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Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

Best Building Design 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:

Provide 2D or 3D computer-aided design tools specifically targeted for architectural design and construction
Include collaboration functionality that allows multiple team members to work on the same project model at the same time
Offer tools to optimize building performance with performance data and advanced analysis engines

For more information about general-purpose CAD products, which include a broad range of 2D and 3D drafting and modeling tools, see our General-Purpose CAD software category. For additional information about product and machine design tools, see our Product and Machine Design software category, and for more information about civil engineering design products, see our Civil Engineering Design software category.

Top 10 Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

  • AutoCAD
  • Revit
  • SketchUp
  • Archicad
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • Navisworks
  • AutoCAD Arch
  • Vectorworks Arch
  • ALLPLAN
  • AutoCAD P&ID

Compare Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

G2 takes pride in showing unbiased reviews on user satisfaction in our ratings and reports. We do not allow paid placements in any of our ratings, rankings, or reports. Learn about our scoring methodologies.
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(1,043)4.4 out of 5
Optimized for quick response
Entry Level Price:$4410 /3 years

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

(652)4.5 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$290 per month

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, kee

(464)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, enginee

(102)4.5 out of 5
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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. An improved Integrated Design workflow and enhanced collaboration between project stakeholders make Archicad an even stronger tool for uniting architects and engineers in a shared model.

(145)4.2 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$2,100 per year

AutoCAD® MEP software helps you draft, design, and document building systems.

(89)4.5 out of 5

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.

(194)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$265 per month

AutoCAD® Architecture software is the version of AutoCAD software specifically for architects.

(109)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$1,031

Vectorworks Architect is the industry’s only BIM modeling, drafting and documentation software built with the design process in mind. As the architect’s BIM tool, the software enables you to tackle complex ideas in 2D and 3D, refine construction details, increase your energy efficiency and streamline costs. Additionally, high-quality renderings can be created with ease and directly inside files thanks to default textures within thousands of Vectorworks content library objects and our easy-to-use

(23)4.4 out of 5

Allplan Architecture is object-oriented 3D design software. Allplan Architecture supports architects and designers from presentation of the initial draft to the production of working drawings and detailed design layouts, as well as construction cost planning.

(27)4.4 out of 5

AutoCAD® P&ID software helps designers and engineers quickly create and edit P&IDs with familiar AutoCAD in-context editing tools.

(20)4.5 out of 5

SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D enables you to place electrical components and use SOLIDWORKS routing technology to automatically interconnect electrical design elements within a 3D model. 2D schematics and 3D models are synchronized bi-directionally in real time so any changes are automatically updated

(64)4.8 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$495 ea

DataCAD is a professional-level Architectural CADD program for design, presentation, and documentation. DataCAD is one of the few software applications that are developed specifically for Architects, and it is the only CADD software ever to be endorsed by the American Institute of Architects (ca. 1987). Originally developed by an architectural firm more than 30 years ago, DataCAD is one of the stalwarts of the CAD industry.

(31)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.

(259)4.3 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$275 per Month

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 rai

(26)4.2 out of 5

Perform comprehensive analysis and design for any size or type of structure faster than ever before using the new STAAD.Pro CONNECT Edition. Simplify your BIM workflow by using a physical model in STAAD.Pro that is automatically converted into the analytical model for your structural analysis. Share synchronized models with confidence for multi-discipline team collaboration and, most importantly, deliver safe, cost-effective designs. Because every firm has different needs, there are three flexi

(13)3.9 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 in major CAD/BIM software programs, you can resolve issues to provide much-needed visibility and transparency to all stakeholders. Powerful analytics help project managers to understand issue tracking performance through precise KPIs. Our web-based IFC viewer allows all stakeholders

(73)4.4 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$1,311

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 insi

(34)4.0 out of 5

Experience intuitive Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Revit LT™ software. Produce high-quality 3D architectural designs and documentation using BIM software that uses a coordinated, model-based environment.

(234)4.0 out of 5
Entry Level Price:$2,410 USD License

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

(13)4.5 out of 5

Vectorworks Landmark software offers tools geared toward streamlining landscape-specific design and BIM workflows. Landmark’s intelligent tools, such as plants, hardscapes, terrain models, automated irrigation tools, powerful databases and flexible documentation features, will help you produce 2D drawings and 3D models to easily design, analyze, present and collaborate on projects. Applying geodesign processes in the planning of built and natural environments is simplified with integrated GIS fi

Integrated BIM tools for building design, civil infrastructure, and construction. Get access to a set of integrated tools that equip you to meet any project challenge – now and in the future. Use powerful BIM and CAD workflows enabled by a comprehensive set of software and services to deliver your best work and stay competitive. Why a collection? • Be ready for anything with a full set of BIM tools Get an essential set of tools, including Revit and AutoCAD, at a great price. And with access t

(13)4.7 out of 5

PROKON Structural Analysis and Design is a suite of over forty structural analysis, design and detailing programs. The first PROKON programs were developed in 1989, and today PROKON is used worldwide in over eighty countries. The suite is modular in nature, but its true power lies in the tight integration between analysis, design and detailing programs.

(33)4.7 out of 5
Optimized for quick response

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. For more information, visit thewild.com.

(7)3.6 out of 5

Aurora Solar develops cloud-based software that enables sophisticated solar PV engineering design, provides workflow management functionality and facilitates sales and customer acquisition for solar installers and financiers.

(7)4.4 out of 5

Trimble SysQue enables designers and contractors to design in Autodesk Revit with real world, manufacturing specific MEP content that is ready for fabrication. The software provides MEP designers and contractors with a seamless workflow from design to fabrication to construction improving the accuracy and coordination of their models.

(6)4.6 out of 5

IrisVR is the leading software for immersive design review and collaboration in virtual reality. It is used by BIM and VDC teams, design firms, and engineers who coordinate 3D models and implement design and construction processes. Because IrisVR integrates with Revit, Rhino, Navisworks, SketchUp, and other 3D tools out of the box, you can instantly create an immersive VR experience that allows you to present to clients and work more effectively with your team. IrisVR offers a desktop product

(5)4.5 out of 5

Ecotect Analysis sustainable design analysis software is a comprehensive concept-to-detail sustainable building design tool. Ecotect Analysis offers a wide range of simulation and building energy analysis functionality that can improve performance of existing buildings and new building designs.

(5)3.6 out of 5

iConstruct is a business information modeling (BIM) software for Autodesk Navisworks for a large range of industries worldwide that ensures a project is as efficient and simple as possible for teams to manage and maintain from concept to completion and beyond.

(20)3.7 out of 5

Matterport is a 3D data platform trusted by thousands of businesses around the world to securely store and manage 3D digital twins of their properties.

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Check out the G2 Grid® for the top Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software products. G2 scores products and sellers based on reviews gathered from our user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. Together, these scores are mapped on our proprietary G2 Grid®, which you can use to compare products, streamline the buying process, and quickly identify the best products based on the experiences of your peers.
Leaders
High Performers
Contenders
Niche
AutoCAD
SketchUp
Revit
Archicad
Civil 3D
MicroStation
DataCAD
AutoCAD Arch
AutoCAD MEP
Revit LT
Vectorworks Arch
Vectorworks Designer
Vectorworks Landmark
AutoCAD P&ID
Navisworks
SolidWorks Electrical 3D
BIM Track
ALLPLAN
Tekla Structures
Leica Geosystems
Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection
STAAD.Pro
Market Presence
Satisfaction

Learn More About Building Design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software

What is BIM Software?

Before building information modeling (BIM) software became common, designing buildings and other structures was dependent on 2D drawings. Various departments would have to pass these drawings back and forth between each other. A BIM tool allows users to generate and manage digital representations of characteristics and functions of building structures. In addition, BIM software provides information such as spatial relationships, light analysis, and geographic information. This process can also break down the actual building parts to piece together how they fit into one structure. These elements can include walls, columns, windows, door, stairs, and more.

This data can be extracted, networked to, or exchanged to facilitate decision-making regarding the specific building or structure the user is designing. For example, a user can manipulate this information to understand these elements’ behavior before building construction begins.

The attributes within these elements can perform actions as specific as automatically selecting and ordering new materials, along with providing cost estimates. Thanks to the data within BIM tools, you can extract various views from a model of a building, and these images are always consistent.

With BIM software, you can:

  • Increase productivity and efficiency in creating 2D and 3D drawings and models
  • Easily alter designs
  • Improve accuracy, precision, and control in drafting and design
  • Enable communication and collaboration between designers and with clients
  • Detect and avoid conflicts to reduce rework
  • Obtain more predictable outcomes

Why Use BIM Software?

BIM solutions have completely changed the way buildings are designed. The introduction of software into this process gives users a number of benefits that manual design cannot offer.

Create quickly — Before BIM software, the building design process involved a lot of manual drawings. These solutions enable designers to draft up a BIM model far quicker than by hand. Digital models also include more information than what is in a drawing set. Ultimately, by facilitating a quicker design process, BIM software saves firms money and labor.

Design anywhere — The majority of BIM solutions are cloud-based, which means that you have access to your projects details from any device. Multiple project members can sign on from any location as well.

Avoid clashes — BIM software can detect clashing elements, such as electrical conduit or ductwork that run into a beam. Repairing the damage from clashes can be very costly. BIM tools have the ability to identify potential issues before they happen.

Capture reality — One of the foremost advantages of this software is BIM’s ability to accurately capture reality. BIM solutions can integrate with tools that offer mapping and provide precise images of the earth. Users then have the option to include aerial imagery and digital elevation with the models of their buildings. They can even include laser scans of existing site infrastructure.

Reduce errors — As BIM software takes away manual design, it also takes away a significant amount of human error. These tools help identify problems early on in the design and building processes.

Improve collaboration across your organization — Sharing digital information modeling for buildings is far easier than passing drawing sets back and forth between colleagues. The cloud-based model of many BIM solutions also means that colleagues working on different parts of the design and building process can access BIM models anywhere, at any time. As many colleagues as needed can review and mark up the model before the building is erected.

Simulate and visualize elements of your building — BIM software has the capability to visualize how certain elements can impact your building, such as sunlight during different seasons or the structure’s energy performance. These solutions apply rules based on physics to provide guidance for engineers and other team members involved in building the structure.

Sequence the steps of the building process — Constructing a building is an incredibly detailed process. Each part of this progression is a sequence of steps, materials, and building crews. BIM software can animate this entire process, facilitate all of these steps, and deliver a path to the end result.

Give a perfect presentation — It’s important clients get a preview of the building being designed. BIM software enables communication of the project scope, steps, and outcome. And as BIM can render images in 3D, you can give your clients the most realistic view of the building possible.

Who Uses BIM software?

BIM is geared toward those designing buildings. However, many distinct roles contribute to the designing and constructing of these buildings, from planning internal systems to the outside structure of the building. BIM software can benefit those in a variety of career fields.

Infrastructure — BIM isn’t just for constructing buildings. It can be used to create large structures, such as bridges and ports. BIM can be used in these instances the same way it is for constructing buildings, namely integrating the plan, design, build, and phases of a project. These tools can ensure that any large structure is resilient to external circumstances, such as weather, before being constructed.

Construction ­— BIM software is commonly used in the construction industry. These solutions facilitate collaboration within any team involved in the process and the ability to gather aerial views of your structure. Laying the groundwork digitally ultimately gives a more productive worksite.

MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) — BIM software offers a suite of tools to help those in the MEP industry design and estimate mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems quickly and accurately. These platforms reduce risk and waste, driving better MEP fabrication. BIM solutions also assist in the installation process as well, to ensure these systems fit seamlessly with the rest of the structure they are a part of.

Plant design — BIM solutions allow you to design intelligent structures and create piping and instrumentation diagrams that will support factory operations. Whether the plant you are designing specializes in water treatment, food and beverage, or oil and gas, a BIM tool should have the functionality to create designs in any of these disciplines.

Structural engineering — Another common use for BIM software is by structural engineers. Users in this field utilize BIM tools to improve the structure of buildings to ensure they are as strong and resilient as possible. Structural engineers can streamline workflows to connect design to detailing, minimize errors, and improve the quality of your structure before it is constructed.

Architecture — BIM solutions allow architects to bring their most creative ideas to life. This software supports architects throughout their whole design process. BIM solutions provide tools that maintain model fidelity at every stage of the design process. This means that insight can be gained early on in this process to meet clients’ requirements to deliver the project they need.

Kinds of BIM software

While users in different fields utilize BIM software in slightly different ways, the end result is essentially the same—building a large structure. And while there are not necessarily different categories of BIM solutions, there are different versions of these platforms: open BIM and closed BIM.

Closed BIM is an environment where everyone involved in the project uses the exact same kind of software and exports files in the exact same format, eliminating the need for conversions. With open BIM, project members may use different kinds of BIM software with neutral file formats. This process has led to a number of open standards that have been developed to further the industry.

BIM Software Features

BIM software offers several features to support the design and building of large structures. Most tools support a multidiscipline design process for a number of different types of structures. Not all products will contain the same feature sets, but the following are common examples across many BIM solutions.

Collaboration — Projects that require BIM solutions have many different moving parts with multiple teams, so frequent communication is a must. Every BIM tool should have a feature that enables collaboration among colleagues. Collaboration features may include functionality such as real-time notifications and cross-platform communications.

Visualize — Since BIM tools give users the ability to design their structure in 3D, a BIM platform will likely have the ability to visualize outside elements such as how sunlight will hit a building or how energy efficient the building is, as well as detect any potential clashes in the system or structure. This knowledge ensures the structure you are creating runs at peak performance.

Sequence steps — Each phase of the construction process is planned out with models and even submodels. BIM software enables users to sequence out these steps with the specific materials and crews needed for every individual phase of the process. Some BIM tools even allow you to animate the steps of your building process.

Document storage/data management — When it comes to the design and construction of a building or large structure, different teams will contribute various documents to the project. This might include drawings, customer requirements, phasing plans, and more. BIM solutions should be able to store all this information within the platform and allow multiple users to access it.

Additional BIM features:

Some BIM products include features specific to certain disciplines. These features are not always a given in a tool, so it is important to confirm the BIM solution of your choice includes the additional feature you need before purchasing. Some BIM tools may include:

Cloud rendering — Produce realistic 3D visualizations of your building without integrating any special rendering hardware.

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) fabrication detailing — A number of BIM products offer MEP fabrication detailing—the ability to create an intricate model of whichever MEP system needs to be integrated into the building. Specify the fabrication configuration and load services needed, and you should be able to create the model.

Import/export 2D sheets — As 3D designing is becoming the standard, it may become increasingly difficult to design in 2D. However, some BIM solutions offer the option to import/export 2D sheets into the platform, so that you can design as you need and potentially update these 2D designs to 3D.

Potential Issues with BIM Software

Incompatibility with construction partners — BIM is not the universal standard in the construction industry quite yet, and a number of other tools can be used to create building models. As such, there is a possibility your contractors may not utilize BIM software to create buildings and therefore won’t be able to use your models.

Lack of expertise — BIM is a relatively new technology that is developing quickly. For that reason, there are a limited number of BIM software experts. Implementing a BIM solution on a project might require investment in additional training and support.

Legal ramifications — It is currently unclear where the ownership of BIM data falls. Whether it needs to be protected through copyright laws has also yet to be determined. When someone other than the original creator of a model contributes to the work, licensing issues may come up. And as there are many people involved in the design and construction of a building or large structure, this can potentially cause issues.

Cost — Moving to BIM software is not a cheap task. Not only do you have to pay for the tool itself, but you will likely need to invest in training or consulting. It will likely pay off in the long run, but the upfront cost may be a hit to your firm initially, especially if your business is small.

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