Layout drawing sets

In the architectural world we often have recognisable drawing sets, for example, for concept stage, planning stage, detail stage, construction stage, etc.

It often makes sense to have a single Layout file that gets added to as projects pass through the stages, not least because some drawings may need to appear in more than one set.

It might be useful to have a tagging system for the pages in Layout. That would make it easy to filter them for a particular stage making output easier. Tagging is better than a hierarchical system because any one element can have more than one tag.

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I seem to spend too much time evolving and refining how I produce documentation in Layout instead of focusing on getting the documents completed !

Along the lines of the Sonder method I now have a system where I have a Layout file per document subset.

So cover sheet, project info and general notes are in subset G, there’s an A1 plans subset, A2 elevations, A3 sections, A5 details, S structure, D drainage and so on…

Paul, I guess we have all evolved systems for this. My problem with your system is partly that I don’t much like having dozens of Layout files knocking around (bad enough having to have separate SU and LO drawings for one project!) and also because some drawings are needed in different sets. For example, elevations are needed both for planning and working drawings. You can of course copy from one set to another but that kind of thing is fraught with danger.

Exactly what I do. I wish I didn’t have to break it down into such small subsets, but LayOut performance requires it.

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Yes, that is the down side and also the backup files too! At the moment I’m at 7 or 8 layout files excluding backups.

For me it’s not so much performance (although that is a consideration for sure) but more easily managing the documents - my Layout files were getting to be 30+ pages.

Also, from my own experience, I’ve been evolving to make my documents as bomb proof as possible so that the client and contractor have unambiguous and clear information. To that end my document subsets are beginning to address particular sections of the Building Regulations each with a cover sheet, notes and drawings.

The original feature request would be nice if:

  1. Reloading a Layout file with so many pages wouldn’t be a nightmare.
  2. Each page in Layout would be have a different format
  3. Scaling viewports while having the content change scale accordingly and fit the same aspect ratio would be possible. This should also happen while all dimensions and tags would stay in their places and reference points.

You say you are at 7 or 8 LO files per project and I imagine each of those will be broken down into pages. So a typical project could have a huge number of drawings, right?

If so, you maybe do much bigger or more complex projects than me. In that case, I can see that you need a very rigorous file structure. My own projects are all domestic and under £1 million net build cost. Most are less than half that. However, they are highly detailed so I do need drawings that reflect that. I am very much on your wavelength about bombproof information and I also believe in showing as much on drawings as possible (as opposed to written documents) as they get most attention from builders. A drawing set running to 30 would be on the large side for me.

Anyway, the main point of this request is to implement something that would at least help some people and something that I imagine is relatively easy to implement, ie. an easy win for developers!

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Adding to this, however many LO files you have with multiple pages, it is conceivable that some may not be for external distribution. So even within an LO file, you could have pages that you want to be able to print and those you don’t. A tagging system allows for that because you could simply append a print tag/attribute to relevant pages so that you can filter for a print set.


My latest construction documentation for a house had 104 A2 drawings/layout pages.

Man, that must have been some house!

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Under construction. I hope it is.


I’d love to see some visuals if you feel so inclined to post them.

We have been considering using SketchUp and layout for our architectural millwork shop drawings. A common project for us would be a hospital floor. There might be 70 or more areas or rooms on a floor. Our shop drawings are done per room or area and are complete subsets of drawings. So all the info need for that room is in the group of drawings for that room. As you can see we could easily have a few hundred drawings for a project of that size. Also our shop drawings go thru a bunch of revisions - for approval, redlined corrections then revised for field dimensions. Throw in a few bulletins, ASI’s, SK’s and the like and a drawing set grows to huge. Not to mention phasing needs and changes.
We are thinking modeling each room or area as its on SketchUp drawing. Modeling the complete floor might make for a large unresponsive file?
Looking for ideas on how best set up an attack on this type of project. Is SketchUp the best tool for this?

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You have to know how to manage a file and what kind of detail you have on it.

How you’re thinking it’s feasible but I wouldn’t recommend managing room by room. If you change a room’s dimensions how will you know how it is affecting the global floor layout?

At least I would keep each room as a component that I would xref both in the master model and on detailed models

SketchUp can deal with a lot of geometry already. In an hospital I would take care on the optimization of equipment and infrastructure models and think about using layers to control LOD. I would also be careful with façade models. I’ve noticed it’s complex facade details that bog down my models the most.

In those cases I split façade elements in layers that only only show up on detailed drawings and not on the master model. The same xref component shows frames in the master, handles hinges, double glazing and what not on detailed models. The same principle can be adapted to any project and you can have a master model, floor level models and room models all based on the same type of room xref that shows different info depending on the active layers in each model

It’s this small house. I admit there are bigger projects with way fewer drawings…


It is a bit simpler for the millwork. All we work from is a floor plan and use scaled dimensions so we can start a shop drawing. The dimensions are going to change so at this point we just need to be close. Each room or area is a stand alone item from our perspective. So if a few rooms that are next to each other change it is picked up in the field dimensions. We do not make anything until we have field dimensions or hold to dimensions given to us by the GC. Many times we cannot even buy materials until we have the field dimensions. When a rooms worth of millwork is sent to site to be installed a set of shop drawings for just that millwork is sent. This is why I was thinking that each room is its own model. What might be some of the other down sides to this type of approach?

Sorry I’m not a native English speaker. I now understand what you’re doing.

If you have a stable building model I think your approach is perfect then.

I was thinking on the perspective of an architect that has to design the whole building. I was thinking you were trying to build some kind of BIM model which you would be basing your architectural project, including millwork. This is also possible in SketchUp too.

Muito bom! Morava no Brasil muitos anos atraz. Meu Portuguese ‘is a little rusty’ to say the least :slight_smile:

At times we do a BIM model but it is not needed for typical millwork. We do not often get models to work from and when we do they typically only help with defining the space a bit better. Our drawings need to be much more detailed and precise than would be reasonable to expect from an architect.
Your English is fine! Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Parece que o teu português está bom! Thanks for liking it. All of a sudden this is becoming a multilingual thread.