One of the most important aspects when implementing the BIM methodology in construction and maintenance projects is the choice of BIM software suitable for our needs. In the choice of software, we will find different similar alternatives, but each one of them will serve a specific issue.
Software alternatives for BIM
The different programmes that will be commented on below are paid, but have certain advantages over others as they are mostly used in different countries, by different companies or users.
There are programmes that cover a greater area in one territory than in another. For example, in Spain, Revit is the predominant one for modeling/installations, CYPE for the calculation of structures and installations and we will also have cloud services programs to visualize projects and have access to them anywhere, to consult the model.
The three main software programs currently on the market are
- Revit. Revit is proprietary software from Autodesk and was one of the first programs available after ArchiCAD. Although it had a hard entry in the market it has come to have a great presence in localised markets.
- ArchiCAD. It is a program of the Graphisoft company. It was the first BIM program on the market, but it gradually lost momentum around 2008, when Revit began to gain more relevance.
- AllPlan. Program of the company Nemetscheck. It is used in very localised markets compared to other solutions.
In general, these solutions cover the needs of the first dimensions up to 4D/5D depending on the program, but to advance further in the methodology and in its different dimensions the use of other complementary software will be needed, thus being able to perform all the necessary tasks for a complete BIM implementation.
BIM software beyond 5D
The needs requested by the most advanced dimensions have not been fully met by any software available on the market. Thus, today it is necessary to use different types of programs to do all the work according to the methodology.
The use of these programmes by the agents involved in the market shows us that the different companies often only reach half of the dimensions, remaining halfway. This incorrect or partial use of BIM , reaching only the 4th or 5th dimension, means that the above-mentioned programmes are the ones that currently have the largest share of the market in the different geographical sites.
The selection of a software that allows to cover other dimensions of BIM presents therefore very limited possibilities since it is still a very new field in the use of BIM. One of the best alternatives at present is our Retain EAM platform, a strategic business asset management software based on the BIM philosophy and which covers the needs of the higher dimensions, until reaching a new dimension focused on the efficiency of the operation that we call eD.
One of the main advantages of the Retain platform is that it has tools that solve integration problems with traditional BIM software solutions, always looking after the client’s needs.
BIM software selection criteria
Some of the aspects to evaluate when selecting a BIM software are
- Need in projects: differentiating the volume or size of the project will allow to limit the programmes more.
- Activities carried out: if you carry out activities more focused on vertical construction than on horizontal construction it will be more convenient to use Revit or ArchiCAD, while for horizontal construction projects AllPlan will be better.
- Agents you work with: if the individuals and/or companies you work with have a particular programme at the moment it will be more useful to use the same programme as most of them in order to have the greatest possible integration.
- Previous knowledge of a programme: the more knowledge you have of different programmes, the more a model and information can be exchanged between the different agents.
- Availability of hardware: the power of the equipment used will be one of the issues that will delimit which programme we can use.
The above criteria are a reference for asking the right questions in choosing the different possibilities. However, many other options can be considered depending on the characteristics and environment of the project. Ultimately it is the end user who must see what type of software he or she feels most comfortable with and has most available, without forgetting other important aspects such as the total cost of acquisition (licences, hardware, training, etc.).
Taking into account what has been mentioned above, in the case of Spain it is probably advisable to use Revit, as it is the predominant one and because of the different types of training that exist to prepare for its use, thus being able to apply the BIM methodology through a tool and its workflow, thought out and carried out previously.
For the integration of BIM in operational and maintenance processes, Retain is probably an alternative to consider, both for the power of its EAM functionalities and for the integration options in BIM projects developed with the previous technologies. If you want more information, contact us and a specialist will solve all your doubts without any compromise.
Finally, we also want to break a lance for the promotion in the use of open source BIM software, being able to reach all the companies that need the use of tools to be able to apply the current BIM provisions and do not have the resources to allow the acquisition of a payment solution.