Whether you are an engineer or an architect, you will need building information modeling software (BIM) to manage your projects. A good BIM gives an insight into the conditions of the project from draft to finish.
When working on a construction project, you need to predict what the finished project will look like before any construction starts. BIM software gives you a 3D model in which you can see all the details of your project.
It does this feat through computer-aided design (CAD) to lay out the fine details of a building. Furthermore, you will gain insight into the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) aspects of your project.
A BIM software will be your best friend during the design phase, helping you decide the specifications of your future project. You will also refer to it during construction, as its accurate algorithms give you the data you need to build the actual structure.
Finally, after you complete the structure, you will need to refer to your 3D model on the BIM software to maintain the building.
Some software are better suited for commercial projects, and some are better for residential villas. In this article, I have listed and compared different best BIM software in the market today.
Building information modeling software is now essential for every construction project. It allows those involved in the construction process to map out the exact specifications of a building so it is built optimally.
Without the help of BIM software, engineers may construct a structure that is not safe. BIM software has built-in details about different materials and their load capacities, giving constructors details on how they should go about construction.
After the construction of a project is completed, all the details will be stored in the software to be used in the future for maintenance.
Since its onset, BIM software has come a long way. Now, you can work on a project simultaneously with other architects and engineers to collaborate together,
I think this is the best BIM software overall. It has stood the test of time and remains to be the most popular software among architects and engineers.
AutoCAD also deserves this position because it supports all devices. You can get the software on Windows and macOS, you can even download the app on your apple or android device.
Their libraries host 700,000+ industry-specific materials and objects for you to use. All this may be overwhelming, but after you get past the learning curve, this BIM software will become your best friend.
Because of its popularity, you will find that almost all architectural software plug-ins integrate well with AutoCAD.
Autodesk has many other products that have different solutions in architecture. I strongly suggest you visit their page and see which products you think you will need the most.
- Plenty of industry-specific toolsets.
- Supports all operating systems
- Ease of integration with plug-ins
- Large community to find learning material
AutoCAD has different pricing options depending on the payment intervals you choose:
- $5,315 every 3 years
- $1,865 per year
- $235 per month
Revit is a BIM software that has very advanced rendering capabilities. The rendering software it has is catered towards building manufacturing so you can rest assured that your projects will look exquisite on Revit.
Any changes made by one individual on a product will be visible to all other team members. This delivers reliability, through effective communication and coordination.
Because Revit is an Autodesk product, you will easily be able to integrate your projects with all of their products.
Learning how to use Revit can be a time-consuming process. It is built for professionals that require pinpoint detail on every square inch of their projects.
Once you master using Revit BIM software, you will be amazed at what you can do. Renderings change in real-time as changes are made so you constantly have an up-to-date illustration of your building.
- Highly effective team coordination
- Seamless integrations with Autodesk products
- Powerful rendering
Revit has different pricing options depending on the payment intervals you choose:
- $7,625 every 3 years
- $2,675 per year
- $335 per month
When using the Tremble Connect software, you will be able to assign different team members to play different roles in a project. Thus, lowering the possibility of any redundant work being done and increasing team efficiency.
Trimble Connect offers a cloud-based solution for team management. This is great for when you hire contractors for the job. Electricians, plumbers, and all those working on the project will be able to connect on one platform
The focus on collaboration has its drawbacks. For example, the software sacrifices some of the advanced design features that AutoCAD and Revit have.
Overall, Trimble Connect is an amazing tool for those who want to work with big teams on construction projects. It helps keep all the data centralized and easy to access for all.
- Real-time team collaboration
- Secure cloud system
- Easily coordinate with contractors
- Free personal account
- Personal – Free
- Business – $12.99 per user per month
- Business Premium – $23.95 per user per year
At heart, Autodesk BIM 360 focuses on connecting what happens on the field with managers and designers in the office. Thus making it great for coordination.
This BIM software is Autodesk’s approach to cloud-based software for coordination. It has all you expect from BIM software, including 2D and 3D modeling. Whilst also providing a cloud solution for team management.
You might have noticed that I have lusted 3 of Autodesk’s products already. The Autodesk ecosystem is great to work with as all of their software has seamless integration. It is somewhat like an Apple ecosystem.
However, with Autodesk, you are always able to install and use multiple third-party plug-ins to cater to your exact architectural needs.
- Cloud-based team management
- Great for working in teams
- The whole team needs to be familiar with the software
Autodesk BIM 360 has a free trial, if you want to get the full software, you need to get a quote.
Just like BIM 360, Navisworks focuses on team coordination and management. This software is being overtaken by BIM 360 at the moment.
Navisworks also is an Autodesk product and integrates with BIM 360 to simulate your digital plant designs and concepts into a single model.
Here, the focus is more on simulating the outcomes of your designs. Navisworks has a multitude of features for you to input the specifications of your project and see a realistic outcome of your efforts.
By using a software like Navisworks, you will massively reduce the risk of re-construction and miscalculations. You can see from day one how your project will align with your envision.
- Blueprint simulation
- Centralized models with all inputs
- Clash detection to remove redundancy
Navisworks has different pricing options depending on the payment intervals you choose:
- $2,905 every 3 years
- $1,020 per year
- $130 per month
Vectorworks architect is designed for architects to be able to show off their creativity in building design. It specializes in conceptualizing aesthetically pleasing designs for your works.
As an architect, the possibilities with this BIM software are endless. Whatever it is on your mind can be sketched on this software.
Your wildest creativity can be designed and made realistic through Vectorwork’s software. It will analyze the feasibility of your project based on the dimensions and materials used.
The last thing you would want is to sketch an amazing idea and to find out it simply cannot be built. Vectorworks makes sure that what you input into the software can be brought to real-life
- Visually appealing designs
- Designed for architects
- Easy to use
- Perpetual license – $3,300 for life
- Subscription – $153 per month
Tekla Structures’ focus point is assessing the engineering aspect of a project. It looks into the nitty-gritty of the project and provides insights into construction materials.
Having your project in this BIM software shows you the dynamic of how your materials will coexist. Steel has historically been the focal point of Tekla but now is more integrated with materials like concrete and wood.
Because of its focus on these materials, it gives up some capabilities in design and if that is what you are looking for, I suggest you choose a different BIM software.
- Realistic illustration of materials
- Designed specifically for engineering
You will have to request a quote from Tekla structures to find the pricing package that suits you.
In general, you want to maximize the productivity of the money you spend on BIM software. The software I have listed has extensive features for you to work with.
You should always stick to the BIM software that suits your specific needs. If you are an architect and need something for designing a project, you should use Revit, which is the pinnacle of rendering software for architects.
BIM software will always be at your side throughout the lifetime of your projects. From the design phase until maintenance. It can help visualize the MEP components of your project to give those contractors a clear image of what they are supposed to do.
Working in teams means you need BIM software to avoid clashes in decision-making. You all want to be on the same page at every phase of the project.
Overall, I think AutoCAD is the best BIM software because of how intuitive it is. It is an Autodesk product so there is no shortage of features catered to your specific needs. Its long history and large community make it easier for you and your team to familiarise themselves with the platform.