Expanding Archicad with custom libraries.

Archicad is our favorite BIM software! If this is not your first time reading this blog, you probably know already. Easy to use, design-friendly and flexible. But even if it comes super-charged with hundreds of parametric elements out-of-the-box, most of the time we need more. More furniture, more window types, more intelligent library elements that help us to design faster, more accurately, extract information and valuable data, even if it’s from the first sketch model.

For architectural projects usually, the Archicad “white label” elements are enough as they are just placeholders, but looking in more detail, and I would say that especially when we are working on projects that require interior design, the standard library falls a bit short as usually interior designers are used to placing in their models specific branded furniture elements that have accurately the look that is sought for the design.

In fact not only then, but sometimes we just need that special door or window that can’t be created with the standard library parts or a ceiling panel, or a custom curtain wall panel… can be anything really. When we approach pre-construction and construction stages is also useful to start using specific elements that perhaps don’t exist in distributed libraries or websites. These elements, even if just broadly painted, are able to contain valuable information like product data, price, etc

For all these cases is useful to learn a few techniques to create our own library parts. With them our workflow just expands infinitely with the possibility of reusing these elements in other projects, saving time and keeping this “intelligence” encapsulated in those objects, that will bring without any extra work.

What are the ways to enrich our object library?

-> Download from specialized websites like Bimarium, ArchiRadar, Airc, BIMObject, BIMComponents, Cad Image, Bim Bakery, and others.
-> Use the standard tools of Archicad and save as GDL objects (object, door, window, curtain wall custom panel, door leaf, knob…etc) these objects are quick to model and quite useful although they lack any parametric capability, still, they can be used as containers of information and geometry.
-> Use Param-o, the parametric GDL visual programming tool inside Archicad
-> Use Library Part Maker, this option, similar in level of difficulty to the simple “save as” allows you to customize different levels of detail that will interact with Model View Options, and custom plan representation. Check here for more.
-> GDL coding yourself or engaging with an expert. You can reach out to us or our partners at BIMLab or Airc for help creating custom libraries that can help to improve your process or overcome some pain points in your design or documentation process.

So for all of you interested in learning more, I’m sharing here a couple of good resources