BIM Modeling : Revit vs Archicad
Updated: Mar 11
The reason for this post is to address a frequent question raised by young engineers, namely what is the best parametric BIM software. This post aims to answer that question, beginning from an understanding of Building Information Modelling (BIM) (parametric design).
BIM is a new design and construction process based on a digital parametric model that integrates graphics and information, which enables the automatic production of plans, reports, design analysis and programming.
The term BIM was first introduced around 1980, as a result of several companies’ efforts to create a database for the digital model. The user creates the parametric model while working simultaneously on the 2D and 3D models. While the digital model develops, all 2D and 3D plans of the model are updated. BIM also allows the direct collaboration of engineers at all stages of the design process. In addition, BIM decreases the workflow time required from design to construction. As a result, a database of the actual building is created, that allows the user to keep track of the systems of the building during its lifecycle.
Today, there is a variety of BIM software in the global market such as Allplan, Vectorworks, Bentley, IntelliCAD, RhinoBIM and Nemetschek. The two most well-known programs in America and Europe are Revit and ArchiCAD.
ArchiCAD was first introduced in 1982 by a company in Budapest called Graphisoft, which was the first BIM software available for commercial use. Until 2000, BIM was used in small projects and through a series of improvements and additions, like GDL objects and Cinema 4D Render engine, ArchiCAD became competitive and nowadays has thousands of users across the world.
Revit is owned by Autodesk, the US company that popularised CAD (computer-aided design) via AutoCAD. Autodesk created the first formal edition of Revit in 2002, while a series of subsequent editions aimed to improve the digital representation and simulation of the building in an efficient manner. RFA objects, Autodesk Raytracer (ART) engine and cloud rendering established Revit in the construction sector, where it is now widely utilised by engineers globally.
Revit versus ArchiCAD
Revit or ArchiCAD? Which software should I use and why?What is better PC or Mac?
It is the same type of question.
There are numerous questions and debates concerning Revit versus ArchiCAD. Both are sophisticated software of BIM technology and they equally have advantages and disadvantages.
The most important factor in the relationship between humans and software, and computers generally, is that numbers are less important than human perception.
To a large extent, the effectiveness of software is based on the user and his/her knowledge of the software. Accordingly, there is no definitive answer as to which software is best. The latest editions of ArchiCAD and Revit both perform whatever is requested.
Nevertheless, the GDL objects experienced user will always feel more comfortable with the ArchiCAD interface. A different approach is adopted by Revit software so experts in Revit are likely to be more attracted to this interface.
To address the question of which software is better, it is vital to consider:
to whom you are addressing the question, and
which interface appears most friendly to the future user.
Both software evolve each year in order to remedy failures and malfunctions. A good idea is to download the demo versions of both software and experiment with the interfaces. Basic similarities and differences are evident between the two software. Below are key features to provide an overview for future users:
Both software simulate the digital model that integrates information for all elements of the design.
Views, plans and sections are created automatically and upgraded with every change to the model.
Both have a level of complexity in design geometry.
Range: Revit is software of global scope (Europe – America) and is owned by the colossus Autodesk, while ArchiCAD belongs to Graphisoft and is popular in Europe.
Learning: Revit has a more composed structure that requires additional time to understand and learn (e.g. multiple windows processing) compared to ArchiCAD that is more functional and user friendly.
Design freedom: Revit has more design autonomy and ease on the parametric design of elements compared to ArchiCAD.
3D view: In Revit, the 3D display is axonometric while in ArchiCAD both axonometric and perspective views are possible, which provides more freedom to peruse the model.
File size: The files in Revit are larger than in ArchiCAD and especially for more complex applications.
Resources: Since Revit belongs to Autodesk it has more support with tutorials, add-ons, resources and e-books when compared to ArchiCAD.
Additionally, there is a list below identifying forums and blogs that compare Revit and ArchiCAD. Investigate these further and it is clear that users prefer either one or the other. Ultimately, the final decision is a personal choice.
Panagiotidou Nicoleta, BIM specialist for Breakwithanarchitect
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