Coordinate Design Efforts With TeamWork

14 Jun, 2004 By: Ákos Pfemeter

Share ideas and implement changes in an organized way

Figure 1. Each user has an assigned role defined by the administrator.
Using ArchiCAD's TeamWork tool, teams of architects can share their projects -- entire 3D building models -- across a local network or Intranet without hassle or hierarchy.

Traditional methods of working in teams, such as using reference files, tie project participants to a network. When a participant is not connected to the network, the data flow stops. That person's work is not available to others, nor can he or she view changes made by colleagues. ArchiCAD's TeamWork relies on a central Virtual Building database that is located on an intranet or network. All team members are connected to the central project file, not to each other. If you want to work offline, you work with a local, current copy of the project on your workstation. You have access to what others have done to that point and can sign into the project at any time to send or receive changes from colleagues. The data flow is streamlined, and project data is secure and always up to date.

Access Rights
TeamWork gives the following rights to different members of the project (figure 1):

Figure 2. This workspace is divided by area. The east side of the building marked in red is David's workspace, and the green boundary shows Victor's workspace.
  • As a team member, you can create and edit building model elements in your own defined workspace.
  • A team leader has more rights than a team member and can change basic attributes of the project, such as the story structure. The team leader can't edit the geometry of a project.
  • A mark-up participant can look at all the building model views and add comments.
  • A view-only participant can look at all the building model views and add comments, but can't edit or mark up building model elements.
  • The administrator can add new users and reset passwords and shares the project in the beginning.

Figure 3. Using the Marquee tool, you can view your workspace in 3D.
Defining Workspaces
Team members can define a spatial workspace and a conceptual workspace where they can edit building model elements. The spatial workspace can be an area of the project or an area through several floors of the project. The conceptual workspace can be a particular building system, such as interior walls, the core, or exterior walls throughout the building model. By combining these two concepts, the possibilities are unlimited for configuring a team member's workspace (figure 2).

Figure 4. Clicking an element in David's workspace displays a Help balloon that indicates he is the owner of that element.
Workspace boundaries also apply in 3D. The system locks or unlocks the elements in all the views of the building model according to the reserved workspaces. The Marquee tool lets users view their workspace in 3D (figure 3). It also allows selected portions of the model to be seen in 3D as a temporary section. You can use the marquee to define a workspace as a geometric portion of the building.

Click on a building element to display information about its ownership (figure 4). A user's building elements are unlocked and editable in the My Workspace area.

Creating Elements


Figure 5. When you create elements outside your workspace and then send those changes to the Main Project file, a warning says that you have created new elements. You can choose to release them or not.
You can create objects anywhere in the project, even outside your own workspace, and propose the changes to the workspace owner. These new elements belong to you, regardless of their spatial position. However, when you send your changes to the main project file, you can choose to release the new elements so they are available to other teammates. You can then reselect them by redefining your workspace to include them. When a teammate receives the changes, he or she sees your proposed edits to the workspace and can opt to accept them (figure 5).



Figure 6. This image shows that Victor creates a wall in David's workspace and turns it into a mark-up entry. The mark-up wall appears in red on the floor plan and also in 3D.
The Mark-Up tool in ArchiCAD facilitates idea exchange and streamlines the decision-making process regarding specific design issues.

A mark-up entry simultaneously serves as a placeholder for design elements and 2D revision bubbles, which are clouded shapes drawn around an area that must be revised before you issue a document. They can also show that something was edited since the last document was issued. You can add any building element to the mark-up entry. Immediately these elements turn into mark-up elements and inherit the graphic representation of the mark-up style on the floor plan and also in 3D (figure 6). Use the Marquee tool to immediately view the mark-up changes in 3D (figure 7). Finally, you can assign the mark-up entry to the teammate who owns that area for approval.


Figure 7. Using the Marquee tool, Victor can immediately view a live 3D cut of the building that shows his mark-up changes.
You must send the changes to the central project file so other team members can see them. When you do so, you can add comments (figure 8). The assigned entry automatically appears on the To Do list of the teammate who owns the workspace (figure 9), and that teammate also receives the comments. Optionally, the lead designer can review the changes first, and the system logs this information in the TeamWork file.

Your teammate The teammate who owns the workspace can adopt the proposed changes by selecting the mark-up elements and clicking on


Figure 8. When you send changes to the main project file, you can add comments that are sent to the owner of the area.
Remove Corrections. The elements automatically change from a mark-up element to a traditional element (figure 9a). The walls in figure 9a become an integral part of the project, but the comments and the path to the decision remain logged with the project for its full lifecycle. The teammate can also change the style of the correction to indicate that they have been approved, need to be incorporated into the design, or have been resolved.

Benefits of TeamWork


Figure 9. The assigned entry appears on the owner's To Do list automatically. Using the mark-up tool, David can zoom to the elements and highlight them.
ArchiCAD's TeamWork concept allows teams of architects to to work on large projects without being permanently online. The flexibility of ArchiCAD's Teamwork also allows workspaces to be defined as needed during the work process. This lets users change the portion of the model they are working on as frequently and easily as their process requires. A variety of project-sharing techniques enable the team to find a workflow that best suits its needs. Element creation features and the Mark-Up tool ensure that members of the team can share ideas and coordinate design development. The team benefits from the data integrity that the Virtual Building concept provides, even on large projects.

About the Author: Ákos Pfemeter

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