The Teamwork Concept
Since 1997, the Teamwork concept has been GRAPHISOFT’s primary solution for sharing BIM data among team members. Over time, collaboration requirements for architectural practices have changed significantly, due to increased file size, increased complexity of projects, and the extensive use of Internet-based communication.
Today, ARCHICAD’s renewed Teamwork feature represents a breakthrough in collaborative project work, specifically designed to meet the demands of a modern, international team effort. This technology is based on client-server architecture and is designed to ensure maximum flexibility, speed and data safety to enable teams - even those spread out around the world - to collaborate on large projects.
Teamwork uses GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud/BIM Server, an intelligent web-based application which manages Teamwork projects and data communication between the ARCHICAD clients and the server.
Details of the Teamwork approach are explained on the accompanying figure.
While the BIM Server - available with ARCHICAD - works perfectly at smaller scales where no extensive collaboration over multiple offices is needed, the BIMcloud provides the ideal solution for complex company/project requirements where scaling, data security and advanced team and project management are mission critical.
To install BIMcloud and acquire the necessary licenses, contact your local GRAPHISOFT provider. Please note that the BIMcloud solution is not yet available in all markets.
Several functions introduced in this document are available only for BIMcloud users; this is noted where applicable.
The ARCHICAD Teamwork Concept
•The keystone of this concept is the client-server technology. In ARCHICAD, this consists of the GRAPHISOFT BIMcloud/BIM Server, and ARCHICAD as a client. The intelligent server application maintains the complete and up-to-date BIM model of a project. Team members work on local computers and regularly send and receive project changes between the server and their local ARCHICAD. During send and receive, only modified elements of the project are sent over the network, rather than the full model data: this results in much faster data communications and enables the entire team to keep working simultaneously.
•Another key element of this concept is the flexible reservation system. Individual model elements and other project-related data, like project attributes or views, can be reserved and released on the fly, allowing for a very dynamic and flexible workflow. (When possible, elements are reserved automatically, as you need them.) There is no need to reserve large areas in the project prior to starting work. The user reserves only the elements he/she currently needs; elements can be easily released after the work is done.
•Team communication is supported by a built-in, element- and task-based messaging system.
•The BIMcloud/BIM Server Manager tool running in a standard web browser allows CAD managers to remotely manage projects, servers, users, roles and responsibilities across the entire firm. The Server Activities page of Server Manager provides detailed feedback about the current status of the server, helping the BIM manager to identify risk factors that may affect the server’s performance.
•Effective: Users can work on the same project simultaneously, and if the model size is manageable, there is no need to divide it into multiple solo projects or hotlinks.
•Organized: No overlapping workspaces; only one user can work on a given project element at one time. Team members have dedicated roles and rights.
•Transparent: Team members can check the current status of the project at any time.
•Easy: Collaboration techniques are very easy to learn. There is no need for extensive training.
•Fast: Due to the revolutionary DELTA-serverTM technology, only the changed elements are exchanged between the client and the server. Average data package size shrinks by an order of magnitude, from megabytes to kilobytes. Because the amount of transferred data is relatively small, data transfer does not depend on the file size: you can work through any kind of network or the internet.
•Flexible: Due to the on-demand element reservation system and fast data exchange, team members can access any element, at any time, regardless of the size of the firm or the complexity of the project.
•Data Safety: The server becomes a dynamic component in the process. The intelligent server application doesn’t allow corrupted data to be merged. If the client’s data becomes damaged on the network, the server will filter it out, and will not merge the damaged data to the server database. An optional alert reminds you to Send Changes at certain intervals.
•Offline Work: Users can create new elements or modify those belonging to their workspace even if there is no online connection between the BIMcloud/BIM Server and their local ARCHICAD. Once the online connection is established, they can send and receive changes again.
•Some Teamwork functions are only available to the user when he/she is online.
•Teamwork technology in itself cannot divide large projects into easy-to-handle smaller parts. For this, you have to combine Teamwork with hotlink modules.
Teamwork should be your primary method for sharing the content of the BIM model, as it has many benefits compared to other file sharing solutions. For a very large or complex project, you might have to consider dividing the project into smaller parts to avoid any performance drawbacks caused by the large file size. Big buildings can be split into several smaller Teamwork projects, using the hotlink file methods. This way, you can significantly reduce the regeneration time of the 3D model and of the project documentation.
Let’s take a closer look at the major characteristics of Teamwork technology.