with just one drawing with the project number as the main ID, then a series of sheet layers for the revisions, but you never stop learning!

 

Thanks all

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My background is more in civil/GIS but the general principles basically apply here as well

3 hours ago, Cadplan Architecture said:

I would be interested to hear how other people organise their drawings when working on small residential projects or similar. What I mean is; Do you have one VW file for drawing up your site survey with the 'as existing' plans and elevations sheet layers and then generate another for the design stage?

For things like site models. surveys, existing environmental items (e.g. neighbouring buildings) etc. that don't change but are used in multiple drawings/revisions I create one or more separate files depending on file size and complexity.

For the actual design I create a new file and reference the base files upon which the design will be built.

 

3 hours ago, Cadplan Architecture said:

Lastly; Do you use multiple classes or try to restrict to just a few e.g. mainly the None class?

This is not the last item on my list, it is something you should decide on in the very beginning because you may want to split things across multiple files if the residential project is complex and limit classes/layers to just the files where they are needed and then reference these files into a main file. Small projects can be complex and large projects can be simple so it really depends on the project.

 

I use classes and sub(sub)classes to indicate what things are and layers for where they are and layers are also used for keeping multiple options of the same thing/area/space separate. The number of (sub(sub))classes and layers depends on the amount of detail and how you want to organize your drawing,. E.g. utility items are put in separate classes, one for water, one for electricity, one for HVAC etc., i.e. distinct (groups of) similar items get their own class.

 

If there are e.g. two options for the same area/space I would create a separate layer for each options on top of (or under) the layer(s) for the common things that are the same for both.

 

3 hours ago, Cadplan Architecture said:

If you have a new drawing for the design stage; Do you then use duplicate design layers and sheet layers for each revision to the design, or do you generate a new file for each revision?

For very simple projects, i.e. where everything fits on one or two layers, and there are few changes across revisions you could create new design and sheet layers for each revision if the number of revisions will be fairly limited.

 

Otherwise I would always generate a new file for each new revision. It has a few benefits:

1. It prevents the drawing file to become overly complex with lots of layers and keeps the file size down as well so VW will not slow down as much as when keeping everything in one file.

2. You can always go back to a previous revision to go into a new direction for the development if it turns out that the current path is not really feasible

3. It allows you to keep track of (major) project changes over time, which may be required for legal purposes or for documentation purposes (like timeline snapshots)

 

What I also do, separate of revisioning, is to create a duplicate to make updates to when major changes have to be made within the same (sub)revision round so that you can go back if something goes really haywire when making the changes. Just make sure have your filename reflect which copy is what.

Something else I do is when creating a copy, sometimes a new copy every day, is to update the date in the drawing border even if the revision does not change at that point as that allows you to keep track of which published "informal" drawing for a comments round is the most recent one if you send one out to someone else for input during the update phase. I've seen it happen too often that people grab just any copy they have at hand to mark-up for comments and you find out those have already been implemented.

 

3 hours ago, Cadplan Architecture said:
  • Secondly; how do you number your drawings and each revision that you issue? 

It depends on whether you can use your own system or that the project owner is dictating a numbering and revisioning system.

Generally drawing numbering is done as follows:

Drawing number consisting of alphanumeric characters, e.g. ABC-1234 or just numbers eg. 123.45.67 followed by a revision indicator.

The revision indicator can be a number or letter or combination, e.g. A, B C, D etc. or 0, 1, 2 , 3 are the common numbering systems for major revisions.

For changes on a revision a subrevision is commonly used, depending on what is common in your region this could be:

A.a, A.b. or A.1, A.2 or 0.1, 0.2 etc. until the process of updating is final and the next major revision is issued, then the major revision number goes one up.

 

For example, ABC for major revisions and numbers for subrevisions

First issue gets major revision number A, then updates need to be made to the original design because of whatever changes before the next major revision for review goes out. The revision numbering would then be like this

A - first/original issue

A.1- first batch of minor updates before next official issue

A.2- second batch of updates before next official issue

etc,

B- second official issue

rinse and repeat until project is final

 

A.1, A.2 could also be A.a, A.b or 0.1, 0.2 depending on what you prefer as drawing numbering system.

 

For simplicity I would keep the revision as a separate field in your title border next to the drawing number so that you don't have to update the entire drawing number with every revision change.

 

There is no absolutely right of wrong way of numbering and file creation. Even when you think you got a good system at the beginning of your project things may change in such a way over time that you may wish you had chosen the other option of doing it after all because that would then have been more logical. (What may seem like a simple project at first where a simple system is fine may become a complex project after all and then you wish you would not have put everything in one file or vice versa if the project turns out to be much simpler than anticipated)

 

Just create a base system that allows for some flexibility that you feel comfortable with and is not too exotic for general use. I assume you have seen sufficient drawings to have some general idea of what is common in your area.

 

I'm in a small company as well, but our clients may not necessarily be small too and in that case they often dictate the drawing numbering and revision system to be used. For internal use drawings we simply use our own numbering system which is fairly simple as well.

 

Project type: 3-letter code

Project category (which can be similar for multiple project types): 2 digits

Serial number: 3 digits (could expanded as need by either increasing number of digits or by adding a subgroup of numbers)

Revision: one or more digits depending on how many revisions there may be but most of the time it are two or three revisions at the most.

So it would be like ABC-12.345-0 for the first revision

I can give some more detailed drawing numbering examples if you want that would show how it sort of works.

Edited by Art V
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I do smaller things up to very large (kilometres across) - mainly landscapes but also buildings to shell/massing stage. There's no relationship between size and complexity.

Single-file approach only for whole project. No referencing, although I would if vw could parse txt files.

I include sheet organisation in  my file organisation hierarchy. I have this set up as a template:

 

Sheets:
1a.. overviews and concepts  
2a.. Details  
3a.. Moodboards and palettes 
4a.. Specifications and tables  
5a.. File info

 

Layers:
_0 Swap space to organise info imports
00 Legal  

02 spare
01 Trees
03 Arch
04 Hardscape  
05 Plants  
06 Underlays  
08 Aerials  
09 Sheet

It'd be great if vw layers could hold attributes the same as classes, but this is poorly-implemented.

 

Classes:
Numbered same as layer hierarchy with a minimum of hyphens as they are time-consuming

Drawing numbering
For each issue save a dated file into that issue's folder, and if I think it'll be there long time save a dxf as well as vw doesn't honour backwards readability well.

Quite a few nested classes for items like trees so I can turn of all trees; just have an circle/outline and code; or full graphics.

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unearthed, thanks, your file sizes must be large?!  I'm really looking for a really simple approach for small one-off project. We design around fifty house extensions each year and non are super complicated.

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@Cadplan Architecture what is wrong with large files?  A bunch of individual files is going to be larger than a single file...

 

i generally stick everything in a single file, except for consultant info I reference in.  I Generally put revisions on separate design layers, unless they are extensive enough to warrant creating a new file.

 

Sheet numbering?  Really?  Just follow one of the industry standards and make your life easy.  No sense in reinventing the wheel.

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3 minutes ago, jeff prince said:

@Cadplan Architecture what is wrong with large files?  A bunch of individual files is going to be larger than a single file...

 

i generally stick everything in a single file, except for consultant info I reference in.  I Generally put revisions on separate design layers, unless they are extensive enough to warrant creating a new file.

 

Sheet numbering?  Really?  Just follow one of the industry standards and make your life easy.  No sense in reinventing the wheel.

 

Hi Jeff,

 

I'm of the same opinion re having one file, I also put revisions on different layers.

 

I just use the VW sheet numbering but the planning sheets have a P prefix.

 

It's more the numbering convention that i'm interested hear different peoples' approach.

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@Cadplan Architecture makes sense.

I started my career in a large architecture office that had all the disciplines in house.  They followed a system like this one:

https://www.nationalcadstandard.org/ncs5/pdfs/ncs5_uds1.pdf

I have followed a similar convention pretty much my entire career since it is fairly common in the industry, both in the US and abroad, and very useful on large projects since the sheets between all the disciplines are arranged similarly.  It's nice on small residential projects as well because your main sheet series is consistent from project to project.

On a large commercial project I'll have a sheet number like L04.03, on a small residential job it would be L04.  In either case it's a planting plan and I don't have to think about it when searching for old plans.  Of course city submittals or clients throw a curveball into the equation when they insist on sequential sheet numbers or a particular sheet order, so that has to be addressed case by case at the beginning of a project 🙂

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@Cadplan Architecture No that large, and what really matters to me is how they come out in pdf sizewise as well as looking appropriately sharp. As area sizes get larger so I draw with less detail. I normally degrade images to reduce size and tile and class them to get control (this is where vw really falls over). I normally clean incoming files to get the size and clutter (reduce vertex numbers and reduce points) down.

 

Simple - you don't get much more simple than my layer/class system and its really just a reduced form of that used by  @jeff prince easy to scan a series of lines that start with numbers

 

Most of my running jobs files are <100Mb and that often includes ~50Mb of images. I have found that viewports and saved views take up ~1Mb just by existing and without holding much data. vwx seems to be a very greedy/lazy file format.

 

A lot of my image processing I do in Image Magick and QGIS as they both handle huge files - I've just joined and clipped 90 drone files into a 1.3Gb file that QGIS loads in about 5 seconds.Then I export smaller areas to vw.

 

Only draw to a scale of what will be seen on drawings - no sense showing the brand name on your bolt heads!

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Uneathed, I'm impressed by your job file size, ours are around 1.5GB or more even for a simple extension, I think it's partly because we seem to be duplicating the VW for each concept revision, but also the photos taken on site are taking a huge amount of space. How do you keep your files so compact?

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17 hours ago, jeff prince said:

@Cadplan Architecture makes sense.

I started my career in a large architecture office that had all the disciplines in house.  They followed a system like this one:

https://www.nationalcadstandard.org/ncs5/pdfs/ncs5_uds1.pdf

I have followed a similar convention pretty much my entire career since it is fairly common in the industry, both in the US and abroad, and very useful on large projects since the sheets between all the disciplines are arranged similarly.  It's nice on small residential projects as well because your main sheet series is consistent from project to project.

On a large commercial project I'll have a sheet number like L04.03, on a small residential job it would be L04.  In either case it's a planting plan and I don't have to think about it when searching for old plans.  Of course city submittals or clients throw a curveball into the equation when they insist on sequential sheet numbers or a particular sheet order, so that has to be addressed case by case at the beginning of a project 🙂

Jeff would youi be able to post a couple of examples orf your drawing numbering?

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@Cadplan Architecture Just read my post in depth, most of what I do for small file sizes is in there.

 

I also purge imported files as many CAD users don't know how to reduce file sizes e.g. I recently had a file from a draught-person that came with 900 layers (moistly empty), I only needed 3.

 

I don't render in VW - only in sketchup/kerkythea and then bring image files in.

 

Don't duplicate, just make new classes inside your your groups for new / updated objects.

 

I use vw mainly as a layup tool, plus its DB and worksheet for calculating huge planting areas.

 

 

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