Categories: Architecture

The Best BIM Software for 2021 Revealed

BIM Software

Just a year after we published our last year’s review of the best BIM software, the market kept growing at a steady rate, with higher demand and new products entering the picture. BIM, which accelerates the productivity of architecture and design projects by 30 percent and sometimes much more, is set to reach a global market value of USD 8.8 billion by 2025, from USD 4.5 billion in 2020. Rapid urbanization, strong government support towards BIM, and the rising awareness about flexible and remote constructions following the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to this staggering growth. But with such unprecedented growth and so many new players, which BIM software will be the best for your team’s projects?

Examining their features, convenience of use, and value for money, we have some answers for the best BIM software for 2021. We also considered the capabilities of integration and analytics. Given all our criteria and priorities, the four following systems stood out as the best BIM software for 2021.

1. SketchUp

It wasn’t long ago that the many in the design cognoscenti compared SketchUp with Microsoft Word due to its simplicity. However, for many others, this simplicity is the best asset of SketchUp.

SketchUp isn’t a classical BIM software — and it wasn’t developed exclusively for building design. However, due to how straightforward it is, SketchUp has been entering the radar of many architects. The software is intuitive and free for a single user, which is one reason why SketchUp is among the world’s most popular 3D modeling and project visualization tools. Despite its minimalism, users of this no-nonsense tool can model anything from tree houses to a more complex energy-efficient apartment project.

2. Revit

Revit is an all-in-one BIM system for planning, designing, and constructing phases of a building — and managing them later on. Many architects who elevate their projects and buildings using Revit describe it as a tool that is “complex, but with exceptional software capabilities.” Revit is highly interoperable, which means it’s possible to extend its features and functionality even further by exploring third-party services and add-ins from industry partners.

Complex, but with exceptional software capabilities.

3. Navisworks

Navisworks is a BIM tool that’s favored by construction professionals who want solid foundations for their projects — quite literally. It’s a robust simulation, animation, and data aggregation software that can predict a project’s outcome from the pre-construction phase. Hence, it’s little surprise that Navisworks’ most prominent and highest-rated feature is clash detection, followed by visualization and dynamic updating.

Thanks to interactive 4D and 5D simulations, Navisworks empowers builders and designers to have greater control over their projects’ logistics, costs, and schedules.

4. Graphisoft Archicad

It’s possible to credit Graphisoft Archicad, which was founded in Hungary in 1984, for igniting the BIM revolution since it was the industry’s first BIM software for architects. Archicad is still an industry leader thanks to innovative solutions BIMcloud, the first real-time BIM collaboration environment; EcoDesigner STAR, the first fully BIM-integrated GREEN design solution; and BIMx, a mobile app for BIM visualization.

The company has a free educational license for students, as well as teachers of architectural schools and academic institutions, plus a free trial.

How to Choose the Best BIM Software for 2021?

BIM Software

In 2021 and beyond, the best BIM software isn’t the cheapest, most expensive, most straightforward, or the most complicated version. It’s simply the one that fits best with the scope and ambitions of your projects, as well as budget and expectations. It’s very important to look at your individual processes and teams and pick the right one that boosts your work, and not the one that has the most features.

Beyond that, modern BIM software should have some basic features, that are a must. It should be open to connecting to other players and systems in the BIM process, It should have the option to read and write IFC Files (2×3 and IFC 4), and last but not least it should be connected (secured connection) to the cloud for collaboration and sharing of information. However, as the competition in the software industry rising and with many new BIM products being introduced to the market every year, architects and planners certainly never had more choice to find the right fit.

Dr. Kai Oberste-Ufer

Dr. Kai Oberste-Ufer

Kai is a civil engineer with a strong focus on IT and holds the position of Senior Manager for Digital Planning at dormakaba digital. With his work, he wants to answer the question: “How do we plan, build and operate buildings in the future and how can we better support this process digitally?”.