AECbytes Tips and Tricks Issue
#14 (January 30, 2007)
AEC CAD Standards and Projects in Autodesk Architectural
Synergis Design Applications Engineer, Building
While drawing templates, standard tools, and
application lock-downs give many offices leverage
when it comes to maintaining a standard of consistency,
they all fall short when it comes to a project-wide
standard of consistency. When Autodesk released
Architectural Desktop (ADT) 2006, and likewise
2007, the AEC Project Standards
feature was incorporated. This new tool configures
and synchronizes the content of a project's many
drawing files against that of a selected drawing
file(s). The process is simple and designed to
be fluid as a project evolves.
The key to making this feature work is using
ADT's Project Management feature, also known as
ADT Projects. Those using it
will be all too familiar with the abundance of
drawing files the process creates: Constructs,
and Sheets are all independent
drawing files of the ADT project environment.
When coupled with multiple users, this creates
a management nightmare, making it all the more
critical to maintain a consistent standard of
Create a new project by using or tailoring the
existing project templates provided by Autodesk
C:/Documents & Settings/All Users/Application
Data/Autodesk/ADT 2007/enu/Template/ADT Template
Project (Imperial). These project templates
are preset with Project Standards in mind. The
project template creates an additional folder
called Standards, which houses
project standards, palettes, and catalogs.
The Project Navigator is launched
automatically after the creation of a project.
You will notice a new button on the Project
tab, as shown below. This is the Configure
Project Standards button. However, before
clicking on it, a few steps have to occur.
Creating the Standards Resource Drawing
Switch to the Constructs tab
of the Project Navigator. Create
a new element under the Elements
category to house the AEC standards for the project.
Name it AEC Standards. (Note:
This will utilize a template file designated by
the project's default settings.)
Open the new AEC Standards element.
Then open a construct that has many of the objects
which need to be replicated in other constructs
or elements. Begin dragging and dropping objects
from the construct to the element.
The key to making it all work is located within
the styles of the objects copied into the AEC
Standards element. Select one of the
objects and right-mouse-click. From the context
menu, select Edit [object] Style.
Switch to the Version History
tab in the properties dialog window, and click
the Version button.
Enter a "date stamp" in the description
field. You may want to create a naming convention
Configuring and Synchronizing the Project Standards
With the standards drawing, replicated content,
and object style version history created, we can
now focus on configuring the project standards.
Save and close the AEC Standards
element. Switch back to the Project
tab on the Project Navigator,
and click the Configure Project Standards
Check the box to Enable project standards
for [project name]. On the Standard
Styles tab, a field is provided to filter
between All Objects, Architectural
Objects, Documentation Objects,
and Multi-Purpose Objects. Click
the Add Drawing button to add
the AEC Standards element drawing
as a Standards Drawing.
Switch to the Synchronization
tab. This tab provides three methods of synchronizing
a project's standards: Automatic,
Semi-Automatic, and Manual.
The Automatic option will synchronize
a project drawing with the specified standards
when the drawing is opened, without displaying
any prompts or warnings when discrepancies are
encountered. The Semi-Automatic
option will synchronize the project drawing file
once it is opened, and will display prompts or
warnings. The Manual option,
on the other hand, will not automatically synchronize
the project drawing file once it is opened. The
process has to be initiated by the user. Workflow
will be the determining factor in choosing the
type of synchronization. If users need to be in
sync at all times, choose Automatic.
If the need arises for more user input, select
Semi-Automatic or Manual.
The third tab in the Configure AEC Project
Standards dialog, AutoCAD Standards,
allows for synchronization with AutoCAD layers,
dimension styles, text styles, etc. contained
in a .dws file.
Click OK to exit the Configure
AEC Project Standards dialog. A Version
Comment dialog window will appear. Again,
enter a "date stamp" to create a version
As you open project drawing files, ADT will acknowledge
standards violations based on the method chosen.
This method is very useful for keeping users
apprised of violations within project drawing
files. With the Semi-Automatic
and Manual synchronization modes,
the task is a bit more laborious requiring the
opening of each and every project drawing file.
Not to worryADT comes with a batch checking
utility. Switch back to the Project
tab on the Project Navigator.
To the left of the Configure Project Standards
button is the Synchronize Project
Clicking on this button will synchronize all
the project drawing files with the project standards
in one click. Each drawing will be analyzed and
violations will be displayed.
By holding down Ctrl or Shift,
files can be selected and an Action
can be applied to those selected files. Actions
include Do not update, Update
from Standard, or Ignore.
Click OK once to synchronize
the selected files.
Note: Object Styles being monitored
by AEC Project Standards visibly
display differently in Style Manager.
The icons are blue. Styles out-of-sync are flagged
by a small snowflake symbol on the main icon.
Out-of-sync drawings or styles can be synchronized
by right-mouse-clicking on them in the file tree
of the left window and selecting Synchronize
with Project Standards.
About the Author
Bill is a graduate of the University of Hartford
in Architectural Engineering and has accumulated
eight years of real world design,
management, and CAD experience in the field of
Architecture. At George J. Donovan AIA & Associates,
Architects, he was instrumental in implementing,
managing, and training his peers during their
transition from AutoCAD to Autodesk Architectural
Desktop. With Architectural Desktop, Bill was
able to increase productivity, coordination, and
profitability in a variety of key projects. His
most recent achievements are within the Newtown
Business Commons, where he documented a vacant
buildings conversion into 75,000 square
feet of leasable office and retail space for Cameron
C. Troilo Properties, as well as designed a new
five story hotel for the Homewood Suites, Hilton.
Bill has a passion for Building Information Modeling
(BIM) and what it can bring to the future of design
for both professionals and their clients. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
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