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An overview of the main BIM simulation software in the construction industry

BIM simulation software: an overview of the main design software in the construction industry

New technologies have transformed radically the world over the last few decades and the construction industry is well positioning for technology disruption through new advances and adopting increasingly innovative solutions.

Specifically, BIM (Building Information Modeling) is highly impacting this sector presenting new opportunities for collaborative design methods at all stages of the architecture, engineering and construction processes (AEC sector). BIM allows you to optimize a building’s planning, construction and management phases thanks to the use of 3D virtual models that are software-generated and contain all the information on its elements.

popular BIM software for architectural design

Architectural model produced with Edificius

Current BIM simulation software includes a category of tools that enable virtual models simulating reality.

These models contain a multitude of information relating to the entire life of the facility from design to construction, operation, maintenance and dismissal.

The 3D model management by the different actors involved in the project will allow them to read all the information associated and to add data relating to their discipline and their type of intervention. hence decreasing the risk of data loss over time.

In this article I will explain how technology works to simulate reality in the various building disciplines and how you can optimize your work with different BIM software.

Digital Twin and IoT

In the construction industry it has always been necessary trying to reduce the errors of the design process in order to contain costs and implementation times.

In this regard, Digital Twins and the IoT come in as handy tools that are literally transforming the way of designing, managing and planning a building. Let’s take a closer look at what IoT and Digital Twins are and what are the benefits that you can get when adopting these technologies.

Digital Twin

The Digital Twin is the virtual replica of physical devices that you can use to run simulations in real time before actual devices are built or deployed. It is the result of a series of studies that are conducted on the actual building and which are designed to better control and manage its lifecycle. Basically, a digital twin is a virtual building containing all the information relating to the physical building receiving input from sensors gathering data fom a real-world counterpart.

Digital Twin BIM simulation software

Digital twin concept representation

The big potential of this technology is evident and its use can be countless being adopted for:

  • organization of more accurate maintenance interventions;
  • identification and prevention of any damage deriving from bad management or incorrect planning;
  • consumption control;
  • verification of the efficiency of the various systems (structural, plant engineering, thermal, etc.).

This list can only represent a part of the enormous potential that the use of the Digital Twin has in the construction world.
In fact, in addition to managing a single building, this system can also be applied to a set of buildings, in order to be able to better control and manage different aspects (such as emissions control, traffic management, etc).


The IoT (Internet of Things) represents a technology that allows you to connect objects via the network, allowing data exchange that is useful for monitoring a specific system. In brief, it is a system that connects the real world to the virtual world, allowing objects to communicate with each other and with humans.

To better understand the mechanism of this technology, just think of the sensors that are constantly connected, via the internet, to a computer that collects and processes data. This means that a given system is always under control and, therefore, targeted choices can be made to increase efficiency.

IoT representation with a BIM simulation software

IoT concept schema

In short, we can say that the IoT is a set of tools that allow us to detect and transmit data, while the Digital Twin is the result of processing such information.

Let’s imagine we need to check the energy efficiency of a building by controlling, for example, the heat transmission of the building envelope. In this case, sensors connected to the network (IoT) will be used to collect data and send it to a central computer, which be able to process them and associate them with a digital model (Digital Twin) for control and maintenance.

BIM simulation software for 3D design (3D BIM)

There are numerous software for BIM architectural simulation that allow to obtain the digital twin of a building in an easy manner.

Here are some popular software:

  • Edificius
  • Revit
  • Archicad
  • AllPlan

BIM simulation software for architectural design

Edifcius (that you can download at this link), incorporates advanced and validation tools allowing you to obtain excellent results and present your projects with great visual impact. In fact, it is a single solution that integrates:

  • 2D and 3D architectural design;
  • redevelopment of historic buildings;
  • filters for hand sketches;
  • BIM objects libraries;
  • photo-insertion and photo-editing;
  • video editing;
  • Real-Time rendering;
  • iVR (immersive virtual reality);
  • BIM voyager (online model sharing).
BIM architecture simulation

“Perspective” view in Edificius

Furthermore, you can take advantage of interoperability with other ACCA software (but also with other software houses), thanks to the IFC format direct integration.

In this way you can address all the aspects of design, such as:

  • structural calculation;
  • architectural design;
  • cost estimating;
  • health and safety;
  • energy performance and EPA analysis;
  • 3D graphics and modelling;
  • collaboration during BIM processes with BIM management platforms (CDE – Common Data Environment);
  • facility management (6D BIM).

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is a tool that allows you to simulate reality by giving you the opportunity to navigate through a 3D interactive and immersive environment in first person before the project is even implemented. VR techniques have the potential to enhance the effectiveness of all stages of a construction process.

You can take advantage of this technology:

  • during the project planning phase;
  • to review the work once completed;
  • to present ideas to your client.

Consequently, VR technology will improve your way of designing and drastically decrease design errors, costs and time.

iVR BIM simulation software

VR view in Edificius

The VR function in Edificius gives you the opportunity to take advantage of these potentials allowing you to:

  • experience the model in first person;
  • check it carefully also together with your client;
  • improve the project updating it in real time;
  • integrate the BIM model with AR (Augmented Reality) technology, increasing efficiency during facility maintenance phase.

Here you can download:

BIM simulation software, render and rendering

The term render refers to an image, the result of a complex calculation operation (rendering). In the construction sector, a render is mainly used in architectural design to:

  • have a complete project overview;
  • check possible inconsistencies with the designer and client’s choices;
  • deliver and present the project to the client.

There are many tools on the market that offer you the opportunity to get good results. The limitation are often the very long wait times and in the excessive resources’ utilization making the whole process not very efficient nor convenient.

render created with AIrBIM in Edificius

Render produced with the AIrBIM in Edificius

With Edificius you can operate in a rendering dedicated environment, where you can quickly and easily set all the parameters to obtain excellent results.

Thanks to the integration with the AMD Radeon ™ ProRender Ray Tracing Rendering Engine (produced in association with AMD), you can get maximum quality renders in just a few minutes. This system exploits the potential of Artificial Intelligence to eliminate all the defects of a partially rendered image, in order to significantly reduce renderization time and avoiding post-processing operations with other dedicated software.

The use of PBR textures (present in Edificius BIM object library) to be assigned to furnishings and objects guarantees better quality of the final result.

The advantages, therefore, are manifold:

  • simplicity in the use of settings;
  • calculation speed;
  • no loss in terms of quality of the render;
  • balancing the performance of your computer, with optimization of resources;
  • use of the most advanced materials (PBR).

Here you can download:

BIM simulation software for structural analysis

BIM simulation software are also very useful for structural calculation, as they allow a real simulation of the structural response of a building under certain load conditions, such as an earthquake.

The correct calculation of all the parameters that may affect the structure ensures a correct sizing, for example, of the reinforcement or the right amount of concrete to be used.

BIM structural simulation software

Steel structural model produced with EdiLus (ACCA software)

There are numerous software for BIM simulation for structural calculation. Some of the most popular are:

  • EdiLus
  • Revit structure
  • Tekla

Structural BIM simulation software

EdiLus (here is the download link) is the advanced BIM structural engineering solution in compliance with Eurocodes and relating national annexes.

BIM simulation software for cost analysis

In any type of project it is a fundamental practise to analyze costs and therefore assess all the expenses that affect the construction.

The aim in a cost estimation process is to establish a realistic overview of the total project costs. Even though tools and methods for taking uncertainty into account are implemented, projects with cost overruns are often seen.

PriMus, the BIM solution for construction estimating, planning and cost control, can help you to optimize construction cost management activities achieving excellent result in a short time and in a very easy manner.

cost estimating BIM software

Construction cost estimating example prepared with PriMus

BIM simulation software for work time scheduling

Time management (4D BIM) of a construction work can be one of the most challenging aspects of the entire construction process. With regard to control of execution times, BIM technology provides data that can be used by applications dedicated to work management, thus allowing to optimize the planning and management of the entire project and construction site execution operations.

BIM simulation software GANTT

GANTT structure in Edificius

In the GANTT section of Edificius you can manage all the aspects of project planning, management and time optimization in the various construction processes.

With this software you can:

  • check which activities are carried out and their respective execution times
  • develop analysis scenarios for specific activities and execution times
  • obtain a constantly updated overview of the progress of the processes as well as the relative timing
  • plan and manage your project with a 4D approach
  • create a timeline
  • visually analyze the projects in the various work sessions
  • apply changes.

Test the potential of this tool: