Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rules of File Referencing

These rules apply to multi-person CAD & BIM projects using a file server

Folder Use

Files used for linking and referencing in a project should be placed in folders specifically designed for reference and linked files.
·         Do not link or reference files from archive folders.
·         Do not link or reference files from incoming, outgoing, sent or received correspondence type folders
·         Do not link or reference files from other projects.  The other project you link from may be archived and removed from the server before your project is finished.  Then all those linked files will be missing!
·         Do not link or reference files from your C-drive (Desktop, My Documents, My Pictures, etc) or any local computer drive.
·         Files shall be referenced only from the same network drive and project folder structure.

Folder and File Naming

Be consistent in your file naming.  Once you have a standard established keep it going.  Pay attention to what is going on and keep things consistent!

·         Files and folders with a date in the name should only be used for archive purposes.
·         Do not use files named with _copy in the name as current working files. 
·         Do not leave files named with _copy in the name within current work folders.
·         Keep file and folder names short when possible.  If folder and file names get too long, it can prevent files from being opened.   Long file names can be obnoxious and annoying anyway.

New work vs. Old 

·         Do not name files with the term new.   All active project files (linked or host) shall be considered as new work unless noted otherwise.
·         Do not name files with the term old.  Instead use the term obsolete.   Old can mean existing to remain or something other than obsolete.  Then move it out of the current work folder.

Following these rules will minimize confusion for anyone who is currently navigating through your projects, and in the future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Every BIM Project Should Have a Model Manager

Projects based on BIM (building information modeling) are quite vulnerable to lawlessness and disorder.
Every project should have a model manager to serve as the police -- and the fire department.
If you think of a CAD or BIM project as a city or a close-knit community, you will appreciate the need for law and order. In a BIM project, the potential for vandalism, theft, fires and corruption is ever present.
  • Vandalism:  Family and view naming run amok. Poor modeling and drafting techniques. Even your most law-abiding citizens can cause trouble if they don’t know the standards.
  • Theft: Deleted objects, files and folders.
  • Fire: Unforeseen hardware and software issues. Problems related to user incompetence.
  • Corruption: Poorly made families and elements imported from unknown sources.

You can think of the BIM project as an entire city under one roof. Everything is connected and relational, so corruption in one part of the project can affect the whole population. This is why you need good standards and someone to maintain law and order.
Team Etiquette
What if someone snuck into your house while you were gone, rearranged the furniture and changed the locks on the doors? How would you feel? Or what if they brought in some tacky new appliances from an unauthorized source? Unauthorized families can be rude and disruptive; they can cause trouble if created incorrectly. Poorly designed families in a large model can bring the project model to a snail's pace.
This illustrates the need for some rules of etiquette. Here is a selection of work-sharing etiquette tips for a polite and civil project environment.
  • Communicate. Staying in touch with your teammates is essential. Maintain real-time communication: Sit next to them, pick up the phone often or use instant messaging.
  • Be neat. The mess you make is the mess you clean up! Clean up after yourself. Remove any unused stuff you placed off to the side.
  • Don't be a model hog. Do not have a bunch of worksets borrowed while you are out to lunch, away for a meeting or gone for the day! Borrow only the worksets you need, and relinquish all your borrowed elements when you close out.
  • Know the intended architecture of the project library, or don’t mess with it.
  • Never redefine any view property settings that is already set up on a sheet without consulting the model manager or the creator of that view.
  • Do not assume anything. Never delete, overwrite, move or edit any wall that you have not drawn or that's not your responsibility without asking the relevant team member -- even if you have to wait a day to do it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

BIM, CAD, Technical Writing Blog

My experience in the Architecture and Engineering industry dates back to 1988 when I
started as a manual draftsman. I was well trained in the art of creating great construction
documents. I worked my way up to a CAD Manager position, then to an IT Manager and
then took on the BIM manager role.

My blog starts today.