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Design forum

Layer Debate: National CAD Standards or other layer nomenclature?


How do you have your layers organized in your project template? Do you use the National CAD Standards, or do you have a different naming formula? It seems that BIM and 3D modeling eliminates the need for several layers. It appears that Archicad's template also does not use the national standards but does label by discipline. 


How do you do it, and how does it affect file sharing/collaborating for you?

ArchiCAD: AC26, Version 4024 USA Full (Apple Silicon)
Computer: 2022 Apple M1 Max, 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, 64 GB memory


National CAD Standard - Uniclass. 

Primarily using the EF - Elements / Functions sections. The UKI template has stripped out the "_" delimiter and prefixed the EF with A - for architectural discipline so you get as an example: 


Apple iMac macOS Monterey / AC26UKI (most recent builds)

Lee Hankins

I use exactly what @DGSketcher said above but we still have the ‘-‘ because the template started in 2018 when that was still included. 

Lee Hankins
ArchiCAD 4.5 - Archicad 26UKI Apple Silicon 4032
macOS Ventura (13.1)

Everything in my entire template is custom to how I want. No standards other than what I think is relevant to what I need for what I'm doing lol.  How I was taught. Not an architect. Just a designer.


Edit: all of my materials are custom made as well. Fills pens everything.

David Shorter

My system which pre dates 2010 is based on Trade Packages. However I am currently rehashing the whole thing (now we have folders) looking at Archicad Classification -v2.0, NatSpec which is partly used here and Uniclass as 3 different templates.

Archicad Classification -v2.0 looks fair at first glance with trades for Layers, Surfaces, Building Materials but I haven't got to Composites and Complex profiles yet (The Australian Select template 26 is pretty light as there are no folders present) Hopefully updates in Archicad will add Folders to Fills which is a bug miss at the moment.

Any more later... 

Archicad 4.1 to 26 Apple Silicon
you can't build a line
Mac Studio
iPad Pro

Marc H

For many years, I kept industry standard NCS / AIA layers as there was great demand for structured DWGs and the like.  However, in working back and forth, I found I spent a lot of my time cleaning up non-standard layers in exchange files and in recent years, consultants asking for the BIM model IFC or PLA file instead, for importation into their BIM environment (sometimes AC for design scenarios or typically RVT to launch their technical production).  They have not had any interest in standard layers.  


Even the old requirements for close-out submittals is increasingly PDFs and BIM model files; not DWGs, so layers are not utilized.  AC GOR/Cs have also taken over more pen control from layers.


Finally, with the expansion of Property Manager and more classification, I found it extra work to put elements and object on layers with essentially redundant information (e.g., to what I can filter and select, schedule, etc.)


A couple of years ago, I decided to completely overhaul and customize layers to accelerate my type of projects' AC workflow.  It's a bit rough in the beginning with legacy PLNs, but allows me to model faster once in place.  I think the new AC26 folder groupings will carry that effort even further.  

Note: I do keep a short set of high level NCS (ACAD) layers in my LCs for importing exploded 2D DWG elements to use in certain existing condition views, but I may drop those out in the next year or so.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln

AC26 USA on 16” 2019 MBP (2.4GHz i9 8-Core, 32GB DDR4, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8G GDDR5, 500GB SSD, T3s, Trackpad use) running Ventura OS + extended w/ (2) 32" ASUS ProArt PAU32C (4K) Monitors

Erwin Edel

Both the layer and the classifiction system are part of the same system. It has 4 digits, the layers follow the first 2 digits (which form the 'chapters') and you further specify the next 2 digits (paragraphs) per element. It's very concise. Here's a link to an English translation and short explanation if anyone is interested:


Besides those we have layers for Documentation, Zones and several things you generally want to be able to hide (SEO, a workspace for making objects, etc etc) All together we use 120 layers in our template.

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

ArchiCAD 9-24 NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

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