Revit performance is critical if you want to stave off the slow syncs, sluggish openings, and jittery model displays that can so often creep into a growing Revit file. But knowing how to achieve better performance is difficult, particularly when there is so much misinformation and superstition surrounding the issue. HP and CASE have taken a serious look at Revit’s performance (HP through its HP Performance Advisor tool, and CASE through the auditing of BIM models for AECO clients). The result is 10 tips that will undoubtedly lead to better Revit performance.
1. Elevation and section far clip
Each section and elevation should have a far clip active. Set the far clip so that it only extends far enough for the correct information to show in the drawing. By activating the far clip, you reduce the data processed in generating the drawing, which gives better performance and, in some cases, better startup times.
2. DWG imports
DWGs are one of the primary causes of increased file sizes and reduced model performance. Where possible, minimize DWG links and imports. In an ideal scenario, DWGs should only be used for reference and then removed once native Revit elements have been generated.
3. Exploded CAD in families
In Revit, never explode an AutoCAD file with attached XREFs. Each XREF will be treated as an imported symbol, and even if the XREF is deleted, it will add extra data to the file that cannot be removed unless someone runs “purge unused.” This extra data can reduce performance and be extremely difficult to detect. The solution is to avoid importing or exploding AutoCAD files in Revit. If it must be done, purge all XREFs before importing. Import the AutoCAD file into a separate Revit project using the “Import from File” tool. Remove rouge line styles using CASE’s Change and Replace Linestyle tool, purge the family, and then load it into your active project.
4. Remove unused design options and views
Design options can slow the model. Even though they may not be active and visible, when changes are made within the main model, all design options have to update. To unburden the model, remove any unused design options. Similarly, maintaining unplaced views adds unnecessary data to the model. This can contribute to slow model performance and large file sizes. Unplaced views should be regularly purged whenever possible.
5. Unused families
As the design changes, some Revit families inevitably get left in the model even when they are no longer needed. These families no longer have any functional purpose although they still contribute to the model’s file size and impact model performance. The unused families should be regularly purged from the model. If they are left too long, it can become hard to remember which of the unused families are no longer needed and which of the unused families may still be used. When removing the families, be careful to only remove the family and not the unused type since a family type is difficult to reintroduce to the model once it has been removed.
6. Model lines
Model lines appear in every model view in the Revit project. They should be used sparingly since they are easily mistaken for a drawing error in other views. Where possible, replace model lines with detail lines.
7. Room separation lines
Room separation lines help divide rooms where no other bounding object is present. However, be careful. When these lines begin to overlap with other bounding objects, such as walls and columns, they will cause errors. The use of room separation lines should be minimized as much as possible by using room bounding elements whenever appropriate.
Place Revit links into separate worksets so users can easily see which links they have opened at any given time. As more information gets added to the model, it is important to keep the model well-structured by breaking up the model into appropriate “bite-sized” worksets. A good practice is to create a 3D view for each workset and name it “workset – worksetname.” Set the visibility graphics for each 3D workset view to isolate the workset. This will provide a convenient way to visually check what is in a workset and to identify items placed in a wrong workset. Alternatively you can use the CASE workset browser to see the items on each workset..
9. Excessive 3d model detail
There is always a temptation to put more and more detail into Revit families, particularly when they are being used for 3D visualizations and presentation-quality 2D documents. But if the family grows too detailed, model display performance can be negatively impacted, particularly on larger projects. There should be clear internal guidelines and best practices surrounding the creation of content. When highly detailed models are required, create high and low detail versions of the family. Use family type parameters to switch between these versions depending on the output need. Low detail versions should be extremely simple (just a bounding box that accurately depicts the shape and size) to prevent the duplication of information and the model growing too large. High detail versions can be temporarily switched for visualization and exporting to external applications. If the low quality model is not needed, you might instead include a type parameter that controls the visibility of the element.
10. Get performance advice
If you’ve followed all the tips thus far, make sure your software and hardware are also working at this level. HP Performance Advisor understands how to get the most from your hardware and software. It understands everything from the temperature of your computer, to your current GPU usage, to the RAM utilization of applications over the course of your workday. Using this information HP Performance Advisor can fine-tune your workstation without you needing to wait for help from the IT department. With one click it will identify and install the latest certified graphics drivers and optimize system and bios settings according to the software you are running. It also offers up a range of performance and diagnostic information that can help identify potential issues or areas for improvement. HP Performance Advisor is included with HP Z Workstations featuring Intel® Xeon® and Intel® Core™ processors. You can find out more at hp.com/go/performanceadvisor.