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1.  ArchiCAD and the Bigger Question

Posted 07-20-2017 05:48

I've been an ardent ArchiCAD user since verion 6.5. However, the recent update of ArchiCAD 20 and the upgrade to version 21 has tested my faith. For anyone using ArchiCAD Teamworks/BIM Server on a Macintosh system – please stay away for now!

This software contains a bug that disconnects the server from all workstations. After discovering this issue I contacted my local colleagues and had expected Graphisoft to issue a notice to all users. Unfortunately, that notice never came, and while Graphisoft provided me with a few temporary work-arounds, I have experienced little improvement. In fact my billable production hours for the past month have decreased by 30%. Last week Graphisoft promised an update in a few days, but instead they have simply stopped responding to my inquiries.

This brings up the bigger question about how architects can protect their business from failing software. When I first started my practice, the worst production slow-down might be a broken Mayline cable. In 15 minutes that workstation would be up and running again. Today, however, what happens when the software we depend on fails? We are beholden to a software company. And in my case, one that seems to simply shrug its shoulders as I struggle to maintain an ability to design and document my projects.

ArchiCAD is an amazingly beautiful and powerful software program, but I wonder if it has grown beyond Graphisoft's ability to provide a stable working platform. I suspect they are also pressured (like all companies) to release a new version each year to justify their subscription cost - ready or not. Regardless of which company architects have partnered with, I wonder if my experience might be the first sign of a new reality?

I once wrote about how I had gulped down the ArchiCAD Koolaid. Well that drink now has an awfully bitter taste. Obviously we cannot go back to paper and pen, but what perils await us in the world of increasingly complex software, and how can we minimize the impact on our architectural practices?

John Black AIA
Lapis Design Partners LLC
Honolulu HI

2.  RE: ArchiCAD and the Bigger Question

Posted 07-21-2017 18:09


I'm sorry to hear you're struggling with the BIM Server in 20 & 21. A decrease of 30% is totally unacceptable. I'm confident we can get the problems resolved with or without official help, as I know a lot of others have been using the BIM Server on Macs without much issue (well just the normal 'I use a computer' issues). I've e-mailed two BIM Server pros to see if I can get someone to help you. I'll keep you posted.

More advanced tools definitely come with their ups and downs. I think though in the end the benefits still far outweigh the annoyances.

Jared Banks AIA
Shoegnome, LLC
Seattle, WA

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3.  RE: ArchiCAD and the Bigger Question

Posted 10-09-2017 21:15

I think you already answered the 'Bigger Question' - the "new reality" is that this stuff constantly changes. Think you have software problems? Listen to my Autodesk friends for awhile - nobody is immune from problems!  Sorry about your frustrations, though. I've never had any of the (bimserver) problems you indicate so I cannot respond directly and I have always had first rate support from Graphisoft.

Otherwise, about the Bigger Question...and this is probably unrelated to your problem. Years ago I changed my business planning and view all my server/workstations/software as just a commodity, like pens and paper. I've stopped 'thinking' that I'm buying a computer or software. If hardware/printer is more than two years old and I use it every day, I get rid of it!

Rex Prater AIA
BALANCE architecture + design, PC
Eugene OR