Cheikh Sylla of Sylla International has high hopes for 2018. Having reached “cruising altitude” of using ARCHICAD, the firm principal says he’s enthusiastically pushing limits and becoming more innovative with each project. ARCHICAD 21 has been a major feature in that innovation.

“Right now, we’re working on a modern two-story home in Tampa that is 5K sq ft. We are exploiting the strength of ARCHICAD by applying the principle of drawing as little as possible, but modeling as much as possible. It’s marvelous with the stair and railing tool.”

Creating stairs and railings remains one of the most challenging items to create as a tool in a BIM program. As Sylla puts it, “If you want to know whether your BIM program is worth its weight – check out its stair tool because that’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Having had a few months to use it, Sylla says he’s become comfortable with it. Exceeding his expectations, Sylla describes the tool as flexible, customizable and exemplary in GRAPHISOFT’s commitment to digging deep to find ways to support how architects do their work.

“Stairs need to respond to a range of criteria. This tool helps me deal with all those criteria quickly while maintaining my productivity. When my client wanted to add a roof deck on their garage, necessitating a railing all around, I had all the information I needed at my fingertips.”

Placing those guard rails had to be done strategically to avoid water intrusion. Sylla chose to mount it on the side of the wall, using an L-shaped bracket. ARCHICAD’s railing tool made it possible to mount that bracket sideways simply by his selecting a setting.

“If that option hadn’t existed in the tool, I would have had to model the bracket in 3D.”

Sylla found his productivity increased by the stair tool when he considers how the program treats those parts of a design and are set up with an eye on constructability.

“GRAPHISOFT, very smartly in my opinion, treated them almost like curtain walls in terms of how you can customize it and lay it out. They’re flexible and can be customized with relative ease. ARCHICAD doesn’t stop at making it easy to model stairs and railings, though. The issue of constructability is addressed because it really evaluates how it can be built. With priority-based connections and all the other improvements that came along with the stair tool, I see the single-minded focus that GRAPHISOFT has toward helping architects do their work well.”

Expanding on that idea, Sylla explains that he’s exploiting ARCHICAD by putting details into the wall sections so that when it comes time to create a construction document, much of the work is already done for you. Sylla says he’s re-discovered complex profiles, a very powerful tool within ARCHICAD.

“The technology behind complex profiles allows our construction documents to be truly what they need to be. The make-up of the wall can be shown in the document. Steel reinforcement, mortar – it’s all part of the wall. If you draw a masonry wall and take a section through it, it will show a continuous object with hatching. That’s standard in almost any CAD program – but you can’t use that for wall sections at a larger scale, you need to show block work, mortar joints, reinforcement.”

Sylla tells us he’s creating an actual complex profile that has all the components in this project, even the parapet coping which saves him time and lets him show more information to the contractor by having more sections.

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