Documentation Separated from the Model File

The documentation and the design teams can work simultaneously on the project if the documentation file is separated from the model file. The size of the master file can also be reduced if you adopt this method. ARCHICAD fully supports this workflow since you can control complex file hierarchies in the Navigator palette. There are two strategic ways of separating the documentation from the model.

Master File Method

In this scenario, there is a master ARCHICAD file that contains the complete ARCHICAD model, together with its saved views. The separate documentation file contains the layouts and drawings (views placed from the model file) and automatically updates the drawings if the model file is changed. This method is applicable to medium and large projects.

If your project contains a significant number of layouts, you are advised to consider this method.


Separate Model and Documentation Files

Use of PMK Drawings

Due to size and speed issues, very complex or large projects usually do not have a master file that contains all the drawings. Consequently the building model is stored in multiple project files (some of them can be Teamwork projects; others can be simple ARCHICAD project files that refer to hotlink modules). There are two ways to import the drawings into the documentation file.

1)Drawings are saved individually as PMK files and linked to the ARCHICAD documentation project file. In this case there is no direct link between the model file and the document file, so the drawings on the layout do not automatically reflect the changes in the model file.

Note: You can save an ARCHICAD model view in PMK format by using the Publisher. PMK is a native ARCHICAD drawing format which takes up relatively less hard drive space than many other formats.

This method is only recommended if the PMK files are rarely updated, or if the automatic drawing update from the model file is too slow. This might be the best solution for very large projects with extensive documentation sets. If this method is used, the BIM Manager or Documentation Manager must control the saving and linking/updating of these PMK files.


Manually Saved PMK Drawings Linked to the Document File

2)Drawings are imported into the Layout Book directly from one or more building model files and other external file sources (DWG, DXF, PDFs, image files, PMKs, etc.). For a very complex building, the documentation file can also be subdivided into two or more parts for easier drawing management.


PMK Drawings can be Saved Automatically from the Publisher

This is a complex system but very powerful, and in some cases may be the only way to handle large projects. Where complex documentation structures are used in the office, it is crucial that the BIM Manager/project leader develop the proposed file hierarchy and distribute this to the project team members prior to starting the documentation.

Complex File Structure

Complex or large projects require special collaboration solutions. The successful collaboration approach should be tailored to the office organization and the type of project. As a rule, large projects should be divided into smaller, logical parts using a combination of Teamwork and hotlink solutions.

For example:

A multi-story office building is in the construction design phase. The building consists of two wings that are stored in two independent Teamwork projects. From the very early stage a 3D model of the whole building was built, containing only those elements essential for visualization and conceptual design. Based on this model, two Teamwork projects were created (one for each tower) that served as the basis of the construction documentation. The Teamwork projects refer to external hotlinked modules and Xrefs such as column grids, land surveys and other consultant drawings.

The documentation is stored in two Layout Book files to reduce the size of the Teamwork projects and to allow the project documentation team to work in parallel with the designers/architects.


Complex Project File Hierarchy