On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. 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.

What to do when the project is done.

First, make sure it's really done. 'Almost', 'practically', 'pretty much', 'just about', and 'I think it's' done are not the same thing.

When we put a project away we're thinking about two things.

1. We need to be able to access the project in the future. This means printing the drawings as they were issued, as well as opening the project file and using it. It also means having a neat project folder so that the organization can be understood.

2. We want to capture work that might be useful in future projects, such as details and objects.

This is the checklist.

Sign out if using Teamwork.

Send and Receive Changes. Save as PLN (Archicad Solo Project). Sign Out. Open the PLN.

Clean up the project.

Get rid of extraneous junk. File size is not an issue from a storage standpoint, but extra junk makes it harder to tell what is important in the project. If you've used building parts modules, delete them.

Save modules of good details..

In our workflow, management of standard details is an administrative task; i.e., we don't all work on it. You should at least save modules of the good details, even if the rest of the processing is left to someone else. Consult with partners or associates about which details are worth saving.

Break the Hotlinks.

Use the Hotlink Manager to break all the links. There are hotlinks in the templates, and there may others in the project. Hotlink Manager is on the File menu, and there's a toolbar button for it. You must break each link individually - there is no 'Break All' button anymore. Tip: In the top panel, highlight the first item and click 'Break Hotlink'. Then strike the down arrow key, then click the button again. Alternate down arrow and click till you get to the bottom.

Breaking hotlinks deletes the external references, but leaves the stuff itself in the project, unchanged.

Break the External Drawing References.

Open Drawing Manager. Sort the list by 'Path'. Select all the non-Internal items and click the Break Link button. The status will change to 'Embedded'.

Save the project as an archive.

Save As. Format: Archicad Archive Project. Click 'Options'. All boxes should be checked except 'All parts of loaded libraries'. Save at the top of the project folder.

An archive project (PLA) contains all the library parts used in the project. Optionally, you can include all parts of the loaded libraries, whether they are used in the project or not. But this greatly increases the file size.

We have always been pretty vigilant about keeping library parts around. If you have missing macros in a de-hibernated archive project, ask for help finding them. (Old parts that are needed for compatibility should be added to the embedded library.)

Organize the project folder.

Think of someone opening the folder in five years. Would they be able to find their way around? It should be obvious where to find:

The PLA file. (Top of project folder.)
The most recent PDF of the drawings, and the permit set PDF, and the construction set PDF, and any subsequent revisions. (2 Output / PDF Archive. The names and dates should be crazy obvious. Use the date format YYYY-MM-DD.)
The most recent BIMx and other rendering stuff. (2 Output / Model Pictures or BIMx)

If you've been organized all along, there's no problem. If not, get started. Sort the stuff out now, while you still recognize all the code words. (What does 'porch altB2 old6' mean?)

Stuff to throw away: BPNs. Ugly Renderings.Duplicates. Duplicates.

I'm all for saving stuff, but if you save too much you can't tell what's important. Of course, if there's any doubt, save it.

Copy this document.

Select all the text and copy it to a text file. Save the text as 'Archive Notes.txt'. This will help the people in five years.

Move the project folder.

Actually, tell me to move it. It's cleaner, and we can make sure the project is squared away.