BIM Coordinator Program (INT) April 22, 2024

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Tips to Keep Your Projects Tidy

Emoke Csikos
The more Attributes are collected in a Project, the more difficult it becomes to work with. Lots of Layers, unused Fills, Line types can slow your work down as you might spend too much time selecting attributes you want to use from their lists. Some users may start a new Project by opening an old one and clicking New from the File menu. This will inherit all attributes of the Project just used - even the unnecessary ones. It is a good idea to have predefined Project Templates for different types of Projects. Another good idea is to start the Project with few attributes and load additional ones with the Attribute Manager later as the need for them arises. In the Attribute Manager, you can purge all unused attributes to achieve this 'lean' state of the Project. In case of Vectorial Fills, when you have many Symbol fills/line types or complicated fills/line types, it can increase redraw and rebuild time when working in 2D Windows. Again, make these as simple as possible and load only as many as needed.

Lines/Arcs and Fills coming from DXF/DWG files

A large number of lines can be accumulated in a single DXF /DWG file. Sometimes when data is read, more complex elements (Blocks - like Library Parts of ARCHICAD) may be broken down into Lines / Arcs. Sometimes fill patterns are broken down into their primitives. This could cause data coming from these formats to contain up to tens of thousands of lines/arcs, which can considerably slow down your working speed in ARCHICAD. You can check the number of Lines / Arcs with Find & Select. One useful thing is to establish with consultants the content and the format of files required by your office (e.g.: no fills, please). Also, it can be helpful to convert AutoCAD Blocks to ARCHICAD Library Objects, as it will prove to be a lot faster in case lots of Blocks were placed in the DXF/DWG drawing. In many cases you can efficiently reduce the number of Lines, Arcs and Fills in the Project by using the Linework Consolidation and the Fill Consolidation commands.

Solid Element Operations (SEO)

A high number of Solid Element Operations executed in a project can also contribute to the slowness of 3D rebuild. The program must keep track of all Target and Operator elements for each Solid Element Operation performed. Also, if you used many complex GDL elements to do Solid Operations with, the 3D-generation time can increase. For example, using the '3D Text' Library Object to create texts carved into Walls in the 3D Model can be an example, as this object contains lots of vertices and polygons in 3D.

GDL Objects

The more complicated Library Objects are used, the more time it can take for the program to handle them. When creating/programming a GDL Object you can control how complex an Object will be. Curved surfaces (with high resolution of Objects using the RESOL command), extensive use of GDL Global Variables, large arrays, very complexly structured scripts, many file input/output operations are some point that can make GDL Objects slower. Lots of Zones placed on the Floor Plan can also be a slowing factor (Zones being generally complex and having lots of built-in Global Variables).

Bitmap fills

It is usual to have maps scanned and placed on the Floor Plan in ARCHICAD Projects. Bitmaps can also be placed into any Window with the Figure Tool. Watch the size of these bitmaps, as too large ones can slow down redraw in these Windows.


Sometimes the program is slow because the Project contains lots of Groups (hundreds or even thousands of them). This can be caused by inadvertently grouping elements and multiplying them. For example, you may group 4 lines together to represent a tile on a roof on which to walk. Then this group is multiplied all around the flat roof - immediately, hundreds of groups are created without realizing it, and that ARCHICAD will have to keep track of the state of each group in its database. Groups could also be tricky because they can be nested. You may create 100 groups this way and then create one large group out of these. When you select them, you see one group by its color, but there are in fact a hundred of them. So you may not be aware just how many groups you have in your Project. The slowdown caused by groups is most visible in the speed of selection/deselection on the Floor Plan.

API Add-Ons

Extremely sophisticated Objects and operations can be created and performed with ARCHICAD's API. However, these Add-Ons could also become a speed factor, as they practically have direct access to the ARCHICAD Project Database. So, they can actually use up a lot of processor time to do their own tasks. It is a good idea to load only Add-Ons you need, when you start having lots of them. Just like with attributes: you can always load an Add-ON when you need it. By following some of the guidelines above, you can make your ARCHICAD leaner, faster and work with it more quickly with less potential sources of trouble.

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