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Layers or stories to control wall height


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Hello everyone, I'm an architect and a begginer VW user. My previous experience is with Revit. I was through a lot of tutorials and gained some basic knowledge. When I started watching the BIM tutorials I was very confused.

My question is very simple. What is the "right" or preferred BIM workflow in VW?. Layers or Stories?. Layers can have elevation, wall height, etc. But stories too!  And to complicate things even more, stories can create additional layers (levels) . It seems also that walls top and bottom attachments can be controlled in both ways.

Coming from Revit(which is a level based software), this can be very confusing. Thanks in advance.

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That is a good question and very individual.

 

I always use a full Story+Level Setup,

all Wall Styles are bound to Story Levels, even on Wall Component Level.

If you like and understand VW's Story and Level Setting it can be a powerful Tool.

 

That was the good part.

 

But there are many users that don't understand how VW Story Level Settings work.

For reasons.

I think VW's Story Setup works quite OK. While I think the Level Setup above,

is a nightmare. So much more complicated and illegible than it would need to be,

so tedious to adapt for changes and still not available for all Object Types.

 

Like Windows and Doors are still not supported. Slabs only for a base height but

no option to control Slab Thickness by Levels.

(There is even no flexible width option in Components at all)

 

Therefore, I also always ask myself for each project if it was really worth to

Setup Stories and Levels and I understand users that reject to use it.

 

And you can mostly get the same parametric by just using Layers Heights with

Wall Heights in a much less abstract system but it highly depends on the individual

project needs and personal taste.

 

  • Like 2
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I am also an ex-revit user having to work in vectorworks. Initially I was keen on utilizing the story setup but subsequently had issues with wall types bound to stories in symbols (behaving erratically ).  Probably user error but simply using layer elevation and wall heights I could get consistent wall behavior within symbols and converting units and floors to units is critical for me.  Note that for a wall within a symbol to work - height is set at layer elevation and then given a height manually.

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33 minutes ago, Renato said:

It seems that using layers only is the easiest way to organize your model.

 

It depends.

 

If you have a multi Story building and have to constantly change individual

Story heights, it may be better to uses at least Stories, for Story-bound Layers,

even if you don't mind caring about Level setups.

This way you have at least the luxury of changing individual Story heights

and options how other effected Stories have to move or scale instead.

 

Without Story Setup you would have to manually edit all effected Layer heights

manually.

You will have to adapt Story Wall Heights manually though in both solutions.

 

While in a full Level+Story Setup, you will bound Wall (Components) Tops

to Levels "from Story above".

So these will adapt to the resulting delta Story Hight automatically.

 

 

But yes, as Story+Levels System in VW is realized in such way,

if you have max 1-5 story buildings it may not be worth to use VW's Setup Option.

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An example where VW S+L gets really annoying.

 

You create a Default Level "Ceiling (Top)", 40 cm below your Structural Slab,

to give room for installations, for your Skyscraper.

So you will also create a gypsum Slab Style and bound its Top to Level

"Ceiling (Top), from Story above".

 

Cool, so whatever you change for Story heights and z locations,

your gypsum ceiling will always adjust to give 40 cm of free room below

the structural Slab above but keep maximum room height - fine.

 

Then you talk with the HVAC people. 40 cm ! Are you crazy, we need at least

60 cm  !

 

You would expect, hey I have a full VW Story and level System Setup.

I need to just change my "Default" Ceiling Level and I am good to go.

 

Not so in VW's implementation.

Yes, you can change the "Default" Ceiling Layer height but all Stories will

keep the previous "Default" Ceiling Level activated !

Instead there will popup a second, same named, Ceiling Level in Story settings.

And you have to manually activate the newer Ceiling Level in Story Settings.

In all of your 128 Stories !!!

And only if you changed to new Ceiling Level in all Stories, the outdated redundant

Ceiling Layer will finally magically disappear in all Stories.

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I do agree and would love to use it if walls functioned within symbols within stories. I did have a project where they changed the floor assembly and its not bad to change layer elevations but it was a PIA to go into each symbol and adjust wall heights. Symbols can be story bound and it worked 80% or so - 

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If you know about VW's weaknesses,

and you would have expected that they may change the Ceiling height,

the Solution would be easy.

 

Just bound Top of Ceiling to any, already existing and fixed Level from Story above

and just give the Ceiling a suitable negative delta Offset from that Level above.

Change in Ceiling Distance, just edit your Offset in Ceilings Style.

Cool, right ?

 

Ahm, wait ..... that won't work if you have individual Structural Slab Heights,

In this case a few Ceiling Levels for all available Slab thickness would have been

better though.

(It will not work in any case as long as you can't bound Slab's Top and bottom to

individual Levels, and not offering  a Component with flexible Thickness option)

 

And according to Murphys Law.

However you will decide to parametrize your Model for best flexibility for potential

changes. The changes will happen always in a direction opposite to your Model setup.

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At the time in the long past when Levels in VW were released,

I immediately asked for Level control in Story Settings in a way

that I always understood Story Levels :

 

"Default" Level means something like "Standard" or "Template" Level,

If you change the Template, all Templates used in Stories will follow.

Just like Symbols, change one - change all.

 

For individual deviations from standard in "special" Stories,

you need an "overwrite" Option in Story Settings.

This will show and activate a optional number entry for. :

a) by Offset (from that Default Level) or

b) by fixed number (from Story or Story above)

And if you deactivate the Overwrite Checkbox again, you are back to

standard default Level.

 

Several years later we did not come further.

Maybe I asked too much.

But - a redundant Level appearing after changes in Story Settings list of

used Levels, with the same naming - that is a clear nogo for me.

Edited by zoomer
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13 hours ago, Renato said:

What is the "right" or preferred BIM workflow in VW?. Layers or Stories?

 

TL;DR;

 

Take look at how Layer Height / Wall Height and Story / Levels work in VW

for an overview, if you feel one or other familiar from your Revit experience,

give that one a try.

 

Even VW does not know what is better,

otherwise they would not offer duplicate Wall Style Sets in Resources,

one bound to Story Levels, the other Bound to Layer Wall Height.

 

(Or metric and imperial Styles, where I personally have no doubts what is superior)

Edited by zoomer
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revit gets pretty complex as well in making level changes especially when levels contain associated objects like plenums or blocks that are not constrained. But it can be done graphically using dimension strings if everything is set up properly. The computing time is insane and subject to crashes.

 

Your suggestion of creating a 'default' level in stories that can be propagated up and then 'special' level i think is perfect. Changes (like ceiling plenum) in the default would then just change. 'Special' is then just special.

 

As for metric and imperial I have to bounce back and forth all the time (code and construction) and you have to really check that VW has actually made the dimension string changes. Have been embarrassed a few times with publishing a half/half metric/imperial.

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hace 6 horas, zoomer dijo:

At the time in the long past when Levels in VW were released,

I immediately asked for Level control in Story Settings in a way

that I always understood Story Levels :

 

"Default" Level means something like "Standard" or "Template" Level,

If you change the Template, all Templates used in Stories will follow.

Just like Symbols, change one - change all.

 

 

That would be a great addition. Something like applying "Level configuration styles" to each level.

Hey Jonathan, I enjoy a lot your videos on youtube. Thanks for sharing.

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I would also like Story Styles.

 

Like standard default Story type height is 3,20 m,

Technical Stories 2,40 but entrance level Story 4,50

and such.

Would automate the answer to question of how to deal

with neighbored or effected stories above, too.

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13 hours ago, Jonathan Pickup said:

Here is a movie I made on stories, layers, and levels

 

Hi Jonathan - yes I have been a fan you have definitely made the transition from Revit to VWX much more pleasant, thank you!. Your video made stories very simple to adopt if it wasn't for the walls in symbols issues.  I did some hybrid where I used stories but had to duplicate wall types to work within symbols and then within stories. I will try again as it is definitely a plus for foundation and roof and keeping organized.

thanks

john

 

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1 hour ago, station said:

if it wasn't for the walls in symbols issues.

 

I can understand that Walls in Symbols can't react to Story Levels

of the Layer they are placed on.

 

For the clearness, simplicity and beauty of VW Symbols,

where each Symbol-Instance is the exact copy of the Symbol

definition saved in the File's Symbol Library.

Which I prefer over strange contradictory extra features of e.g.

Autocad Blocks ....

So far OK.

 

 

But you or someone else mentioned that Walls in Symbols will

adapt to Layer Wall Heights anyway !?

If that is really the case, the Symbol sinplicity and beauty argument

is obsolete !

 

I am idealistic,

so either, stop Symbol content reading Layer Wall Heights ...

or better ...

make Walls or other PIOs in Symbols able to read and react to Story

Levels of the current Layer/Story+Level the Symbol Instance was

inserted to.

 

As that would be the easiest and functional way to create "parametric"

Appartment "Styles" to spread over larger Buildings Floors.

Edit one Instance - edit all ...

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walls will not read layer wall heights in symbols they just flatten to 0  - what I have found is that wall height has to be set to layer elevation and then told what to be within the symbol (8' or whatever).

 

Currently this works for me as most of the multi-family projects I work on are set framing spaces btwn floors - and provides me with a working 3d model and produces pretty clean sections and elevations. I am more likely to alter the layout of an apartment than floor to clng heights. So it works well for multistory including all exterior walls. I create symbols of each floor as well containing the unit symbols. So can change overall unit dimensions and a floor layout once as opposed to a lot of copy and paste.

 

I am sure that a wall parameter within a symbol could take instruction from the container like a story and with some wall types it seems to work??? but then blows up.

will have to play with it again and see what the behaviour is. Just haven't had time to explore more - what I have been doing seems to work which is often the best you can do.

 

What I don't like is data tags like wall tags (symbols within symbols) go wild - disappear, change scale etc so become useless and at some point have to be exploded to publish.

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@Renato There are people working successfully with Stories and without Stories.  It's a personal preference, but should also be influenced by the type of work you do.  For my purposes (custom single family residences) not using them was the clear winner.  If I was doing multi-story buildings I'm guessing I would have chosen otherwise.  There are several other threads on this topic.  I think this one is a good place to start and links to the others:

 

 

And to get straight to the source of the No Stories workflow, head to:

 

 

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I would be more tempted to use it for custom residential which I used to do as well - Johathan Pickup's video on this thread is  a good source for that and organizing for it. The control of being able to set heights for everything from exterior slabs to bsbd heights, electrical, etc. would be great. Revit had a lot of functionality for adjusting those things but was still quite manual. 

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1 hour ago, E|FA said:

For my purposes (custom single family residences) not using them was the clear winner.

 

I think,

as long as it is so tedious to make changes to Levels or its complexity,

it may be worth to renounce of Story Levels for even more/multi story buildings

than just for single family residences only.

In most cases Layer Wall Height Setup and offsets in Components and Styles may

be still much simpler and similar "parametric".

 

 

1 hour ago, station said:

Revit had a lot of functionality for adjusting those things but was still quite manual. 

 

That is a very (infinite ?) complex task in general.

But I see still lots of space for improvements in the current VW implementation.

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hace 1 hora, E|FA dijo:

@Renato There are people working successfully with Stories and without Stories.  It's a personal preference, but should also be influenced by the type of work you do.  For my purposes (custom single family residences) not using them was the clear winner.  If I was doing multi-story buildings I'm guessing I would have chosen otherwise.  There are several other threads on this topic.  I think this one is a good place to start and links to the others:

 

Yes, I was able to model my first (small) residential project in VW using just 2 design layers and a bunch of classes. No stories by now. So far so good. This forum has been a great source of knowledge!

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  • 3 months later...

Thank you all. Jonathan's video is so clear. I found this thread whilst trying to answer the following question. Can anyone answer it? Think I'm missing something simple!?

 

Question :- I have a wall with bottom boundary set to a level in the storey below. I want to set its top boundary to the same level. Then figure a + offset to set wall height. When trying to set the top boundary in this way I can't see "(story below)"-choices in the drop-down menu. But at the top of the list is "Stories" ...so I think I could select that to add the "(story below)" choices? But if so I can't see how. ...Maybe I should just stay with the wall height set to the level called "New Ceiling Porch".

VWX 2021 SP3.1

 

Incidentally levels are really helpful to me. I set them to reflect levels in the survey of the existing building. Most of my projects are on existing.  I like to use Storeys so I am ready to design that multi-storey hotel in the Carribean....we don't have many of those here in the north of England.

 

Thank you to all for your time and expertise which I value highly.

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