Who has the noise in the front, Revit or ArchiCAD?
I worked with ArchiCAD for almost 11 years during my college in Germany. I have been using Revit since 2008. The latest ArchiCAD I worked with was ArchiCAD 11. Today, I am working with Revit 2013. I know that ArchiCAD 16 is the latest version in the most European architecture firms, but unfortunately, I have not had any chance to try the latest version. I like to talk about Revit and ArchiCAD, their similarities and their differences. We will find out if ArchiCAD or Revit has the nose in the front.
After so many years working with ArchiCAD and Revit, I found many good and bad features in both applications. This article is a comparison of two sophisticated architectural and engineering applications which are used around the world. ArchiCAD is mostly popular in the European countries and Revit mostly used in North America. The most important reason to this separation is that Revit is developed by Autodesk, an American company and ArchiCAD is developed by the Hungarian company Graphisoft. Europeans enjoy using ArchiCAD and the most Americans love their Revit and we want to see which can win the battle.
Speed, Power, and Usability:
- ArchiCAD 64 bit version was published 2 years earlier than Revit introduced 64 bit version for 2009 version. The required RAM for an opened Revit project is 20 times more than the actual model file. It makes the workstation running very slow using large models in Revit. Graphisoft has developed a very different 64 bit version and they are few years ahead. The required RAM for opened ArchiCAD model is about 5 times more than actual model file. This makes ArchiCAD running very smooth even using older workstations.
- The most known problem in Revit is the lacks of multiprocessing feature. This lacks of power makes Revit to generate views much slower than ArchiCAD does.
- BIM in Revit has good and bad sides. Revit builds BIM through the relationship between parametric and the building levels. It means, Revit gives users no control over the model. Everything such as walls, columns, beams, and etc. are parametrically related to each other which create a straightforward structure that can’t be modified so easy by the Revit users. Some people see that as an advantage because Revit engine checks everything for errors in the model, but other believe that this feature makes it very difficult for the users to modify the model as needed.
- I have used the work-sharing in both Revit and ArchiCAD. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. But, I found out that ArchiCAD gives users more option to share their models. I find the notification in ArchiCAD much better, because it gives a better overview about who is working on what part of the model.
- The latest ArchiCAD I used was crashing more often than the latest Version of Revit I am using right now. But don’t forget that ArchiCAD 11 was developed in 2005 and I am using Revit 2012 today.
- I personally find the ArchiCAD toolbar and menus much easier to find. But this is more personal preferences.
- ArchiCAD seams to run much faster even using many families in the project. Revit get slower and slower each time when you add a new family to your project.
- ArchiCAD provides more accuracy and snap tools in ArchiCAD seam to work better than Revit.
- Commands in ArchiCAD need fewer clicks than Revit commands.
- Both ArchiCAD and Revit have an automatic sheet numbering, but Revit does not keep numbering correctly after one sheet has been removed or renamed.
- Both applications place automatically the scale for the drawing titles.
- Drawing’s ID in ArchiCAD receives automatically its number depend on its locations on the sheet. In Revit you have to type in the number manually. For example: you have a raster of a, b, c, d, … for columns and 1,2,3,4, … for the rows to locate the drawings on the sheet. ArchiCAD gives the right numbering system after inserting the drawing into the sheet. If you move the drawing on the sheet, the numbering changes automatically and this changes the numbers in all related details and call-outs.
- Revit does not support drag and drop feature to insert external files into the project. You are required to use the insert tab to be able to insert an external file such as a PDF and JPG.
- ArchiCAD allows users to change the pen sizes for different drawings before printing; even they all are on one sheet. It means, ArchiCAD user can define the pen size for each detail before sending to print without changing the actual model.
- Copping views in revit can be done only in one shape which is rectangular shape, but ArchiCAD allows users to use shapes such as circles, ellipse, multiline, and etc.
- ArchiCAD provides PDF maker as standard, but Revit needs a third party installed on the workstation to be able to print in PDF.
- Revit does not show the depth as good as ArchiCAD does. Revit does not support line weights depend on the elevation views based on their distance from the elevation marker or cut plane. Looking at an elevation which was generated by ArchiCAD shows what part of building the closer to you and what is the furthest. This makes reading construction drawings much easier. This has to be done manually in Revit using Linework tool.
- In ArchiCAD, you can detach a view from the 3D model to be able to work on that detail as a 2D detail. Imagine, you have an elevation that you like to have some modification without messing up with the 3D model. You can detach that view without losing anything in the 3D model.
- ArchiCAD allows users to dimension the model in 3D views. It makes it easy for contractors to build a detail by seeing the dimension on a 3D detail.
- ArchiCAD allows users to create new hatch pattern very easily. Doing such thing is Revit is almost impossible.
- Revit does not support curved grid systems, but ArchiCAD supports almost any shape as needed to justify your design.
Most people find that Revit is very easy to use, but I believe this is a personal preference which one is easier to learn. I personally found out that revit seems to be very difficult to work with when the project grows and more people share the same project on the network. ArchiCAD is straight forward and doesn’t have so much hidden settings.
Each program provides advantages and disadvantages. People like me who have been using ArchiCAD for many years and had to switch to Revit, have difficulties to deal with all hidden settings in Revit. But, it becomes easier to use after understanding the actual concept of revit how it was built. ArchiCAD is more straight forward and does not surprise you when the project get larger and larger. I am using Revit right now and last time I used ArchiCAD was many years ago. If I personally had the opportunity to choose between Revit and ArchiCAD, I would pick ArchiCAD, because it gives me more freedom to design my building and importantly, it is does not shock you with surprises.