The Ultimate BIM Software List for 2019
There are so many BIM software solutions to choose from so choosing the right BIM software can be a challenge.
To help you select the BIM software that’s right for you we have created this comprehensive BIM software list with brief descriptions, images and video links.
We’ve grouped each BIM software into one of 10 categories following a BIM planning, BIM design, BIM construction and BIM operations workflow – a difficult task as some products are used in different parts of the workflow – but we have done our best 👍
To help us all make more informed BIM software choices we’ll keep this BIM Software List updated with your feedback – bookmark to come back and see updates 😉
Here are the 10 categories:
- BIM Execution Planning Software
- BIM Content Management Software
- BIM Modeling Software
- Generative Design Software / Algorithmic BIM Software
- BIM Performance / BIM Analysis Software
- BIM Collaboration Software
- BIM Validation / BIM Checking Software
- Preconstruction BIM 4D/5D Software
- Construction BIM Software
- Facilities Management BIM Software
2. BIM Content Management Software
BIM is not just drawing lines, arcs and circles – for BIM we must start with objects.
These objects could be at various Levels of Detail/Development/Definition (LOD) and can also be pre-loaded with manufacturers information.
Management of this content is important to ensure that everyone is creating BIM from the same building blocks.
Free BIM content platform to search for thousands of BIM objects. BIMobject also develops and maintains branded BIM products for manufacturers.
BIM content management tool to find, apply and gain insight into how your digital assets are being utilized.
Cloud based Content Management Software for architects who work with Revit to manage family libraries, reports and analytics about how your content is used.
Modelling and engineering calculations with over 1,000,000 intelligent BIM objects of real MEP products from leading international manufacturers.
3. BIM Modeling Software
An interesting category as teams argue for and against if some of these 3D modeling tools are “true BIM tools” or not.
The tools listed below could be used for a quick massing model, virtual construction prototyping, construction documentation and even detailed fabrication level design for an entire building.
3D modeling tool known for its ease of use – some don’t agree it’s BIM. Draw lines and shapes and transform them into 3D forms. Also search 1,000’s of objects in the free 3D model warehouse.
Architectural, structural, Engineering and Construction modeling. One of the most popular Autodesk software packages. Compatible with Microsoft Windows only.
Regarded as one of the first BIM implementations, Graphisoft is a pioneer of CAD tools that have the capability of creating both 2D and 3D geometry. Open BIM. Windows or Mac.
BIM tool used to sketch, model and present. Create 2D drafting, 3D models, Site Information Models, and renders.
Design, analyze, document, and visualize architectural, mechanical, electrical, and structural building designs.
Creation and management of fabrication level, accurately detailed, highly constructable 3D structural models.
Originally developed for aerospace (by the French company Dassault Systèmes) – sometimes used for architecture and buildings – mostly by Frank Gehry and crew.
Some AECs use to create BIM building blocks. Otherwise used for product/equipment design, layout and fabrication.
Design For Fabrication
Designed on the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud it provides integrative, parametric, associative and computational modeling.
Free-form 3D modeling tools to create, edit, analyze, document, render, animate, and translate NURBS* curves, surfaces, and solids, point clouds, and polygon meshes.
Touted as a more integrated workflow for sketching/modeling > BIM > detailing.
4. Generative Design Software / Algorithmic BIM Software
There are many buzzwords used in the Algorithmic-Aided Design (AAD) space 🙂
These tools are usually based on visual scripting rather than textual scripting.
They help to automate the design workflow and provide an abundant number of options for humans to make more informed decisions.
Open source graphical programming interface to create visual logic to explore parametric conceptual designs and automate tasks. Mostly used with Autodesk Revit.
Graphical algorithm editor tightly integrated with Rhino’s 3-D modeling tools. For designers who are exploring new shapes using generative algorithms. Mostly used with Graphisoft ArchiCAD.
Cloud based generative design based on Catia – a mix of Grasshopper and Dynamo taking the strongest features of both while running on a cloud server.
The Hypar open source SDK makes it easy to get started writing code that generates buildings.
5. BIM Performance / BIM Analysis Software
This could be a solar study, a structural analysis, modeling the flow of people for fire codes and all kinds of energy efficiency calculations for green buildings.
Early stage building performance analysis to study natural ventilation & HVAC systems for energy, daylight & comfort goals.
Combining structural engineering know-how with technology, to provide powerful structural analysis and design.
Cloud-based service to run building performance simulations to optimize energy efficiency and to work toward carbon neutrality earlier in the design process.
6. BIM Collaboration Software
Building Information Models are usually created by many stakeholders.
In order for everyone to stay on the same page these models can not remain in silos.
These BIM collaboration tools allow teams to share and access the right models at the right times.
Construction management software to connect, organize and optimize. From design collaboration, documentation and reviews, to pre-construction, quality and safety and operations.
A collaborative environment to make project information traceable, transparent, and accessible to help users to build better. Allows users to view, share, and access project information from anywhere, at anytime.
Open BIM platform for all disciplines to collaborate with BIM data, information, documents and tasks managed centrally over the complete building life cycle.
Free collaboration tool to combine models for 3D navigation, automatic clash detection, mark-ups, IFC support, multiple model viewing, and object or model coloring and transparency.
Data management tool for workflow support and access to building information throughout the building lifecycle.
7. BIM Validation / BIM Checking Software
When combining 3D models from multiple project teams issues can often be uncovered.
These problems can be solved in the virtual model at a much lower cost compared to after the construction team has started the work on site.
Sometimes there are thousands of issues to track.
This is why the following BIM checking/workflow tools are essential to gain the true benefits of BIM.
Real-time issue tracking software with a focus on collaboration and BIM project coordination.
Cloud-based software that helps owners and project teams work together to create complete, reliable model data.
For opening, combining, review and navigation of 3D models. Features includes clash detection and model simulation.
For BIM validation, compliance, coordination, design review, analysis and code checking.
Issue collaboration platform built on IFC and BCF open standards to store, share and solve issues with history tracking.
8. PRECONSTRUCTION BIM 4D/5D SOFTWARE
BIMs can be used to gain efficiencies for contractors in their estimating and scheduling workflows.
Model elements can be scheduled over time to identify phasing and sequencing challenges.
Elements can also be automatically counted and tied to estimating databases to generate more accurate 5D construction estimates that will update as the model changes.
This is definitely not “Hollywood BIM”!
Manage BIM models, drawings & point clouds – perform design reviews, bid management, takeoff, change management and estimating.
Constructability, estimating, cost management, schedule planning, procurement and change management processes.
4D BIM tool focussed on improving the quality, safety, productivity and efficiency through the visual sequencing of construction projects.
2D & 3D takeoff, estimating and reporting using measurement from 2D drawings and the generation of automatic quantities from 3D models.
3D macro modeling and cost estimating to build a model of your conceptual design and generate an early phase cost estimate.
9. Construction BIM Software
After building the project virtually (in the computer) it’s now time to break dirt and build the real thing – this is where the rubber meets the road.
Many of the collaboration tools previously listed are also used through the construction phases.
The following tools are those focussed more on the construction side of BIM.
10. Facilities Management BIM Software
This is where BIM meets LOD 500 (what even is LOD 500?!?).
The “i’ in BiM now comes alive and Building Information Models can be used for the entire life of a building.
These tools help building owners quickly find important information at the right time to gain efficiencies when operating their built assets.
Designed for real estate owners to implement maintenance procedures, specifically cutting on energy and labor costs.
An open-architecture BIM platform with standard tools to visualize facility data for real-time informed decision making.
Navigate virtually through a property to access asset information and location through an easy-to-navigate web-based 2D/3D-BIM interface.
Why Is BIM Software So Important For Our Design And Construction Industry?:
Architects, Engineers and Contractors are using BIM software to plan work, analyse work and execute work.
By using BIM tools and BIM processes correctly some companies are starting to gain a competitive advantage.
In fact, Building Information Modeling software solutions are mandatory for some bidding processes especially for certain government contracts.
Students in higher education are also learning how to use some of the top BIM software and are starting their employment as a more valuable employee within our industry.
With your feedback we’ll keep this BIM Software List updated 👍
Please share and bookmark to come back and see updates!
Have we missed something?
Maybe you have a better one-liner explanation?
A link to a better video?
Or an updated Image?