This comparison is meant to be an easy guide to users on both sides, to give you a glimpse on what is on the “other” side of the BIM game. It is also directed to all of you non- Revit or non-ArchiCAD users who want to know what the fuzz is all about.
A little bit of history
The idea of comparing these two applications came from reading over and over hundreds of discussions online, most of them turned into eternal arguments driven by lack of understanding of the other software. Some of the actual comparisons are fairly good, some even very good, but none as extensive for me to be significant. You can actually take a look into these discussions and comparisons here:
- Revit City
- LinkedIn discussion
- BIM Equity
- Shoegnome’s BIM Challenge
- Revit Clinic
- Scott Mackenzie’s Blog
- Ransom Ratcliff’s Early comparison ( 2008)
- and many more, just look for it
So I have decided to take a bit more time and take this comparison by parts.
In short the story goes like this:
The whole idea of BIM was inspired on the idea of PIM (Product information modeling) from the industrial design industry in the mid 80’s… and that is a whole different story.
Autodesk has developed Revit after its acquisition in 2002 from Revit Technology Corporation. At that point in time RTC have had developed Revit since 1997, releasing commercial versions since 2000 (Revit 1.0). In 2005 Autodesk released the first architectural version with Revit Building R 8.0 and the latest being Revit 2014.
Graphisoft has developed ArchiCAD since 1982 with a first commercial version in 1984 (called Radar CH and for Mac OS platforms). All following versions were called ArchiCAD. Years later, in 1996 Graphisoft started releasing versions for both Mac OS and Windows OS platforms up until today with the latest version being ArchiCAD 17.
For the time being, I will be comparing Revit 2014 and ArchiCAD 17, later on I may be updating and adding some comments.
Now let’s see how much do they have in common and how they compare.
Revit comes in three different flavours: Architectural, Structural and MEP. That means that it provides tools for architects as well for engineers for building a 3D model from which drawings will be obtained, information will be taken out and calculations and simulations will be performed. There is also a light version or Revit LT and a fully equipped version or Revit Building Design Suite.
ArchiCAD comes in one flavour with optional “toppings”. It is primarily a tool for Architects with all the 3D modeling capabilities, information take out, calculations and simulations features for architectural design. It offers Structural Modeling tools (out of the box), and MEP modeling tools (as an Add on) but doesn’t run the calculations for the engineers. There is also a light version or ArchiCAD Star (t) edition.
From now on and for the purposes of this comparison, we will only consider the Architectural versions and features of both covering the following topics:
Model Views & Drawing Production
Content Creation Tools
Project File Structure
File Content Directory (Browser & Navigator)
Custom Libraries Creation
Graphics and Output
I hope you enjoy the ride.