ArchiCAD Connects Working Drawings with Beautiful Design

Dake Wells Architecture: Exeter, MO School

New approach lets Georgia’s Manley Spangler Smith Architects ‘Draw it once, and draw it right’

One of Atlanta’s premier architectural firms, Manley Spangler Smith Architects chose ArchiCAD BIM software for all design projects. Griffin, Georgia based MSSA , a general practice architectural firm specializing in designing public schools, noted an improvement in efficiency and enhanced ability to meet client needs since adopting ArchiCAD for all the firm’s BIM needs.

In the case of MSSA – some other BIM software methods that were explored prior to their making the switch required architects to switch applications in order to generate construction drawings. That option proved unappealing to Dick Spangler, MSSA’s director of design.

“That defeated the entire purpose of switching to a BIM software; We wanted to use the same tool for everything.”

The use of ArchiCAD BIM at MSSA has improved workflow, especially during a recent project for the E.T. Booth Middle School in Woodstock, Ga, during which MSSA was automatically able to generate 2D working drawings from a 3D model. Before ArchiCAD, the firm would select a single staff member to manually develop 3D renderings from MicroStation drawings.  Now they’re able to produce everything automatically from the BIM model; providing better visualization, improved accuracy, less time drawing things already designed.

“We’ve also found time to apply more focus on crucial design decisions resulting in better schools. Through the use of ArchiCAD we explore as many alternative designs as we need to in order to reach that sweet spot where our clients’ needs and great design are both uncompromisingly addressed,” said Dick Spangler, the firm’s director of design. “It helps us better serve our clients and be better architects.”

Efficiency, collaboration and visualization

Georgia’s Manley Spangler Smith Architects

Georgia’s Manley Spangler Smith Architects

MSSA has also reduced manual work and the errors that sometimes go along with it; noting the functionality ArchiCAD adds to creating “one version of the truth” for every architectural object that is part of the design. “Designing a door once in the BIM model and it appears in the door schedule, construction drawings, specification documents, thus eliminating inconsistencies. This aspect of ArchiCAD BIM dramatically reduces errors and eliminates the time we have to spend preventing them.”


In addition, Spangler cites reduced errors and effectiveness of batch printing of work drawings. ArchiCAD provides for an organized and sophisticated platform whether the architect is working with three-dimensional renderings in Artlantis or animations in QuickTime. “We can let clients, engineers, contractors, city planners see what they’re getting while we see what we’re giving them. There’s no limit on how we can graphically represent a building model.”

Teamwork collaboration software,  shared by all of its seven architects allows them to collaborate on projects in real time. That’s how ArchiCAD minimizes network congestion – sending only the newest changes around. Eventually, MSSA will be using the BIM server to collaborate over the Internet.

“Moving forward, we would like to see our architects collaborate with structural, mechanical and HVAC engineers in ArchiCAD,” said Spangler. “They love the drawings we’re giving them to work with. And now they’re on notice that this is the direction we’re going. ArchiCAD has a quick learning curve and delivers a lot of new productivity, so I think they’ll be happy with it.”


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