If you had the chance to work with BIM in the past years, you are probably wondering how the heck we survived without it in the past. It seems rather intuitive - at times. If you haven't been able to use it yet, don't worry, you will. The 2 biggest BIM products in the market are ArchiCAD(by Graphisoft), and Revit (by Autodesk).
Having had the chance to work with both computer programs in the past years, I have been asked which one I like the best. It is hard to find the magic bullet, when both will give you corrupted files and gray hairs. I hope you find the low down below useful. I have tried to be fair and objective*.
1. Easy Team working and sharing: Revit
Because it allows you to borrow, without becoming an owner. ArchiCAD's marquee tool is still missed.
2. Early Schematic Planning: Revit
Because of its Color Scheme and Design Options tools.
3. Demolition Work: Revit
Because of its phase and phase filters options. ArchiCAD would require layer combinations.
4. Line Weight Management: Revit
This feature is similar to Autocad's system, so it feels easier to understand and manage.
5. Compatibility: Revit
Most engineers, materials and equipment consultants are using Revit. Sure you can use Naviswork in you are an ArchiCAD user, but that adds an extra step.
6. Project Navigation: ArchiCAD
ArchiCAD's project browser is more like ADT's navigator. It is better organized. Different programs, same company.
7. Components and Families Creation: Revit
I need to have a BIM manager creating families working on the side. Plus, Revit has numerous resources online.
8. Working in plan view and RCPs: Revit
You can easily fix those wall joins in Revit. You can use filled regions, invisible lines, etc. Not so much flexibility in ArchiCAD. Both programs give you wall priority options.
9. Composite Manager: ArchiCAD
Great tool. Revit does not come with this general management tool. You can individually edit composite/object parameters and load to project if applicable.
10. Templates: Archicad
Both ArchiCAD and Revit come with a template file. But when it comes to interface, I prefer Archicad's.
11. Drafting and Detailing: ArchiCAD
By far, ArchiCAD wins this one. Not only can you easily work with your BIM elevations and sections, but you can also create your own with easy to work drafting tools.
12. Dimensioning and other Plan Annotations: Revit
Even though ArchiCAD is better when detailing, Revit handles plan notes better.
13. Construction Administration: Revit
You can find Clouds and Revision tools.
14. Printing: Revit
Easier, it works just like any other program. ArchiCAD's way feels unnecessarily complex.
15. Less Crashes, Corrupted Files and other Synchronization Issues: ArchiCAD.
As a consequence, I have heard that it is ideal for larger and more complex projects.
16. Available Support: Revit
From personal experience, I had found Autodesk to be more visible, accessible, and with far more training resources.
17. Scheduling: Revit
This is where Revit gives you great flexibility to modify, control, filter, and sort...
Depending on what you want to use BIM for, you can choose what's better for you. I tried to lay this out as fairly as possible from an architectural production and coordination perspective. I've had the chance to work with BIM for years, and it definitely has its advantages. Both are great programs, and lately I'm hearing of more firms having to choose one over the other one. If someone asked me again, which BIM program I think is better, Archicad or Revit? I would say, my dream BIM project has an ArchiCAD navigator, connects me to all the Revit resources, does planning and design in Revit, and gives me ArchiCAD tools for construction documentation. In sum, there is still work to be done in the BIM-sphere.
I hope you found this comparison helpful. See you around,
*Note that I am comparing Revit 2009, and ArchiCAD 11. Revit 2010 is said to be able to handle larger projects now that it has a 64-bit software. And ArchiCAD 13 is said to have improved its worksharing greatly.