Revit Vs Archicad

Revit Vs Archicad

Revit and Archicad are two of the most popular BIM software tools in the construction industry.

BIM, or Building Information Modelling, is a 3D modelling process that enables architects, engineers, and contractors to design, construct, and manage buildings more efficiently. Both Revit and Archicad are powerful tools that can help architects and designers create detailed and accurate 3D models of buildings. However, each software has its own unique features and drawbacks. We get many questions from our readers – which should I use, Revit or Archicad?

In this post, we will look at both AutoDesk Revit and Graphisoft Archicad and explore some of their main features, and pros and cons.

Revit

Revit from AutoDesk has redefined how architects, engineers, and construction professionals conceptualise, plan, and execute complex building projects.

Revit isn’t just another design software; it’s a comprehensive BIM solution that empowers professionals to craft intricate virtual models of buildings. Born from the necessity of addressing the limitations of traditional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, Revit goes beyond static representations. It encapsulates the physical and functional characteristics of a structure, fostering a holistic approach to the design process.

At the core of Revit lies the concept of Building Information Modelling. Unlike CAD, which primarily focuses on 2D drawings, BIM is a 3D model-based process that fosters collaboration and information sharing across various stakeholders.

Revit harnesses this power by incorporating intelligent parametric objects that not only represent physical elements but also hold data about their specifications, behaviour, and relationship with other components.

Revit Features

Revit has an array of features that cater to diverse aspects of architectural design and construction:

1. Parametric Modelling: Revit’s parametric modelling enables architects to create elements that are inherently interconnected. When one element is modified, associated elements update automatically, maintaining consistency and accuracy.

2. Collaboration in Real Time: Collaboration is seamless with Revit software. Multiple team members can work simultaneously on a project, allowing for real-time updates and reducing conflicts.

3. Information-Rich Elements: Every component in a Revit model carries metadata. This means that doors aren’t just graphical entities; they know their dimensions, materials, fire ratings, and more. This information informs decision-making throughout the design and construction phases.

4. Visualisation and Analysis: Revit enables stunning visualisations that aid in conveying design intent. Additionally, it supports analysis like energy performance and structural integrity assessments, enhancing design quality.

5. Construction Documentation: Creating accurate construction documents is a breeze with Revit. Elevations, sections, plans, and schedules are interconnected, ensuring changes in one view reflect across all related documents. This is a true game changer.

Revit Pros:

1. Industry Standard: Revit is an industry standard in the construction industry. It has a large user base and many resources available for learning and support. Architects and designers who know how to use Revit have an advantage in the job market.

2. Robust BIM Capabilities: Revit has robust BIM software capabilities, allowing users to create detailed and accurate 3D models of buildings, which can be used for visualisation, analysis, and documentation purposes. Revit software can also be used to produce construction documents, such as plans, sections, and elevations.

3. Collaboration: Revit has strong collaboration features, allowing multiple users to work on the same model simultaneously. The software is designed to facilitate teamwork, making it ideal for large architectural projects.

4. Integration with other Autodesk Products: Revit is part of the Autodesk suite of software, which includes other products such as AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and Maya. This integration can be helpful for workflows and collaboration, as files can be easily shared between different software applications.

Revit Cons:

1. Steep Learning Curve: Revit can be challenging to learn, especially for beginners. It requires a significant investment of time and effort to become proficient. Architects and designers who are new to Revit may need to take training courses or watch tutorials to master the software. This also means that transitioning a practice from standard AutoCAD to Revit can be a challenging task.

2. Limited Modelling Capabilities: While Revit is excellent for creating building models, it is not well-suited for modelling other types of objects or environments. For example, Revit may not be the best choice for creating organic shapes or complex landscapes.

3. Expensive: Revit can be costly, particularly for smaller firms or individual users. The software requires a subscription, and the cost can add up over time.

4. Operating System: Sadly Revit is not available on Mac OS so you are limited to using this software with Windows. While there are workarounds such as BootCamp and Parallels, it is not a smooth and straightforward way to use the software. It is for this reason that I am not a Revit user as I work on a Mac.

With Revit, architects and designers have a tool that empowers their creativity, enhances project communication, and streamlines the path from concept to reality. It’s a glimpse into the future of architectural design, where innovation meets efficiency.

Archicad

Graphisoft’s Archicad is a software of creativity and efficiency, redefining how architects and designers approach their craft. Archicad isn’t just software; it’s a gateway to a new dimension of architectural design.

Born from the necessity of melding aesthetics, functionality, and collaboration into a single platform, Archicad has revolutionised the way architectural projects are conceived and executed.

At its heart, Archicad embodies the core principles of Building Information Modelling. It’s not just about creating three-dimensional representations; it’s about constructing a virtual model that encapsulates every facet of a building’s existence. This goes beyond superficiality, capturing data about materials, performance, and interrelationships between components.

Archicad’s Features

Here are some of the features that set Archicad apart:

1. User-Friendly Interface: Archicad’s interface is designed to be intuitive, making it accessible to both newcomers and seasoned professionals. Its learning curve is gentle, allowing architects to focus on their designs without getting lost in technicalities.

2. Creative Flexibility: Archicad grants architects the freedom to design without limitations. From fluid curved surfaces to intricate geometry, Archicad software can realise virtually any architectural vision.

3. Parametric Components: Just like Revit, Archicad supports parametric modelling. Changes to one part of the design ripple seamlessly through the entire project, maintaining coherence and efficiency.

4. Advanced Visualization: Archicad empowers architects to visualise their creations realistically with photorealistic renderings. This not only aids in conveying design concepts but also assists in decision-making and client presentations.

5. Customisation and Collaboration: Archicad’s adaptability allows architects to tailor the software to their specific workflows. It also supports collaboration, albeit with some limitations, enabling teams to work in harmony.

Archicad Pros:

1. User-Friendly: Archicad is known for its user-friendly interface and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for beginners. Architects and designers who are new to BIM may find Archicad easier to learn than Revit. As with Revit, elevations, sections, plans, and schedules are interconnected, ensuring changes in one view reflect across all related documents – which makes for really simple construction documentation exporting.

2. Flexibility: Archicad offers a lot of flexibility in terms of modelling and customisation. Users can create custom objects and components, and the software can be adapted to different workflows. Architects and designers can customise the software to meet their specific needs and preferences.

3. Advanced Modelling Capabilities: Archicad has advanced modelling capabilities, particularly in terms of curved surfaces and complex geometry. The software is ideal for architects and designers who want to create unique and innovative building designs.

4. Integration with Other Software: Archicad integrates well with other software, including BIMx, allowing users to share and collaborate on models easily. The software can also export files in a variety of formats, making it easier to share models with clients and contractors.

5. Operating System: Archicad can be used on both Windows and Mac OS making it a more flexible and versatile software.

Archicad Cons:

1. Limited User Base: Archicad has a smaller user base than Revit, which can make finding support and resources more difficult. Architects and designers who use Archicad may have a harder time finding tutorials or training courses than those who use Revit.

2. Limited Collaboration Capabilities: While Archicad software has some collaboration features, they are not as robust as those of Revit. This can make it more challenging for larger teams to work on the same model simultaneously. Additionally, Archicad does not have a built-in collaboration platform like Revit’s BIM 360, which can be a drawback for those who require advanced collaboration features.

3. Limited BIM Capabilities: Archicad is primarily designed for building modelling and does not have as many BIM software capabilities as Revit. While Archicad can be used to create construction documents, it may not be as efficient or accurate as Revit in this regard.

4. Limited Third-Party Integration: While Archicad integrates well with other Graphisoft products, it may not integrate as smoothly with third-party software as Revit does. This can make it more challenging for architects and designers who need to work with multiple software tools.

Archicad’s strengths are evident: its user-friendly nature, creative freedom, and advanced visualisation capabilities make it a formidable choice for architects seeking innovation. Its ability to handle complex geometries and its adaptability to various workflows offer architects the tools they need to bring their visions to life.

However, Archicad’s limited collaboration features compared to some other tools and its smaller user base might present challenges for those who depend heavily on team collaboration and comprehensive support resources.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Revit and Archicad are powerful BIM software tools that have their own unique features and drawbacks. Revit is an industry standard with robust BIM capabilities and advanced collaboration features, but it can be challenging to learn and expensive. Archicad is user-friendly with advanced modelling capabilities, but it has limited collaboration and BIM capabilities and a smaller user base. Ultimately, the choice between Revit and Archicad will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the architect or designer and the requirements of the project at hand.

Let us know your favourite!

What software do you use? What are the pros and cons that you have found? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – we would love to hear from you!

For me, Archicad is the winner. I love the user interface, ease of use, and the fact that it is compatible with my Mac. 

What is your software of choice?!

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17 Comments

  1. Vectorworks..
    Comparison to Revit & ArchiCAD as in your above commentary is appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hey Lomi, thank you for the suggestion! We’ll work on it 🙂

      Reply
  2. Vectorworks, as the above comment, it would be really useful to see an independant comparison between vectorworks and revit.

    Reply
    • Hi Keith

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We’re looking at a new blog post soon as per your suggestion, so watch this space 🙂

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply
  3. Archicad all the way! I have used all three, Vectorwoks is the hardest to learn and Revit families are a nightmare.
    On the plus side of revit some it it’s tools are fantastic, such as being able to move ofjects accurately by dimensions, being able to nudge objects by just using the arrow keys and the align function. Archicad can do all of these but not as smoothly as Revit. On the other hand if you want two windows the same, but one slightly wider, you have to create the window in its own right / name and give it a different width. In Archicad, you can just drag a copy and then edit the dimensions of the copy

    Reply
    • Hi Simon

      Good points, thanks for sharing your experience.

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply
  4. Having used both Revit and ArchiCAD (and Architrion) ‘in anger’ for many years I chose Vectorworks for my own practice as it includes many of the ‘modules’ missing from Revit and is more cost effective than both and works on the Apple OS, the most important aspect.

    With Vectorworks there is no need for Lumion, TwinMotion, Rhino, Grasshopper, IES, Photoshop etc etc.

    Reply
    • PS – Revit is not very BIM as it is not fully compatible with either IFC or federated models. AutoDesk ‘require’ you to use AutoDesk software. THAT is not BIM, just AutoDesk. Both ArchiCAD and Vectorworks are far more BIM capable than Revit. When I was using Revit the LT version (the only version within many practices budgets) stripped any IFC information out of every file it opened!

      Reply
    • Hi John

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling to find a software that really works for you. We’ll be writing a new blog post on Vectorworks soon, I hope you found this one useful 🙂

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply
  5. I think after Using Revit and Archicad, I would choose Archicad.

    For the simple fact that it doesnt break your workflow nearly as much, Archicad has snap options that just make sense and you can edit geometry almost like you can in poly modeling, its super flexible, you can adjust wall heights on the fly, the slabs, you can suspend groups with the touch of a button… Your work flow, flows…

    The sheets system is like a dream come true, you can knock out a really good looking sheet that has flexible scaling and pick points out like you can in Indesign, the line options are great and easy to get to, the colours are fantastic, the elevation and section, 3D settings simply blow Revit out of the water, the textures are beautiful and super high res, did I mention the flexibility?

    Graphic overides are pretty equal in both but one thing in Archicad that is insane is the find option, its very advanced and you can save a lot of time with it.

    In 3D window you can pick up your whole building with the window and rotate it precisely if you like, or just move it or whatever, try doing that in Revit, you will need therapy afterwards…

    Import images and sketchup models by drag and dropping.

    Revit, the whole family thing… Just yuck… On top of it being another break in workflow it just so frustrating…

    Revit is another example of Autodesk buying someone else out (Soft Image, Maya etc…) and just stop innovating, they align it with their other software just enough so that it works with Autocad (Still the best line work software) and whatever else then just keep changing the edition no. every year. Should I get started on the fact that everything is buried in visibility graphics somewhere?

    Reply
    • Hi there

      Thanks very much for sharing your experience, you’ve raised some good points.
      Hope you found the article useful.

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply
  6. We have used Vectorworks for many years.
    Pros:
    Easy learning, windows or Mac, low cost
    Ability to mix graphics and BIM, sketch styles and 3d modelling with direct link to graphics modelling,
    Great for all the details that Revit and Archicad cannot handle, eg detail of details (eg door handle, thermal breaks in metal joinery), landscape and hardscape,
    Simple drafting skills, 2d drafting can be easily converted to BIM model and then onto final documentation
    Combined Spreadsheet/Database integrated with either 2d or 3d Model…multiple formats input and output…
    Cons:
    Not a huge user base, is not taught to higher education level…
    Its so good its a secret that productive firms do not share!

    Reply
    • Hi David

      Thanks for sharing your experience, we are looking at writing a new blog post soon that looks at Vectorworks too.

      Hope you found this article useful.

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply
  7. I love this discussion!

    I learned Revit many years ago but have tried (so hard!) to switch to ArchiCAD. I went all-in a couple of years ago and only did projects in ArchiCAD for about six months. Ultimately I made the really hard decision to go back to Revit. I just couldn’t get over two limitations in ArchiCAD:

    1. Reflected Ceiling Plans – RCPs are a major part of design, but ArchiCAD seems to ignore them entirely. Even today I looked to see if they had added any RCP functionality to ArchiCAD, but there is little to no help. One of Revit’s strengths is working on ceiling plans. It is very intuitive and straightforward.
    2. Moving objects with precision – if I want to move a wall in Revit and it is dimensioned, I can click on the wall and the dimension becomes “live”. If it is currently 10ft away from the dimensioned object, then I can click on the “10” and simply type in “12” and it jumps to 12ft away. I could find no similar precision move function in ArchiCAD. Every time I wanted to shift something to a precise location, I ended up drawing a line, moving the line, then moving the item to align with the line. That’s nuts!

    I hope that I’m wrong in how those two things operate in ArchiCAD. Maybe someone can tell me how to do those simple tasks in ArchiCAD that will bring me back! ArchiCAD is a beautiful program, and most importantly it works with Macs! I’m trapped in Windows with Revit and it sucks!

    Reply
    • Hi Benjamin,
      Thank you for your comments 🙂
      Interesting that you tried to make the leap to Archicad but it wasn’t for you. I haven’t worked with RCPs in Archicad so can’t comment, would love to hear from other readers on their ideas for this.
      You may have seen in some of the other comments there has been a lot of love flying around for Vectorworks! This is available on both Mac and Windows so we will definitely put together an article on this very soon. Who knows, it might be the answer you have been looking for.
      Thanks again for sharing your experiences, really appreciate it.
      Emma

      Reply
  8. I use both or try to, I find Revit easier but then I have been using it before it was Revit.

    Reply
    • Hi DJH

      Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂

      Best wishes,
      FIA team

      Reply

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