Modern architecture at a bay by Tristan Tan
Contrary to popular assumption, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is not a software. Having said that, software is a vital part of the BIM process, whether we’re talking scan to BIM, Revit modeling, or clash detection. And so, we come to the next natural question: which software is used for BIM?
There is no shortage of software that cater to BIM. A report shows that the market for BIM software is set to grow by 8.38 billion USD between 2021 and 2025 at a CAGR of 24%. Having said that, the best BIM software for your company will depend on your goals and projects.
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BIM software enables modeling for designing and managing buildings and infrastructure. With it, you can get a 3D representation of a structure, including its functional properties.
Currently BIM technology is indispensable for the AEC industry, as it allows all stakeholders to collaborate smoothly during projects, reducing both risks and costs. BIM is quickly becoming a standard to aspire to in construction projects.
Indeed, the use of BIM methodology has been made compulsory for certain kinds of projects in various countries or parts of countries, including the UK, Switzerland, Germany, the US, and Sweden.
The best BIM software will cater to your specific needs. Some BIM software are developed for specific industries, while others boast advanced functions.
Your organization will need to account for company size, building design and project lifecycle. Additionally, you will need to gain an understanding of the BIM software’s value, features and ease of use.
Note that, inevitably, there will be some overlap with the best architectural rendering software. However, those software are not necessarily geared for BIM.
That being said, let’s dive into our compilation of the best BIM software.
Come on, you knew this one was coming.
If you want a comprehensive BIM and construction management platform, look no further than Autodesk. Revit itself spans a broad array of users, from project managers to designers to architects.
- Autodesk Revit is centered around values and data.
- Offers vast flexibility to create and modify content.
- Includes Dynamo, a powerful graphical programming engine, which enables even inexperienced users to develop complex geometries and carry out data-based tasks.
- Can export, import and link data in commonly used file formats such as DWG, DGN and IFC.
- Streamlined collaboration thanks to centrally shared models.
Note that Autodesk has also created a cloud ecosystem called BIM 360 for construction data management.
Commonly called the Swiss army knife of BIM software, ARCHICAD is used by urban planners, architects, designers and interior designers.
- Intuitive productivity and workflow tools to make designing and planning simple. Hence, a more accessible software for beginners.
- Open BIM, so can read and write BIM data in vendor-neutral format (IFC), which allows for smooth data exchange with other partners regardless of their design tools.
- Provides accurate cost estimates and precise construction documentation.
- Can render 3D models of anything from an entire university campus to a quaint country garden.
- Create flexible and intelligent objects that are more than just data containers.
- Effective visualization features and content creation.
Is your company centered on creatives and designers? Vectorworks Architect is probably for you. While it does not offer the all-in-one project and construction management capabilities of some other BIM software, there are reasons why it’s so popular.
- A focus on design, with some of the best documentation, modeling and drafting capabilities of any BIM software in the market.
- Stands apart with advanced 3D modeling – even design purists will be satisfied with the tools.
- Vectorworks also offers other products that work with Architect, including software for industrial lighting, construction site mapping and entertainment venues.
Navisworks, also called Navis, is a project review and management software. It offers advanced tools for 5D analysis, spatial coordination and interference analysis.
- Can combine multidisciplinary design data created in a wide range of BIM, process plant design, and digital prototype into a single integrated model.
- Anticipate and minimize potential problems before construction begins with interference management tools.
- Navisworks Freedom is available for free with limited features, while Navisworks Manage and Navisworks Simulate offer advanced features.
BIMx is a set of mobile and desktop software tools to create interactive 3D and 2D documentation of BIM models. The mobile application, BIMx Mobile, is available for free on iOS and Android.
- Features BIMx Hyper-model, which is a navigation tool that helps users explore the building model and comprehend project deliverables.
- Good for presenting plans to contractors or clients.
- BIMx PRO add-on starts at 49.99 USD and provides access to features such as Smart 3D and 2D Measure, Google Cloud Print, AirPrint and integration with external databases.
Is your company’s specialty structural and civil engineering? Then you want to consider Tekla Structures.
Tekla Structures contains a suite of model-based software for construction and engineering and allows engineers and designers to develop 3D models that incorporate various building materials.
- Tekla Structures was developed by Trimble and based on XSteel, a steel structural modeling software. Trimble has maintained architectural design and steel at the heart of Tekla Structures, and incorporated concrete, glass, wood and other building materials.
- Good for industrial projects of a large scale that require management of construction resources and materials.
- Can design projects ranging from airports to bridges to mega malls. A solid choice for contractors, structural engineers, and steel & concrete fabricators.
We hope this list has helped you determine the best BIM software for your next project. As for the future, as the AEC industry grows and innovates, new BIM software will become available that makes your work even smoother than before.
But of course, easier (and cheaper) than buying any of these software and using them on your own is getting someone else to do the work for you. You and your employees can focus on running your business and high-priority tasks, while our BIM engineers take care of all your BIM needs.
We provide BIM modeling services to large architectural and engineering companies, general contractors, design build contractors, MEP engineers, civil engineers, MEP subtraders and HVAC subtraders.
All set to make your next construction or renovation project a success with high-quality BIM services? Contact us now!
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