Teamwork with ArchiCAD and the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server
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Teamwork with ArchiCAD and the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server


Teamwork 2.0 is part and parcel of ArchiCAD,
allowing you to work in teams on a common project, within an office network, or over
the Internet. Other solutions require the entire project
to be synchronized with an external Server, and as the file size grows, so does the time
needed to synchronize. In contrast, Teamwork 2.0 features the industry-first BIM Server,
based on the revolutionary Delta Server technology, so that only the changed elements are sent
to the server. For example, if you create and dimension new walls, you send in only
these changes — obviously, just a fraction of the data contained in the entire project. But let’s start from the beginning: Teamwork
with ArchiCAD involves three components: ArchiCAD, the BIM Server, and BIM Server Manager. You
install ArchiCAD as usual — Windows or Macintosh – on all the computers. Since all machines
will work on a local copy of the full project, we recommend that you use powerful machines
with a 64-bit operating system and sufficient memory. The BIM Server is installed on another machine
– this can be a server computer, though it doesn’t have to be. We recommend that
you install the BIM Server on a dedicated computer, rather than on an existing file
server or exchange server. Here, too, the 64-bit opera-ting system and adequate memory
are important. Following installation, start the BIM Server
Manager and define the users and their roles. The role determines what the user is allowed
to do; these rights can vary from „Create Project“, to „Create and modify at-tributes“,
to „View only“ – which means the user can open the file and look at it, but cannot
change a thing. Once all computers are correctly set up in
the network, you can start working with Teamwork. What does that involve? It’s very simple. The project administrator creates a new project
in ArchiCAD – or else opens an existing project in solo mode. To share it, he just
connects to the BIM Server and shares the project. As a result, the project, including
its libraries, are loaded onto the BIM Server, and the client computer is joined in to the
team project. Now the rest of the users can join in, too. What happens when you join in? As soon as
a client computer joins a team project, ArchiCAD loads that project and its libraries, in the
form of a database, onto the client’s hard drive and opens the project locally. Thus,
the client always works in his own local copy. From time to time, through the Send & Receive
function, this local copy is synchronized with the Teamwork project on the server. Why this workflow? It’s very simple: Since
you work on your own local copy, you can also work offline if you don’t have access to
the server. For example, suppose you take the project home with you on your laptop,
or to the construction site. Since you don’t have a server connection, you work offline.
But as soon as you are back at the office and connected to the BIM Server, you can send
and receive all changes – your own and those of other users. One more thing about working in Teamwork with
ArchiCAD. In order to modify elements, you must first reserve them. Just select the elements
and use the Teamwork Palette commands to reserve them. And they’re yours already: the reservation
is synchronized with the BIM Server instantaneously. All users can see which elements belong to
whom – either from the Info Tags or colored workspaces. But what happens if another user has reserved
the elements you need? Basically, just do what you do whenever you need something from
someone: ask for it. Teamwork’s built-in messaging system makes the-se requests perfectly
clear. The other user receives the message on their
screen at once, and can either refuse, or agree to give you the elements: in this case,
they are now reserved by you. Element assignment works the same way. Suppose
the project leader wants to assign some elements to an architect on the team. The method is
the same: he selects the elements and assigns them. He can add additional instructions to
the built-in message that accompanies the assignment. Suppose it’s time to complete a project
milestone, and the Project Leader wants to see the current status. He sends a message
to all users with a request to send in all their changes. Once the users receive the
request, all they have to do is click the built-in „Send all changes“ button. Within
seconds, all changes are registered on the server. The patented Delta Server technology ensures
that only the changes are sent – of course, this involves only a relatively small amount
of data. When a user has to work from outside the office
– for example, on a construction site – he can access the BIM Server through the Internet.
For this to work, the BIM Server needs a qualified domain name and a fixed IP address. This way,
the server connection is almost like being within the office network. And what if you need or want to work in Teamwork
by yourself? You just reserve the entire project with a single click. It’s fast and easy:
you now have access to all the project elements and attributes (provided, of course, that
your role allows this.) Naturally, a Teamwork project is also transportable.
First, after reserving everything you will need to create a Travel Pack. This includes
both the project and all its libraries, so the file size is considerable. Copy this file
onto a USB stick, and you can open it on any other computer. Once you finish working, you
create another travel pack and take it back into the office. Here, open the project, connect to the BIM Server,
and send and receive all changes. What about data security? The BIM Server can
be set to back up and archive project phases automatically. This way, you can easily revert
to a previous version of the project. A script-based BIM Server backup function
is also available, which allows you to copy the entire database from the BIM Server to
another location for safekeeping. Teamwork is completely scaleable: it can be
used in a small office with 2-3 employees as well as by large teams in a complex hierarchy;
ArchiCAD with Teamwork fits every bill. Everything you need – ArchiCAD, the BIM Server,
and BIM Server Manager – is included in the normal ArchiCAD package, at no extra cost. Interested? Contact your Graphisoft Partner
for a training session or personal demo. See graphisoft.com for contact information. To try out ArchiCAD on your own, just register
at myarchicad.com to download a free 30-day demo version of ArchiCAD with all the accompanying
add-ons and training materials. Have fun with ArchiCAD!

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