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Modeling
About Archicad's design tools, element connections, modeling concepts, etc.

Measuring a house and modeling in Archicad at the same time

JaredBanks
Mentor
When you measure a house, do you also build an Archicad model at the same time? You should. It's a great way to save time and get things modeled properly. Here's my latest Archicad tutorial video on how and why I do this: http://www.shoegnome.com/2022/11/08/how-to-measure-a-house-with-Archicad/
Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

Archicad Blog: www.shoegnome.com
Archicad Template: www.shoegnome.com/template/
Archicad Work Environment: www.shoegnome.com/work-environment/
Archicad Tutorial Videos: www.youtube.com/shoegnome
8 REPLIES 8
mthd
Ace

Great video Jared, we all have to be realistic on site when we do an as built survey. I try and stay within a 10mm accuracy or just under 1/2 an inch, the external overall dimensions might be just over and we can usually work out the intentions of the builder anyway. Timber buildings do move a bit so it’s not usually necessary to be overly pedantic especially when the existing building is not modified too much. 

 

I used to do all my as built surveys by hand right up until 2010 approximately and built my 3D model at home using Chief Architect because that was faster for me to model up in that particular CAD application because that’s what I started in. Then I bought a motion tablet and used Chief Architect on site with an input stylus pen and a lieca disto to input dimensions into the application with Bluetooth.

 

It’s great that you can do that house in only 20 hours with Archicad with your template and many years of experience. I can certainly do a similar house in Chief Architect in the same time but with Archicad I would probably need 30 hours because I am not as experienced in using it as you are.

 

Then I bought an app to use on site to make measuring up on site easier for me and to work on my own. A human assistant is good when the kids are at school lol ?

 

Please see this video of Redstick site cad and this person who made this video used to also make the Archicad virtual tutor video series here in Australia. I learnt to use earlier versions of Archicad from those videos.

 

I like Redstick site cad because it’s very easy to use and take it on site with a small tablet if need be and you can also export to IFC.

 

https://youtu.be/uUbcYI48sco

 

 

AC8.1 - AC27 ARM AUS + CI Tools
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Erwin Edel
Rockstar

Thanks for the interesting video!

 

We don't have 'mobile' Archicad solutions, so never tried this. Below is how we do things. 🙂

 

In the rare cases where archival drawings are unavailable and the renovation is large enough, we get a 3rd party to create a pointcloud for us. It is very easy to miss measurements, as you pointed out, and prices for pointclouds have significicantly dropped over the years. It certainly outweighs the hours we would spend measuring by hand.

 

Netherlands for the most part is a country of bricklayers, this makes guess-timating measurements from photographs a breeze (so many bricks wide and tall), which is another method we use (just measure the bricks to see which 'standard' size they are and what brick + mortar adds up to).

 

There are also many building regulations with required dimensions for door openings etc, so there are a lot of educated guesses that can be taken. Same with stairs for width and going etc etc

 

Whole heartedly agree with rounding up to easy numbers. You need to work with this model a lot going forward and nothing is more frustrating than working with rediculous accuracy in dimensions.

 

I would guess between 16 and 32 hours on average for moddeling existing buildings for us, depending on the complexity of the building.

 

I could go on for a while with regards to renovation filters when you start to actually dig in to the renovation side of the project, but I don't think that is the intent of this topic.

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

Redstick looks pretty nice. I wonder if there's a way to have two people measure. One person uses something like Redstick for overalls and the other people deals with all the finer details and section information.

Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

Archicad Blog: www.shoegnome.com
Archicad Template: www.shoegnome.com/template/
Archicad Work Environment: www.shoegnome.com/work-environment/
Archicad Tutorial Videos: www.youtube.com/shoegnome

Thanks for sharing your experience. How hard is it to work with the point clouds in Archicad? That's definitely something that holds me back. Building around a point cloud feels like a headache, especially once things start getting off because of out of plumb walls and non-square corners.

Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

Archicad Blog: www.shoegnome.com
Archicad Template: www.shoegnome.com/template/
Archicad Work Environment: www.shoegnome.com/work-environment/
Archicad Tutorial Videos: www.youtube.com/shoegnome

For smaller projects as these, you will generally be able to load up a single point cloud.

 

Archicad will basically 'snap' to all the points. It will display according to your floor plan cut plane settings. It's like having the building in your office and instead of using your tape or laser measure, you just press 'm' in Archicad and go to town.

 

I still simplify measurements and make sure all my corners are 90° etc

 

The only 'weird' thing is: it looks like you are walking around in the building in 3D, but as you get closer to things, the points 'spread out' and you lose focus. So it's sort of like squinting your eyes, or taking a few steps back to get overview again of what you are looking add.

 

For complex building or large projects, you quickly win by hiring a company for the pointcloud v.s. the hours you spend measuring.

 

We do ussually do our measurements as a duo: one of us wielding the laser and the other sketching and writing down the measurements. Ussually the one who will end up modelling would then be sketching and writing down and telling the other to take extra measurements etc

 

We also take a lot of photographs at the same time.

 

But there certainly is a turning point where this becomes too time consuming v.s. getting a point cloud done.

 

Luckily pretty much everything built from 1904 onwards should have archived building permit drawings in the Netherlands (bar a few things that got destroyed during 2nd world war), which is generally a good starting point. 

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5

Thanks for the explanation. I'm so jealous that you have drawings of everything. In the USA, even buildings that have archived permit drawings typically don't match their drawings. There's always undocumented changes.

 

I'm super curious to know where the inflection point is for hand measure vs point cloud. And how that transition point has changed over time. I can definitely think of project sizes where one or the other makes obvious sense. But I wonder where the line is? I'd wager it's somewhere in the 500-1000 m2 / 5,000-10,000 ft2 range? My measures are typically below 3,000 ft2.

Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

Archicad Blog: www.shoegnome.com
Archicad Template: www.shoegnome.com/template/
Archicad Work Environment: www.shoegnome.com/work-environment/
Archicad Tutorial Videos: www.youtube.com/shoegnome

The permit doesn't generally match the as-built situation, but it is close enough for starting the project. Once the renovation plans are more permanent, we might take a few detailed measurements, but this takes a lot less time than disregarding the archive and starting from scratch.

 

I would instead argue for complexity over size. A storage unit can be huge and have maybe 3 interior spaces, whereas a typical 1950s house can have lots of small rooms.

 

It's mostly older buildings or those with a lot of rooms where it gets interesting.

 

Price quotes are generally free and ussually it is part of our 'costs', so to speak. Either we spend the billable hours measuring or we hire a 3rd party for us.

 

I would say we've had a point cloud done once every 3 years or so, but we are a small firm.

 

The last time it was in a very low crawl space for a complete renovation of the foundations of a monumental building. I was very happy to not crawl around in the mud myself and just reference the point cloud. There were a lot of MEP pipes, ducts etc under the floor too, so it was great to just move the floor plane cut plan to just below the floor and get a look at those.

Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

ArchiCAD 9-26NED FULL
Windows 10 Pro
Adobe Design Premium CS5
mthd
Ace

The beauty of a point cloud survey and if we have the devices to do it ourselves, is it allows us to capture the streetscape of adjoining houses in 3D. That’s something town planners like to see particularly when your are in a heritage conservation area.

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