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Teaching hours necessary for students to produce some presentation drawings


Hi folks, I am an Architectural Technology tutor who works in New Zealand and our qualifications are going through a bit of discussion and debate at present. One aspect is how to embed software learning into already crowded curricula and individual papers. There is also probably divergence across various colleges across the country so I am trying to work out just in ball park terms how long it would take to teach students the skills necessary to publish a set of presentation drawings for a 2 storey house of area of approx 250m2


We typically provide the students with the sketch plans of the house and they get stuck in after having been taught fundamentals of walls, roofs, slabs etc  using a basic single-storey building.


We ask them to produce floor plans, design sections and elevations, cut away floor plans and sections and some exterior and interior renders. NO construction detail at all as we cover that in a follow on course.


The students have learnt basic drafting and drawing techniques, organization etc in a pre requisite course 


I realise this is a very open ended question and I already have my idea of the time having taught on the course for the last 12 years but I am interested in others comments and observations.

 I have attached a typical presentation drawing set to give people an idea of  what we require form the students. Any comments at all would be appreciated so thanks in advance.

Szabolcs Miko

Hi there,


This is indeed a very interesting topic. In fact, we are planning a small research study in this particular topic for the near future, that could get a quantitative input for us Archicad educators. Please let me know if you would like to exchange ideas about this personally via email or a quick call.


As for our own experience, we have 2 courses at the university where we teach.

The first is Archicad fundamentals - 90 minutes/week for 10-12 weeks, which is more about CAD, basic modelling tools and each student submitting a model and a set of drawings about one of their own previous designs, usually residential. This doesn't have any construction details and students work individually. As a prerequisite to this course, students already go through a 2 semesters of descriptive geometry and CAD basics (AutoCAD and Sketchup) class. Our experience is that otherwise it is very hard for them to understand the geometrical concepts and different views we can utilize in Archicad.

The second course is advance Archicad - 90 minutes/week for 10-12 weeks, which focuses way more on collaboration and the proper production of construction drawings, with introductory information management components. Here we go through advanced modelling tools (Shell, Morph, hierarchical elements), go through documentation thoroughly (MVO, GO other view settings) and put a heavy focus on collaboration, having a Teamwork and Hotlinking strategy classes. We require one small individual homework, an in person exam (modelling a small building in 90 minutes) and a group assignment which is remodelling an existing building with a team of 3-4 in teamwork, based on 2d documentation and images.


I hope this helps, 


Szabolcs Mikó

Education Program Manager

Hi Szabolcs and many thanks fro your reply. Thanks also to all of you who gave up your time to consider your own experience and provide a response. Szabolcs, I would be more than happy to engage in any kind of research with you or any one else on this topic if it helps us all in the broader community so lets establish diplomatic relations.


 My college email address is so feel free to contact me directly if you wish. I am currently gathering observations from colleagues here in Auckland both within and external to our college to try and get an idea of what is a fair time expectation for students in order to produce outputs such as I attached.

At the minute we use some selected modules from a local developer/ supplier training course to teach our students the basics as preparation for them to attempt our Major Project house.  They have been prepped in a similar way to what others have described in previous responses as in learning architectural graphics and conventions, organisation etc in previous courses.   I am more than happy to share with any interested parties on here what findings we manage to come up with and I really appreciate the feedback so far. Thanks guys.


Many thanks for the answer Malachy. Our upcoming research will be mainly online through a survey - the results will be very valuable for all of us involved in architectural software education. I'll reach out personally via email with more details.

Szabolcs Mikó

Education Program Manager

Eduardo Rolon

The architectural graphics program that I run since 1998 has the following sequence for 2x2hr sessions for 11 weeks each:

  • Basic architectural drafting (required)- 1st year students hand drawing to learn the different types of drawings and architectural drawing "language"
  • Basic CAD (required)- 1st year students - Autocad and Rhino (or SketchUp) = Introduction to digital drawing and modeling including basic presentations
  • Basic Presentation- 2nd year Students = Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, TwinMotion - How to "update" previous models and drawings for architectural presentations
  • Advanced CAD - end of 2nd year or start of 3rd - We have this one in AC and RVT "flavors" and basically it incorporates the previous 3 while learning the basics of "BIM". Class emphasis is made on becoming comfortable with the workflow and it is recommended that students take both.

We have classes for Architectural Detailing (elective) with the minimum requirement of having approved Basic CAD class and a Construction Documents (required) that students should take after they take Advanced CAD but it is not required.

Second year architectural design studio requires taking Basic CAD and for interior design students they also need to approve the basic presentation class.


Our school is a 5 year architectural bachelors degree and 3 year interior design bachelors.

Eduardo Rolón AIA NCARB
AC27 US/INT -> AC08

Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram, OS X 10.XX latest
another Moderator

Hi Eduardo and many thanks for getting back to me. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you but only now trying to collate and compare the various responses. Based on your reply , can I ask what scale and scope of work do you get the students to do in the Basic CAD course and also the outputs you require, eg published printed drawings and how many? Just trying to compare with what we require and also how much you ask of your cohort from the 44 hours. I also assume this 44 hours is face to face on campus? If not what are the learning hours allocated to those separate papers you list above please? 

The two papers i teach are 15 credits which equates to 150 learning hours but we only have 64 of those face to face on campus.

Apologies to take up more of your time and sorry for the inconvenience but it will be really helpful to me with regard to informing discussions with my colleagues nationwide here in NZ.


We learned Archicad in 2002 in Newcastle NSW from an Architect teaching “Architectural Technology”. Most already had construction knowledge and could do working drawings by hand and with other CAD software. The course was specifically designed on using Archicad version 7 as it was back then.


As you know, every student has their own pace, some learn fast some learn slow. Some do lots of homework, some do little. Some are naturals and some need to work hard at it. Give them 100 hours face to face and 100 hours homework and see how far they get with that project above ?


Archicad is not a simple program to learn because of it’s level of sophistication. Basic modeling and basic elements would be a start. Learning professional rendering would take much more time.


Just my option to get the ball rolling in the ball park.


BTW, cool user name, made me laugh.

AC8.1 - AC27 ARM AUS + CI Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip 10C CPU
24C GPU 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Ventura

Thanks for that reply. Interesting reading and useful for me going forward.


PS. My Username gave me lawyer brother kittens when I used it for my practice name and logo when doing private work. Stayed out of trouble though , thank goodness 🙂


All good humor lol !

AC8.1 - AC27 ARM AUS + CI Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip 10C CPU
24C GPU 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Ventura

Greetings from Austria.  I work as a teacher at a federal technical college with around 2500 students and have also been teaching Archicad since 2003. Students from the age of 15-19 attend our classes and graduate with a school-leaving certificate. However, there are technical focuses here. So when our students start CAD in the 2nd year, they already have a certain foundation of construction knowledge. Weekly, they have 5 hours of "building construction technology", static subjects and from the 3rd year the training is divided into structural engineering and civil engineering. Then there are the subjects "descriptive geometry" 2h, "plan drawing 3h" and as a separate subject CAD 2h. The training is therefore not only based on CAD and Archicad, but has a solid foundation of knowledge about construction.  In the first 3 years, the have to work manually in the workshop one day in the week - bricklaying, plastering, woodwork and so on. So - later on - they know exactly, what they will be drawing in CAD.

With me - only in the 2nd year - they always get to know Archicad alternately 2D drawings and 3D representation for 1 semester, in order to be able to design a building quite freely in the 2nd semester, where they then have to provide planning basics - ready for submission in the 2nd year. In the 3rd year, the focus is then much more on foreman's plans and partial plan representations. In the 4th and 5th year, 2-4 people work together on a project, which they then present to the public at the Matura. Only then is it about renderings etc.


some of my lessions for the pupils, you can see here:ür-Neulinge-Archicad26/m-p/553538#M537

AC5.5-AC27EduAut, PC-Win10, MacbookAirM1, MacbookM1Max, Win-I7+Nvidia

Hi Heimo, 

Many thanks for your reply.  

Like your classes our students also have a certain level of pre requisite knowledge before they commence Archicad training. 

 I appreciate the background but wonder if I can clarify some things? You say the students do Archicad with you in the 2nd year and this is for one semester.

Can you tell me if that semester is the 5 hours figure you mention with regard to "Building Construction Technology" and for for how many weeks? It appears that you prep them in Archicad to " design a building"  Can you verify what size / scope of building this is and approximately how long it takes to produce the drawings you require not including the time they may need to design?  You dont appear to require renderings according to your final sentence so what drawings do you expect of the students in that second semester  eg site plan, plans elevations etc? 

To make it clear: They use Archicad from the second to the fifth year in all technical subjects. What i try to help them is, to teach them in the first semester of the second year all the nescessary skills they need for Archicad in the following Years. The other professors are architects - good in their abilities in Architecture, but not so in CAD, because in their normal work as Architects, they let draw their employees in their normal profession - but thats getting better, because the old ones are replaced by much better skilled younger ones.  So, the students often have to teach each other because the older professors tend to have very few skills in Archicad - also because they often use other programs such as Allplan or Autocad in their normal architectural work. - and thats my approach - the ones i teach simply should know all keypoints of Archicad they need to have a good start. 


Even if I don't teach them directly in the following years, they come to me to solve the problems, their Professors cant. My lessons are more like a crasch course than normal lessons to use the short time most efficiently.


3 results in the last Year für their graduations, some kind of overview and at the end of the Year - a social mission with a focus on construction can be seen in this video:  


In my lessions, i don't expect my students to produce fully finished project drawings and am happy if they can use Archicad for their ideas. My specifications are more like this: residential building with small business connection or micro-apartment building. I give them space requirements and then let them "play" where they encounter problems, which we then solve together.  


So, they produce something like this: image.png



This result is exemplary for all participants after half a year of 2 hours of Archicad Crash Course and half a year of free work.


Some of them produce more than one solution, because they like to do much more than others...




YEAR (total hours per week) I (35) II (37) III (38) IV(38) V(37)
GENERAL COMPULSORY SUBJECTS Hours per week per semester
Religion 2 2 2 2 2 2
German 3 2 2 2 2
English 2 2 2 2 2 2
Geography, history and political education 2 2 2 2 2 -
Exercise and sport 2 2 2 1 1
Applied mathematics 3 3 2 2 1
Natural sciences 3 3 2 2 -
Applied computer science 2 2 - - -
Social and personal skills 1 1 - - - -
Building construction 3 4 3 3 2
Structures - 2 4 6 6
Construction operations and construction management - - 2 6 6
Presentation and design 5 5 2 3 2
Infrastructure - - 5 2 -
Construction planning and project - - 3 3 9
Construction practice and production technology 7 7 5 - - -
Building construction technology - - - 2 4



i guess, the students have to learn round about 3hr per day additional to the time in the school. On Weekend more. I can't really estimate the actual effort involved and it probably varies greatly from person to person.

AC5.5-AC27EduAut, PC-Win10, MacbookAirM1, MacbookM1Max, Win-I7+Nvidia

Excellent Heimo and thanks once again. I appreciate all the context you have provided. Those last image outputs you have provided are very similar in scope to the digital house models that we require from our students.


"This result is exemplary for all participants after half a year of 2 hours of Archicad Crash Course and half a year of free work"


How many weeks are in your academic year?  We have 2 semesters of 16 weeks so just interested in knowing how many weeks are in your typical academic calendar.  


When you say free work , for the second half year in the quote above , is that free work supported by any face to face teaching by you again, and if so is that 2 hours per week also.  I am just trying to get an estimate of how much face to face teaching time you provide to allow students to produce those examples.

I realise we cannot be specific about student self directed learning but its interesting to note your 3 hr estimate. 


I am sorry if I have misunderstood you but really appreciate you taking time to reply and in so much detail.


One semester is round about 20 Weeks in School. That means 40 h pure Archicad per Semester. "Ferien" means holydays.


Our Year:



AC5.5-AC27EduAut, PC-Win10, MacbookAirM1, MacbookM1Max, Win-I7+Nvidia

Sorry Heimo, 

does that 5 hour figure just refer to the face to face time on campus?

Our course have supposed learning hours of 150 but we only see the students on campus for 64 of those.  I ask just to get an idea of how much self directed learning ( homework i suppose)  is expected from your students


Mal, you will get some of the basics for free on the GS learning portal that they can do in their own time as well. That would be the first lot of homework for them and a kick start into the AC 3D/BIM concept. I don’t know what other training is free for students but I’m sure GS can point you in the right direction. 

All good !

AC8.1 - AC27 ARM AUS + CI Tools
Apple Mac Studio M1 Max Chip 10C CPU
24C GPU 7.8TF 32GB RAM OS Ventura