Building information modeling (BIM) software is widely used by many construction businesses—big and small—especially in the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) sector. With plenty of BIM software solutions available today, the challenge lies in narrowing down products to choose from. An excellent place to start is to look at the best building information modeling software solutions. We’ve gathered all the top solutions here based on our reviews and rankings. This way, you can narrow down your choices and make an informed buying decision.
In an industry where building contractors coordinate with not only architects, engineers, and subcontractors but also owners and other stakeholders, it’s understandable why BIM processes and tools are widely considered a godsend. BIM software centralizes vital architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) processes into one platform, easing collaboration and communication. This way, suppliers, architects, engineers, and contractors are always on the same page about all aspects of a project, reducing the additional costs of mistakes and delays. In fact, a Connecting Teams study has found that 61% of teams using BIM processes experience reduced project error.
Source: AutodeskDesigned by
In addition to improving collaboration, BIM software further streamlines construction workflows through integrations with third-party software. Seamless integrations with business systems like accounting software, ERP systems, and scheduling tools solve the problem of poor interoperability, which has been plaguing the AEC industry for years. The convenience brought by BIM software will also be more crucial in the coming years, as the global construction industry is expected to grow to $8 trillion by 2030.
Our top 20 picks for BIM software offers these capabilities as well as important features like issue management, quality management, resource management, and data and analytics reporting. We’ve ranked these systems according to features to help you make an informed decision.
Autodesk BIM 360, another product by the CAD company, is a project delivery and construction management software that unifies the processes of project, design, and construction. BIM 360 is a cloud-based web service that provides teams access to data to improve decision-making and avoid expensive delays.
The tool lets you completely manage your project’s entire lifecycle. Some of Autodesk BIM 360’s main features include a controlled work-sharing environment, design review, deliverable coordination, BIM coordination, change visualization, quality and issue management, safety program checklists, and RFIs and submittals. This package contains numerous modules to provide a 360-degree control over your construction operations.
If you are interested to know more about the leading products in the construction management category, check out this article on the top 3 construction management software with a comparison of Autodesk BIM 360 and two other leading products.
Detailed Autodesk BIM 360 Review
Tekla BIMsight is an easy-to-use construction collaboration software. It expedites the way you combine models, check and identify conflicts, and communicate issues with your team. This solution is built for advanced BIM and structural engineering teams. By streamlining your construction workflow, you can easily identify and solve issues even during the design phase to ensure they are addressed before construction.
Some of Tekla BIMsight’s main offerings include 3D navigation, automatic clash detection, mark-ups, IFC support, multiple model viewing, and object or model coloring and transparency, among others. It also runs on Windows 7 and 8 tablet computers with a touch-user interface so you can take your models on-site anytime.
Detailed Tekla BIMsight Review
Revit BIM Software is a building information modeling tool for structural and MEP engineering, construction, and architectural design. It is one of the most popular software packages developed by the CAD giant Autodesk. It is designed for use by MEP engineers, architects, designers, contractors, and landscape architects, among others. This robust platform offers an intelligent model-based approach to planning, designing, and constructing infrastructures and buildings. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows only.
The tool also minimizes the risk of errors caused by miscommunication as all process goes through a single system. Coordination is also achieved via its multiple project contributors features to avoid rework and clashes. Revit also lets you simulate and reiterate designs for systems and structures. This 4D BIM is capable of tracking the construction process’ entire lifecycle from conceptualization to maintenance, and even demolition.
Detailed Revit Review
Navisworks was also built by Autodesk. The difference between Navisworks and Revit is that Navisworks functions as a project review software tool for AEC professionals. This 3D design review package is compatible only with Microsoft Windows. It complements other Autodesk 3D design packages for opening and combining 3D models, reviewing the model, and navigating around it in real-time.
This tool is crucial during preconstruction as it allows you to gain control and ensure successful project outcomes. Its features include model coordination and clash detection. These enable you to spot, anticipate, and reduce the potential risk of clash and interference issues. Animation, model simulation, and data aggregation into a single model are some of its main features.
Detailed Navisworks Review
BIMobject is a BIM content platform that is available for free. It is a cloud solution used by architects, engineers, contractors, and designers to access manufacturer-specific BIM objects. Users can easily access the platform by filling in a registration form with no limit. You can search for thousands of BIM objects in categories under construction, construction materials, and doors–and that’s just for starters. There are also various brands, types, file types, and regions. To find the right match, you can narrow down your choices through its advanced filtering options.
Detailed BIMobject Review
BIMx is a collection of desktop and mobile software tools to present BIM models in 3D models and 2D documentation. The integrated 2D and 3D building project navigation bridge the gap between the design studio and the construction site. It can be viewed with native viewer applications compatible with operating systems such as Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X.
This tool offers a Hyper-model concept that gives you quick and direct access to drawing sheets from the 3D building models where the virtual environment is generated. It has three main applications: publisher, a desktop viewer, and mobile viewer. Additionally, its 3D models are presented in an interactive approach that promotes usability for users.
Detailed BIMx Review
ARCHICAD, another product developed by Graphisoft, is a 3D architectural BIM tool for design and modeling. Compatible with Mac and Windows desktops, it is used by urban planners, architects, and designers to enhance their design workflow processes. Its CAD solutions are designed to cater to all aspects of the entire design process for the construction environment, including its engineering and aesthetics.
Regarded as one of the first BIM implementations, ARCHICAD is a pioneer of CAD tools that can create both 2D and 3D geometry. It is a complete design suite with various building information modeling and visualization functions to support the majority of the needs of architectural firms. With these features, ARCHICAD is considered one of the best architecture software for beginners.
Detailed ARCHICAD Review
One of Bentley System’s BIM offerings, AECOsim Building Designer, is a building design software system built to design, analyze, construct and manage infrastructures of any scale and type. It integrates with multiple disciplines ranging from architects to electrical, mechanical, and structural engineers.
With the emergence of Bentley’s new CONNECT generation, there have been significant improvements in the tool in terms of interoperability, cloud capability, speed, mobile support, and connectivity. It can use mesh modeling and push/pull solid, for instance, to create a conceptual design and build parametric BIM content.
Detailed AECOsim Building Designer Review
Trimble Connect is a cloud-based platform that specializes in connecting the right data to the right people at the right time. This solution is designed for architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and owner-operators. It brings people, technology, and information together in an environment that empowers collaboration.
The tool is crucial to various phases of your workflows. If you need a robust collaboration strategy for design coordination, lifecycle project management, and on-site and off-site communication, then the tool is right for you. Since Trimble (company) acquired Tekla, the now adds value to your Tekla solutions. Furthermore, it integrates with more than 50 industry tools to streamline your construction project workflows.
Detailed Trimble Connect Review
Next on the list of best building information modeling software is Hevacomp, a solution that specializes in building energy analysis. It has various products under its wing: Dynamic Simulation, Electrical Designer, and Mechanical Designer. This tool enables you to construct energy-sufficient infrastructures through the prediction of accurate, real-world performance. As a product and company under Bentley Systems, it is a solution that is built to meet United Kingdom standards.
For instance, the Hevacomp Dynamic Simulation product enables you to design building simulations in compliance with UK building regulations. It uses a single standard building model for simulations and calculations to streamline the building analysis process.
Detailed Hevacomp Review
Procore is a construction management software that takes a user-centric approach that promotes collaboration between users and their clients in building products. The technology is intuitive and easy to use to support complex construction processes and streamline your team’s workflow. It has fast time-to-value for users to be able to start using the tool immediately within weeks.
Considered one of the best construction management software today, Procore has four main modules: project management, construction financials, field productivity, and quality and safety. These products work together to ensure your project is developed successfully within your budget and deadline. The tool is built for professionals (architects, engineers, and construction managers), business owners, and contractors.
Detailed Procore Review
SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that is known for its ease-of-use. Without compromising functionality, this solution enables you to start drawing lines and shapes and then transform them into 3D forms. It simplifies and accelerates your models by providing access to its free 3D models, so you won’t have to do each one from scratch.
The product offers different tools. It has a free 3D modeling tool you can access through your web browser. Next is the SketchUp Pro for a more intuitive solution in designing, documenting, and transforming your ideas into 3D models. Finally, it has a tool for schools that is accessible via a browser for primary and secondary schools if they signed up for G Suite for Education.
Detailed SketchUp Review
Vectorworks Architect is a BIM and CAD designer solution package. Built to handle the design process, it is used for creating and modifying 2D and 3D models without hampering the creative process behind it. Its suite of tools enhances your design process and improves the entirety of your workflows—from conceptualization to construction.
It has design-oriented capabilities, industry-leading BIM tools, and parametric objects to streamline the way you create a virtual prototype of your designs. It serves as an extension of the creative process, not a replacement, which helps designers explore more design options while supporting comprehensive construction documents and BIM models.
Detailed Vectorworks Architect Review
PriMus IFC is a platform for use BIM Quantity Takeoff and estimating construction from BIM models. It is a tool that takes measurements from a 3D BIM model and automatically generates the relating bill of quantities. Various BIM 3D design solutions use this tool as a reference standard. It specializes in automating the acquisition of costs and project quantities from the 3D CAD or BIM model.
This solution enables you to stay on top of your project’s estimates. If there are any changes in the 3D BIM model, the system immediately updates the variations to correspond with the project costs and bill of quantities. Other features include price list management, automatic BIM model measurement, and IFC file viewing.
Detailed PriMus IFC Review
If you are looking for an architectural BIM design platform, Edificius is an excellent tool to consider. This BIM solution is built to help you create a 3D architectural design in compliance with the latest regulations and in line with the newest technologies. Also, it is an integrated solution that offers BIM for garden and landscape design, static rendering for photorealistic renders, and real-time rendering for animations.
Furthermore, it has a real-time rendering engine and internal facilities. These features streamline cost estimating, structural engineering, and 3D design. Other features include 5D BIM to estimate project costs in real-time, a catalog of free interior design resources, and a DWG and DXD CAD solution using elementary graphic entities.
Detailed Edificius Review
Also on this list of top building information modeling software, BricsCAD BIM is a complete BIM solution—handling every process, from sketching to adding details to your designs—that help you develop a full-featured building information model. You have control over the properties and elements you want to assign to your BIM, whether that’s multiple buildings or stories.
Go into details by attaching information and compositions of building materials, including definitions and layers to building elements. It also expedites and streamlines drawing generation. With a single click, you can generate a set of sheets, update them in sync, place elevation, and section or plan views, among others. Additionally, it has a smart structural modeling feature that recognizes linear solids for automatic classification.
Detailed BricsCAD Review
midas Gen is one of the many products from midas; only this one focuses on building engineering. It is an integrated BIM solution built for building and general structures. Engineers use this tool to perform structural analysis with a diverse range of specialty finite functions and modern theories to generate both practical and accurate results.
It also streamlines designing complex and conventional structures with efficiency, versatility, and convenience. It has an intuitive modeling feature that uses similar CAD functions for drawing and creating nodes and elements. In addition to its user-friendly GUI, it also has a robust post-processor, auto-design features, and full analysis options.
Detailed midas Gen Review
Allplan Architecture is a BIM solution for architects, letting them gain control of the project, which paves the way for creativity when it comes to designing and drawing. This universal tool for building design and construction helps you create professional drawings and visualizations, define physical and functional properties, and access reliable and accurate costs and quantities.
You can use this tool to work entirely on 3D or a combination of 2D and 3D. Furthermore, it enhances productivity with its modern and intuitive user interface that enables role- and task-based facilitation and quantity takeoff. The platform also ensures that data exchange is smooth between planning partners, optimizes teamwork and collaboration, and follows precision in generating drawings.
Detailed Allplan Architecture Review
VisualARQ is a flexible, on-premise BIM solution built to enhance the Rhinoceros 3D CAD application commonly used for architectural and industrial designs. It augments Rhino with additional tools for object styling and documentation tools that easily integrate with your workflow. VisualARQ specializes in freeform modeling that lets you convert any freeform geometry into precise, complex shapes that you can fill in with solids and other unique geometries. It also works with the Grasshopper visual program language within Rhino that allows you to create objects and object styles for building and modifying architectural objects.
Detailed VisualARQ Review
Designed for home builders and remodelers, Buildertrend is a solution that focuses on construction project management. This cloud-based solution is a vital tool for staying on top of your construction project through real-time, 24/7 access to construction scheduling, photos, documents, order changes, homebuyer selections, and warranty management, among others. With that, it is a popular choice for residential construction professionals. Buildertrend’s main functionalities include the pre-sale process, project management, financial tools, and customer management. Under each category is an array of features that range from plan markups (where you can annotate over blueprints) and scheduling to selections and budgets.
Detailed Buildertrend Review
The concept of “building model” started in the 70s. However, the term “building information model” and the acronym BIM only gained traction in 2002, helped along with the standardization of design by industry organizations from all over the world, as well as the development of more advanced design tools. Technology has transformed BIM and the direction of AEC. BIM is no longer confined to just digital representations of functional and physical characteristics of buildings. It has gone beyond those.
Today, BIM tools are used by governments, businesses, and AEC professionals to design, plan, build, operate, and manage various infrastructures, including roads, bridges, communication utilities, electric plants, and water and gas facilities. BIM software is relied upon for just about every building and engineering project and not just for initial design but every other stage of construction till completion. It is even utilized up to the demolition phase to minimize risks and ensure procedures are followed. In other words, BIM is now an all-around solution that covers a project from beginning to end.
So choose wisely when it comes to BIM software. Study the product’s offerings and features. These are cutting-edge, enterprise-grade tools that come at a premium. If you need an end-to-end solution, there’s BIM 360 from Autodesk Company, an established leader in this type of software. And for any other requirement, you have lots of options with the best building information modeling software tools we’ve included here.
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