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This post was prompted by other recent wishes for changes to the renovation filter which got me thinking about how I wish a CAD/BIM application would handle change. I reckon that implementation of an approach outlined below would be technically taxing and likely too much a leap for now - so perhaps it's more of a dream then a wish.


I think that the current approach is limited in such way that it won't get fixed by adding more Renovation Statuses and the ability to set Show On Renovation Filter to multiple filters. Besides being hard to overlook and manage the fact that the current solution is nothing more than a way to control element visibility and element display leaves it with two crucial limitations:


  • the inability for one element to have multiple configurations,
  • the inability to sequence operations.


These limitations forces the creation of additional elements in order to handle change or alternative designs which is inefficient, increases the risk of errors/discrepancies, and at odds with the idea of BIM.


Outline to a new approach

The outlined approach hinges on the introduction of some new abilities:


  • Ability to set up different 'configuration states' for the model which are fundamentally distinct and across which the configuration of individual element can vary.
  • Ability to create monadic unidirectional and dynamic linkage between 'configuration states' so that a state can get it's initial configuration from one other state.
  • Ability to control which 'configuration state' is active for modeling input.

A setup like below could be used to model a project involving an existing building and alternative designs.




  • In the initial state A the elements of the existing building is modelled.
  • By creating a new state B and linking it to A its possible to represent changes to the existing building.
  • By creating additional states C1 and D and linking them both to B it is possible to represent alternative designs.  
  • By creating additional states C2, C3  and link them linearly to C1 is possible to sequence the project into phases. 

Each element in the model gets a status based on what is done to it and in which configuration state. So for each element in the model there is a record for its status in each configuration state with entries like: Created in A; Existing in B; Modified in C1; Demolished in D. 


Views are created based on these statuses in a way similar to Renovation Filters with the difference that it is set for configuration states. This nullifies the need to set visibility at element level in order to view different phases or alternatives. 


Hi, I try to answer to "What benefit would something like this bring vs just saving another file?"

Sometimes we keep alternative designs for quite long term during the process of project design. If each one of these alternative is created in a single file, I need to update all of them if some changes appears before custommer choice is sure. This is time loosing and risk of mistakes.

Fore similar reasons, I may also need to do several time the documentation or presentation works on these files.

Keeping the alternative designs in just one file is realy interesting for me !


And now, for 2nd question : "What difference would something like this have vs layer combinations?"

My layers have a signification similar to classifications. 2D drawings, texts, dimensions, labels, zones, Xrefs, terrain, landscape, trees, other buildings, loadbearing masonerie, loadbearing carpentry, claddings, rofing, inside walls, flooring, ceilings, technical, user's items, etc. And at the end, the alternative design layers accept multi type of elements. It's may be not the most clever but I use them this way. So I cannot sort my alternative design with the same precision as the main original project.

This is not realy a good job.


Thanks for taking the time to explain your workflow, and, i assume of many here.  So it means You might get past schematics into design development and maybe into construction documentation with still many options on a single  part of the projects to be solved AND still documented with more detail?  which might happen in bigger or complex projects.


In that case i agree on the usefulness of this. still complex but better than just saving or having separate files. Its just we try to avoid those situations (having multiple options into the CD phase) like the plague, and even if we have some alternatives for specific places, we keep them somewhere in the projects as groups or hidden layers so they dont affect schedules until we decide what to do with them.


@DGSketcher in this comment you summarize very well, the 5 steps outline workflow that I posted on another topic Wishes-forum/Re-Use-option-phase-in-Renovation. After posting there and now coming here, I realize how extremely close these two topic discussions are to each other (but still different). We agree on this workflow that already works and solves nearly everything we ask for in both these request / discussions by using the built in current Archicad tools.


At the same time I look forward to Graphisoft's solution for these two requests, hopefully soon in Archicad 27 as listed on their "Graphisoft Roadmap: Coming Soon - Design Options". And we might not have to wait for that much longer. 


I expect this new feature will incorporate everything all of us here ask for (maybe even more) here in both these requests in a surprising & exciting way.


@Francois_MCD There are a great many parallels and also some crossover into that grey area between Classifications & the complex world of Properties. I just worry that Design Options will bring even more settings that require checking when something goes "missing".


Display by Class shouldn't be difficult to implement. An Element can only be assigned once to each Classification; Display by Class is the equivalent of Layer Combinations and turning Classes on / off is the equivalent of setting Layers.


Much of what we need to control in the model display could be so easily consolidated into a single Display by Class interface. The strange relationship between GO's and Renovation could be resolved and the actual Renovation Filter moved to Display by Class.


At least that would be a step in the right direction towards simplifying an unnecessarily complex interface.


For those still focussed on Layers, the point of Classifications is to assign values to an element that allows them to be displayed by criteria other than just being on layer "Walls" e.g. they could be filtered by Trade, Phase, Option or any other class the users chooses to apply.  




Yes, I can imagine what greater and more flexible possibilities display by classification could offer. The future should be this way.


May be one missing point is to design a very good interface to make it easyer and intuitive for users. The current interface for classification is not enough simple and direct.


2nd point of questions : it is so custom made that AC users may loose some parts of this common language supported by reno, layers, structure, etc. This can disturb work between many diffrent files like exchange, module references, copy-paste, favorites, etc. May be keep some common classifications at the top of the list ?



And while I remember, this would also overcome some of the potential issues with Partial Structure Display, which relies on values assigned in Composites rather than within single material Elements to control visibility. If I have to use a Morph to form a finishing patch I can't assign it to "Finishes" or "Core" etc, I have to assign it to a separate Layer to be able to control its appearance.

I'm also worried about the upcoming design option making things even more decentralised and inconsistent and I agree that a new criteria based approach to visibility would go a long way and making it possible to put the issue of both change and alternative design on the back burner until it can be developed properly. It would also have a huge positive effect on general workflow in AC. The main feature of this wish is the ability to have different configuration states for the model avoiding the issue of element duplication and an intuitive interface supporting it. If that isn't realised we are better off with just a tweak of the current renovation feature.


I do not undertsand why we have the new alternative designs option in AC27, when all that was required was to rectify the renovation tool, which is currrently not fit for purpose.

We have Exisitng, Demo and New, but a Modified state for elements was never implemented! This Modified state could act just as well for alternate designs. Modified state 1, 2, 3 etc.

Im really not undertsanding why a whole new Alternate designs tool has now been implementated, adding an extra layer of complexity whilst still leaving the Renovation tool unfit for purpose. They are essentially one and the same things.


Would love to hear feed back from GS what the thinking behind this was.

With design option as implemented in AC27 we unfortunately have to conclude that I was justified in my worry - not only did we get functionality spread across yet another (flawed) interface but also it didn't amount to much in the way of BIM and leaving the duplication issue unsolved... So here's for wishing for GS realising that half measures like design options simply is not enough and definitely not innovative and that we still need a new approach to change and alternative designs!


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