ArchiCAD Training and MasterTemplate Boosts Productivity

A few days ago I received an enthusiastic email from architect Lew Bishop, a veteran ArchiCAD user since 1995,  telling me about some dramatic improvements he was experiencing in his efficiency and productivity:

“I started a new house in Pacific Palisades and in a little more than a week did two designs and have half a set of preliminary drawings and a major portion of the plan graphics — fantastic.”

By strange coincidence, one day later, AECbytes published an article by respected analyst Paul Teicholz of Stanford University, reporting continued declines in productivity for the construction industry. Teicholz analyzed a great deal of data and concluded that even with “increasing use of BIM technologies and the lean collaborative processes it supports” that AEC firms still face “significant structural problems preventing improvements in labor productivity… This is in contrast to all nonfarm industries (which includes construction) which have shown significant increases in labor productivity.”

Perhaps if more architects and design firms used ArchiCAD (rather than other BIM products) the situation would be different!

While that may be true, it is clear that with any complex software (including ArchiCAD), good training and an organized setup makes a huge difference, particularly when the user gains a deep understanding of core principles and is able to use the Best Practices for that program. This has become my personal mission – to help ArchiCAD users get the most out of the program – and my Best Practices Course is designed around this concept.

I asked Lew about what led to his increased efficiency, and he replied:

“The improvement in work flow for me is directly related to the organization and simplicity of MasterTemplate [AMT]. Your coaching and the Best Practices Course lessons are almost equal to AMT. It seems that once a cohesive arrangement of the project is achieved the progress steps become clearer and connected…

Your setup puts the user on the right track, right away to use the major portion of your program… As an example, I have not embarked into a lot of presentation work in the past as the clients just don’t want to pay for the privilege, but now I can use it to further my own work without a huge penalty of time. In the time it took to do an update to the overall file, I got rendered elevations – not much setup, not much additional work for me – the views were just there. And it pointed out a couple of issues that were corrected in short order. The project is only started and a lot of information is available to help the client make choices and help me define the work scope more accurately.

The above is a small part of the improvements in my work, work accuracy, and a pleasure to know that even with my advancing age [Lew is 75 years old], there is still a lot of work that can be done profitably.”


In the fall of 2010, after more than 20 years of working with ArchiCAD as a reseller and trainer, I decided to focus my creative energies into codifying and teaching the Best Practices for using ArchiCAD. I created a 45 minute video training as the keynote lecture for my new Best Practices Course. A few months later I wrote an extensive article that AECbytes published on The Seven Keys to Best Practices for ArchiCAD.


As I look back on these creative efforts, I believe that they continue to be the basis for all of my work: finding the core principles with the most leverage for getting the job done with speed, accuracy, quality and as much freedom and flexibility as possible.

The original 45 minute video was never posted publicly since it was too long for YouTube (which only allowed short videos at that time) – so only the introductory section has been seen outside of the course website. Today, as my YouTube channel for ArchiCAD tutorials marks another major milestone – 750,000 views, along with the new YouTube “One Channel” design – I have uploaded the full lecture as a gift to ArchiCAD users everywhere. You can watch the video here (embedded on this page) or on my channel.

ArchiCAD Training March Madness – Coming Soon!

Over the past two and a half years since I launched my online training efforts, over 900 users from more than 60 countries around the world have enrolled in my Best Practices Course ArchiCAD training website.

Lew Bishop is not alone in reporting huge gains in productivity. I frequently get emails from course members thanking me profusely, saying that what they’ve learned in the Best Practices Course has made a huge difference in their professional lives. In my next blog post I’ll profile a few members who have shared their success stories with me.

I am so pleased and proud to serve the ArchiCAD community.  As we approach 1,000 members of the Best Practices Course, I plan to celebrate with a special March Madness promotion. Stay tuned ArchiCAD users – it’s going to be awesome!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
fatima - March 18, 2013

Amazing website and amazing info that I would hardly find some where else!!!! I hope I would reach that level of fluency when using archicad.. I am not new to archicad, but I still face problem in transfering other files to archicad and work with them in my project.. I would really like to have a workshop about realistic rendering as well to enhance my presentation… thanks alot for the info and the amazing article!!

Lew Bishop - March 19, 2013

An Update:
I have now received the topo and survey of the project I spoke of – just at the time I got to lesson 12 — all about site work. So now after a couple of iterations and modifications requested by the client, I can incorporate the lesson on site meshes and further development of the property. The ability to listen, watch and put to practice these lessons means a real time saving on the thru-put end.

A little history: started on AC v.4.16 one of the early windows adopters. Continued since that fateful day in 1994 when first learned about the program. Prior software included Generic Cadd, ACAD v 9 thru 13, Builder’s Cad, and several others. I do wish I had spent more time in organizing and training adoption as it is the way to success.


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