You are on page 1of 45

ArchiCAD Training Series

Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD BIM Concept

Credits

Visit the GRAPHISOFT website at http://www.graphisoft.com for local distributor and


product availability information.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1


The ArchiCAD BIM Concept
Copyright 2014 by GRAPHISOFT, all rights reserved. Reproduction, paraphrasing or
translation without express prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

Trademarks
ArchiCAD is a registered trademark of GRAPHISOFT. All other trademarks are the property
of their respective holders.

Credits
The following ArchiCAD project is used in this training material:
NHS Office Complex, Los Angeles, California, US
Architect: PAAstudio, US

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

Contents

CONTENTS
Introduction ___________________________________________ 4
The ArchiCAD Interface __________________________________ 6
Navigate Around the Floor Plan _________________________ 12
Navigate in 3D ________________________________________ 14
The Virtual Building Concept ____________________________ 18
The Documentation Workflow ___________________________ 39

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

Introduction

Introduction
Welcome to the ArchiCAD Training Series!
This Guide is part of the ArchiCAD Training Series, which currently includes the following
materials:

Vol. 1, The ArchiCAD BIM Concept

Vol. 2, Basic ArchiCAD

Vol. 3, Intermediate ArchiCAD

Vol. 4, Advanced ArchiCAD

Vol. 5, Using Teamwork

You are now reading Vol. 1, The ArchiCAD BIM Concept a hands-on training to familiarize you
with the modeling and documentation concepts of ArchiCAD. This guide is meant for new
ArchiCAD users and prospects as well as students and teachers.
This guide is also suitable for using as BIM Curriculum Exercises - for Hands-on Practice in
universities where ArchiCAD is taught to students. Lecturers who would like to use this guide as a
BIM Curriculum should visit the educational sites of the GRAPHISOFT website
(http://www.graphisoft.com/learning/education/) where, after registration, they will be entitled
to obtain a full set of training materials suitable for seminar lectures.
Contents of this guide:
Training guide e-book: The PDF guide includes detailed explanation of every step, with several
screenshots.
ArchiCAD project file: The pre-set training file will help your learning process. Pre-set project
views help you to navigate between different steps thus you can focus on the core knowledge.
Movie clips: Narrated movie clips are available on the YouTube channel for GRAPHISOFT
ArchiCAD (www.youtube.com/user/Archicad) providing step-by-step instructions for each step
of the training guide. The ArchiCAD YouTube Channel can also be accessed from the Help menu
of ArchiCAD. Enter the name of this Training Guide in the search field to locate the related videos.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

Introduction
You must have ArchiCAD 18 or later version installed on your computer to use this guide. This ebook and the movie clips were made with the English language version of ArchiCAD. For your
conveniance we recommend you to download and use the same version for practicing.
If you do not have ArchiCAD yet, please visit myarchicad.com to obtain a free ArchiCAD installer:

If you are a student, a teacher or a representative of a school, register and download a fully
functional Education Version of ArchiCAD for Students and Teachers.

If you are a professional architect, register and download a fully functional 30-day trial version
of ArchiCAD. Projects saved with this TRIAL version can be automatically upgraded to FULL
versions upon purchase of a commercial license.

Please contact your local distributor for purchasing commercial ArchiCAD licenses:
www.graphisoft.com/info/where_to_buy
How to use this training material?

Install the required ArchiCAD version

Open the PDF Guide

Open the related movie clips from the GRAPHISOFT ArchiCAD Youtube Channel

Follow the instructions given in the PDF guide and the videos.

We hope you will find this training useful and wish you success with your future ArchiCAD
projects!

Good Luck!

The GRAPHISOFT Team

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD Interface

The ArchiCAD Interface


Please extract the INT_AC_Training_Series_Vol_1_v18.zip archive file into your computer.
To start exploring ArchiCAD we will open an example file first. Lets start ArchiCAD by clicking on
the application icon. First we encounter a dialog box, in which we can choose between creating a
new project or working on an existing one.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD Interface


Well do the latter, so we click on the Open a Project radio button. Then in the second section of
the dialog box we select Browse for a Solo Project. Choose Standard Profile 18 for the Work
Environment and click on Browse. In the browser dialog box, we locate and open the NHS Office
18_metric.pla or NHS Office 18_imperial.pla project file (depending on the system of units of
your location) from the extracted training project folder.
If you are running ArchiCAD 18 Student version, a message appears warning you that you have to
convert the project into Education format.

Click on the Convert to Education button. Since we are opening a so-called archive project that
contains all the external elements used in creating the project, we are asked how we wish to

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD Interface


handle these elements. For the time being we ignore this and keep all the project elements in the
archive file; so without changing the radio buttons simply click Open.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD Interface


The project file opens. Let's take a closer look at the ArchiCAD interface. This application was
designed by architects for architects. The easy to understand graphical interface and the visual
feedback will help you to quickly get familiar with the program's capabilities.

The central part of the interface shows the floor plan of our project. At the bottom of the screen, a
set of icons help to navigate in this view, and set the drawing scale and zoom factor.

To the left, the Toolbox contains all the tools necessary to build the 3D model and complete the
documentation.
To the right, the Navigator lists all aspects of the project here we can jump from story to story
or to different 3D views, sections, elevations and details.
At the very top, the Menubar lists all the available commands, logically grouped. Commands for File
operations, Editing and Viewing functions can be selected from the corresponding menus. Since
Design and Documentation are separate processes in architectural practice, tools and commands
supporting these processes are also located in separate menus. Commands in the Options menu

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

The ArchiCAD Interface


regulate basic settings and the Work Environment. The Teamwork menu supports collaborative work,
and the Window menu sets the visibility of the toolbars and palettes.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

10

The ArchiCAD Interface


The Standard Toolbar contains some of the commands and functions available from the menus.
It can be found right below the Menubar and can be fully customized. (The whole user interface
can be arranged into so-called schemes to fast-track repetitive work, but this is outside the scope
of this training guide).
The Info Box shows the current settings of the selected tool or the characteristics of the selected
element. (Try it by selecting different tools from the Toolbox. Look at the changes in the Info
Box.) Changes in the Info Box are immediately reflected in current settings or the attributes of the
selected element. The Info Box can be resized (similarly to all boxes and palettes) to reveal more
information than in the basic settings.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

11

Navigate Around the Floor Plan

Navigate Around the Floor Plan


Lets take a closer look at the floor plan. From the icons at the bottom of the floor plan, lets select
the Increase Zoom icon.

The cursor changes to a magnifying glass. Lets draw two corners of a rectangle around the upper
right entrance area of the building. After the second click, you will see a zoomed-in view of the
floor plan in the main window.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

12

Navigate Around the Floor Plan


Try the other icons for Panning, Reducing Zoom, Fitting in Window the contents of the floor plan, or
switching between Previous and Next Views.

There is an even faster way to navigate in all views. With the cursor in the main window, press the
mouse scroll button to pan around the floor plan in real-time. Remember to keep the scroll
button pressed!
Rolling the scroll button away from you will zoom in and rolling it toward you will zoom out in
real-time. In these cases, the cursor position will act as the center point of the projection.
This technique will let you move from one location of the floor plan to another very quickly.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

13

Navigate in 3D

Navigate in 3D
In ArchiCAD, every building element is instantly represented in 3D as well. Naturally this sample
project includes not only the 2D documentation but the entire 3D building model as well. So
what does our sample project look like in 3D?
The 3D model can be shown in an axonometric or a perspective view. Well try an axonometric
view first. To access the 3D representation of our building, go to the 3D section in the Project Map
of the Navigator and double-click on Generic Axonometry (as shown below).

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

14

Navigate in 3D
As a result you will see something like this:

Within the 3D view, the real-time navigational tools (Zoom-In, Zoom-Out, Pan) function exactly as
on the floor plan. Use the scroll button of the mouse to move from one part of the image to the
other.
Select a view where the building more or less fills the main window. There are two fundamentally
different ways of navigating in a model ArchiCAD: Orbit and Walk. Let's see how they work. From
the bottom Toolbar select the Orbit icon.

The cursor changes to a little orbit sign. Click and keep the left mouse button pressed and move
the mouse around to view the building from all sides.
While in Orbit mode, real-time Zoom and Pan can still be used. Try them both to explore the
whole model. To get out of Orbit mode, press ESC.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

15

Navigate in 3D
There is an even more exciting way of getting around the building. In order to see this, lets
double-click Generic Perspective from the 3D section of the Navigator. The result is something
like this:

In this view Orbit, real-time Zoom and Pan work as we have seen already. The only difference is
that here they affect the camera position rather than the projected image. Lets try and move
around a little.
For a different way of exploration, lets get into first-person shooter mode by selecting the
Explore icon at the bottom toolbar.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

16

Navigate in 3D
The appearing dialog box explains how movement can be controlled (very similarly to FPS
computer games).

If you are sure you have the controls right, click 3D Explore and start flying inside the building
and navigating around.
Walls will not stop you in this game, but to get the hang of it you should try to use the doors.
To get out of Explore mode, just click into the 3D view.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

17

The Virtual Building Concept

The Virtual Building Concept


So how is it possible that weve seen a single floor plan, yet we could explore the whole building
right away? To explain, lets see a short introduction of GRAPHISOFTs Virtual Building Concept
also known as Building Information Modeling or BIM.
Lets double-click on 0.1 floor in the Stories section of the Navigator. Instantly we get back to the
initial floor plan. You can adjust the content to the floor plan window if it is necessary by clicking
Fit in Window.
One fundamental concept of BIM is that the 3D model is made of real building components like
walls, beams or slabs. Let's take a closer look at the ArchiCAD walls as an example.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

18

The Virtual Building Concept


Lets double-click on the Wall tool in the Toolbox. The dialog box for the Wall settings appears.

In the first section we can specify the geometry of the wall, including height and shape
information as well as its vertical position.
In the second section we can set how the wall will be represented in 2D view such as the floor
plan or a section. We can set the attributes of the wall (or rather its representative symbol) to
control its display. Here the structure of a composite wall or other view-dependent characteristics
can be selected.
In the next section we can determine how the wall should look in 3D views. Surface materials and
textures can be specified here.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

19

The Virtual Building Concept


In the last section we can link different properties that are necessary to build bills of material for
this type of wall. In list type views, the wall behaves as a group of basic building components that
forms this composite structure.
The point is that the wall we either draw on the floor plan or place in 3D in a perspective view is
not merely a 2D symbol or a collection of parallel lines or just a 3D shape. It is all that and much
more: it is an environment-sensitive building block of the Virtual Building that knows how to present
itself within the different aspects of architectural documentation.
What does that mean in practice? Lets make some changes in our Virtual Building and see what
happens. First of all lets change the current Wall settings to this:

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

20

The Virtual Building Concept


Set the wall height to 13'-1 (3990 mm) under Geometry and Positioning. For the Composite
Type (which is going to be the representation of the composite wall structure on floor plans and
sections) lets select the Wall Conc. Stone Tile structure. To do this click on the Composite
button and from the appearing dialog choose the required composite type.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

21

The Virtual Building Concept


In the Model panel lets click on the little chain icon on the right. Click on Override Surface button.
The list of available surface materials comes up. Select Brick-Common Bond from the list. All three
surface material settings (wall exterior, interior and edge) will be updated.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

22

The Virtual Building Concept


After changing the settings, lets click on OK.

Back on the floor plan lets zoom in to the wall on the right side of the lobby area and select the Inject
Parameters tool from the Standard Toolbar.

The cursor changes to a little syringe. This tool injects the current settings of the active design or
documentation tool to existing elements.
When we move the cursor above the wall we zoomed in on, the wall will be highlighted, showing
that it is selected for the injection. Lets click anywhere inside the wall body.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

23

The Virtual Building Concept


The wall changes instantly, showing the composite structure we selected in the Wall dialog box.

Now lets see what happened in other views of the Virtual Building.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

24

The Virtual Building Concept


First, lets select and double-click 04 D_D Section from the Sections/Elevations part of the
Navigator.

The section opens instantly. On the right side of the Lobbys first floor we see the wall we have
just modified. It shows the structure we have just selected for it.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

25

The Virtual Building Concept


Now lets select Generic Axonometry or General Perspective from the Navigator and using the
previously described navigation techniques go to that part of the project, which includes the
modified wall.

As you can see, the wall now shows the surface material that has been set in the dialog box.

One of the major advantages of the BIM concept is that non graphical-information, such as
quantities, element inventories and schedules, can be automatically extracted from the 3D

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

26

The Virtual Building Concept


model. Lets check if all aspects of the Virtual Building really are covered: double-click Wall List in
the Element Schedules section of the Navigator.

Instantly, an interactive list appears of all the walls placed in the project so far. We can quickly find
the wall on the first floor that we have just modified. Here some parameters (like the height or the

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

27

The Virtual Building Concept


composite structure of the wall) can be changed again. These changes will be reflected in all
views (floor plans, sections/elevations or in 3D).

Lets get back to the initial floor plan again (double-click 1 Floor in the Navigator). Zoom out in
order to see the entire floor plan.
Having a Virtual Building also means that we dont have to set up complicated layer sets for the
different stories within the project. Stories, sections and elevations are just separate views of the
virtual building model. In ArchiCAD, the Navigator window makes it easy to toggle between
different views and representations of the BIM model.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

28

The Virtual Building Concept


In the Navigator, double-click on the different stories (2 Floor, 3 Floor, etc. in the Stories section)
and on the different sections in the Sections/Elevations section or in the Details section.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

29

The Virtual Building Concept

All these views are merely derivatives of the Virtual Building. Any number of them can be
generated and they are all linked together, so if anything changes in one view, not only is that
particular view modified, but the changes are also reflected in all the views throughout the entire
project. This is a huge advantage compared to the traditional 2D drawing based documentation
method where coordination of the drawings had to be done manually. It is not just more
productive but also more reliable, as it reduces the risk of coordination issues to the minimum.
Let's see how we can work with the different views linked to each other. The revolutionary Virtual
Trace technology in ArchiCAD allows you to see and compare two different views of the BIM
model. Return to the floor plan of the 0.1 floor. Right-click on 06 East Elevation in the Navigator
and choose Show as Trace Reference from the context menu.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

30

The Virtual Building Concept


The elevation appears on the referred side of the building floor plan.

The Trace icon becomes active in the Standard toolbar. Click on the small arrow next to the Trace
icon and choose Drag Reference from the menu.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

31

The Virtual Building Concept


Drag the elevation view to the right.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

32

The Virtual Building Concept


Arrange the floor plan so that the windows on the first floor of the building become clearly visible
next to the floor plan view.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

33

The Virtual Building Concept


Now zoom in at the right side, to have a closer look at the windows.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

34

The Virtual Building Concept


Select one of the windows on the floor plan.

Change its size to 7'x11' (2000x3000 mm) in the Info Box.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

35

The Virtual Building Concept


Click on the Rebuild Reference command in the Trace menu.

Now you can see how the elevation follows the changes.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

36

The Virtual Building Concept


Now select Switch reference with Active command in the Trace menu

Now click Fit in window.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

37

The Virtual Building Concept


As you can see, the layout changes automatically according to the active view.

Zoom in to the area of the modified window, select it on the elevation view and reset the size to
5'x8' (1520x2440 mm). Choose the Switch reference with Active command again to return to
the floor plan. Press the ESC button to deselect the window and finally switch off tracing with the
Trace toggle button.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

38

The Documentation Workflow

The Documentation Workflow


Of course the job is far from done, even if a substantial amount of information can be entered and
stored within the Virtual Building. Architectural documentation, however, includes many
interpretations of the same view of the building. For example, for a given story of the building,
well have to generate one construction plan, one reflected ceiling plan, one plan for the floor
finishes, one structural plan, one plan for the furniture, and so on.
Not to mention all the communication with all the professions we will have to collaborate with:
the structural engineer, the electrical engineer, HVAC, plumbing, etc. all need different
documents from us. ArchiCAD supports the documentation workflow with so-called views.
So far we have only utilized one part of the Navigator, the Project Map part.

Lets click on the icon to the right of the Project Map. This is the View Map part of the Navigator.
As you can see, this part lists plans instead of stories. Of course a plan can show a floor or a
section or a detail. Double-click on 1 Floor in the RCP folder of the Construction
Documentation section of the View Map.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

39

The Documentation Workflow


The Reflected Ceiling Plan of the ground floor is shown instantly.

How is this plan different from the floor plan we have worked with up till now? One difference is
obvious: we see the tiles of the reflected ceiling and the lighting elements. These must have been
on a layer that was switched on when changing to the views of the RCP folder. (Layers are like
vellums of old times, layered on top of each other. If we pull one out of the stack, it will be
invisible. Elements that have common characteristics like exterior walls, interior walls, furniture,
etc. should be placed on a common layer, so that their visibility can be regulated together.)

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

40

The Documentation Workflow


The other significant difference is only visible if we zoom in to the interior of the building. Doors
are shown with their openings only (as is usual on a reflected ceiling plan).

There are six differentiating factors for a view.

One is the Layer Combination, which determines which layers must be switched on or off for
that particular view. Here, layer combinations were set up and named in advance. The one
that is used here is aptly named Reflected Ceiling Plan.

The other factor is the Scale of the drawing. For instance, plans that are submitted to the
municipality for approval have a smaller scale than construction documentation. In ArchiCAD,
objects like doors, windows or other custom elements are scalesensitive, that is, their 2D
representation depends on the current scale of the drawing.

The third factor is the Structure Display. This function allows us to display construction
elements in various ways depending how we define the components of elements. We can
choose one of these options:
Entire Model
Without Finishes

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

41

The Documentation Workflow


Core Only
Core of Load-Bearing Elements Only

The fourth factor is the Pen Set. We can define different line weight to the different colors.

The following factor is the so-called Model View Options Combination. These settings
control the behavior of ArchiCAD elements beyond merely toggling visibility on and off.
These combinations were also set up and named in advance. The one for reflected ceiling
plans can be viewed when selecting Document/Set Model View/Model View Options from
the menu.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

42

The Documentation Workflow

The last factor is the Renovation Filter. We can provide visual feedback on the status of each
element at a particular stage of a renovation project.

A view is defined by these factors, plus the current zoom and the dimensions, as shown in the
Properties panel underneath the Navigator.
In the Quick Options part just below it, you can change these settings for the current project
representation. In order to activate the Quick Options palette click on the Window/Palettes/
Quick Options command.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

43

The Documentation Workflow


Click on any of the buttons and see what changes occur on the floor plan when the settings are
changed.
Note that the current quick option settings are not saved to the views
automatically. For this you have to open the view settings dialog and there launch
the Get Current Windows Settings command.

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

44

The Documentation Workflow


Congratulations!
You have successfully completed this Training Guide! We hope that you have learned many new
and exciting things about the possibilities of BIM and understood how ArchiCAD supports the
architectural design workflow. Please check the other volumes of this training series for more
details about ArchiCAD.
Should you have any questions regarding ArchiCAD or other GRAPHISOFT products, please visit
Graphisoft Help Center, our online knowledge base: helpcenter.graphisoft.com.
Please feel free to contact GRAPHISOFT and its worldwide partners with further questions at
www.graphisoft.com. We look forward to seeing you in the ArchiCAD user community.

The GRAPHISOFT Team

ArchiCAD Training Series Vol. 1

45