ArchiCAD Insights: Track File Changes with Graphisoft's Change Manager

11 Apr, 2006 By: Kurt Ameringer

Identify, interpret and react to drawing changes faster and more accurately with Graphisoft Change Manager.

Today's building projects generate hundreds (often, thousands) of drawing files, which require frequent revision as the project progresses. If even a single change is missed, expensive and lasting consequences can result. Graphisoft Change Manager can help by searching for and identifying changes in a given set of DWG files.

With Change Manager, a project is defined and design versions are associated by selecting the folders where drawings are stored. You can specify and manage these drawing sets, allowing the project team to define which elements to track and which entities to ignore.

Compare and Contrast
Begin by creating a new project from File/New/Project. Identify the drawing files you wish to compare by selecting the appropriate documents by folder (figure 1).

Figure 1. Identify the files you wish to compare.

Select the versions you want to compare and then run a comparison. To run a comparison, you simply select the comparison you wish to execute and click the Run Comparison button (figure 2).

Figure 2. The Run Comparison button.

After running the comparison, Change Manager lists the results and identifies which files are new, deleted, changed or unchanged. The results of the comparison are listed and available for the team to review (figure 3). When a drawing requires follow up, you can assign it to any team member simply by selecting the drawing and choosing the team member to receive the drawing and then clicking Assign.

Figure 3. The results of the comparison.

Under My Assignments, you can mark the change as completed, skip the change or choose to ignore it. You can also assign the revisions a priority ranking and sort them by importance (figure 4).

Figure 4. You can prioritize, sort and view the status of assignments.

Other team members, such as engineers and subcontractors, may open drawings assigned to them in Change Manager and analyze the identified changes using a variety of methods to graphically view the revisions.

The program displays drawing pairs in one of several viewing modes, which are designed to simplify locating changes in the drawing pairs. For example, one mode assigns color codes to new, deleted and changed objects individually. Users can then assess the impact of the change on the project. You can mark changes with a cloud and then reassign them to another team member with a priority level assigned to it. A database logs all user actions and tracks assignments. This allows users to view which changes were made by whom, and when they were edited or marked as completed.

Users can automatically see a transparency or a side-by-side comparison of the documents (figure 5).

Figure 5. Users can view changes.

After identifying the changes in detail, a team member may reassign the changes by marking them with a cloud or by marking them as completed when consequences are processed. Reassigning will result in a new notification to the team.

Project assignments are available for viewing by all team members, and they can all check the status of items and follow up as required. Therefore, you can track the status of assignments at any moment. During the construction phase, you can identify team members responsible for changes during design and preparation phases by opening the changes history.

How do you want to spend your afternoons?
Managing all of the drawing files generated in every project can take as long as it did to create the files in the first place--and the litigation related to missing one simple change may have significant impact on a firm or individual career. Change Manager is another tool developed by Graphisoft to help reduce the number of errors and omissions in a project. This capability allows you to increase your productivity by freeing your time to do more of what you enjoy--designing great buildings!

About the Author: Kurt Ameringer

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