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Creating Blueprint for building already constructed

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Hi, I'm brand new to VW. I'm trying to create a new set of floor plans for a building that already exists. I have dimensions for rooms and walls and the overall exterior, but I'm not sure of the best way to put this all into VW.

I think I understand the layers and sheets fairly well. I've created mods with what walls exist and now I want to make the sizes of the rooms more accurate and there seems to be no easy way of doing this. The only way I've found is to physically move each wall and keep rechecking the dims.

Am I missing something? Am I going about this all wrong? Please let me know what the best way to tackle this project would be.

Thank you,


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Hi Tracey & Welcome to the Forum, I'm not sure how others do this, but for me the easiest way to move a wall to a precise location is to draw a line, then move the wall until it snaps to the line, then delete the line. Here's a simple example: I have a room that I want to be exactly 12 ft from iside framing to inside framing. I know where one of the walls is. I draw a line along the inside edge of the known wall (making sure it is aligned properly and is straight). With the line selected I use the "move" command to move the line exactly 12 ft. I then create (or drag) my second wall to this line.

One other note you might find useful. If you already know the exact distance you want to move an object, you can use use the data display bar (DDB) to move it an precise distance while dragging. Here's how: grab the object you want to move and start to drag it in the direction of the move. Without releasing the mouse, hit the tab key. This highlights the first field in the DDB, which is the "x" field. Enter any amount and hit return. Your move will now be constrained to the number you entered. You can use the DDB more than once in the creation or drag/move of an object by simply hitting tab again. HTH's

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as to drawing existing conditions.

it might be good to start with drawing rectangles of your rooms and overall dims. if you start in one corner of the building with wall tool and work to the other you will have an accumulation of error by the time you get to the other side of the building. then you will face the dilemma of "do i make my walls fatter to make up the difference?"

hence its best to work it out with rectangles first and start with the biggest dims and work to the smallest, this allows you to spread the error out so you can achieve standard wall types.

IF you are also doing more than one floor, it would be best to work out a 2d section first. this will help you iron out errors in the vertical dim. especially stair wells.

i had to do this for a recent job and im glad i did. the stair well went to 3 floors and my plan measurements had small errors in them. if i just did the plan and stacked the layers, the stair well would have been misaligned.

if you want to see a pdf of what i did, just email me.

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Having surveyed and completed thousands of "As Builts" it's safe to say the it is both an art & science.

1) Try to determine the building system used based on centerlines, ie> 12' x 12' columns. There has to be one !

2) Then begin measurements > always 'closing' the area with diagonals or back to a fixed benchmark of some sort like the corner of a wall.

3) Never violate measurement protocols by switch from inner to outer edges.

4) If possible have a laptop on site then program the plans as you do the As Built. Place 'red' 2d Loci at each of your starting points.

5) Use the 3 circle method to locate points in space:

radius1 from pt1, radius2 from pt2, radius3 from pt3 > where the 3 circles intersect is your point ( this method works for everything... you can do the entire As Built with it )

As Mechanix suggests start with rectangles and use CIPES suggestion to follow the DDB. After the plan is layed out then begin with walls, etc.

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islandmon, i appreciate your technical expertise. i wish you were on the east coast. i would like to meet you.

""thousands of "As Builts"" you must be really old. : )

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One thing you might want to consider, vectordepot.com used to have an 'offset wall" tool available which works just like the offdet line tool. This has saved me lots of time in laying out floor plans.


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Welcome Tracey, draw your exterior walls first at the correct thickness including the interior finish. Next, draw all of the interior walls that coincide with the exterior. You start each wall by setting the origin (0,0) to the point your measurement was taken from and using the TAB key to enter your x or y room size in the DATA DISPLAY BAR. As you draw the next wall you reset the origin again and so on. This approach will give you the exact room size from the start. No rectangles or lines to draw and erase. Use two line walls to start and you can replace them with component walls later. Don't worry about the lengths of perpendicular walls, use the wall cleanup tools to join them later. Next you tackle the remaining walls in a similar manner. Take as many measurements as you can from a single reference point. Do separate sketches and measurements that reflect your CAD methodology. A single sketch can get pretty messy. Hope this helps.

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I'm still a "young pup" when it comes to VW and CAD, but I've got a few additional techniques that serve me well.

Block out some basic layout lines with the line tool, then convert them to guides. These can be set to non-print, or turned on and off easily. This could be used with or without the rectangles suggested above, which can also be converted to guides.

I never knew there used to be an offset wall tool, but duplicating and moving probably is nearly as simple. I'm a big user of keyboard shortcuts, so one way would be ctrl-D (I'm PC, by the way) and then ctrl-M. (Make sure you have 'offset duplicates' turned off in preferences.) Another way is to duplicate and then go to the Object Info Palette (OIP), click in the X or Y coordinates box, and add "-2'4.5" or "+28'3", etc.

As suggested before, use the wall join tool every so often to effect the T or L joins you need and clean up the drawing.

When I do my field measurements, I always measure to the center of doors, windows, fixtures, etc. Then it's easy when inserting Plug In Objects (PIOs), symbols, or symbols made from PIOs, to use the offset insert mode, clicking in the corner where you measured from, placing the object approximately, and then entering the exact distance in the dialog box. This also makes it easy to place doors that you know are 2 studs off the adjacent wall.

The DDB mentioned above is very useful as described above, and also the floating datum. Turn that on in preferences, and when you pause over a point, the x and y boxes in the DDB will reset to 0 automatically!

Now I've gotta post my own question about offsetting polylines......

Ta ta....

Steve Hausz

VW11.5, just installed 12

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A couple of things not mentioned that I find very helpful in creating an ?As-Built? is to decide early on which corner to consider as the starting point. From that location all measurements are taken in a sequential series that creates a flow of how each level?s layout will be created back on the ?Drawing Board/Screen?. As each room is documented, including elevations and ceiling, molding, window, door, nook, etc. details, I find that pictures/digital images significantly improve the room notes and do a lot to help me remember what is going in the areas that are difficult to detail in measurements. Images also help me remember more clearly any special treatments that the owner wants preserved or even changed.

After the building is documented, I use the same process that generated the information as the process used to put the details down in the model?s layout. By starting in one corner and working my way back to the other ends, room, wall, window, etc. tweaking later on doesn?t happen often because the process builds on the previously entered details, and it doesn?t get affected because something got forgotten or misunderstood. Once the lowest level is completed and checked, any remaining levels use the same process and starting point for entering details until all the information needed is completed and checked.

By following a process in the field that is then later used for the actual layout, I?ve found the number of errors discovered late in the process becomes rare.

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