Architecture software is a term that encompasses a great deal of different applications and solutions, from full-scale 3D modeling software to a mobile application that can calculate the energy efficiency of a structure based on the way the sunlight lands on it. It is the main reason why architecture software is often referred to as an “umbrella term” – a single term representing many different software types.
Additionally, many solutions that fall under the “architecture software” banner may have features that overlap with their competitors, especially when it comes to drawing a line between a CAD solution and a BIM solution. With a software market as competitive as the CAD/BIM one, it can be extremely difficult to find a single solution for a specific company’s needs and use cases.
To make this particular process easier, it is always helpful to learn basic information about both CAD and BIM, since these solutions represent most of the market. There is plenty of confusion around BIM and its relation to CAD, plenty of people seem to think that all CAD software can also be called BIM software. That is an incorrect assumption, because there are plenty of BIM solutions that lack the ability to modify CAD models in any way – and yet they are still classified as BIM solutions.
CAD is Computer-Aided Design, it is a sophisticated process that combines a specialized software and a workstation-level hardware to either create or modify project designs. It can be performed in either 2D or 3D, and it is a lot older as a technology when compared with BIM. CAD solutions have been the primary software for project visualization tasks for decades now, and they usually specialize in offering a very long list of specialized 2D/3D modeling features.
BIM is Building Information Modeling (can also be described as Building Information Management), it is a comprehensive process of creating and maintaining information-rich models and using them to improve every single project realization phase from start to finish. The biggest difference between BIM and CAD solutions is that CAD deals in lines and other design variants, while BIM is more about “objects” – pre-modeled parts of a project model that have plenty of different parameters attributed to them, including dimensions, material, weight, and so on.
There are quite a lot of different solutions in the architecture software sphere that can be described as either a BIM or a CAD software. Many features in these solutions are used interchangeably, and there are little to no means of comparing different solutions to one another. As such, all we can do in this situation to help potential clients is to take a small selection of architectural software and compare them to one another – in this case, we compared Revit vs SketchUp vs Revizto.
Autodesk Revit is a BIM software that aims to greatly improve construction professionals’ work by helping create energy-efficient and higher-quality buildings. Revit packs entire feature sets not only for construction, but also for structural engineering, architectural design, and MEP – making it possible for practically every project participant to gain some sort of a positive effect from Revit’s implementation.
Unfortunately, Revit has its own share of shortcomings that every user would have to live with. For example, Revit’s hardware requirements are particularly high – even though it is a somewhat common disadvantage of most CAD-heavy software on this market. Additionally, Revit is notoriously difficult to learn as a newbie, and it is priced above most solutions on the same market (not particularly uncommon for Autodesk products, in general).
SketchUp is one of the most well-known 3D modeling solutions on the market, offering an impressive balance between complexity and ease of use. SketchUp is often used as the introductory software for architecture students (thanks to its basic free version), and its feature-rich nature has been widely known for a while now.
SketchUp can perform both modeling and sketching as seamless tasks, giving its users the ability to create all kinds of models and objects from scratch – or choose a pre-made model or object from a massive built-in library called 3D Warehouse. Despite the fact that it can perform complex operations and create sophisticated models, SketchUp still remains relatively user-friendly by nature, which is a massive advantage in an industry where it is not a common feature.
Revizto is a BIM data management software that relies a lot on improving collaboration and cooperation across different project teams and individuals. One of its main roles is to act as a centralized BIM data hub, facilitating communication between departments, resolving conflicts, preventing misunderstandings, and so on. It can also offer extensive clash detection and issue tracking capabilities, versatile integration with Virtual Reality hardware for project reviews, and more.
As with any other solution, Revizto has its share of disadvantages and shortcomings, be it the somewhat basic 2D interface, or potential slow downs with larger and more complex project files. Revizto’s integrations with other CAD/BIM solutions are not equally versatile and feature-rich, with some specific integrations only having a basic set of features to work with.