Comparing CAD Software and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

Building design and building information modeling (BIM) software includes computer-aided design (CAD software) products used commonly within the architecture and construction industries. Many of these products offer tools and libraries specifically targeted toward architectural design and construction, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and building information modeling (BIM).

BIM software offers a model-based process for designing and managing buildings and infrastructures, going beyond construction drawings to generate a digital representation of the functional properties of a facility. Other products in this category may be used for a range of CAD purposes beyond architectural design, but their rankings within this grid focus exclusively on their use as a tool in building design.

To qualify for inclusion in the Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) category, a product must:

AutoCAD - 2D and 3D CAD software tools

4.4 out of 5

Entry Level Price: $1,268/ year 

Subscribe to Autodesk® AutoCAD® including specialized toolsets and get access to industry-specific functionality, greater mobility with the new web and mobile apps, and the latest feature updates. 

Speed up your work with specialized features & libraries for mechanical design, architecture, 3D mapping, and more while working in a familiar AutoCAD interface. Only AutoCAD, with the new web and mobile apps, gives you the freedom and flexibility to work on anything, anywhere, at any time. Design and draft using the latest features and functionality included in subscriber-only updates

Languages Supported: Czech, German, English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Chinese (Simplified)

Revit - Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

4.5 out of 5

Entry Level Price: $2,425/ year 

Autodesk® Revit® software is built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), helping professionals design, build, and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings. Using the information-rich models created with Autodesk Revit software, architects, engineers, and construction firms can collaborate to make more-informed decisions earlier in the design process to deliver projects more efficiently.

Any design changes made in Revit models are automatically updated throughout the model, keeping designs and documentation coordinated and more reliable. Autodesk Revit includes features for architectural design, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, structural engineering, and construction, providing a comprehensive solution for the entire building project team.

ALLPLAN - Open Building Information Modeling (openBIM) Software

ALLPLAN Software
4.5 out of 5

Apart from CAD SOFTWARE FOR ARCHITECTS and CIVIL ENGINEERS, Allplan provides facility management solutions, and also the NEVARIS software for construction cost management. With the open BIM platform, ALLPLAN BIMPLUS, Allplan ensures that all the project members can work together in a smooth, inter-disciplinary manner.

Navisworks - project review CAD software

4.5 out of 5

Entry Level Price: $925/ year 

Navisworks is a project review software designed to allow architecture, engineering, and construction professionals to review integrated models and data with stakeholders to better control project outcomes.

Tekla Structures - constructible structural software for BIM

4.6 out of 5

Tekla Structures is the most constructible structural software for BIM. With it, you can create, combine, manage and share accurate multi-material 3D models full of construction information.

BIM Track - web-based communication platform

BIM Track® is a web-based communication platform that empowers your team with better coordination workflows.
4.3 out of 5

BIM Track® is a web-based communication platform that empowers your team with better coordination workflows. BIM Track® provides a central hub for collaboration from design to construction. With direct integrations information is always at your fingertips, you can get access to your data anytime, anywhere, either from a desktop or mobile device. 

Powerful analytics help understand issue tracking performance through precise KPIs. We promote OpenBIM workflow solutions by supporting IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) and BCF (BIM Collaboration Format).

SketchUp - 3D modeling and design tool - CAD software

4.4 out of 5

Entry Level Price: Free Single User

The most popular 3D modeling and design tool in the world, SketchUp users model everything from treehouses to intricate, energy-efficient buildings. Owned by Trimble Inc., an entrepreneurial company focused on leveraging technology to change how the way the world works, SketchUp is both intuitive and powerful for professionals and creatives of all kinds.

The suite of tools within the program enhances workflows and creative concepts across a variety of industries including architecture, engineering, construction, woodworking, interior design, film, and much more. Popular products like 3D Warehouse, LayOut, and SketchUp Viewer are what make SketchUp tick. Design it, make it and enjoy the process.

ARCHICAD - building information modeling software

Graphisoft ArchiCAD software
4.4 out of 5

Archicad is a professional building information modeling software solution complying with all digital-delivery requirements, offering an intuitive design environment, accurate building information management, open collaboration and automated documentation.

Civil 3D - civil engineering design

4.0 out of 5

Entry Level Price: $2,315/ year 

Autodesk® Civil 3D® software is a civil engineering design and documentation solution that supports Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflows on civil infrastructure projects, including roads and highways, rail, site development, airports, and water. Civil 3D helps civil infrastructure professionals improve project delivery, reduce risk, errors, and omissions, and respond faster to project changes.

Additionally, users can streamline time-consuming tasks such as corridor design, (road and rail), intersection design, parcel layout, site grading, and piping design with specific tools and customizable design standards. Civil 3D pricing starts at $275.00 per month, per user. Civil 3D does offer a free trial. Flexible subscription options available.

Vectorworks Designer

4.4 out of 5

Purchase once: $4,813

For projects that encompass elements of architecture, landscape and entertainment design, Vectorworks Designer software is the ultimate solution. Packing the power of the entire suite of Vectorworks’ products including Architect, Landmark and Spotlight into one robust program, Designer offers digital terrains, plants, lighting, rigging, BIM modeling and rendering tools to help users draft, model and present in a single interface. 

Additionally, high-quality renderings can be created directly inside files with default textures within thousands of Vectorworks content library objects and our easy-to-use Renderworks features.

MicroStation - parametric 3D modeling

4.4 out of 5

MicroStation’s advanced parametric 3D modeling and intelligent drafting capabilities enable infrastructure professionals of any discipline to collaborate on and deliver projects of any scale and complexity. You and your team can aggregate work in MicroStation, including designs and models created with Bentley’s discipline-specific modeling applications. As a result, you can create comprehensive, multi-discipline BIM models, documentation, and other deliverables.

MicroStation and all Bentley BIM applications are built on the same comprehensive modeling platform. You therefore can easily progress your MicroStation work into discipline-specific workflows with Bentley’s design and analytical modeling applications. With this flexibility, each member of your project team has exactly the right application for the work they need to do.

The Wild - remote collaboration platform

The Wild is an immersive remote collaboration platform that uses virtual and augmented reality to enable architecture, design technology, and BIM teams
4.6 out of 5

The Wild is an immersive remote collaboration platform that uses virtual and augmented reality to enable architecture, design technology, and BIM teams to save time and make better decisions by experiencing their work together, immersed in a shared virtual space.

With native support for SketchUp and Revit, The Wild aims to shape the future of collaboration by connecting people and their ideas across distance into a shared experience.


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