Finding a software you need in the BIM environment can be a hard job, as there are many software out there. Not all users need all software of course. But a global understanding of what all BIM software are doing is important. We built this list of the best BIM software available in 2021 to make it easy for everyone interested to find a BIM software and understand what is possible to do with BIM.
Allow to create a BIM model whether it is 3D, 2D or BIM, parametric or not
Bim modelling software are obviously the most important part of the eco-system and the very minimum software you need to start BIM. Revit is by far the most popular, but of course BIM is not Revit !
Many other options are available like Archicad which is more user-friendly and easier to learn or more advanced solution like Digital project made famous as it is used by Franck Gehry architect to design his incredible geometries.
Image de géométrie paramétrique + Rhino interface
Parametric design software are generally used to handle complex geometries, though they can be used for simple as one! As BIM software, they are parametric by default. Which means that changing object is a simple as typing the value of a parameter, like floor height that allow to change easily at any time. Grasshopper was famous to introduce a pattern called Visual programming language and allow to a non-programmer user to do some powerful automation that are also possible in code for the more advanced users.
Generative design is new and made possible with the advance of AI based algorithm that are now capable to designing geometries
Bim rendering sofware aim is to render the BIM model in a way that is much more realistic that the standard 3D view. Often the software used in this category are also used in video game industry like Twin Motion.
Allow combining multiple 3D models and run a series of automated tests to control their quality and the inconsistency between models. Those inconsistencies are often named clash.
Example of check that can be made are for example :
Example of clash that can be detected :
To know more about BIM quality checking app I suggest that BIM girl 2019 comparison between Solibri vs Naviswork.
The goal of those pieces of software is to make all people involved in the project to be able to see and comment the BIM models. Giving feedback early on design where you are at your desk or on the field with your mobile phone is key to save time and design with agility.
Speckle is a very interesting open source project that allow to display parametric model and allow exposing parameter to be tested, like for example in the case of a tower, size of floor, % of aperture… It makes 3D model more interactive and allow discussion.
Modelo import many types of 3D files and allow to view them in a user-friendly interface. It allows all teams members to see the latest version of the design and give feedback early.
Allow to viewer BIM model thanks to their IFC export. IFC is an openbim format that allow to read geometry from any BIM modelling software
BIM Augmented reality software allow displaying BIM model in a virtual / augmented reality lenses. It is especially useful to do some BIM model review while in design stage. Or even to help workers to positioned element or check their work in the construction stage.
Here is a small list of new usage than can be achieved with virtual Reality (VR) or augmented Reality (AR) :
Having a much more precise understanding of what the building will look like is full of advantages especially for the client.
Using Virtual or Augmented reality is useful an any level of details. It does not matter the geometry be totally refined, as you will loose the advantages of getting early feedbacks from the project stakeholder. The main idea is not to get a “Wao” from customer, but honestly show him the current state of the design and how he can react to it. So at early stage you can show the model with Virtual reallity sofware to show the global massing and the quality of space of your design. While at more advanced level of details, the discussion can go further on more constructive issue relative for example to the precise product you want to build with.
Simply share your files on the web, with not specifically for architecture & construction. These solutions allow also to create a document online equivalent to a word, excel or PowerPoint.
Common data environment are special cloud base file hosting specific to BIM. Often it “understands” the 3D model, provide a 3D viewer and handle versions. It can also serve a BIM model in real time, without the need to have it in our own machine.
The main BIM Common data environment solutions are:
Allow to have a global view on the project, the design decision, track tasks and plan the work to be done.
Instant messaging app now became the first solution to discuss especially when remote working but not only. They are much more easy to use as email, and allow to have some work
These applications allow to manage all detected issues found after combining the collaborator’s BIM models. They generally get the information thanks to a BCF file or API connection. They also allow for not designer people to quickly see the issue found in the model 3D context, right from their browser.
The list of BIM software is quite big and growing! If you use a software we did not talked about, don’t hesitate to leave us a mail or a comment. We will keep this list updated with the new BIM software trends.