Which architecture software should I be using? Should I use BIM or CAD

There are so many options available and cost effectiveness is my priority, so I want to make sure I make the right choice.

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Answers (38)

Fernando, Architect • 2016

The day I tried the Archicad, never had doubts. I never found any cad more complete to architectural design and build software. It's super full

Cari, Architect • 2016

BIM doesn't = Revit. BIM systems can produce efficiency in ways that are difficult to measure, i.e. problems that don't happen because modeling in 3D forces you to think through issues more thoroughly than a 2D CAD solution. Downside: BIM solutions are more complicated to manage and learn and typ. req. more effort earlier in the project to produce a useful result... Upside: the client may actually get the design instead of sort of getting it. Your objective matters. If all you want is to crank out work and it doesn't matter much whether your client gets it, i.e. they don't really care, then maybe 2D is the best solution. If you're a growing firm and you start w/2D... no shame. But, if you want the best solution for your clients and your design process, then BIM. And do your homework.
Check out these links:
Most people prefer the one they learned first... so choose wisely...

Jonathan • 2016


Pierre V • 2016

Cari. The lesson for all is that BIM is the Process and Revit (or any other ) is the Platform. If Cari Matson, uses CAD and manages the more high level elements of the application then she will have a better opportunity to grasp the change of mindset required. Its important for any Autocad user to ask why they don't use AutoCAD Architecture (if architects) to get an idea of the Information/Intelligence available.

Rob, Architect • 2016

I've worked in both Revit "AND" Archicad (Archicad 10 years+/Revit little over a year) in a production and design mode and they both have their pros and cons.
Revit = the GUI sucks. but has some nice features. no layers to deal with. lineweights can be easily adjusted on elevations, sections, etc. kinda like just pick the "line" in elevation and make it thicker or dashed or whatever.
Revit's project navigator and how the sheets are setup are atrocious.
Revit, when you try to make doors you'll need to load "families" of objects where Archicad it's just pick and door and change it's parameters....that's it.
Archicad is more "streamlined".
Think of Archicad as drive a smooth BMW 7 series and Revit as driving a Ford F350. Both will get you were you want to go. Just depends on how you like the drive.

Philip, Architect • 2016

We use ARCHICAD (19) for everything from converting laser scans of sites and streets into BIM models to the automation of shop drawings for controlling machine tools, straight from our ArchiCAD BIM models. We like it also because we are not shackled to one and one only operating system and type of computing hardware, as products like Revit and Microstation are at present. We view the design of buildings in a similar fashion to aerospace, automotive and consumer electronics product design companies (Boeing, Tesla, Apple, Braun etc.). Thus we are only interested in BIM systems, which allow us to simulate the physical performance and cost footprints of built environments from the earliest stages in a project's evolution. ARCHICAD gives us this significant capability.

Clare • 2016

Revit is popular for one reason only - aggressive marketing by AutoDesk. If Graphisoft had pushed as strongly, and of course, been as big as AutoDesk, ArchiCAD and not Revit would be the standard today. As soon as I saw Revit I thought, that's just like ArchiCAD!

BIM is a concept - it's not ArchiCAD or Revit or Navisworks, or any of the programs we all know in the Built Environment. BIM is about collaboration, how the experts in every discipline use their software and their knowledge to create a working and, as perfect as is possible, model before it is actually built. People and software both need to be able to integrate/talk to each other to work

pablo, Architect • 2016


marcelogmorim • 2016

@cari.carothers, I'm fully with you, I do the whole design, visualization and documentation in ARCHICAD...

Neil • 2016

I would recommend going with an application that can do 2D/3D and BIM, in any combination you need. That way, you can keep some things simple (2D) or model & figure out your project's needs early with 3D/BIM. The best application for this, considering capabilities and price, is Vectorworks.

Personally, I started with 2D and have moved to 3D/BIM. It's fairly easy to learn with Vectorworks. I actually find doing 3D/BIM is now far faster than drawing with plain old lines, and EASILY what I produce is more accurate and coordinated.

Neil • 2016

Lots of Archicad fans here, which is something of a rarity from my experience. I've heard (mostly here) that it's good. I'll take a look.

How much does Archicad cost, by the way? (for a full version, not some Lite or LT version?)

And incidentally, AllPlan = Vectorworks. It seems to just have a different name in some markets.

Cari, Architect • 2016

Roland, you made me laugh... ;) Neil, I can't speak for Revit, but ArchiCAD does both 2D and 3D. I suspect Revit does as well. The coordination issue is a real one. I'm just finishing up a drawing set done half in ArchiCAD and half in AutoCAD. what a nightmare... Looking for applicants that know ArchiCAD...

Roland • 2016

I love Revit.

Kero, Architect • 2016

It depends on few things I guess; budget, cost, project type and size, number of team member, and software you used etc.

Saeed, Architect • 2016

cad is dead?? r u sure ??i'm not agree but i think revit is useful thesedays and very cconfort

Philip, Architect • 2016

@sagar-thorat. ArchiCAD is in fact mis-named in my view. We use it for everything we do and our approach is heavy on the engineering, building physics and multi-disciplinary design. Its not just for architects. I often refer to ArchiCAD by its company's name - Graphisoft - because it is in fact an amazing multi-disciplinary BIM system for which the moniker "Archicad" can cause some professionals and others to completely misconstrue its power and capabilities.

sagar, Architect • 2016

I am quite inclined to BIM, but software is simply a medium. It's more of a project requirement than individual.
Until today have coordinated about 12 mil sqft of projects in Revit. Never required archicad. As we were doing multi discipline and not just archi.

Peter, Architect • 2016

Used Archicad for 10 years.......intergrating with C4D........able to design in both 2 and 3D.......I'm a landscape designer and often work with Revit designers....able to seamlessly import files using IFC.......I cant get this reverse integration with the Autocad suite

Philip, Architect • 2016

@neil-barman. Answering your question re ARCHICAD. I don't have the most up to date numbers but our original full commercial license with MEP and EcoDesigner Star was around $4,500 but that may well have changed. We have purchased ARCHIPLUS which is an annual fee per seat that gives us access to all updates, fixes and new versions as they are released.

The value of ARCHICAD for us is many, many times more than the license fees. Is it perfect - of course not - what BIM system is? But the graphisoft team obviously have some stellar minds at work making the product better and better with each release plus their connection with users is very good - we have found.

We did look at Allplan, which appears to have some very nice features. But it is a windows-only solution, which for us is a lot more costly and a lot less reliable than our OS X infrastructure.

thomas • 2016

I'm been speaking to our Solidworks team and they say 3D Solidwork can be saved as a BIM file suitable for use in Revit BIM systems so as a supplier you can give the design team the information they need which is a start.

Fbio, Architect • 2016


MohammadReza • 2016

Dear friends, I have the experience of learning Revit at first, and then started to use ArchiCAD for my Projects. As a matter of fact, ArchiCAD is much more user friendly yet more powerful.

Fbio, Architect • 2016

ArchiCAD is true BIM... revit is ridiculous (interoperability)

Steve, Architect • 2016

The question shows the confusion, we draw in CAD, and use BIM to add data and rules as Building information modelling, and share that data and use it outside the CAD package as Building Information management. The fact that BIM has, or is forcing us to use a particular style of drawing using objects full of data, is hardly surprising and often give rise to the confusion, "I am drawing with BIM:.

I for one like Vectorworks, it allows me to draw in a way I like, plus it has all the BIM capabilities I need, , I think Revit is far to complicated, and controlling, Archicad has alway been a leader in 3D style drawing, and Sketchup is, well interesting, now Trimble have control, one to watch. But please see the difference, CAD uses BIM

Vinicius, Engineer • 2016

I use Revit! CAD is dead, now is the time of BIM

Rennie, Architectural Draftsperson • 2017

Bad question - Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process which software with the capacity to do so is used to create. Personally I do BIM and I use Revit software to do it with. But not every Revit project is BIM; level of information required dictates to large extent.

Eng • 2016

you can used a revit architecture with lumion rendering software, because you can take sections, elevation,plan with every detailing exporting and importing to atocade.
revit is from cad family aswel.

Adrean • 2016

I use Chief Architect and love it. Easy to use to get quick Elevations, 3D Perspectives, Presentation Views, Blueprints, Schedules, etc. https://www.chiefarchitect.com/products/samples.html

Rick, Architect • 2016

BIM is a process not one particular program. Get with the program people, literally. REVIT is the 1st tool in your BIM toolbox. GUI is bar none and I have proof in the classroom and the office. So many students and firms have worked with other BIM tools and all fall short. I switched from Teaching Vectorworks in 2009 and never looked back. AutoCAD Architecture tried for many years to accomplish what Revit excels at today. I don't listen to marketing hype and trust me I've heard much blah blah from re-sellers over the years but I at the same time I do understand that they are not users. If you would like to discuss further with a full time user email me at [email protected]. Thank you.

Ryan • 2016

PlusSpec for Sketchup worth checking out.

Yevgen • 2016

I have been using first MicroStation, later Bentley architecture and now Bentley AECOsim for 20 years as an architect and can compare it with ArchiCad. Bentley give me a full freedom from sketch to detailed documentation, visualization, animation and a lot of other functions. If someone have any questions, please be free and write to me by E-mail: [email protected]

Ryan • 2016

Peter www.constructionsoftwareaustralia.com.au
BIM has become the buzz word for the industry. Virtual Design in its true form, using real manufactures products that create 3D quantifiable models for feasibility is a whole different ball game. Before you decide on a program consider Plusspec from Australian Software company Rubysketch. Rubysketch has just won the prestigious award for customer service and are finalists for Australian Technology of the year award.
Also read. (Deborah Singerman Article: Why Architects and Designers are making the switch from Revit to PlusSpec 3D software)

SHAFEEQ, Student • 2016


Vectorworks is one of the best solution out there, is inexpensive yet powerful, more flexible than his counterparts.

George, Architect • 2016

All BIM Software is good and all have their advantages and disadvantages (or strengths and weakneses)
I personally Like AllPlan as it offers a very fine blend of 3d and 2d and can perfectly intergrate the two very easily. I also like the fact that it provides very strong 3d tools for use that can be converted into Building elements.

Roland • 2016

Can we agree that CAD systems aid in the design, creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a well-coordinated and constructible.Building Information Model?

Elton, Architect • 2016

This was a long time question for me. So thank you all that helped me make a decision!

James, Architect • 2016

Thanks all. really helpful