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Best 20 Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software in 2018

Building information modeling (BIM) software is widely used by many construction businesses—big and small—especially in the AEC sector. With the plenty of BIM software solutions available today, the challenge comes in narrowing down the products to choose from. A good place to start is looking at the best building information modeling software solutions.

Building Information Modeling Software

What are the 20 best Building Information Modeling (BIM) software solutions?

  1. Revit
  2. Navisworks
  3. Autodesk BIM 360
  4. SketchUp
  5. Tekla BIMsight
  6. Procore
  7. Dassault Systèmes BIM
  8. Trimble Connect
  9. AECOsim Building Designer
  10. Hevacomp
  11. BIMobject
  12. BIMx
  13. Archicad
  14. Vectorworks Architect
  15. PriMus IFC
  16. Edificius
  17. midas Gen
  18. Allplan Architecture
  19. Buildertrend
  20. BricsCAD BIM

Software applications are driving building work and construction management of today to more efficiency and transparency. In fact, building information modeling software solutions have become mandatory for building projects and bidding for contracts in government organizations around the world. It is becoming more commercially affordable and is being introduced to students of higher education in this field.

The function of BIM systems goes beyond just a computer-aided design (CAD). When you utilize its features properly, it can help you reduce costs, spot and fix errors before they happen in the actual construction, and accelerate construction schedules.

Now more than ever, a solution that streamlines and automates construction management is crucial. Construction projects are becoming bolder which them more complex to build. This complexity, in turn, brings more risks. In a report by KPMG, respondents recognize the impact of these risks with 67% of them believing that risks are increasing. The figure rises to 78% for engineering and construction companies.

Managing this complexity is a priority as rework is an expensive cost. According to the Navigant Construction via Construction Junkie, the median cost of rework is roughly 4% to 6% of the total project cost which takes into consideration the direct cost of a reported rework. Furthermore, the median cost of rework takes up 9% of the total project cost combining direct and indirect factors.

BIM tools offer plenty of opportunities to detect possible issues and avoid wasting time and money. This intelligent 3D model-based approach gives you the right tools and insights in planning, designing, constructing, and managing the construction of buildings and infrastructures more efficiently. Without the help of this technology, your project is prone to overlooked lapses and avoidable errors.

Without further ado, let’s proceed in getting to know the best building information modeling software systems according to features and functionalities.

20 Best Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

1. Revit

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. Designed for MEP engineers, architects, designers, contractors, and landscape architects, among others, the robust platform offers an intelligent model-based approach for planning, designing, and constructing infrastructures and buildings. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows only.

It also minimizes the risk of errors caused by miscommunication as all process goes through a single system. Coordination is also achieved through 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’s entire lifecycle from conceptualization up to maintenance and even demolition.

Why choose Revit?

  1. Interoperability. It functions together with members of an extended project team.
  2. High impact 3D visuals. The communication of ideas and design intent is delivered to teams and project members.
  3. Multi-discipline solution. Built for disciplines such as architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers and construction professionals.

Navisworks is also built by Autodesk. The difference between Navisworks and Revit is that Navisworks specializes 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 to gain control and ensure a successful project outcome. One of its features includes model coordination and clash detection. This enables 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.

Why choose Navisworks?

  1. BIM 360 Glue integration. It simplifies the sharing of data and workflows in the cloud with your projects.
  2. Faster multi-head clash detection. An update for running clash detection more efficiently and quickly.
  3. Highlighted sections. Better visualization through cut plane highlighting.

3. Autodesk BIM 360

Autodesk BIM 360, another product by the CAD company, is a project delivery and construction management solution that unifies the processes of project, design, and construction teams. 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 of your construction operations.

If you are interested to know more about the leading products in the construction management category, you may read this article on the top 3 construction management software with a comparison of Autodesk BIM 360 and two other leading products.

Why choose Autodesk BIM 360?

  1. RFIs and submittals. Activity tracking and tighter project controls for handling submittals packages.
  2. Visualization modifications. Get visibility over model versions when combined with extended team models.
  3. Design review. Centralizes viewing, marking up and publishing of comments for review.

4. SketchUp

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 transforming 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 products. It has a free 3D modeling tool you can access on 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 in a browser for primary and secondary schools if they signed up for G Suite for Education.

Why choose SketchUp?

  1. Free module. It has a free tool offering in the web browser.
  2. Availability for everyone. It gives a wide range of users, from schools and educators to architects and game designers, access to 3D tools.
  3. Large 3D models repository. You can choose from its wide array of free 3D models.

5. Tekla BIMsight

Tekla BIMsight is an easy-to-use construction collaboration software. It expedites how you combine models, check and identify conflicts, and, finally, communicate issues with your team. This solution is built for advanced BIM and structural engineering. By streamlining your construction workflow, you can easily identify and solve issues even during the design phase to ensure they 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.

Why choose Tekla BIMsight?

  1. Mobile-ready. Available on Windows 7 and 8 tablet devices.
  2. Academics use. Suitable for students and educational institutions to use for an introduction to model-based design coordination.
  3. Free tool. It is available to users for free.

6. Procore

Procore is a construction management software with 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.

It 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.

Why choose Procore?

  1. User-centric. Built by construction professionals for construction professionals, collaboration is streamlined between users and clients.
  2. Quick implementation. Unlike other solutions that take months, its deployment only takes weeks.
  3. Free, unlimited support. Customer support doesn’t come at an additional cost for in-house support assistance.

7. Dassault Systèmes BIM

Dassault Systèmes BIM is a BIM tool that handles various aspects of design and engineering works. It is abbreviated into 3DS and is built by the European software company The 3DDEXPERIENCE Company. The product mitigates errors and saves time by enabling project holders to collaborate in parallel on the project. Additionally, the exchange of ideas and modifications of 3D digital models occurs in real time. Built for AEC professionals, this solution ensures efficiency throughout the building’s lifecycle. It also offers automatic change propagation, just-in-time delivery of materials, social networking, and costing simulations.

Why choose Dassault Systèmes BIM?

  1. Optimized Construction. Built-in solution for addressing various project phases.
  2. 3D digital referential. Stakeholders can collaborate and exchange ideas.
  3. Built for sustainable innovation. A focal point towards exploring ideas that don’t threat existing infrastructures or environmental well-being of cities.

8. Trimble Connect

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 to an environment that empowers collaboration.

The tool is crucial for various phases of your workflows. For examples, you need a robust collaboration strategy for design coordination, lifecycle project management, and on-site and off-site communication. Since Trimble (company) acquired Tekla, the BIM tool mentioned above, this product also adds value to your Tekla solutions. Furthermore, it integrates with more than 50 industry tools to streamline your construction project workflows.

Why choose Trimble Connect?

  1. Field layouts. A seamless passing of field layouts, 2D drawings and 3D models between the field and office.
  2. Connectivity. Specializes in connecting systems and a collaborative environment.
  3. Integrations. Robust integrations that work for various systems.

9. AECOsim Building Designer

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 major improvements in the tool’s in terms of interoperability, cloud capability, speed, mobile support, and connectivity. It has the ability to use mesh modeling and push/pull solid, for instance, to create a conceptual design and build parametric BIM content.

Why choose AECOsim Building Designer?

  1. Multi-discipline solution. Built to enhance collaboration between architects and engineers with shared tools and workflows.
  2. Flexible design environment. Users are unrestricted from designing and modeling infrastructures no matter how complex.
  3. Building performance. Building simulation provides predictions of the real-world performance of the structure.

10. Hevacomp

Next on the list of best building information modeling software is Hevacomp which specializes as a building energy analysis solution. It has various products under its wing: Dynamic Simulation, Electrical Designer, and Mechanical Designer. This tool enables you to build energy-sufficient infrastructures through the prediction of accurate, real-world performances. As a product and company under Bentley Systems, it is a solution that is built to meet with United Kingdom standards.

For instance, the Hevacomp Dynamic Simulation product enables you to design building simulations in compliance with the UK building regulations. It uses a single common building model for simulations and calculations to streamline the building analysis process.

Why choose Hevacomp?

  1. Building energy analysis. Conduct whole building energy simulations to help with design alternatives.
  2. Single model. It lets you use a common building model to minimize time spent on re-entering building data information.
  3. Weather database. Test an accurate energy simulation for more than 70,000 locations.

11. BIMobject

BIMobject is a BIM content platform available for free. It is a cloud solution used by architects, engineers, constructors, and designers to access manufacturer-specific BIM objects. Users can easily access the platform instantly through filling in the registration form with no limit. You can search for thousands of BIM objects in categories under construction, construction materials, and doors, for a start. 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.

Why choose BIMobject?

  1. Quick registration. Use the platform through a simple registration process.
  2. Thousands of BIM objects. You can search and download thousands of options for BIM objects.
  3. BIMobject app. By using the app, you can optimize your workflows and downloads in the software.

12. BIMx

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, Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X.

This tool offers a Hyper-model concept that gives you a quick and direct access to drawing sheets from the 3D building models where the virtual environment is generated from. It has three main applications: publisher, a desktop viewer, and mobile viewer. Additionally, its 3D models are presented in an interactive approach which promotes usability for users.

Why choose BIMx?

  1. Hyper-model feature. A unique technology that integrates 2D and 3D building project operations.
  2. Collaboration. Dissolves the gap between ideas from the studio to fieldwork in the construction site.
  3. Interactive platform. Users interact with 3D models in a responsive manner.

13. ARCHICAD

ARCHICAD, another product developed by Graphisoft, is a 3D architectural BIM tool for design and modeling. Compatible with Mac and Windows desktops, it 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 built environment including its engineering and aesthetics.

Regarded as one of the first BIM implementations, ARCHICAD is a pioneer of CAD tools that have the capability of creating 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.

Why choose ARCHICAD?

  1. Algorithmic design. No gaps between early stage design and BIM.
  2. Open BIM. An open workflow that enables participation of project members regardless of the tool they use.
  3. MEP Modeler. Used for creating and editing 3D model-based MEP networks such as pipework and ductwork.

14. Vectorworks Architect

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.

Why choose Vectorworks Architect?

  1. Design-oriented. It doesn’t alter your design process while providing the same amount of functionality.
  2. Cross-platform graphical scripting. It opens more ways to explore form and function.
  3. Transformative geometry. Have the ability to create any shape with its NURBS-surface tools and Parasolid-based solids.

15. PriMus IFC

PriMus IFC is a platform for 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 assigning of price list management, automatic BIM model measurement, IFC file viewing.

Why choose PriMus IFC?

  1. IFC BIM Viewer. It uses the standard IFC file format when viewing BIM models and 3D CAD files.
  2. Construction estimate. The construction estimates are regularly updated in real time for any changes.
  3. Automatic BoQ. Bill of quantities is automatically generated from 3D models.

16. Edificius

If you are looking for an architectural BIM design platform, Edificius is a good 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. In addition, 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.

Why choose Edificius?

  1. Parametric architectural objects. It automates the production of detailed construction documents with objects such as pillars, walls, and beams.
  2. BIM Objects Library. Thousands of free design resources are available for 2D CAD Blocks, HD textures, and 3D models.
  3. Photorealistic renderings. Advanced features for photo editing for realistic rendering.

17. midas Gen

midas Gen is one of the many products by midas, particularly for 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.

Why choose midas Gen?

  1. Intuitive modeling. The Structure Wizard lets you readily create structures of regular patterns.
  2. Auto-design. Design check features are available for automatic designer and generation based on design codes.
  3. Dynamic post-processor. In accordance with specified design standards, it automatically creates load combinations.

18. Allplan Architecture

Allplan Architecture is a BIM solution for architects to gain control in the project and pave 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 completely 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 data exchange is smooth between planning partners, optimizes teamwork and collaboration, and follows precision in generating drawings.

Why choose Allplan Architecture?

  1. BIM-aided design. Virtually build designs first to spot errors during the early design phase to avoid construction conflicts.
  2. Design freedom. No limit on creating 3D models through integration with Parasolid modeling kernel from Siemens.
  3. Quantity Takeoff. 3D model-generated quantity takeoff for maximum reliability.

19. Buildertrend

Designed for home builders and remodelers, Buildertrend is a software that focuses on construction project management. This cloud-based solution is a vital tool for staying on top of your construction project through a real-time, 24/7 access of 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 solutions include 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.

Why choose Buildertrend?

  1. Connected platform. A cloud-based solution that empowers creativity on any device.
  2. Project management. Streamlined management of work on in the office and on the site.
  3. Plan mark up. With mobile access, you can annotate over the blueprint and view multiple version histories.

20. BricsCAD BIM

Finally on this list of top building information modeling software, BricsCAD BIM is a complete BIM solution—from sketching to adding details to your designs—that help you develop a full-featured building information model. You have control over your the properties and elements you want to assign to your BIM, whether that’s multiple buildings or stories, for a start.

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. In 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.

Why choose BricsCAD BIM?

  1. Full design control. Create a BIM with zero limitations on elements and properties.
  2. Detail sections. Elevate construction documentation by adding detail sections of your model.
  3. “BIM Suggest.” An analysis of the connection between two building elements to refine the design.

Other Recommended Solutions

  1. VisualARQA BIM solution for architectural designs and complementing Rhino platform. It adds a layer of objects styling and documentation features for more precise geometric shaping.
  2. TurboFloorPlan. A professional design interface that is also ideal for novice and small business. It has quick start tools, an instructional center,  automatic cost estimator and green building tips.
  3. Softtech Spirit. An AEC modelling platform with built-in cost control feature and  a suite of other BIM and CAD tools. It can integrate smoothly for cross-functional files such as IFC, DWF, STL, and DWG.
  4. SefairaA BIM platform for engineering, architectural and sustainability projects with novice-friendly tools for stage analyses, simulations and collaboration.
  5. CYPECADPrimarily designed for analyzing reinforced concrete and steel structure for horizontal and vertical strength, this platform suits the needs of architects, engineers and construction firms. It also features integrated 3D structures via connection between CYPECAD and CYPE 3D.
  6. Archibus Building Operations Management. A building operations management module in the Archibus suite for streamlining management and monitoring processes in real estate, facility and infrastructure projects. It features self-service portal  for schedule, report and dispatch tasks.
  7. OpenStudio. An open source building energy modeling designed by the U.S. Department of Energy, it is used for energy design and planning with advanced daylight analysis. It is capable of large-scale analysis utilizing tools like model input calibration, building stock analysis and design optimization.
  8. Revizto. It features a multidimensional issue tracking and collaboration hub to help teams to communicate and coordinate more efficiently across the project lifecycle, from inception, design, construction and up to operation. It makes tracking of building plans and adjustment easier and goal-oriented.
  9. Assemble Insight. It is a cloud construction data management that helps you condition, analyze, access and distribute model-based building data across pre-construction and construction processes. Key features include visual variance reporting, conceptual estimating, level of development tracking and export to Naviswork search sets.
  10. BIM Track. Ideal for BIM workflow coordination using a unified location for communication, data and issues. It helps you create 3D modeling, manage issues, visualize KPIs and receive alerts.
  11. SmartBIM PlatformHelps building product manufacturers share and manage BIM content with relevant parties such as engineers, architects and contractors. It’s a highly collaborative platform that centralizes BIM data throughout the project cycle, from quote to completion.
  12. EcoDomus. A BIM platform designed for real estate owners, featuring a Common Data Environement that works with multiple formats. It allows for a cost-efficient way to implement maintenance procedures, specifically cutting on energy and labor costs.
  13. Innovaya. Helps streamline the entire design and project management process, adaptive to a variety of data modeling including AEC and Revit formats and provides a collaboration platform to share ideas, files and data.
  14. YouBIM. A BIM built for facilities management and works with multiple databases. Sporting a user-friendly interface, navigating its tools and locating data is easy, empowering office and field staff to adopt the platform with little friction.
  15. RhinoBIM. Built on the Rhino infrastructure, this BIM is a suite of plugins that expand Rhino 5.0 for AEC professionals. Among others, it has a structural design and editor, clash and clear analysis and BIM reporter.
  16. Onuma. Anopen-artchitecture BIM platform with standard tools for design, planning and management. It supports import/export of a variety of industry file formats.
  17. StreamBIM. A user-friendly BIM software that streamlines data sharing and collaboration. It focuses on the digitization of plans that are made accessible from desktop and mobile devices.
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