SST_1804 – Putting a Project Together

1804 – Workflow, putting together a large project

In the past we have looked at Design Layers, Classes, Viewports, Sheet layers, and other organising concepts. The purpose of this manual is to look at how to bring all these together to work on a large project. We will be looking in detail at some of these concepts to see how they would come together for a larger project.

The workflow that we can use for a large project depends on the type of large project that we’re talking about and the number of people working on the project:

  • Large single building (school or office)
  • Multiple building (school or office)
  • Hospital
  • Medium-density housing subdivision
  • High-density housing (apartment building)
  • Multiple building project with a single large building (holiday resort)
  • Large hotel
  • Motel
  • Etc.

Some of these projects can be grouped together and dealt with in the same way:

  • Large single buildings with repeating units (hospitals, apartments, hotels)
  • Multiple building projects with repeating buildings (holiday resorts, schools, low-density housing, medium-density housing)

We should also look at the number of people that will be working on each project. Some of these projects tend to have several people working on them, mainly because of the project’s scale. Some projects, while large, can still be worked on by a single person. The number of people working on the project will affect the way that you structure the project. For example, a large single building like a school or hospital might have several people working on it and because of this, it should be set up using project sharing. A project that has multiple repeating buildings does not have to be set up using project sharing, but could be set up using referencing so that one person might be responsible for drawing a single building and another person could reference the model and locate it on the site.

I have worked on a medium-density housing project that had about 15 houses on it. For that project, I was the only one working on it. The project was easy to draw as there were several units that were repeated. All that was required was one unit that could be mirrored, rotated, and copied. In this case, I used a symbol for each unit. That way, any changes to the original plan would automatically update the site plan, floor plans, sections, and elevations.

This is the real aim, to set up the drawing so that changes to the plan or to an apartment will flow through the document set.

For this manual, we will be looking at an apartment building that has repeating units.

Basic Concepts

At the outset, we need to ensure that we understand the basic concepts and when to use them. These are the building blocks of our project. If we do not learn to use these basic concepts, then we are creating extra work and leaving ourselves open to mistakes.

Design Layers and Classes

Design layers are the main way to locate information in our model. You can think of each design layer as being a part of the building. For example, the Floor-1 design layer is where we would create the walls, doors and windows, furniture, fixtures, electrical, etc. for the first floor of the project. If the project was complex, we might separate the slab for this floor into its own layer. We could also create a separate layer for the ceiling of this level of the building.


Classes are what things are. For example, furniture could be on its own class so that you can turn furniture on and off separately from something such as sanitary fixtures. You can put all of the electrical lighting on a separate design layer. Because the ceiling can also include the electrical work in the ceiling, the electrical work should be on its own class, but stored in the same design layer as the ceiling. Electrical work that relates to walls and floors should be stored in the same design layer as the walls and floor finishes, but on its own class so that it can be made visible or invisible as required.

We have covered design layers and classes several times previously. A good manual to start with is 1704 Creating Drawings for Building Projects.

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