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ARCHICAD 23 - LAYER NAMING CONVENTIONS? (USA Template)

rob2218
Newcomer
Just downloaded my copy of AC23.
First thing I went to check was....the layer naming convention.

Why does Graphisoft continually keep changing the layer naming conventions on their template files from "Walls Exterior" to "A-Wall-Exterior"????

Please guys, can you stick to ONE freakin' layer naming convention?
I believe the AIA layer naming convention of "Dicipline-plane of 3d space-sub descriptor-subdescriptor" works best.......A-WALL-EXTR..............A-WALL-INTR.....any try to stick to a 1-4444-4444-**** type format....it puts everything in place when organization it KEY.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS
23 REPLIES 23

rob2218
Newcomer
I'm not sure why Graphisoft hands off the "layer naming" responsibility to some intern to come up with their own (inexperience real life) inequities in determining what naming format to use for layers.

I mean.........the AIA works very well.

A-WALL-EXTR
A-WALL-INTR
C-SITE-PVMT
M-FLOR-EQPT
E-FLOR-PWR
E-CLNG-LITE
A-FLOR-TEXT
A-CLNG-TEXT
A-ROOF-BM


See how easy it is.......it's all alphabetical, separated by a "dash" (-) with a dicipline letter being the trade it is..........it's very easy to follow.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
rob2218 wrote:
I'm not sure why Graphisoft hands off the "layer naming" responsibility to some intern to come up with their own (inexperience real life) inequities in determining what naming format to use for layers.
...
See how easy it is.......it's all alphabetical, separated by a "dash" (-) with a dicipline letter being the trade it is..........it's very easy to follow.
I'm really not sure what the complaint really is here? The delivered template is a starting point for new users. Anyone such as you who has been using ARCHICAD for many years should have your own customized template at this point.

The names in USA 23 and USA 24 are pretty much NCS names ... just made more readable by GSUS since the NCS names are ridiculously short due some DOS / AutoCAD heritage. For example,

You want:
A-WALL-EXTR
E-CLNG-LITE

and the template has:
A - Walls - Exterior
A - Ceilings
A - Lighting
MEP - Electrical

...where I see that the MEP and S (structural) layer names are super limited...and that there are no E or site/landscape/etc trade groups, it is no big deal to add them... But, you get the idea... layers are sorted by trade just as you want them to be... so I don't see what the complaint is?

If you want different names, and don't have your own template, just go into Attribute Manager, change the names, save a template, and now you have them your way for the future.

Do you really want GSUS to change the template for new users to show:
A-CLNG
rather than:
A - Ceilings ?

BTW, the person who created the template has years of experience, including real life projects, and does nationwide training... hardly inexperienced. Just different than what you might want. Key strengths of ARCHICAD are that there are many ways to do the same thing and it can be customized for each of us via our own Templates and Work Environment 🙂

Cheers,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6, iMac Pro

rob2218
Newcomer
perhaps I was not clear.
my "complaint" if you want to call it that rather than an observation is that Graphisoft CHANGES back and forth and sometimes to ridiculous naming, the convention of their templates.

That's what so wonderful about a "template" in that there are so many to chose from.

Templates, IN reality, don't work if you are a hired-BIM-gun to multiple architects who have THEIR way of organization.
Perhaps if you only work for one large AE company as a consultant and have been with that company for decades...perhaps a template would work but for the continually adaptive circumstances...."templates" don't work.

Just like "standard details". There's no such thing as a "standard detail" because........for one, the great thing about 'standards' is that there are so many to chose from.

Get where I'm coming from?(rhetorical).

While I can appreciate the efforts made by folks who want to "standardize" and corral how one works in Archicad...it's of no use if said "template" controls your every decision to 'place here', 'draw in this manner', 'use THESE walls', 'you MUST use these views', you must have 'stuff' off to the side and constantely refer to those "things" to grab from...................see, that doesn't work.

Design and working for multiple clients one, as hired-BIM-assasine, must be so flexible in order to survive this crazy climate of change.

I'll leave you with this thought............."it's not the spoon that bends rather it is YOU who must bend".
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Podolsky
Newcomer
I don't really understand the matter where this conversation is "bending". For me it is absolutely clear - if in USA there is NCS standard, that states how layers must be named - it's really worth to make NCS compatible template for all ArchiCAD users. Maybe as a second option (in case if someone does not like NCS), but that would be the right way. And we should not to forget, that exists International version template too - that possible to get.
I know only NCS 3.1 (as I was able to find it in Internet for free), I know now there are new, BIM-oriented, versions - but I just don't want to pay for it just because I'm curious (I'm in UK anyway).
I might take the side of Rob (sorry, don't know your real name) - as in UK also was some strange things about a template. In UK was AEC (UK) CAD standard for layer names based on BS1192 and ISO13567. That was quite cute, let say this way. Then appeared next revision, updated to Unicalss 2015. That looks strange. But this is a new standard. That time was established Graphisoft UK already, and they implemented the new standard to UKI template. And what was there? 200 layers! I don't know who were working on that - but that was something that couldn't call really professional. So finally I carefully reviewed the new standard and created my own template - based on the standard - and doesn't really matter how I like layers names or not. I wish my work would be adopted by Graphisoft UK, but they refused. Well, maybe this way they left me space for my own private business.
By the way, some BIM managers in UK are saying - they must use national CAD/BIM standard, if they don't - they can have legal problems with the client. I'm not sure how honest there BIM managers are, but very possible that this is sometimes true.

Just to finalise I would like to quote USA NCS: "As a building design and construction industry professional and as representative of a company, organization, or association, you are an integral part of this process. We urge you to adopt the Standard throughout your business enterprise, and to participate in its ongoing development to ensure a Standard that reflects the broadest possible spectrum of viewpoints from throughout the industry."

rob2218
Newcomer
Interesting.
I have seen a many (ahem) "creative" layer naming conventions and to this day...

A-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX

format works like a charm. Keeping all "architectural" "mechanical", "electrical"...etc. layers alphabetized and in order so you can simply zip thru the first letter of the discipline and make sense of what trade you are altering.

Makes sense to me but hey...with my opinion and 75cents you can buy a pack of gum.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

rob2218
Newcomer
this is straight-forward and makes perfect logic...but then again...sometimes 'logic' has nothing to do with decision making...does it.

A-WALL-EXTR

1) first letter is dicipline
2) set of 4 descriptors is "WALL", "CLNG", "FLOR"..etc..
3) third group of letters are sub-descriptor....ie "INTR" "EXTR" etc...

again...logical keeping ALL same diciplines together and easily searchable....

Instead we now get
"Walls - Interior"
"Walls - Exterior".....

Or "Interior Walls" and "Exterior Walls"....with a jumblement of layer names that are sprawled out all over the layer list..................

Have a peaceful Memorial Day...to all and to all a good night.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Aaron Bourgoin
Enthusiast
my 2 cents. The use of NCS layer names might be better added to the AC toolbox by a layer map embedded in the DWG translator. Something that would allow any user to decide their own layer set and then map these to NCS layer names.

I prefer layer names in less truncated (DOS is dead) form, but acknowledge that downstream users (clients, FM people, etc.) might insist on NCS layer names.

I personally think UNIFORMAT points to a better layer name strategy as it is more clearly BIM-centric. NCS layer names are about drawings and were formuated when it was still important to support 8-bit operating systems and their limitations.
Think Like a Spec Writer
AC23-3003 USA / AC24-4018 USA
Rhino 7 Mac
OSX 10.14.6 & 11.3.1

rob2218
Newcomer
I'm not quite sure that naming a layer "A-WALL-EXTR" was solely a (DOS IS DEAD) thing.....

I'd like to see that Uniformat thing you speak of.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Podolsky
Newcomer
I came with some idea about layer naming standard.
In UK layer shall have discipline letter, Uniclass 2015 code, then code for model, 2D element, dimension of text and then description.
Because in different cases code becoming different length, description is just jumping left and right in the list of the layers. To solve it, I added spaces between code and description - to align description and make it more readable.
I think something similar possible to do with USA layer names. Use NCS short names and after full description.
For example:

A-FLOR Floor
A-FLOR-EVTR Elevator Cars and Equipment
A-FLOR-HRAL Handrail / Guard Rail

It would be nice, if ArchiCAD had code and description fields in layers settings, showing them aligned this way in the list. Then during DWG export possible to choose - export only codes or codes with description.

Podolsky's list also shows another classic problem of code sorting where the "Annotation" and "Dimension" (title / lead) layers are listed at the end of the sub layers. This may be by choice, and it could be changed by adding "00-" before the "T" and "D", but I would like to see a scaleable layer system with parent & child layers where hiding the parent layer hides all the sub layers. This probably has less benefit to annotation, but would certainly help with modelling more complex structures like roofs.
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

Podolsky
Newcomer
For me layers problem today sounds more and more strange. It looks like Revit developers were right, saying that layering system is something from old CAD's and introduced strict building element classification with no layers.
We can have classification actually instead of layer and show/hide them - I'm sure that will work very good - and this is from where you can get parent-child dependencies.

So currently I'm looking at layers only to solve the problem of compatibility with national standards.

Maybe these two improvements can make some sense - ability to have code and description in layers and show them in two columns and to use classification system instead of layers. And in general to map these two - layers and classification.

There was a case - I've seen how one person desperately has been applying Uniclass 2015 classification to elements (of course manually) and thought he is doing very good and important work to improve BIM in UK. Finally, I just created expression based property, that converts layer name into full Uniclass (because layers in UK are Uniclass).

Erwin Edel
Mentor
In NL the accepted classification standard and layer naming are the same system already. I do like the filtering power of layers and layer combinations in ArchiCAD though!

There is also a good synergy between layers and classification where it is easy to specify elements when the time is there in the course of the project and as a double check to find any mistakes.

We have a 4 digit classification system and the layer convention uses the first 2 digits. So a floor would be 23 and a structural floor that is freely suspended (hope I'm translating this right) would 23.21. Finding something else drafted with a slab on layer 23, but classified as some other chapter then is something that is more easily spotted.

For the original topic: I do understand the frustration of huge name changes in the shipped template with version changes. However, if 'they' did things right, the internal identity number of the layer would still be the same and it would be easy to fix the names with attribute manager by using your existing template and overwriting theirs and your existing layer combination can then also be used and added in the same way.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

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

Podolsky
Newcomer
I think layers and their connection to classification - it something that needs to be reviewed in upcoming versions of ArchiCAD. If we would be able to switch between using layers and classification as layers (having then classifications combinations) - that would be something interesting.
With new ArchiCAD features layers - as they are, started to loose some of their initial power and need. When we have internal and external properties, renovation properties - all this information, that was initially stored and managed only by layers, can be managed another ways, so we actually don't really need anymore layers as "existing" and "internal" walls, for "existing" and "to be demolished" and similar. As well we don't need to create additional layers for options - we can use renovation filter for this purpose instead. And so on.

Erwin Edel
Mentor
Out of curiousity, I had a look at our template. We currently have 60 layers that are used for modelling elements and maybe 10 that are used for zones. Some of those are often used for only 2D symbols in non-BIM projects (electrical outlets and the sorts).

Then we have another 45 or so layers that are used for annotation, elevation markers etc. We've got quite a few of these due to also doing structural drawings that requires the stacking of ussually two different floor plans

I do like the Dutch system, it's very lean. We put things on layers with those first 2 digits and then use the classification to further diversify for IFC exports.

Things would get very bloated if it is divided up in the full 4 digit classification. It seems to me that some countries have this in their layer naming convention and I can see things getting unwieldy then and having the need to create subgroups.
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten
www.leloup.nl

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

GS are quite familiar with groups & subgroups, the view map being the obvious example. That same principle of codes + description should be applied to all areas of AC including layer / classification naming and numerous other attributes & features. The sorting and managing of data should be scaleable and presented in a user friendly way to help our workflow e.g. a simple project may have just a single layer for walls, a complex project may have several levels & subgroups for wall types, but the crucial thing is it should be adaptable to user need, whether that is using national standards or localised convention, at present we have too many long lists where finding what needs managed takes longer than necessary.
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

rob2218
Newcomer
yeah...dunno. Not too keen with layers being "numbers" vs something simple and straight-forward like:
A-WALL-EXTR-XXXX

or

A-FLOR-SLAB-XXXX

seems very easy to just read the dicipline, then the layer descriptors and make out pretty much to 99% just by looking at these 4-letter columns what that layer is.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...
i>u
Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA!
SOFTWARE VERSION:
Archicad 22, Archicad 23
Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Marc H
Booster
Might I suggest a read of Ken Huggins Power of One and Seven Simple Layers article on his Archichazz site ( https://archichazz.com/ ) for an innovative path forward?
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln

AC25 USA on 16” MBP (2.4GHz i9 8-Core, 32GB DDR4, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8G GDDR5, 500GB SSD, T3s, Trackpad use) + 2 Asus ProArt PAU32C (4K)

Podolsky
Newcomer
Interesting to see how posts always bending in the directions out of the topics. The main message of this discussion that exist national CAD standards and ArchiCAD is not always supporting those standards, can support but has problems with representation of layer names and is not that flexible as it possible could be...

Marc H
Booster
rob2218 wrote:

Why does Graphisoft continually keep changing the layer naming conventions on their template files from "Walls Exterior" to "A-Wall-Exterior"????.
Please pardon if my post was tangent to the original question (above). I, too, had the same question when looking to keep alignment with conventional layer naming over the past few years. I just thought the reference may help inform. For example, he indicates his experimentation with some of the conventions mentioned in the topic thread. It may explain why GS has not settled on a particular format or syntax, as there are so many options. While it may be expedient to install one ‘out of the box’, most everyone will still change them for their own business application/s.
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” - Abraham Lincoln

AC25 USA on 16” MBP (2.4GHz i9 8-Core, 32GB DDR4, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8G GDDR5, 500GB SSD, T3s, Trackpad use) + 2 Asus ProArt PAU32C (4K)

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