AutoCAD vs Revit (CAD vs BIM) – What architects will use in the future?

Nowadays, more and more architectural firms use Revit for buildings modeling. BIM has become an architectural buzzword.

In a Cgarchitect’s survey on Software Usage Changes, in period from 2006 to 2009 Revit usage grew by 10% (from 7% to 17%). Author also notes that it is still a lot lower than he would expect based on the marketing that Autodesk pours into Revit each year. The question is: is it possible for Revit to replace AutoCAD in the foreseeable future?

In the interview for our website last month, Elys John commented statements that BIM could eventually replace CAD: „On the down side, through the process of total automation it is possible that (these) judgements may become based purely on cost and BIM buildings could become bland, functional objects. However, equally there is a positive outlook, and many believe that BIM offers the chance for a truly integrated and cost-efficient process of design and construction.“

What’s the difference between this 2 approaches? During the 80s and 90s, AutoCAD replaced the drafting board and it is essentially a digital drafting board. You can use Revit as a 3D modeler, but it can also be used to produce plans, sections, elevations. In AutoCAD, before you start drawing, you have to decide what kind of drawing you are making – plan, section or elevation. In Revit there is radically different approach. Drawings are synchronized and it functions like live preview of your building model. Such models also can contain many project related data. So AutoCAD is a drafting workflow where drawings are created and edited independently and Revit is a modeling workflow where drawings come directly from a single unified model.

So it is not surprising that lots of architectural firms are either using Revit or looking to get into it. Especially smaller and mid-sized firms implement this new technology. This migration is easier when you know that Revit can be used in conjuction with AutoCAD – it can import and export DWG files, and with 3ds Max – through 3DS format.

In certain, BIM is the future of architectural design. Revit is a complete building design in documentation package. It means that Revit can be your single production tool. However, most firms that use Revit also continue to use AutoCAD. It is also important to note that there will always be demand for sketching and drawing by hand and digitally.


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