One of the greatest benefits of using ADT is its use of Styled Objects whose appearance is controlled by a Display System. This allows control of an objects form and appearance and easy transfer of these settings between different drawing files. All our Shop Fittings and Department/Building/Site space measures are able to be updated by editing the Object Style then importing it to update the Objects using that Style in each Store Layout model. This allows consistency and easy changes to standards. I mentioned some of the advantages of this in an earlier post.
ADT Projects (introduced in ADT 2004) tend to encourage the creation of separate drawings. I've found breaking up the Building Model into separate Constructs (building model files) gives more flexibility over what is displayed/viewed/scheduled as the project progresses. One major drawback to this approach was the need to keep Styles and Display Settings in these separate construct drawings consistent. You can import them into a file but its a manual process and becomes tedious when dealing with large numbers of files.
AEC Project Standards is the solution to that problem. It allows object and display styles to be updated in all or selected files within a Project. There is provision to apply ADT Object Styles, ADT Display Settings and AutoCAD Standards (line, layer, font etc) using the same feature. This is only a brief introduction as it's a powerful set of tools:
AEC Project Standards Drawings & Dialog:
In the settings for each Project you can access the Project Standards Configuration dialog shown below. It allows "Standards Drawings" (Dwg or Dwt files) containing selected object styles to be referenced as Project Standards. The ticking check-box determines the styles that are updated from which Std Dwg allowing separate Dwg's to hold different object Styles. The dialog shown has Dwg’s for Department Spaces and for Multiview blocks configured. Files are compared in the order shown in the dialog (left to right) and the first reference to a style has priority if duplicates are found in subsequent drawings.
E.g. We have "Group" and "Division" Styles. The hierarchy is Group > Division > Project. By arranging the Group files before Division you can ensure those standards have priority even if someone has edited a group style in a division drawing.
In addition to AEC Object Styles a single file can be referenced to update Display Settings and a “Dws” AutoCAD Standards file can also be specified. There is also provision to specify if project updates are applied automatically or on demand.
Object Version Control
All objects have version control applied including "owner", revision date and comments. These version settings are checked when the project is audited to determine if the styles are current. Styles synchronised to Project Standards are identified with different status icons in Style Manager. Its recommended you edit them in the source standards drawing but edits in project files can be pushed back to the standards file if required, then applied to all other project drawings.
Import Project Standards:
Project Standards Configurations can be imported from another existing project allowing a Project Standards to be easily duplicated in existing projects.
Checking a file;
You can check an entire project via the Project Navigator or a single file from the dwg status bar. I've found in larger projects with lots of files & styles it can take a while for the process to complete. Its still much faster than doing it manually but if you know only one or two files require updating its more efficient to open and update only them.
These criteria are used when an object is checked:
- Object type (such as space style or display set)
- Name (Style Name)
- Version status. (updated when you edit a master style)
A dialog summarises all the changes detected and allows you to override changes before they are applied if required.
CAD Manager Tools:
The CAD Manager Menu has access to a suite of Project Standards tools.
This can be run at any time and processes Project files (or specified files) then produces an HTML Audit Report. This shows the required changes without applying them. It can also report on Project Standards settings.
There are many other features in the Project Standards tool-set. When using ADT for BIM across many projects this will be a huge gain in productivity and consistency.
We have 50 development projects and I delayed migrating our trading stores to Projects until this feature was available. By the time that process is complete we will have a further 200+ store projects all needing to be kept updated with the latest standards as they evolve. Its going to get a lot of use!