IT experience/knowledge in the field of Architecture


I'm a long-time lurker, first time poster.

I would like to speak with those of you out there who are in the field of architecture but have some kind of IT related experience, whether it is from becoming the Tech person within your firm because you have a knack for it or you have prior IT experience and you now work in the field of AEC. 

I am a new intern in my office but i have several years of general IT experience from a previous job. I feel I have a unique perspective because of how tech-heavy architecture has become. what kind of issues and solutions are there for large companies when it comes to file sharing, working on Revit central files or AutoCAD files between multiple offices do some of you have? Do any of your firms use remote desktop or virtualization to work on projects? what are the best practices for collaborating between offices? are bandwidth issues a normal problem that some of you have to overcome or are their simple, cost-effective solutions?

I know this is a broad topic which has likely been discussed before, but I'm hoping to get some insight on best practices on how larger firms streamline there networks and file sharing.


Oct 16, 17 11:54 am

We have two offices that are located about 200 miles apart, and we purposely do NOT share projects because it is too hard to figure out who has what files, which one is more up-to-date, etc.,  The two offices have two separate servers, which is a huge pain, because that means one office doesn't have all of the same reference materials as the other, and anytime someone updates a template, it has to be sent to the other office.  In a dream scenario, we would share a server, but I'm not convinced that will ever happen.

We also do not use remote desktop, partially because the principals do not like the idea of people being able to work from home.  There is appeal to people logging out and going home and there's no chance of someone bringing home work with them (unless it's to redline) or work getting forgotten at home.  Those who are allowed to work from home all have laptops instead of desktops.  We've had issues though where they often forget to drop files back onto the server and things get lost.

Oct 16, 17 4:39 pm
The server issue is a big one. Typically the best way to mitigate that is to have a shared server with things like standards forms templates etc and have each office have its own server with local projects. Time and again I've seen pms who don't understand technology get 'all hands on deck' for a last minute deadline, pulling in 'help' from remote offices which only winds up slowing down the workflow to a crawl. They hear 'revit' and think it's a magic pill. The reality is that more than 3-4 people in a central file only slows everything down - ownership problems, relearning of project perimeters etc. Similar can be said for cad only with disorganized layers and file versions. The best approach is to have a dedicated small team work consistently on the same project start to finish on a local server.

As for vpn, we certainly don't use it every day but it is a great tool to be able to access things if for some reason a person can't make it to the office or is waiting for hours on a consultant to turn something in by a due date. I wouldn't use VPN for day to day workflow especially in Revit as it is incredibly slow.

The last problem I've seen many times is cheapness. Whether it be bandwidth, software, hardware or personnel. A firm isn't saving any money by trying to avoid said costs if staff are constantly slowed down or overworked (read billable hours wasted) by such impediments.
Oct 17, 17 1:24 pm

I could tell you what I do, but then I would have to kill you.

Oct 17, 17 2:28 pm

how many bodies in that firebreak

I cat, 1 rabbit, that I know of, we think it was a bob cat

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