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How to Optimize Your Project Performance

Noemi Balogh
Community Admin
Community Admin
As projects evolve, they naturally become more and more complex and detailed. Also approaching deadlines might shift the focus from precise modeling to getting the job done. These might result in heavier files than necessary, that can slow down your Archicad experience. It is a good practice to check the health of your projects from time to time. This article presents some tips and tricks on how to achieve a balanced BIM project that performs well. Click on any of the topics below for further instructions.

Library Management

Embedded Library It is so easy to overload Embedded Library with library parts originating from:
  • libraries of hotlink modules,
  • libraries of merged / hotlinked IFC files,
  • downloaded elements from BIMcomponents.com,
  • or fresh made custom GDL objects are always landing here.
Once you exceed 100 MB of items in the Embedded Library, many Archicad operations will slow down. Teamwork users can experience painfully long Join/Open and Send & Receive times. Enumeration of library parts requires heavy calculations from Archicad, which slow down your work. Solution:
  • Delete unnecessary library elements from the Embedded Library.
  • Create library container files (LCF) from used Embedded Library elements, and use them as Linked or BIMcloud libraries.
  • For IFC related library elements, see section IFC library parts below in this article.
Missing / Duplicated Objects Leaving missing or duplicated objects in your project can add several minutes to library loading time, because Archicad must spend time locating these elements. Moreover, in case of duplication, these objects can misbehave. Solution:
  • Consolidate your libraries in the project - if you migrated from an older version, keep using migration libraries and the latest Archicad library.
  • Use Find & Select to try to detect all missing objects in the project. For best results, check all relevant viewpoints – floor plans, sections, elevations, interior elevations and 3D. Delete or replace missing objects to fix this issue.
  • See our Help Center article How to detect and clear missing Library Parts.
IFC library parts When you work together with external consultants, there is no way you can avoid including IFC in your workflow. IFC models coming from structural engineers or MEP specialists usually contain many objects, which Archicad puts into the Embedded Library. Solution:
  • Create library container files by IFC model. This method helps Archicad enumerate objects faster, and makes it easier for you to manage these contents.
Large image files stored in the project Everyone wants to design the nicest model possible, which they can proudly present to the customer and fellow architects. You can find high-quality textures over the internet, but many of them are large in file size. Any image file larger than 1 MB is considered large. Storing many such large image files causes performance issues in Archicad, and may prevent you from publishing a BIMx Hyper-model. Solution:
  • When you browse for a new texture, check the size before downloading it and using it in Archicad.
  • If you already use large textures, resize them with a photo editor (built-in solutions, such as Photos on Windows or Preview on macOS, can be good for this purpose) and update your libraries.
Too many linked / BIMcloud libraries in the project Sometimes it is hard to resist the temptation to load as many libraries into our solo projects as possible. These extra libraries put an extra load on Archicad that can notably degrade its performance. In the case of a BIMcloud Library set this degradation is magnified. Archicad must regularly check back to BIMcloud to validate the current status of each library. This communication considerably adds to the time to Open / Join / Send / Receive / Reserve. Best advice here is to keep the number of libraries below 5. Solution:
  • Try to reduce number of linked / BIMcloud libraries in your project. Less is more here.
Old Archicad Library content
When a project is developed through more than one Archicad version, it likely will bring with it libraries from older Archicad versions. Do note that legacy libraries hurt the performance of a project, not just at every open, but also during several other operations. Therefore, you should let Archicad migrate the default libraries automatically upon first opening an older project.
Solution:
  • Check out our article about Library Migration. Follow its recommendations to get the right migration process.

2D / 3D performance

Too many Solid Element Operations are applied Solid Element Operations (SEO) come in handy when you wish to place your model on a complex mesh, or adjusting your walls to the roof. At the beginning, you have full control over your SEO – only a few elements are involved, no big deal. Then here comes your deadline, you need to involve many new walls, columns and other elements in Solid Element Operations. But at this time it is easy to select many other, unnecessary elements for that context (using select all, or simply because they are grouped with other elements). Then Archicad must calculate intersections not only between connecting elements, but also for other elements, far away from the connection. Solution:
  • Review existing connections. Select possible elements where Solid Element Operations may have been applied - clear all unnecessary connections.
  • Avoid selecting all elements to involve in Solid Element Operations. Make sure selected operator elements has real connection with the target.
The model has too many polygons As the project grows from conceptual model to a construction drawing, the number of elements in the file grows exponentially. Even a small project can become much larger in no time at all; we all like exciting visuals, like a detailed tree, or a complex piece of furniture. Calculation of these elements usually need more resources and plenty of time. Solution:
  • Download and install our Goodies add-on to obtain the Polygon Counting Tool. Check how many polygons your model has.
  • Avoid using objects with huge numbers of polygons. These typically come from an external source (e.g. SketchUp 3D Warehouse or 3Ds Max).
  • Differentiate objects through layers – basic furniture layouts and additional, visual elements can be separated by placing them on different layers. With good layer combination management, you can easily work on your project for documentation without waiting for Archicad to load all visual objects into your model.
Far From Origin This is a typical issue: it either comes from a request to place a model at the real world coordinates, or else work-in-progress elements are placed far away from the model. As elements are placed further away from Archicad origin, the program must engage in additional calculations to ensure a precise model. Solution:
  • Use the Fit in Window option – it will show the whole model area. Select all elements to find those placed far away from the main model. Relocate or delete these elements.
  • If real world coordinates are essential:
  • Check our Help Center article Far From Origin – Troubleshooting Guide for further information and solutions.
Errors in 3D window It is possible that you have accidentally or directly entered an invalid value for a GDL object, or that certain elements such as walls and roofs are connected incorrectly. When Archicad must handle a large amount of errors, it slows down. Solution:
Overlapping fills / lines in the project DWGs from external consultants usually contain many overlapping fills and lines. While these are barely visible most of the time, storing too many fills and lines can cause serious performance issues with 2D navigation or when publishing any documentation from your project. Solution:
Duplicates in the project 2D or 3D elements can easily appear as duplicates when you copy a group or place hotlink modules in your project. Even unintentionally, you may be copying duplicate elements into your workspace. Solution:
  • Download and install our Goodies add-on to obtain Check Duplicates Tool. Check for duplicates in both 3D and 2D windows.
  • When you copy a group of elements, make sure the original is not covered by the copy you created. That is, an indistinguishable duplicate covers the original.
  • Always check the 3D window first when placing a hotlink looks unsuccessful - it is possible that the module is already here, but not on the story you are looking for it.
  • Use the Purge command in the attributes manager to delete unused attributes but only when you are confident that your project is not using any of the attributes to be purged.
    • If any of your element defaults or Favorites uses a particular attribute, but has not been placed in the project, the Purge command will delete that attribute as “unused”.
    • The Purge command will delete attributes that are used in GDL scripts of Library Parts as well.
Sun shadows turned on Generating shadows on certain viewpoints (Sections, Elevations, Interior Elevations or 3D Documents) can be time-consuming. Each time you switch between viewpoints that set to update automatically, Archicad recalculates shadows on the model. Solution:
  • Turn off shadow casting on viewpoints in which shadows are not essential.
  • Change the viewpoint status to “Manual-rebuild” when you turn on shadows.
Missing drawings External drawings go missing when you delete or relocate them in your file system. However, the problem also comes up another way: when you work together with people on the same project (in Teamwork or in the same PLN), but you link a drawing directly from your own computer, in case of other users it will show up as missing too. Archicad tends to spend significant time finding all drawings, which means you need to wait a long time to load certain viewpoints. Solution:
  • Regularly check Drawing Manager - if you find any missing drawing, try to fix it by either deleting from the project or by re-linking it.
  • Use the option Store Drawing in the Project File when you wish to share the project with others, but do not have a common file server.
  • On macOS, make sure the drawing path does not contain your username.
Large 2D documents External drawings usually come in the form of a PDF or DWG file. Storing many of these in a project, even only as a link, can cause performance issues. Solution:
  • Regularly clean up your project. Delete all files that do not need to be stored here. Manage your drawings in the Drawing Manager.

File size

How to reduce file size Even if you cleaned up your project, you still might not see any difference in file size or performance. You might need to take some further actions to finalize the cleanup process. Good to know in general:
  • Keep your Embedded Library small. See section Embedded Library above in this article.
  • Do not store large textures in your project. See section Large image files stored in the project above in this article.
  • Avoid using too many add-on based data in your project. Many of the add-ons usually leave more data than what is visible and slows down Archicad.
  • Try to minimize number of layouts in your project. The more layouts you have the more likely Archicad starts to slow down while it is processing all of them.
  • Avoid using too many hotlink modules in a project. Consider breaking content when you no longer need to edit a module. Consider reducing the number of nested hotlinks to a minimum.
  • Store only needed data. Whenever possible, link external drawings from a file server.
Solution:
  • Revision your PLN/PLA: When Archicad re-saves a project, it compacts the size: all meta data are deleted which are not necessarily needed anymore.
    • After cleaning up your project, choose Save as… and save your project as a new file.
    • The next time you open it, run Open & Repair to get rid of possible file errors.
  • Re-share your project in Teamwork: When a project is shared, extra layers of data are attached to the project. Project stores not only Archicad elements, but also Teamwork related data, such as how many users are working on it or what kind of different elements the joined users have in their local cache. In case you save a PLN from a Teamwork project, all these additional Teamwork related data is deleted from the file, which reduce its size before the next share.
Work in Progress elements Conceptual models and different design options are usually stored in the same project. When you start working on construction drawings, these elements become useless ballast, preventing you from working smoothly. Solution:
  • Delete Work in Progress elements from your project when you no longer need to work with them. You can archive them as hotlink modules or PLN files.

Teamwork / BIMcloud

Hardware recommendations Teamwork users can experience a drop in performance if their server computer does not meet the GRAPHISOFT recommendations. Most commonly, the Join, Open, Send & Receive or Reserve operations can be impacted. In many cases, Archicad will warn you about it with an error message, most typically you get the "Error occured during the last Teamwork operation!" message. Another typical issue is when your computer does not have enough memory (RAM) in your computer to work with your project, in that case Archicad starts to cache to your HDD/SSD, which slows down operations too. The reason behind is that RAM is optimized to transfer application related data faster, but not persistent way than any hard drive, where read and write speed is not as good, but data stored persistently. Solution:
Inactive users Many users tend to close a project only, instead of leaving it altogether. Even if these users have not reserved anything in the project, maintaining a large number of inactive users can cause trouble for others:
  • Teamwork project size increases faster.
  • Performance is severely affected– Reserve or Release operations slow down considerably.
Teamwork performance is directly affected by inactive users. The reason: with many inactive users in a project, BIMcloud must maintain outdated data to provide proper synchronization for all joined users. Different statuses of the same project are stored unnecessarily on BIMcloud, so even users who are inactive for a month can join back and work with no issues.
Solution:
  • Ask your colleagues to always leave projects where they do not work for more than a day.
  • If a colleague is out of office, you can also Force leave them from the project.
  • Regularly re-share your project to reduce file size.
Slow network If your bandwidth is slower than 25 Mbps, you are likely to be faced with slowdowns at Open / Join processes, especially when your project size is 1 GB or more in Archicad Teamwork. Solution:
  • Check your internet connection with Speedtest.net or similar trusted website for both server and client computers. Make sure it meets the Network Requirements of GRAPHISOFT.

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