BIM architecture software: features, functions and benefits of powerful BIM tools for designers
BIM architecture software provide AEC professionals the insight and tools to more effectively manage and optimize design processes.
In this article I’ll review some of the most common BIM software for architecture and their main features. You will also find you some useful links to free test-run various software trial versions.
Let’s start off with briefly explaining what a BIM software for architecture is and how it can increase productivity and improve the quality of your work.
Why using a BIM software for architecture?
The evolution of the architectural representation method has enabled the transition from manual drawing to CAD and later to the development of BIM, changing the conventional structure design processes.
What is BIM? And why using a BIM software for architecture?
First of all, in order to understand the advantages that BIM technology brings to the construction industry, it is necessary to highlight the differences with traditional representation methods.
Building Information Modelling is the next step in the development of computer-aided design, whereas designing with CAD tools can be defined as a process that is limited to the graphic representation of a project through 2D or 3D drawings. The BIM design, on the other hand, does not simply reproduce visual information (renderings, drawings, real time videos, etc.) but it allows you to build a virtual model to which you can assign data and information. The information associated to the model can be of different nature and varies according to the project objectives and the building’s life cycle: from the concept phase to its dismissal. For each BIM object (walls, floors, windows, etc.) it is possible to associate geometric information (thickness, width, height, surface, etc.) but also non-geometric information (thermal transmittance, acoustic insulation, physical and environmental performance, costs, etc.).
BIM has been developed to meet the growing needs of reducing the risk of errors and optimize costs and times relating to construction design, execution, management and dismissal. In practice, the BIM methodology requires collaboration between designers and interoperability between different authoring software.
The current BIM software market offers us many opportunities for choice as to which tool we are going to use. The majority of popular BIM programs save the results in the open IFC (Industry Foundation Class) format, to ensure interoperability between the various disciplines and project data storage.
It goes without saying that BIM is the future of design anf facility management!
Let’s take a closer look at what are some of the most popular software currently used by technicians, what are their requirements and main features.
Most common BIM software for architecture
Here are some of the most popular BIM software for architecture:
Edificius, the 3D BIM software for architecture
Edificius is the software that integrates all the aspects of design in a single solution:
- 3D architectural design
- 2D architectural design with integrated CAD
- interior design
- interventions on existing buildings
- project visualization (architectural visualization)
- garden design
- landscape design
- MEP systems modelling
- work scheduling (4D BIM)
- data extraction from the BIM model and calculation (5D BIM).
In addition, the IFC import and export function enables a seamless integration with other BIM software for architecture and various disciplines.
Here are some interesting features relating to project visualization and presentation:
- the ability to navigate the model with Real Time Rendering (RTBIM) view
- model navigation in virtual reality (VRi BIM)
- production of static renderings with the new AMD Radeon ™ ProRender Ray Tracing Rendering Engine, which uses Artificial Intelligence to produce very high-quality renders, in a short time
- photo retouching and photo insertion
- tools for video editing.
Although Edificius offers many functions to users, their feedbacks frequently report its simplicity of use and to learn.
For more info, have a look at the ACCA software page dedicated to Edificius.
BIM software Edificius for free
Download Edificius full Trial version for a thirty-day free test-run.
Edificius download for students and teachers
ACCA software collaborates with many universities and research centers worldwide providing unlimited access to solutions and services designed to fit the learning environment. Edificius Educational full software version is available for students, teachers and educational institutions.
Software and services subject to an Educational license may be used solely for Educational Purposes.
You will need to register an account to download and install it providing adequate references of your School, University, Training Organization or Training Course to prove your student/teacher status.
The Educational licenses can be extended after it expires simply by reconfirming your personal data and enrollment proof in order to continue taking advantage of the ACCA Educational software.
The Revit software is designed to have a single and specific multidisciplinary BIM platform that enables a building’s entire life cycle from construction to management.
It is a software through which is possible to have a full and faithful example of reality thanks to three-dimensional elements, axonometric and perspective, without the slightest mistake.
The program main features and functionalities are:
- the perception of reality as faithful as possible through the use of intelligent tools;
- the possibility of obtaining realistic three-dimensional drawings achieving results that would otherwise be impossible to obtain with manual drawings;
- a fourth dimension which allows you to manage and set the time phases.
Archicad allows architects to manage the entire building life cycle. The tools integrated in the Archicad software enables architects to model faster and create an accurate model with wall partitions, doors, windows and furnishings. As a collaboration platform it allows technical experts to consult all the documents necessary for the implementation of a project. AEC professionals can also make changes immediately visible to the other team players. It is suitable for both small-scale construction projects and much more complex projects.
The main features offered by Archicad are:
- files import and export in different formats for compatibility with other BIM architecture software
- remote connection from the latest Archicad version
- object library (wall, slab, roof, window, door, furniture, etc.)
- advanced modelling tools
- centralization of all project documents such as plans, sections, 3D model
- 2D tools
- 3D modelling software
- possibility of working from an existing building data, in particular for building renovation projects
- team coordination
- reduced response time
- management of the attributes and of the label marking lines
- viewing angle settings.
Allplan 2020 is an Open BIM solution for architects and engineers working in construction and infrastructure that focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration and 3D modelling. The new version helps architects to model stairs and roofs, but also complex shapes, thanks to the recent Visual Scripting integration.
Some main software features are:
- BIM-based design: Allplan allows you to build virtually first and then in reality, indicating any errors and conflicts that can be recognized and resolved early during the design phase, avoiding delays in construction,
- Freedom in design: the powerful Parasolid 3D modeling engine from Siemens PLM Software integrated in Allplan offers great freedom in the creation of 3D models of any complexity,
- High level visualization: the Maxon CineRender engine integrated in Allplan allows you to create high quality visualizations intuitively and efficiently.
Software BIM download
Below you can find a project example produced with Edificius, the architectural BIM design software.