Any help out there?
Probably not a whole lot of people using SW in that type of way. I don't really see SW being a very good tool for site plans. Sure you could do it, but it's not really designed for that. You would probably have to have everything look back to a master site.
This is very similar to the issues that you are probably running into with ACAD. I assume that you are using X-ref's in ACAD as they will make this a lot easier, if your not, do. In ACAD, after a base file update, you will go in and see things need to be re-arranged to work with your new site plan. You just move stuff where it needs to be. You don't have the relationship/mate issues that you need to go in and trouble shoot to figure out how to make everything play nice again like you do in SW. On the flip side though, those relationship/mates can automatically adjust the positioning of equipment and other things when a change takes place. This is good and bad, you really need to know what you want to auto update and what you want to update only as you tell it to. If you don't need 3d I think ACAD might be a better solution for what your trying to do. But like any software it really boils down to how well you know the software and best implement it. I would bet if you asked 10 SW & 10 ACAD users to do what your looking for you would get 20 different solutions.
In SW, perhaps if you have a base site plan as an assembly. Then have other assemblies for each of the things you want to do; life safety, fire sup zones, yard layout, etc. Then as you update the base assembly the others assemblies that look to that base assembly will update. Although, relationships will change so each purpose specific assembly will have to be fixed when the base changes. This could be a minor inconvenience or a major headache. The more you learn and the better you get at SW the better you will be at minimizing the errors you get from relationships and mates.
Another thing to be careful of using SW for this is that SW gets finicky with large assemblies or drawings. Some people have little issue but a lot of people have them, a lot of this boils down to knowing the quirks of the software. Keeping each purpose specific thing as a separate assembly & drawing should help. That way if your trying to edit you fire sup plan your system is not processing your 25 plans at the same time.
I have been in the same position it sounds like your in. I have worked in facilities mgmt. doing exactly what you describe @ a couple different places. It is tough to get things ironed out and get a system established. Your are probably working off of each purpose specific drawing being a completely seperate entity done by various people with differing skill levels and approaches. The basic sites probably do not even overlay vary well. It's a very tough task to get all of it oganized and in sync. but it is possible. Good luck, I hope this helps.
Thank you for the response. You are right in that the existing drawing to not have any xref's in place and that is the main issue I have with the existing drawings I am working with. I have found on multiple occasions where I have gone in to revise a drawing and it doesn't even show the correct building layout. An entire addition is missing or an existing production line has been moved. Hence, my reason for wanting to revamp it.
My experience with SW is way beyond what my experience with ACAD is because I am more recent graduate (<5 years). Therefore, I am more comfortable using the software and am pretty experienced user. I recently changed jobs, <6 months at my current job, and came into a company where I am the only CAD user and there was no oversight into organization of files and proper reference of documents in this area. Since, I don't have any experience in the types of layouts I described above, I am looking for advice to recreate these documents.
I appreciate your comments and hope to hear more from others.
I hate to say it, but SolidWorks is probaby not the right tool for the job. First, you probably don't need 3D. Second, it doesn't handle large drawings with lots of lines and arcs. AutoCAD really does seem to have a lock on this type of work.
If you go ACAD, I would highly suggest learning how to use X-ref's. Create your base drawing with just the most basic core items that will be present in all or most of your others drawings, and have other drawings use that as the core. From there I would create a new drawing(s) that use that base drawing. It would be a nice idea to understand how paper space works as well. Some people are scared of x-refs & paper space but they both can make your life a lot easier once you embrace them, and they are really not very hard once you start getting into them.
You might want to check out another user group called AUGI. Like this one there a lot of really great people willing to help steer you in the right direction, but its AutoDesk rather than SW.
Jerry and Joe,
I appreciate the insight and am thankful for your willingness to share it. I do know about using x-refs in ACAD and knew that was the way to go if I decided not to use SW. I realize ACAD is probably the easier route for doing these drawings and will probably maintain them for now that way.
That being said, I know there has to be others out there who use SW for these type of drawings and I am still hoping to gather some insight into the process by which they created the models to be used in the drawings.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to respond.