On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.

All the typical layouts (that I can think of) are blocked up in the project templates. Developing the layouts consists mostly of framing the plan, tuning up the section/elevations, and arranging the drawings on the sheets.

Centering the Plan

We use an object, Sheet Area RND10, in the floor plan to represent the usable area of the layout. The object has its own layer, +Z Drawing Area. This layer is always locked, and is showing in every plan-related layer combination.

Choose the sheet size in the object's settings. Construction Documents will be size D or E. Schematics or 1/8" design development will be C size. (C size for CDs is not supported at this time. If the project is that tiny, you can put two plans on a sheet.) Word to the wise: If it barely fits on D, use E. I prefer D too, but if the shoe doesn't fit...

Unlock the drawing area layer and drag the object around until it looks right. Try to get it perfect. While you can make adjustments later, it means repositioning all the plan drawings manually.

On the first floor, on the Archicad layer, place hotspots on the four corners of the object. You don't need them for the alignment itself, but these spots record the placement of the object in case you have to use additional sheet sizes.

One more thing about the plans. They don't use automatic titles, and instead they have a special title object, Plan Title RND10. In this object, you tell it what stories you have, how you want to name them, and what kind of plan it is, and the object places the correct title on each story. In the templates, there is one object for each kind of plan. Tip: Turn on all the note layers, select all the plan titles, and set their story settings all at once. Then drag them all to an appropriate spot in the plan.

Tuning up the Section/Elevations

The templates have four elevations, two cross sections, and two long sections. You'll eventually need more, and you'll certainly need to adjust the provided ones.

Position the markers to show what you want. Add staggers if desired.

Set the ranges to make sure the section or elevation reaches everything you want to show. The range is shown as a faint green line with a midpoint node when the marker is selected. You can turn on the marker ranges temporarily with the toolbar button, or with the shortcut Opt+[. All the ranges are shown with the same pen, which is not the pen of the marker itself, so showing the ranges might not actually help.

Seriously consider using Marked Distant Area to lighten distant elements. (MDA should always Use One Pen, which should be Pen #30.) If an elevation is relatively 'flat', with no distant parts showing, you can turn MDA off.

Check the Z-elevation of the bottom of the cut. Don't cut deeper than you have to. For elevations, if the house is on mostly level ground, the bottom of the cut will be at about -4' to -6', and the story level marker for the basement will not be shown. For sections, make sure the bottom is low enough to cover the basement slab and the footings. The top of the cut is set to 100' by default, which means well above the house so nothing is cut off. You don't need to adjust the top limit.

Change the section and elevation names as needed. Remember, with automatic drawing titles, nothing goes in the marker name that you don't want in the title. Direction codes (U, D, L, R) belong in the ID.

Repositioning the drawings

Once the model is ready, visit each relevant layout in turn. In the templates, all the internal drawings are set to Automatic Update, so as you open each layout, the drawings will update.

Plans: Resize the drawing frame to fit the sheet area object. The object will be faintly visible as four L shapes. Tip: Drag the drawing into the gray space around the layout to see the corners better. Once the size is right, drag the drawing so the corners align with the layout's corners. Note: Plan drawings' frames will usually be 'Manually Resized' as opposed to 'Fit to Drawing'. Plan drawings do not use automatic titles.

Sections/elevations: Their frames will usually, not always, be Fit to Drawing. The automatic title should be on. Position the drawings on the sheets and drag the titles around as needed.

Site Plan: The site plan consists of two drawings. First, a 2D drawing of the site boundary, contours, etc., along with the house footprint. On top of that, a live 3D 'top view' of the house.

To develop the site plan, you need to drawing footprint around the foundation walls, and then position the top view around the footprint. Precise alignment is difficult, but usually not necessary. If it looks right, it's right enough. (The stake data will be taken from the footprint, which does need to be exact.)

Perspective and axon views: The templates provide cameras and preset axon views. The camera position will need attention, and the scale of the resulting perspective drawing may need to be changed.

Next step: Printing and publishing.