Architecture has been moving away from the traditional pen and paper designing process. Most modern architectural schools and programs require that their students know their way around BIM (Building Information Modeling) software. This makes sense. Structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineering have been using CAD programs for a while. Given that architecture is a core sibling of these trades, it is natural that it is part of the CAD bandwagon.
There is a plethora of architectural BIM software available online. These cater for a wide range of learners, ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals. Prices and features offered by these myriad packages are equally diverse. But what really makes a BIM software standout among the hundreds of software out there? What exactly do architects look for in their software?
The interface is how the architect communicates with the software. Since designing takes hours of commitment, it is best to make the architect love spending a lot of time interacting with the software. The most popular design software are usually the easiest to use. This does not only imply simple and minimalist interfaces. It also includes often neglected aspects like the ease of access to buttons, customizability, and compatibility with peripheral designing tools like 3D mice.
Architects have to constantly communicate with structural engineers, contractors, and other designers. If a BIM software can also be used for these other crafts, then it makes the design process straightforward. The main lesson for integrating other design components is to imagine everyone who is involved in the course of design and to incorporate options for them to use the software. Bouncing between different software can be tasking. Therefore, if an architectural design software includes elements like MEP, it will appeal to a lot of architects and also attract other construction professionals.
Informative online tutorials
Even if a software is meant to be used by professionals, it should have in-depth online tutorials. Hence, it is critical to create courses that start with the very basic aspects of the software. Companies like Autodesk have great examples of helpful tutorials on public platforms like YouTube. Revit classes provide insightful video tutorials for architectural professionals. These begin with introductions to the software package, going all the way to rendering and modeling existing buildings.
Rendering and 2D drafting
3D rendering and 2D drafting might seem like obvious features to include in BIM software. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to find packages that do not have 3D rendering. The feature is usually left out because it is demanding for software developers. At times, the main suite excludes rendering or 2D drafting, and the user has to buy these features separately. Rendering and 2D drafting are the means for architects to communicate with their clients and other designers. It is best to have these add-ons come already integrated with the BIM package.
Integration with other software
Besides being able to use special designing hardware with their BIM software, architects usually seek software that works seamlessly with other designing software. This makes it easy to transfer model designs and databases to other architects. Not all architects use the same software, but they should still be able to exchange their work, and view it in their software of choice.
It is challenging to create a BIM software package that works for every architect. However, there are some features that most architects look for. It is very helpful to do surveys, before developing CAD, and to have feedback portals for users to suggest exactly what they need in their software.