Advice on coordinating models?

Our company has integrated the methodologies outlined in Mike Brightman’s Condoc system. It works awesome.

We currently have two models that need to be coordinated. An Interior Architecture model which defines the cabinetry and spaces withing rooms (after drywall) and an House Model with broadly shows the skeleton of the house structure and most of the exterior stuff.

Now, our challenge is to try and coordinate these two models. We tend to pass one of these models around the office so when a change is made on the fly to either of these, there are occasions when the change update has been neglected on the other model.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how these things could possibly be updated to all models at the time of a change? These mistakes usually happen when we’re trying to put out a fire for any number of our consultants, so the care taken to update all references can occasionally fly under the radar until we notice the discrepancies later on.

Thanks in advance!

One option would be to create the model of, say, the kitchen cabinetry, appliances, and fixtures and import that as a component into the house model. When modifications need to be made to the kitchen, that file would be opened, edited, and saved. Then to update the kitchen in the house, right click on the Kitchen component in the Components panel and choose Reload.

You could utilize projects in Trimble Connect and allow the users to check out files to work on them. This would automatically create incremental saves and give you a record of who worked on a file and when.


yep DaveR has the right idea. i create a template of the building - just skin really - which has all the doors, windows, important other “impediments” like stairs, etc and markings for plumbing, electrical, etc which are essentially locked in.

then all the spaces which populate the overall model use that template (and in reality i group sections so you can use or hide parts you don’t need). each section then has everything assigned to tags so changing the displayed bits is less impactful on other sections (although structural tags tend to be common) when merged later.

each space and each section of that space can be edited pretty much separately and merged into the overall one once you’ve reached a state where it’s ready to be imported.

if the overall template isn’t used or visible, i create and use a “stake” marker (usually 0,0,0) which causes everything based on the template to line up correctly when merged.

I’m just a one man shop, but I use this technique. (example posted here) It’s also how I place a house model into a landscape model.

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This is our current workflow at the moment. Our problem arises when a design decision impacts the main model (such as a window move) which then sometimes gets overlooked. It’s not really a matter of “who dun it”… It would be nice to incorporate a system that just makes the update in both places (ideally) OR at the very least remind the user that this change needs to be updated in the other model as well.

The idea of a model with “locked in” features is a fantasy with the amount of changes that occur during meetings, reviews, etc…

I think the system we’re steering towards is keeping the two models separate and then having a “master model” that we will be able to use as a check. Because of the amount of people involved on one project, these small issues become compounded and the others lose track of the last persons update. In reality it is a ridiculous request of us to have people review the previous updates before proceeding on their own work.

I love the discussion tho, I am in search of a solution that has minimal chances for errors to occur! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s an age old discussion and a worthy one. I’m all ears if anyone has a magic answer.

Is there a way to edit an imported model without opening the file?

For example in your kitchen cabinet example, the cabinets.model is loaded into my main.model and from the main.model i edit the imported cabinets.model. Can cabinets.model be updated from inside of main.model?

Hope that makes sense, lol.

You could right click on the cabinets.model component and choose Save as… and overwrite the original.

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Another thing you might consider isputting all the module components into a folder that you can open in the Components panel as a local collection. The components can be dragged into the main model as needed. And if you make edits to any of the module components you can just drag the component’s thumbnail from the In Model window to the local collection window. Just open the secondary Components pane and set it to that local collection.

This would save some time because you wouldn’t have to search for the save location when saving the updated component.

I will certainly look into this. One of the main issues is that its easy for a person to make a change and not do the due diligence of following through with every part of that change. So less friction with opening up multiple files might help this.

Understood. Seems like training is the hardest part. Getting people to clean up and put the tools away so others can find them without wasting time and so they are usable when they are found is a huge job.

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Have you tried Eneroth Reference Manager? I can’t say I have, but maybe it improves the reference model workflow in a way that’s helpful.

I have, it is nice but trying to train everyone might be hard.
I’ve been sketching out ideas and have come up with this flow chart, I haven’t put it into use yet.

One way to set this up is to upload the main model and the interior model to Trimble Connect and use the viewer to look at the models.
One can have a quick review, make annotations and save those views with comments and add them to a View group to be discussed in the next meeting:

You can add multiple section cuts and more view groups as well, btw

One of the strength of using Trimble Connect is that you can do clash detection, a common tool used in BIM, where multiple ‘aspect’ models need to be checked upon.

For SketchUp models, it is wise to uncheck the ‘Same objecttype’, for SketchUp files don’t have a clue on different ‘categories’, or families, like in Revit:


This results in many clashes for these models, one can uncheck the less important ones, but still there is plenty of work, here:)

Another benefit is that when you combine all the data and teach your co-workers to upload or publish their work before leaving the building, the data is already in the cloud to review, instead of dealing with things like ‘Arh ■■■■, forgot my laptop with the latest version, etc.’


Thank you for this! I will check this out!

Hi Mike,

Earlir today I had access to trimble connect… A few hours later I don’t see it in the menu, do you know what’s going on?

Nevermind! I had an error that cause sketchup not to load extensions! Problem solved.

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