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Thread: As-built drawings - updating techniques

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    Active Member Cadtharsis's Avatar
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    Question As-built drawings - updating techniques

    SETUP:

    Our building changes a lot, so we keep updating the drawings at a pretty constant pace. We just had another company do an update of an HVAC drawing. There's a lot to it. If I could simply overwrite our current HVAC drawing for that floor with this new one, that would be easy. But it took some time for them to get it to us, and in that time, we have updated our own files. I can't simply overwrite, or I'l lose our work from the last few weeks in the file.

    SO MY QUESTION IS:

    Is there a good, safe way to take one drawing, add it to another (by perhaps xrefing it in and then binding and inserting it?) and have AutoCAD automatically remove anything that is being duplicated? The idea here is to import the new file into ours without picking it apart manually (because that takes forever and is subject to human error) and not have to worry about there being duplicate objects on top of one another.
    You could say that it might not be a complete solution, because changes in the drawing might also require that some things in the existing file be deleted, but this would get me halfway there in a flash.

    So anyone got a good idea?

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    AUGI Addict sinc's Avatar
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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    The usual way to do this is to just use XREFs in the first place, rather than create one big drawing with everything shoved into it.

    For example, if you had kept the HVAC plan as a seperate XREF, you could simply replace the old version with the new version. This is risky, because you are trusting that the other company did "good work", but if you're going to use someone else's linework and you know they will be changing it, this is the best route to follow.

    If you guys are changing the HVAC plan, and the other guys are changing the HVAC plan at the same time, then you have more of an issue. That's an undesirable situation to be in, and it can often be gotten around by having someone good in charge of the project. But if you're in one of those situations where you're stuck, and both companies absolute MUST be changing the same stuff at the same time, then you just have to muddle through, and try to avoid getting into that situation in the future...

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    It depends how much editing is required to (using your example) the HVAC drawing, if its just a case of turning layers on or off then you can xref the HVAC dwg and set the layer states in your master drawing, and then by simply replacing the old HVAC drawing with the new it should update correctly.

    The problem is if you need to edit the HVAC drawing more than just turning layers on/off then it unfortunately becomes a manual job each time a new file is received.

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Just a quick word on this - we constantly go through the same problem you are currently. The ongoing problem that I find is that when talking about overlaying one set of geometry over the other, with your intent to automatically "combine" both to represent a current state, is that CAD nor programming will never know which geometry between either base set is accurate.

    If you customer's copy for example shows lighting in "Room A" correctly, but your copy shows "Room B" as correct, how do you tell the system which to maintain and which to delete? Very tricky.

    The clostest I've ever come is writing a LISP routine that allows you to select geometry to "keep", which is then redraws on a new layer. You go through your overlain drawings and select what is to be redrawn, then the routine deletes what you'd selected and blocks the output when complete. Take that final block and stick it in place, explode is required. Perhaps a knowledgable LISP programmer can give you a hand.

    What I'm doing right now is creating a block out of the geometry that needs to be changed for a drawing I'm currently working on, then overlaying that onto the master schematic, and manually updating as needed. Long and slow, but I haven't found another way yet to teach CAD how to read my thoughts as to what stays and what goes

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    Active Member Cadtharsis's Avatar
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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by sinc
    The usual way to do this is to just use XREFs in the first place, rather than create one big drawing with everything shoved into it.
    Uh... we are using XREFs.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve.Sanderson(UK)
    It depends how much editing is required to (using your example) the HVAC drawing, if its just a case of turning layers on or off then you can xref the HVAC dwg and set the layer states in your master drawing, and then by simply replacing the old HVAC drawing with the new it should update correctly.

    The problem is if you need to edit the HVAC drawing more than just turning layers on/off then it unfortunately becomes a manual job each time a new file is received.
    Yeah, but this has nothing at all to do with changing layer states. I'm not even touching those. It's the objects in the drawing that are changing.

    Yeah. I REALLY can't just save the file over the old one. We do update our own as-built drawings, even while other companies are doing it. It pretty much CAN'T be avoided. Not unless we were all to somehow agree to not make any changes to the affected drawing file until the third party finished with it. I see that as probably being a bigger mess.
    Last edited by Mike.Perry; 2006-12-07 at 08:15 AM. Reason: [QUOTE] tags added.

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    Active Member Cadtharsis's Avatar
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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by slayer913
    Just a quick word on this - we constantly go through the same problem you are currently. The ongoing problem that I find is that when talking about overlaying one set of geometry over the other, with your intent to automatically "combine" both to represent a current state, is that CAD nor programming will never know which geometry between either base set is accurate.

    If you customer's copy for example shows lighting in "Room A" correctly, but your copy shows "Room B" as correct, how do you tell the system which to maintain and which to delete? Very tricky.

    The clostest I've ever come is writing a LISP routine that allows you to select geometry to "keep", which is then redraws on a new layer. You go through your overlain drawings and select what is to be redrawn, then the routine deletes what you'd selected and blocks the output when complete. Take that final block and stick it in place, explode is required. Perhaps a knowledgable LISP programmer can give you a hand.

    What I'm doing right now is creating a block out of the geometry that needs to be changed for a drawing I'm currently working on, then overlaying that onto the master schematic, and manually updating as needed. Long and slow, but I haven't found another way yet to teach CAD how to read my thoughts as to what stays and what goes
    Interesting. Though I think I'm looking for something a bit simpler perhaps, because accuracy is not an issure here. The other company worked off of a copy of our existing HVAC file (which was current at the time) with the walls inserted as a block. They didn't just do their own thing, they added to ours. So all I really need is for anything they left alone to not be inserted into the drawing.

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by tburns
    Interesting. Though I think I'm looking for something a bit simpler perhaps, because accuracy is not an issure here. The other company worked off of a copy of our existing HVAC file (which was current at the time) with the walls inserted as a block. They didn't just do their own thing, they added to ours. So all I really need is for anything they left alone to not be inserted into the drawing.
    Could you arrange for the other company to put the new info onto different layers, and then when you get it you can layer merge the correct layers.

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    I mentioned that to them in an email today, but even if they did it now, it would take too much time, and I've waited long enough to get any files from them. Honestly.

    We had another company do that. They put anything they didn't change onto a pink layer named "existing" and that made it much easier. I'l have to make that part of the as-built request in the future.

    But for now, I've got about 10 different files that I need to incorporate manually. I feel tired just thinking about it. Which is why this thread was created. Help me out, folks.

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by tburns
    Interesting. Though I think I'm looking for something a bit simpler perhaps, because accuracy is not an issure here. The other company worked off of a copy of our existing HVAC file (which was current at the time) with the walls inserted as a block. They didn't just do their own thing, they added to ours. So all I really need is for anything they left alone to not be inserted into the drawing.
    Tburns -

    Not exactly sure what you're getting at by saying "accuracy is not an issue". Wouldn't making the drawings "accurate" be the whole point of integrating all of the changes?

    As far as I know, there is no way to tell CAD to "please update everything the other people didn't touch". Again, problem being A) What geometry is accurate, and B) How do you identify what they didn't touch. If my statement above is correct, you're in a three step process (review, assign precedence, compound) that requires human judgment to determine what is "current". No command will do this, and programming may help at best by evaluating timestamps and owners.

    My opinion - lay everything modified out into one drawing and begin to correct your master set based on what you see in the modified versions. That can be as simple and copy / paste / erase groups of geometry. Perhaps the first comparison is to overlay your new plan onto the other contractor's plans, delete everything duplicate and keep the modified stuff. Then paste this set over the other pages as you add on to, deleting / modifying as needed, what will become you new "master".

    Next time, take the other member's advice and assign "control" to the plans, so that changes are incurred by one person at a time. Or, as I do, put changes on layers and block the outcome so that it's a simple copy/paste to update your masters.

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    Default Re: As-built drawings - updating techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by slayer913
    Tburns -

    Not exactly sure what you're getting at by saying "accuracy is not an issue". Wouldn't making the drawings "accurate" be the whole point of integrating all of the changes?

    As far as I know, there is no way to tell CAD to "please update everything the other people didn't touch". Again, problem being A) What geometry is accurate, and B) How do you identify what they didn't touch. If my statement above is correct, you're in a three step process (review, assign precedence, compound) that requires human judgment to determine what is "current". No command will do this, and programming may help at best by evaluating timestamps and owners.

    My opinion - lay everything modified out into one drawing and begin to correct your master set based on what you see in the modified versions. That can be as simple and copy / paste / erase groups of geometry. Perhaps the first comparison is to overlay your new plan onto the other contractor's plans, delete everything duplicate and keep the modified stuff. Then paste this set over the other pages as you add on to, deleting / modifying as needed, what will become you new "master".

    Next time, take the other member's advice and assign "control" to the plans, so that changes are incurred by one person at a time. Or, as I do, put changes on layers and block the outcome so that it's a simple copy/paste to update your masters.
    What I mean by "Accuracy is not an issue" relates to your point A. I sent them our drawing. It is accurate to begin with. Since we had another company do the HVAC update (and others), I am assuming that their additions are accurate. I only want to bring them in without losing any updates we've done ourselves. Now for point B, The files they sent back are the same ones they were given, with the addition of anything they changed about them. So if I were to paste their drawing into mine, most of it would overlap. I want to take the part of their file that overlaps exactly, and ignore it. Get rid of it. If I do that manually, it will be time consuming and there is the possibility of leaving or deleting incorrect objects.

    Of course to take into account whether anything has been removed will require me to manually look it over, but to go straight to that step would save hours.

    Slayer913 -
    "Next time, take the other member's advice and assign "control" to the plans, so that changes are incurred by one person at a time."

    This isn't possible for us. I will, however, suggest leaving existing objects on a seperate layer next time I request outside as-built drawings. I believe that's what you meant by-

    Slayer913 - "Or, as I do, put changes on layers and block the outcome so that it's a simple copy/paste to update your masters."

    -but I sure don't want to be the one having to do it! We have a month's worth of budget for this and other projects. I can't spend the whole month picking these files apart.

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