Software Advice has helped many construction firms choose the right BIM software so they can improve collaboration across the project life cycle and reduce costs. How does it work?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software


Sort by:
 
Sort by:
 
Buildertrend logo
 
Buildertrend is a construction management system for home builders, remodelers, specialty contractors and general contractors. It combines project scheduling, project management, financial management, customer management and service... Read More
Rating:            (986)
Rating:
        (986)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
339
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Buildertrend is a construction management system for home builders, remodelers, specialty contractors and general contractors. It combines project scheduling, project management, financial management, customer management and service... Read More
 
Procore logo
 
Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application that helps firms increase their project efficiency and accountability by providing streamlined project communication and documentation. Users are able to manage... Read More
Rating:            (1812)
Rating:
        (1812)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
194
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application that helps firms increase their project efficiency and accountability by providing streamlined project communication and documentation. Users are able to manage... Read More
 
STACK Takeoff & Estimating logo
 
STACK Estimating from STACK Construction Technologies is a cloud-based on-screen takeoff and estimating tool for professional contractors of all business sizes in most trades. With STACK Estimating, users are able to produce bids... Read More
Rating:            (701)
Rating:
        (701)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
137
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
STACK Estimating from STACK Construction Technologies is a cloud-based on-screen takeoff and estimating tool for professional contractors of all business sizes in most trades. With STACK Estimating, users are able to produce bids... Read More
 
PlanSwift logo
 
PlanSwift is an on-screen digitizing and takeoff system that is suitable for both commercial and residential GCs and subcontractors in a number of industries, such as electrical, heavy/highway, plumbing, and custom and production home... Read More
Rating:            (323)
Rating:
        (323)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
123
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
PlanSwift is an on-screen digitizing and takeoff system that is suitable for both commercial and residential GCs and subcontractors in a number of industries, such as electrical, heavy/highway, plumbing, and custom and production home... Read More
 
CMiC logo
 
CMiC offers a fully integrated ERP system that caters to the needs to builders, design teams, and architects across the construction industry. The solution can be deployed locally on a server, or hosted in the cloud, and offers modules... Read More
Rating:            (131)
Rating:
        (131)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
57
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
CMiC offers a fully integrated ERP system that caters to the needs to builders, design teams, and architects across the construction industry. The solution can be deployed locally on a server, or hosted in the cloud, and offers modules... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 864-6931


 
eSUB logo
 
eSUB is a mobile application and cloud-based project management solution that helps commercial subcontractors across various trades to manage day-to-day operations. eSUB offers tools to connect field workers with office managers and... Read More
Rating:            (104)
Rating:
        (104)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
44
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
eSUB is a mobile application and cloud-based project management solution that helps commercial subcontractors across various trades to manage day-to-day operations. eSUB offers tools to connect field workers with office managers and... Read More
 
Assignar logo
 
Assignar is a cloud-based construction management solution suitable for businesses in a variety of industries. Key features include timesheets, custom forms, inspections, scheduling, compliance management, invoicing and payroll. Workers... Read More
Rating:            (38)
Rating:
       (38)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
41
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Assignar is a cloud-based construction management solution suitable for businesses in a variety of industries. Key features include timesheets, custom forms, inspections, scheduling, compliance management, invoicing and payroll. Workers... Read More
 
Viewpoint Team logo
 
Viewpoint Team is a cloud-based project management platform. The solution can be used as a standalone platform or integrated with Viewpoint’s ERP solutions. Team connects the back office with field operations and the extended project... Read More
Rating:           (7)
Rating:
        (7)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
41
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Viewpoint Team is a cloud-based project management platform. The solution can be used as a standalone platform or integrated with Viewpoint’s ERP solutions. Team connects the back office with field operations and the extended project... Read More
 
Sage Estimating (formerly Sage Timberline Estimating) logo
 
Sage Estimating is an on-premise based construction estimating software designed specifically to serve contractors and sub-contractors in construction and real estate industries of all sizes. The solution provides interactive tools... Read More
Rating:            (50)
Rating:
        (50)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
36
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Sage Estimating is an on-premise based construction estimating software designed specifically to serve contractors and sub-contractors in construction and real estate industries of all sizes. The solution provides interactive tools... Read More
 
FastPIPE & FastDUCT logo
 
FastEST, Inc. is the United States based developers of takeoff and estimating solution designed specifically for plumbing, mechanical, HVAC and sheet metal contractors. FastPIPE and FastDUCT are two of the company's comprehensive... Read More
Rating:            (33)
Rating:
        (33)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
35
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
FastEST, Inc. is the United States based developers of takeoff and estimating solution designed specifically for plumbing, mechanical, HVAC and sheet metal contractors. FastPIPE and FastDUCT are two of the company's comprehensive... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 864-6931


 
QuoteSoft Duct & QuoteSoft Pipe logo
 
QuoteSoft is a takeoff, estimating and bid management solution developed to meet the unique needs of piping, plumbing and ductwork contractors. QuoteSoft is an industry-specific solution that is used by more than 3,000 contractors... Read More
Rating:            (31)
Rating:
        (31)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
34
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
QuoteSoft is a takeoff, estimating and bid management solution developed to meet the unique needs of piping, plumbing and ductwork contractors. QuoteSoft is an industry-specific solution that is used by more than 3,000 contractors... Read More
 
Roots logo
 
Roots is a cloud-based construction management solution designed for general contractors, government contractors and subcontractors of all sizes. It helps in estimating and work procurement, project management, accounting, progress... Read More
Rating:            (20)
Rating:
        (20)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
28
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Roots is a cloud-based construction management solution designed for general contractors, government contractors and subcontractors of all sizes. It helps in estimating and work procurement, project management, accounting, progress... Read More
 
eTakeoff logo
 
eTakeoff is designed to offer estimators a comprehensive software that provides electronic viewer and takeoff tool for companies across all construction disciplines. The flexible solution is suitable to meet the needs of construction... Read More
Rating:            (25)
Rating:
        (25)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
25
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
eTakeoff is designed to offer estimators a comprehensive software that provides electronic viewer and takeoff tool for companies across all construction disciplines. The flexible solution is suitable to meet the needs of construction... Read More
 
Acumatica ERP logo
 
Acumatica ERP delivers a cloud and mobile technology platform designed for mid-sized customers with a complete, real time view across the business anytime, anywhere and on any device with a browser. From on-line accounting to full... Read More
Rating:            (20)
Rating:
        (20)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
23
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Acumatica ERP delivers a cloud and mobile technology platform designed for mid-sized customers with a complete, real time view across the business anytime, anywhere and on any device with a browser. From on-line accounting to full... Read More
 
Aimsio logo
 
Aimsio is a cloud-based field service management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers contact management, billing and invoicing, inventory management, scheduling and dispatch and work order management. Aimsio offers a platform... Read More
Rating:            (10)
Rating:
        (10)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
17
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Aimsio is a cloud-based field service management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers contact management, billing and invoicing, inventory management, scheduling and dispatch and work order management. Aimsio offers a platform... Read More

Call us for a free FastStart Consultation: (844) 864-6931


 
TRUE Contractor logo
 
TRUE Contractor software by Docuwrx is both a cloud-based and web-based construction management solution that helps managers in the office connect and share information with workers in the field via mobile devices, tablets, desktop... Read More
Rating:            (1)
Rating:
        (1)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
15
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
TRUE Contractor software by Docuwrx is both a cloud-based and web-based construction management solution that helps managers in the office connect and share information with workers in the field via mobile devices, tablets, desktop... Read More
 
Trimble AutoBid Mechanical logo
 
Trimble AutoBid Mechanical is a labor and material estimating solution that was designed for mechanical, piping and plumbing contractors who specialize in commercial work. Autobid Mechanical allows contractors to create accurate bids;... Read More
Rating:            (15)
Rating:
        (15)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
13
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Trimble AutoBid Mechanical is a labor and material estimating solution that was designed for mechanical, piping and plumbing contractors who specialize in commercial work. Autobid Mechanical allows contractors to create accurate bids;... Read More
 
PMWeb logo
 
PMWeb is a cloud-based solution geared toward construction project management. The solution is built on the Microsoft .NET technology and can be accessed via a web client anywhere with Internet access. PMWeb can serve real estate development,... Read More
Rating:            (6)
Rating:
        (6)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
13
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
PMWeb is a cloud-based solution geared toward construction project management. The solution is built on the Microsoft .NET technology and can be accessed via a web client anywhere with Internet access. PMWeb can serve real estate development,... Read More
 
Trimble AutoBid SheetMetal logo
 
Trimble® AutoBid® SheetMetal is an on-premise labor and material estimating solution for HVAC and sheet metal estimators. Using the solution's 'Automatic Fitting Generation', estimators can create takeoffs while keeping track of... Read More
Rating:            (4)
Rating:
        (4)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
11
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
Trimble® AutoBid® SheetMetal is an on-premise labor and material estimating solution for HVAC and sheet metal estimators. Using the solution's 'Automatic Fitting Generation', estimators can create takeoffs while keeping track of... Read More
 
SmartBid Bid Management Software logo
 
SmartBid is an online construction bid software designed for general and prime contractors to manage subcontractor data, prequalify subcontractors, share project documents and send invitations to bid. As a web-based system, all communications,... Read More
Rating:            (56)
Rating:
        (56)
Price:
Advisor Recommendations:
8
Platforms:
Deployment:
Business Size:
S
M
L
SmartBid is an online construction bid software designed for general and prime contractors to manage subcontractor data, prequalify subcontractors, share project documents and send invitations to bid. As a web-based system, all communications,... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 17, 2018


Ten years ago, if you had asked a construction firm what its virtual design and construction (VDC) strategy looked like, you would likely have been met with mostly blank stares. Now, nearly 80 percent of firms report using VDC workflows on projects to some degree, as JBKnowledge found in its 2016 construction technology report.

Building information modeling (BIM) is the reason for this massive industry shift. BIM is a process for creating a digital model of a construction project, comprised of layers of metadata describing the physical and functional aspects of the initiative.

BIM software creates a collaborative, open environment for teams to connect and optimize their time and efforts across the project life cycle. The positive returns and cost savings are numerous, so much so that McKinsey reports a number of governments are requiring BIM be used for all public infrastructure projects.

Whether you're investing in BIM software for the first time or looking to upgrade your current system, this guide can help you make a more informed purchase decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is BIM Software?
Common Features of BIM Software
Benefits and Potential Challenges
Market Trends to Understand

What Is BIM Software?

BIM is an intelligent model-based process (3D, 4D, 5D) that helps architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals collaboratively plan, design, build and manage projects. It is a digital representation that conveys the physical and functional aspects of a project, e.g., geometry, spatial requirements and other metrics.

3D, 4D and 5D BIM

 

3D BIM 4D BIM 5D BIM
3D, design 4D, schedule 5D, cost
An informed and realistic model of a project initiative. Used to more accurately take customer requirements into design consideration and determine project scope.

Information that can be included in the 3D model includes geometric measurements, spatial data, design aesthetics, as well as thermal and acoustic properties.
Adds the element of time to the 3D model.

Allows general contractors to determine if the project scope can be completed on the given timeline, and once approved, schedule resources, set milestones and communicate plans to clients.
Adds the element of cost, together with scheduling, to the 3D model.

Allows estimators to determine the costs for the project and if they are in line with the approved budget. Any changes in the design or schedule are reflected in the budget.

The most commonly used format for BIM is the industry foundation classes (IFC) data model. The IFC specification, developed and maintained by buildingSMART, is the accepted ISO standard and is an open and neutral file format.

This means that IFC allows AEC professionals to share BIM data, regardless of what software application they use. For example, BIM data can easily be transferred between Revit, an Autocad product, to ArchiCAD, a Graphisoft product.

This also means it is accepted and used by the various disciplines involved with the project life cycle, including:

  • Architecture
  • Client requirement management
  • Structural engineering
  • Building authority for permits and approvals
  • Project management
  • Facilities management

IFC files representing different layers of metadata for each stage in a project in BIM software

IFC files representing different layers of metadata for each stage in the project. Source: Areo

As Engineering.com states, "In BIM, every project is built twice—once in a virtual environment to make sure that everything is just right and once in a real environment to bring the project to life."

BIM tools support this collaborative process between design and construction. They enable greater accuracy and consistency when planning and executing projects, helping to improve quality and safety, as well as reduce costs incurred from schedule and budget overruns.

Common Features of BIM Software

Specific features will vary across BIM software, depending on the stage in the project life cycle they are designed for, e.g., design, scheduling or estimating. However, there are some standard capabilities you should look for as you evaluate BIM solutions. These include:

Process/workflow management Set workflows surrounding the processes within set stages of the project life cycle, so users stay on the same page. For example: Design, visualization/modeling, model review, model simulation and analysis, model-based takeoff and costing etc.
Collaboration A single BIM model houses the metadata for all processes and connects teams across each stage of the project life cycle, from architects to general contractors to estimators. Changes to the design impact the cost and schedule. Each team can track and stay up-to-date with changes as they are made.
Change management Track known issues and allow users to flag new issues as they arise. Require approvals for model changes. This helps with version control and creates an audit trail, so everyone is on the same page and can understand model progressions, what changes were made and why.
Content/document storage and data management Store project data, e.g., drawings, customer requirements, requests for information (RFIs), phasing plans and more alongside the BIM model. Some systems may allow you to store models and information for multiple projects.
Reporting and analysis Gain actionable insights on the data provided by BIM models. Run reports during design and find problem areas or inconsistencies, run reports during planning to see if the project will finish in the time allotted and/or run reports during estimating to ensure the project costs don't exceed the budget.

Benefits and Potential Challenges

Benefits:

  • The 3D, 4D and 5D models help you more accurately determine project scope, cost and schedule. This improves project outcomes and reduces expensive reworks or change orders down the line.
  •   
  • BIM helps you identify missing or incorrect information early on in the design and planning processes, improving quality and safety down the line. Additionally, BIM models can continue to be used after planning, through construction and into maintenance, helping to increase the overall value delivered from the project.
  •   
  • Using the open, standard IFC file format allows for seamless transfer of data between tools and teams. This helps cut down on duplicate data entry (and potential for human error), saves time and promotes an open, collaborative BIM environment.

Challenges:

  • Although a centralized, collaborative environment is a positive, the more people involved in each process requires that BIM tools have strong version control and audit trail capabilities. Additionally, this makes it important to set workflows around changes and approvals, so you can track who did what and when.
  •   
  • Although the BIM IFC files are transferable between tools, there is a wealth of project information that needs to accompany the digital model, e.g., drawings, FRIs, change orders etc. These documents need to be stored, shared and linked to the model.
  •   
  • BIM files can easily reach sizes of 200 MB or larger, which can make it difficult to send files via email or download files to mobile devices if teams are in the field. If you search "BIM file sizes" on Google, the top results all center around how to reduce file size and how to deal with file size limitations when importing/exporting data.

Market Trends To Understand

BIM use is on the rise. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of builders who do not use BIM software dropped by 30 percent, according to JBKnowledge in their annual construction tech reports. Of those investing in BIM in 2016, 33 percent use BIM tools internally while 10 percent outsource.

Outsourcing may be a great stepping stone into this technology for small firms who lack the IT budget to invest in these tools for themselves. However, outsourcing doesn't negate the need for training on the data provided by BIM, so be sure someone is up to speed on what these models have to offer.

Open BIM. Open BIM is an initiative to maintain a collaborative and open environment for design, building and maintaining projects using the open buildingSMART data model, IFC. This initiative is backed and led by several prominent vendors in the AEC industry, including:

  • Tekla
  • GRAPHISOFT
  • Nemetschek
  • AllPlan
  • Vectorworks
  • Trimble

AEC software vendors can become Open BIM certified, showing that their products are IFC compliant and that their data works seamlessly with other Open BIM solutions.

This initiative is important for several reasons (read about them here), but one specific benefit is that it helps small and large software vendors compete in the space. Meaning, construction firms can take a chance on a lesser known, less expensive product. So long as it is IFC compliant, they can benefit in the same way as they would from using an industry giant.

 

How it Works

We match organizations with software that meets their needs.

Our service is simple and 100% free to customers like you because software vendors pay us when we connect them with quality leads. You save time and get great advice. Vendors get great referrals. It's a win for everyone!

Call now for advice: (844) 864-6931
Software Advice Advisors
×