ArchiCAD to SketchUp - Best Practices


Hello everyone! I am a longtime user (@last days) however I am not familiar with importing ArchiCAD(AC) models into SketchUp(SU). I have searched around the forums but I cant seem to find good strategies for exporting files from AC into SU. My hope is that someone on the forums has some tried and true strategies for bringing AC models into SU.

Here is our workflow issue: We are an architectural firm. We have 1 schematic designer that only designs in ArchiCAD. The designer exports out a model for our department (ArchViz) to render out. We import his model into SketchUp and prepare the model for rendering out to either Vray or Lumion.

The problem starts when we have to tweak his models (98% of the time). We have tried having him export to several formats (skp, dwg, ifc) So far the cleanest is dwg but we lose a lot of the functionality of components as they are all unique.

We would love some advice on this process. Thanks!


This is not primarily an Archicad forum, but according to their website, Lumion has an export plugin that works directly from Archicad. Have you tried that?

I would perhaps prefer to export directly to .skp if I had to get things from Archicad to SU, even if I have found in my trials that it tends to create, for some obscure reason, a lot of overlapping/z-fighting faces.

I have found .ifc to be currently the best format for getting SketchUp files imported into Archicad. Again, for some reason that I don’t understand, curved surfaces imported via .ifc are smoothed while those imported via .skp show all their edges so in plans and sections they look a mess.


Thanks Anssi. However in our office we currently have only one person using ArchiCAD and we are trying to get him out of it and into SketchUp full time. In the meantime we are stuck with only exports from ArchiCAD into Sketchup. So our workflow must be from ArchiCad the import to SketchUp. So I am looking for a solution to that. Unfortunately the exports we are getting from ArchiCAD as skp files are total fails as everything in the model seems to be basically exploded. This means that making changes or even small tweaks end up taking us hours.


I was about to ask a similar question, except for me it’s not a routine process, but a one off gig, at least at the moment. The AC model is from probably version 8 or so, but I don’t know yet. I’m probably going to need help from someone who can open the file and export it for me as the last version I had of AC was 8.


Is your model saved as an archive (.pla) or only as a .pln file? In the latter case, you will also need to locate and load the object libraries that were used when the model was created. Very old library objects may not work with recent versions of Archicad.