Multiple system standards

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Phil Davis
Phil Davis's picture
Multiple system standards
SoftPlan Version:
2012

I contract with multiple clients, each having their own system standards.  How can I best set things up so multiple system standards exist, allowing me to "reset to system" for each client?

yvongonthier
yvongonthier's picture
Multiple standards

It depends on how elaborate it is. Is it just a question of changing notes or you need to change wall compositions on the floor plans, thicknesses, etc...

Phil Davis
Phil Davis's picture
Multiple system standards

There is a difference in font types, dimension appearance, arrow standards, display of wall types, etc.  Speed notes and symbols are located in different folders.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Multiple Standards

Phil, I'm struggling with that very issue myself. The two solutions I am currently considering are:

  1. Create a separate install of SoftPlan for each standard - or
  2. Use a macro program that can go through and automatically change the things that are different

Right now I'm leaning toward the macros method but I haven't really decided on what to do yet.

What I have done in the past is to create an "empty" project for each standard. This would be a set that contains just empty drawings that contain the correct settings, fonts, dimension settings, plan sets, etc. I would then use "Save Project Revision" to create a copy of the entire project and move it to a new location and rename. 2016 also includes a new "Copy Project To" function which saves a step when making project copies. Once you have your new project you could merge the old drawings into the new drawings so they would then have the new settings.

Just out of curiosity, are the clients that have the different standards different builders that you are doing plans for or are they different SoftPlan users that perhaps you are subcontracting from? Ideally whenever I start a new client I try to talk them into allowing me to use my standards regardless of how they have done them in the past. But that is not always possible.

I'd love to hear from others how they handle this situation.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

Phil Davis
Phil Davis's picture
Multiple Standards

Bill,

I had heard the multiple Softplan install was the way to do this, but wondered if there was a better way.  In doing so, I assume each of the installs is named differently.  I know preservation of system resources is not as critical as it was back in the day, but I still like to feel as though I am not cluttering my system.

I was starting down the "empty project" path, but, the majority of my work is not of a one off nature, and requires maintainability.  When maintaining/adjusting previously created projects,I like to "reset to system" after system standards have been modified/updated.  In other words, I do not want projects "frozen in time" relative to the standards existing at the time they were created.

I would be interested in learning more regarding the macro program you speak of.  Does it exist, or is it something you are developing?

Outside of my internal standards, my clients are other Softplan users with their own internally developed standards that need maintained.

Thanks.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Macros

This is the macro program I use.

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Dennis Asher
Dennis Asher's picture
Hi Phil, I created a project

Hi Phil, I created a project called '(Customer Name) Job Start'.  I created all the blank drawings normally associated with a project.  I then changed the drawing options to reflect all the settings that are required for that particular client.  You have to do this for each particular drawing in the file.  It takes a while to do it the first time.  The project file is named '(Customer Name) Job Start'.  When I have a new job I open that project, do a 'Save Project Revision' and then copy the revision file and rename the folder and project to the new job name.  The 'Save Project Revision' step allows the softplan cloud to recognize the new job differently from the '(Customer Name) Job Start'.  I have taken the time to create the plan set pages in the blank drawing so you don't have to make pages every time you start a new job.  That's my work around...hope it helps. 

pdfrank
pdfrank's picture
I use a similar approach to

I use a similar approach to Dennis's. I have a project template  folder with all the files  preset to my drawing options.I also have sheets set up with floor plans and elevations pre-populated on the sheets.To start a new project, I open the project template folder in Windows Explorer, select all the files in the folder, copy all the files to the clipboard, create a new folder for the customer project, and finally paste the content of the clipboard into the new folder. The whole process only takes a few seconds.

 

One important step with this system is that once you have your project template folder setup complete, you'll have to exit the project in SoftPlan, open the Project Template folder in Windows Explorer and delete the project file (it's the file that has the ".spp" extension). The first time you open your new customer project, the project file will be recreated based on the  customer's folder name. If you don't do this your project name will be "Project_Template" instead of Ex: "John Smith"

 

You could have multiple versions of the Project Template folder for different types of contractors or building types. Then just open whichever Template Folder you need, copy all the files and paste them into your new customer folder.

My 2 cents....

Phil

 

Phil

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Project Template

Phil, I would like to point out a couple problems with your method. First of all it is not necessary to delete and recreate the project file. You could simply rename it. Secondly there are a lot of things that are saved as part of the project file such as building options. Deleting the project file deletes all of these options and they would need to be recreated.

But you also need to consider whether or not these projects will be shared on the cloud. If so then it is imperative that you either recreate the project file as you have suggested or make a copy of the project using a method that will reset the internal ID for the project. You can do this by first saving the project as a "project revision" and then cut and paste this revision to a new location and rename the folder and project file. Or if you have 2016 there is a new "Copy Project to" function that basically does the same thing but is a little more automated. The main thing to remember is that simply making a copy of the project using Window's copy files will cause all sorts of problems if the project is shared on the cloud. If you never share or upload projects to the cloud then copy and paste will work.

I discussed how to copy projects in the tutorial 2014+ Copying Projects Problem and Temporary Workaround. This also includes a short video showing the process. As it turned out it was not so temporary a problem in 2014.

pdfrank
pdfrank's picture
Hi Bill,

Hi Bill,

A few comments:

  • My Template folder does not have a .spp file in it. Once I had optimized my files in that folder, I deleted the .spp. Now when I copy the template folders contents into the new customer folder and open it for the first time, the .spp file is created automatically based on the customer's folder name.
  • Your method requires opening the template folder in Softplan, saving it as a revision, finding the revised copy, cutting it out, creating a new folder, pasting revision folder into it, renaming the new folder and then renaming the project file and then opening that project in Softplan. That's a lot of steps!
  • I have not had any trouble sharing files on the cloud using my method. I guess that's because there is no project file initially when I copy my template files.
  • I have found that I rarely have Building Options names that are the same, so losing them with my method hasn't been an issue.

Thanks for all your input Bill. I rely on your webpage and assistance on a regular basis.

Phil

Dennis Asher
Dennis Asher's picture
The main reason I rename the

The main reason I rename the project file is because I use plan sets for my plans.  The plan set I initially set up for my job start folder is tied to that particular project file.  By renaming the project file my plans set is still set up and ready to go.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Plan Sets

Yep, same here. Creating a new project file messes up the plan sets. My projects contain 4 different plan sets. Renaming the project file takes a lot less time than recreating all these plan sets.

Phil Davis
Phil Davis's picture
Multiple system standards

Thank you everyone for your replies.  It appears as though I will need to do a quick study on merging files.  Both Bill Wimberley (here), and Robert Browne (LinkedIn/Designers that use Softplan) suggested merging old files into new files based on preset, client specific plan sets. It doesn't necessarily result in the ability to use the "reset to system" button, but I believe it will accomplish my ultimate goal; deliver consistent results without having to verify every drawing file setting.

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Merging

Phil, if you don't want to maintain separate installations for each client standard then merging would be the way to go. Simply create a base blank drawing for each client that has all of the wall definitions, dimension settings, etc. for that standard. Then when you want to update a drawing you make a copy of the base drawing and then merge the drawing you want to convert into it using File⇒Merge. This would have the same effect as doing a complete reset to the new standard.

Some of the problems you may need to deal with are walls and beams. If the base drawing and the old drawing have different wall configurations you could end up with some or all walls and beams changing to other definitions. If this happens you can use Edit⇒Change Wall to change all walls of a certain type to another type. So for instance if all of your siding walls from the original drawing were converted into interior walls you could use Change wall to change them all back to siding walls with a single command.

Phil Davis
Phil Davis's picture
Multiple System Standards

Thanks for the heads up on the walls and beams.