Best BIM Software


What do you think is the best BIM software in the terms of ease of use and compatibility ? I have been toying aroundwith Revit but I think it is difficult to implement on smaller scale, scattered sites, projects..I need something with consolidated timeline, and with "view only" software for reporting purposes..any ideas ?

Mar 28, 08 11:07 am

I'm using Graphisoft's Archicad for 5 years now and I'm pretty much impressed on how they expand their market share by collaborating with different IFC based sofwares and applications.

A lot of usefull add-ons have been included in their family tree like architerra, gia, and modeler.

Nov 8, 09 9:11 am

I'm using Graphisoft's Archicad for 5 years now and I'm pretty much impressed on how they expand their market share by collaborating with different IFC based sofwares and applications.

A lot of usefull add-ons have been included in their family tree like architerra, gia, and modeler.

Nov 8, 09 9:11 am
wurdan freo

Really depends on what you want to do. If you're talking about architectural production of construction documents, Revit, Microstation, and archicad are the best developed software programs for this. Revit can be installed as a viewer only for free and it can also be published to autodesk design review which is also free. I'm sure anti will be on here shortly telling you how Rhino will solve all of your problems and is the only choice, but when it comes to BIM software there is no holy grail.

I don't understand what scattered sites is referring to. Do you mean multiple offices? Not sure what you mean by consolidated timeline either.

Nov 8, 09 11:43 am

On Friday I sat in a lecture by someone from Gehry Technologies. Talking about the importance of fully understanding the process of architecture from design to construction.... Construction meaning knowing exctly how things will get assembled. Explaining the importance of a paperless approach - 3D instead of 2D. He talked alot about digital project....Calling it a complete BIM package being able to do it all.(at least thats how I interpreted it).

Was a very interesting presentation.

Digital Project seemed very intersting and very powerful.. of course this is just from what he said and presented.It would be nice to actually get to test and experiment with.

Nov 8, 09 2:52 pm

i don't think it really matters which software you use; Revit has things that ArchiCAD doesn't and vice-versa. . .

the best thing for being productive and accurate while using BIM is learning how a building actually needs to go together--(BIM) models can get so much more screwed up than 2D drawings when used by someone with little to no actual knowledge. Sloppy drafting is exponentially more damaging with BIM and using shortcuts (like using walls for beams instead of actual beams) defeats the purpose and promise of BIM.

another thing: BIM is 3D so there's no excuse to only draw/think in plan; ignoring the sectional properties/consequences of a proposed design.

I personally like Revit (my office is currently running it), and have tried ArchiCAD (and think it's overly complicated--layers aren't really necessary with BIM). Digital Project looks good, but it's incredibly expensive. All of these programs, though, require the right hardware and OS. As models get bigger/more complex you need a minimum of a 64bit OS and 4GB RAM (and probably 8GB) to be able to work on the model without pulling your hair out and getting thumb cramps from twiddling them whilst waiting for the model to load.

Nov 8, 09 4:24 pm

Quoting: "i don't think it really matters which software you use; Revit has things that ArchiCAD doesn't and vice-versa. . ."

I agree, it's really about learning how to use the software, I've heard for years how Revit only made sense if you were a large office doing huge projects with thousands of drawings and believed it until talking to a friend of mine who taught Revit workshops explain how (when the software was used properly) small projects were the best fit and where one could save the most time proportionately using Revit if only designers stopped using it like Rhino.

Nov 9, 09 9:59 am


Nov 9, 09 10:08 am

are these programs mac compatible?

Nov 9, 09 10:31 am

i can't imagine any office doing bim using mac since it's mainly utilized in massive projects that require severe coordination with consultants (eng=/=mac) last project i worked with bim was almost 2 mil sqft.

Nov 9, 09 11:10 am

we're a small office using Revit mainly on existing buildings--the largest one we're working on right now is the renovation of a 150k sf library…

BIM is useful for every size project as long as the people using it know how to use the tool and are well versed in how buildings go together.

BIM should not be used by someone fresh out of school for "real" projects--it's not the same as creating a 3D model for visualization and actually can cause major problems down the line

Nov 9, 09 4:59 pm

ArchiCAD and Vectorworks have native OSX versions.

Autodesk supports running Revit in either a bootcamp or Parallels configuration on mac hardware(my office is running it via bootcamp)

DP and Microstation are windows only?? Is there a linux version??

Nov 9, 09 5:04 pm

That sucks. Mac would kick PC's ass if every software was compatible without resorting to using programs that take up a lot of ram and costs extra. I

would totally buy a Mac for grad school, but alas the hassle and the costs are forcing me to buy a PC. I don't mind paying extra for the actual computer but the extra programming required to run windows application will push it over the edge for me. plus i'm weary of running heavy graphics program while running bootcamp and vmware at the same time. poop.

Nov 9, 09 6:19 pm
Cherith Cutestory

Will reiterate the point that Digital Project is extremely expensive and has a very steep learning curve that pretty much starts as soon as you open the program. Although it is without a doubt the most advanced BIM software available I think the reality is that only a small percentage of offices actually do the type of work that would require that hi-end of a software and even then most of those offices just work with GT as a consultant to do the BIM/documentation anyway.

Just start learning Revit as it seems like most offices have or in the process of going in this direction which is easy to understand since it's made by Autodesk. Not far enough along to be fair although I can see the benefit of using it for documentation purposes. I don't think I can wrap my head around being used as a design tool though.

In regards to the MAC discussion, aside from AutoCAD and Revit, just about everything else (in an academic setting) has Mac versions. You might want to double check with your program to see what software you will mostly be using before making a decision. I have both and I have to say that the performance boost on Adobe software with the Mac is almost worth the price alone.

Nov 9, 09 6:42 pm

yeah aren't those two programs pretty much the staple for architecture? If I were going into graphic design definitely mac all the way but that's not the case.

Nov 9, 09 7:05 pm

i don't recommend BIM or any rendering package on mac bootcamp, there are just way too many emulation going on that just slow everything down or crash. its has no problems for word processing or checking email, but when it comes to real computing power, what architect's need, u'll need a IT guy on call 24/7 or toss it in the trash. super expansive trash.

as far as BIM goes, Revit is great! of course i never used any other BIM package for longer than a year. other than picking an easier software to use, it is very important that the software you pick is some what of an industry standard. i used to love FormZ, but where are they now?

Nov 9, 09 7:13 pm

i have known people whom pick their career based on the computer brand they prefer...but remember its not what u use that make u cool, but what u can do with it.....

Nov 9, 09 7:17 pm
Cherith Cutestory

passerby 1ce:

In a professional setting, yes. But in an academic setting, depends. In my case I think I opened AutoCAD once or twice in 2.5 years of grad school. I primarily used Maya and Rhino for design and drawings and Adobe applications heavily for rendering clean-up, drawing clean-up for presentations, publications, etc. all of which can be done Mac or PC.

If I had gone to state school I would have used Sketch-Up, AutoCAD and Revit and instead of focusing on larger issues of design and fabrication would have done LEED certified stucco boxes with solar angles. Which I guess is ok for some people.

All in all, like I said it really depends on the school and program you are going to because not every graduate program is the same.

Nov 9, 09 7:19 pm

ArchiCAD is impressive but like Autodesk's REVIT it's price severely limits it being a serious contender for best BIM software. For the ease of use, and a fair reasonable price I would choose VectorWorks hands down

Nov 9, 09 7:35 pm
Distant Unicorn

I keep reading this as BM software and wondering why the hell Activa yogurt would need project management.

Nov 9, 09 7:45 pm

BIM softwares are mere tools not miracle workers. If the operator doesn't know how to utilize the program, or worst, the design itself sucks from day 1, then there's nothing any super computer can do about it.

It's how you plan and streamline the process that makes a difference. BIM editing can be time consuming but everything is all worth it when revisioning comes because you dont have to start all over again.

IFC makes it easier to transfer from one software format to another.

Nov 9, 09 8:21 pm

for the record: bootcamp is not emulation, you get full access to the hardware and in some cases (like with Maxwell) can run the Windows version of the software faster than on the Mac side. No more need for a 24/7 IT guy with bootcamp than with any other windows machine. It sounds like a scary thing, but it's actually pretty painless. Using a program like VMWare or parallels on OSX; however, IS emulation and does have limitations to the power that is available though things are getting better.

I also contest the general thinking that a mac is more expensive than a windows machine: I'm the computer guy at my firm and every time I've bought desktops in the past three years, macs have been around $1000 cheaper than windows machines with the same internals (this does not include "home built" machines). The reason they seem more expensive is that they start out with higher specs than the majority of windows machines.

If you're running BIM, you need a high-end machine or a hell of a lot of patience.

Another thing: Revit and IFC do not mix well. I'm currently pulling my hair out trying to get a good IFC import and have reached the point where cleaning up the IFC would equate to re-modeling the entire portion of the design. I've talked to Autodesk and other users--there's no real solution at this point. ArchiCAD is definitely better at handling IFC files than Revit, but if your entire consultant team is on a flavor of Revit it doesn't matter as they won't be able to use your model without some serious re-modeling.

Nov 9, 09 10:27 pm

It kind of amazes me that some grad schools don't spend too much time teaching/using Autocad or BIM software when those are the tools you'll be using in the real world. Boggles the mind.

I do plan to take some courses outside grad school though for autocad etc... Under the advice of one of the architects I spoke with, he said one of the best things he did to prepare for a career as an architect was take autocad courses at a local community college. Advice I plan on following.

I think Mac desktops are comparable in price with PCs and probably way better. Mac laptops are more expensive though right? which is what I'm looking to buy. I don't know, I'm no computer expert. I want something that will last with the least amount of headaches, which hardware/security and dependability wise I think mac would fulfill better than a PC. But software wise everything is PC, which sucks. I thought with bootcamp you'd either have to start with Windows or Mac. You can't run it on both at the same time and that to switch from one to another you'd have to restart. That's why they have that Vmware stuff? No?

Nov 10, 09 11:20 am

school don't teach cad because they do not build any buildings in studio. cad is essentially a communication tool between the designer and the builders but school is ultimatly about developing individual thoughts less about collaboration as a team to complete a job. any tools school uses are geared towards design, therefore technical abilities is secondary.

i actually saw a lecture by columbia prefessor & students about using revit as a analytical design tool in studio:
it was very interesting, but in the business of architecture, it would take a while before time and money can be spend on implementing design is such ways that would be feasible.

design is one thing, implementation or realization is another and school is focused on the first part where the work place need to focus more on the latter in order to continue its business.

lastly, check out my favorite apple ad:

Nov 10, 09 2:55 pm

^^^^that video is pretty funny. That was kind of the experience I had when they opened the new mac store in the city.
I'm looking for the best computer for the money that'll fulfill requirements for practicing architecture. Cool factor not part of the equation.

Nov 10, 09 3:55 pm

If you are not using Revit you are behind the 8 ball. All government purchasing of architectural services are asking for BIM deliverables for record keeping. Soon the rest of the industry will be requiring it. Get in know or the learning curve will be longer and larger. Does not matter what you  use is the end result that matters GIGO. If you  have not experienced how to build you won't know how to model. Go to the jobsite visit your designed projects get to know how is put together and then you will appreciate the use of the model.

Oct 15, 13 4:28 pm

FYI milton, GSA does not require BIM deliverables to be in a proprietary format like Revit files (GSA learned from their past mistake mandating DWG deliverables for CAD). GSA requires BIM files be delivered in IFC format, which is generic to all BIM software. So adopting BIM software is not just a "Revit" question. Revit is just one of many BIM platforms. Archicad, Gehry DPD, Bentley Architecture, etc. are others. They all use and create IFC files. You can even use Rhino and Sketchup in BIM-like fashion (this is not as hard or as weird as it sounds, though the IFC thing is more challenging).

Having said that, firms still using a primarily CAD-based documentation process are very close to finding their work as obsolete as hand drawing became once the CAD revolution was getting fully established. It's already getting difficult to find new graduates who know AutoCAD. Most younger architects are already working primarily in BIM.

Oct 15, 13 4:59 pm

Why did you revive this grave dead thread from 2009?

Oct 15, 13 10:18 pm

Why did you revive this grave dead thread from 2009?

Oct 15, 13 10:18 pm

It's almost Halloween, so I suppose necro-ing old threads and getting their shambling, zombified corpses re-animated is in keeping with the spirit of the holiday. Maybe that's why milton did it.

Oct 16, 13 4:36 pm

Either that or he's spamming for autodesk.

Oct 16, 13 4:46 pm

I was trying to be charitable ... but yeah.

Oct 16, 13 4:51 pm
Nadith Kalhara

Im searching what is the popular system developed for BIM in the world  such as grapghicsoft, autodesk.....

as a example somesays that in Australia revit has no much dominiant, it was taken by the archicad..........archicad is developed by the graphicsoft. so in Australia graphicsoft products are more popular according to the comments given by the people. Like wise i need to find out the popular system among the world.

can you help me to get an answer for that with reference??

Mar 31, 15 2:28 pm

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