The significance of choosing the right software for BIM (Building Information Modeling) lies in the fact that BIM is not only used in the planning and design phase of the project, but all the way through the building life cycle, supporting processes including cost supervision, assembly management, assignment management and facility operation. Based on certain common characteristics like technology, drawing production and work sharing, a valid comparison can be made between the popular BIM softwares: ArchiCAD and Revit.
Technology – Speed, Power and Usability
- Revit has a relatively slow engine, lacking multi-processing at its core code level. The 64 bit claim does not really allow the large files and the RAM requirements are still 20 times the model file size. While working on larger workstations, they have to be restarted about every 4 hours. Whereas all the latest versions of ArchiCAD are way faster, even while using older workstations.
- The BIM on Revit automatically creates a relationship between the elements of the building, without the user instigating those relationships. This parametric approach causes the model to be inflexible towards design progression. In fact, it creates a dead-end which can only be determined by deleting elements and rebuilding them in the correct order.
- Commands in ArchiCAD are easier to implement, while many more clicks are required with Revit.
The snap tools of ArchiCAD seem to work better than those of Revit and provide better accuracy too.
- Revit and ArchiCAD provide automatic sheet numbering but the drawback with Revit is that it is not able to keep the correct numbering when a sheet is removed or renamed.
- ArchiCAD has the option of changing the pen sizes for various drawings before printing, even if these drawings are on a single sheet. Without changing the actual model, the user can define the pen size for each detail before sending to print. This is not possible with Revit.
- Creating a new hatch pattern with Revit is almost impossible, while with ArchiCAD it is quite an easy task.
Revit is not able to support the curved grid systems; whereas its counterpart supports almost any shape.
- Being fully multithreaded, ArchiCAD and its companion BIM server technology make full use of the multi‐core and multi‐processor machines, enabling them to serve the workstations directly. It is not restricted to interactions between the LAN server and a central WAN server in another office.
- The ArchiCAD server works across domains and has a built-in IM System, facilitating task oriented instant team communication.
- The notifications in ArchiCAD give a better overview of which team member is working on what part of the model.
Both the softwares have their sets of advantages. Based on features like speed, power and work sharing, ArchiCAD does seem to be the better tool. Moreover, unlike Revit, there are no hidden settings in ArchiCAD.