BIM – DWG Translators: A good start to avoid headaches

Hola Again Friends and Colleagues,
Lately, we have been approached by a big number of BIM users willing to communicate and export a more “editable” CAD files, from their BIM Models Documentation in ARCHICAD to DWG as per request of their consultants (Mainly, if not all, CAD Users only).
First of all, we should understand that the main idea of the whole BIM workflow on the AEC industry is to improve coordination and communication, not only within one model or documentation set, but between all the consultants involved.
Once we have that in mind, we would ideally do it in the smartest way possible, to achieve the main goal: the right completion of the Building (or Project), implying a reduction of production time, error anticipation, and overall cost saving.

The goal of BIM is ultimately to improve  the communications between all stakeholders

The Translator

So when we were call to help with the issues between a renown Architectural Firm and other consultants (asking for “workable” CAD files) we should be clear that as a good practice contract each party should and must develop their own drawings, using other parties documentation as reference only, however on practice this is not always the true reality.

Overlay of Reference Drawing from a Consultant.

“…DWG translators still needed, even isn’t the best workflow available nowadays “

Ideally, documentation could be extracted from a fully coordinated BIM model, sadly the reality is that still many consultants that can/want only to use 2D CAD drawings. So having a good setup for DWG translators is needed, even isn’t the best workflow available nowadays and even more if we are talking about “BIM required” projects.

Today we will go through 3 steps and tips to setup your DWG Translator.
Mainly for your consultants who claims that files don’t “look” like theirs, where they could “edit and use” as a native CAD drawing on their DWG, with specific layers, colors, line types, hatches, etc.

ARCHICAD Sample Plan.

1. Have an agreed Standards and CAD Reference Template: Accepted standards is needed within your company but also with the consultants prior to the translation. So, every party knows what to expect. ARCHICAD includes by default a set of translators pretty useful as starting point.

ARCHICAD Default  DWG Translator.

DWG Result of Default Translator.

The understanding of their function plus a company/project customisation of them,  would control expectations and avoid headaches with the some consultant’s demands.
We use our ENZ – CAD EXPORT with a DWG reference template to be able to control and adapt the parameters and it could be updated for each different project.

Enzyme’s – ARCHICAD Layers and DWG Reference Template.

2. Setup your preferable options in the ARCHICAD Translator: Another important step is to edit the “Attributes” on the Translator, where we could specify under what layer in CAD should appear all the native elements from our BIM model that are not in any layer (as they are elements content inside others. for example, doors, windows, etc).

Enzyme’s – ARCHICAD Translator Layer Attributes .

DWG form Enzyme’s – CAD Translator with new layers for native elements (as doors, etc).

3. Setup a DWG GO (Graphic Override): The use of graphic overrides in ARCHICAD would help you to control what and how your drawings should be for a specific consultant ( for example if he request to have drawings with only cut fills but no hatches, or specific rated walls highlighted, etc).

DWG form Enzyme’s – CAD Translator with  Specific Graphic Over ride for fills translation.

“… helping you to focus on the part of our Industry that you like the most; For us is Design!”

To finalize, having instructions of how your CAD Export file works, always helps to speed up consultant’s understanding and best practice on each project.
Hope these tips make your life bit easier, helping you to focus on the part of our Industry that you like the most; For us is Design!
Let us know if you have any alternative workflow, questions or suggestions, we are always looking for improving our workflows and sharing it with the community!
Have a nice Week!