The importance of "clean" background drawings.

Many of the support calls we receive are to ask why FireCAD is so slow and/or why it does not respond quickly.

This type of issue almost always boils down to a two factors.

1. How much power does the computer have?

To answer this question, please search this support site for the topic "PC Requirements". You will be able to download a pdf document with our recommendations.

2. How much work are we asking the computer to do?

The structure of a project drawing (.dwg file) explained:

With most of the projects you will create using FireCAD, you will be using a building background .dwg file provided by your customer or one that you create yourself by converting a .pdf file.

In the case that you receive a .dwg file to use to depict the building background, remember that someone else created it. You, however, are now making it part of your project. 

In the same way that you should control the materials used if you are building a house, you should control the components of the project drawing you are creating.

Always check the background drawing for several obvious factors:

The size of the drawing.

Below is a screenshot of one of the most troublesome drawings we have seen.

The size of the this drawing is over 43 megabytes. In most cases, 10 megabytes will be an adequate size to depict even a highrise building in good enough detail to serve as a fire alarm system background.


The layer structure of the drawing.

Using the layer properties manager, look at the layers used in the drawing by whoever created it. If there are many "off" or "frozen" layers, chances are that they are not needed. It is good practice to delete these unneeded layers and all their content. This will reduce the drawing size and make it easier for your computer to handle the functions you need.


The organization of the drawing content.

Look at the model space of the drawing and zoom to the extents of that space. There are cases where we have done that and all the drawing content is reduced to a few tiny specks. This usually indicates that the drawing background creator was careless about where content was placed and did not concentrate it in an organized manner.

By organizing the drawing's content well you may be able to delete duplicated or unnecessary AutoCAD objects.


This view is after organizing the drawing's content into a more logical arrangement. We also exploded blocks and purged the drawing to reduce it's size by about half. 


Now we are ready to use this background to create our fire alarm layout without an unnecessary burden on the FireCAD software and on the computer hardware.

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