By Luc Lefebvre, RA, OAQ, LEED AP, Project Manager and BIM Manager at King + King Architects
At King + King Architects, we approach each project with the client as our main focus, which is especially important since much of our work is across the education, healthcare, and community sectors, where architecture has a large impact on how people function within a space. With a staff of almost 50 architects designing construction and renovation projects as large as multi-building K-12 school, college, and hospital campuses, getting the most out of our software is integral to our firm's success. That’s why the new Project Sharing feature in Vectorworks 2016 is revolutionizing our workflows.
So far, we've tackled three projects with the new workflow feature: a five-building K-12 educational campus for the Albion Central School District in Albion, NY, a community library for the Town of DeWitt, NY, and a middle school renovation and addition project for the Central Valley Central School District, NY. For each project, we typically assign teams of three to seven designers who work together using a referencing method with master and satellite files. But unlike before, when complications could arise due to team members not having properly referenced Vectorworks files or someone inadvertently altering a part of the project that another person was working on, everything is now streamlined into one efficient process. A single master file exists that everyone can work on individually, with each team member being assigned a specific aspect of the project to design based on their permissions, preventing people from working over each other. And when it comes time for everyone to save and commit their work, resource conflicts are detected and brought to the attention of the users, who can then choose whose changes to accept, assign new tasks for the group to address, and move the design forward.
Throughout the process of implementing Project Sharing, we’ve learned a few lessons along the way. When it comes to setting up permissions within the project file, be clear about who has what permissions and keep those settings consistent throughout the project. Otherwise, there could be issues when it comes to updating the file. And speaking of updating, make sure that your team adjusts their normal workflow to save and commit their work regularly. That way, when design layers are released to other team members, everybody is working on a current document. It’s a different way of working, but people quickly get used to it when they realize the benefits of designing in this way.
Project Sharing is a huge, tremendous shift for us, but we’ve had a very positive reaction to the change. You don’t have to manage multiple satellite files, and you can save your individual piece of the project file to your desktop so that you can work remotely. Mobility has been a huge benefit. Overall, I think the biggest advantage has been the time-savings. With Project Sharing, we don’t have to spend so much time focusing on the technical parts of the file setup and documentation process, so we’re able to fully dedicate ourselves to creating great design, which is the goal of everyone at King + King.