Why aren’t you using BIM yet?
The impact of BIM (Building Information Modelling) on construction projects has increased over time and now there are more BIM software tools than ever before. The use of BIM virtual reality and 4D imaging is starting to revolutionize the builder’s lifecycle. It allows contractors to make better design decisions, reduce waste, and perhaps even reach that elusive goal of finishing on-time and on-budget.
Why should you implement BIM or even give it the time of day? Imagine the efficiencies in viewing a 4D model of your contract building before the footings are poured. Imagine being able to make design changes without losing money and wasting man power. BIM provides a solid advantage both to owners and contractors.
In a study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, between 2007-2012 BIM usage increased from 17% to 71% in the US and has become standardized in the drafting and design industry.
Users of BIM of report, as noted in the McGraw-Hill study, that 4D models provide more accuracy, lead to fewer claims and issues, and influence shorter project durations.
If you’re not yet beginning to use BIM modeling, maybe it’s time to get on-board.
Here are 5 Free and Open-Source BIM software tools to help you get started with BIM.
5 Free BIM Tools For Beginners
1. Graphisoft BIMx
This is an interactive viewer that uses Hyper-model technology that integrates 2D and 3D project navigation. This viewer can be used on mobile devices (iOS and Android) and makes communication between the office and on-site flow better. It has advanced map display technology that makes navigating and adding links to the 2D sheet easier.
- You can choose which information you want to publish with the hyper-model feature.
- iCloud or Dropbox can be linked to this app which makes transfer of models seamless and project sharing effective.
- There is real-time team collaboration through messaging, redlining and photo attachments.
- You can print 3D and 2D plans from your device using AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.
- You can link to BIMx from external databases like spreadsheets or browsers that can be used to target specific elements of the model.
2. Edificius by ACCA Software
Edificius is a free BIM software that allows you render your designs in real-time. It has the capability to create 3D videos for simple visualization and advanced design solutions with structural analysis and architectural designs.
- It helps to increase your team’s productivity with the integrated structural calculations and cost estimating features.
- You can get an accurate mapping of your land with data that is pulled from Google Maps satellite imagery.
- If you’re always making changes to your sketch, the real-time rendering allows you to view your changes right away.
- It allows you present your project to your clients with realistic simulations where they can move objects around and easily change concepts.
- Your presentation can be viewed by automated rendering, video and animation, and photo montage.
If you want to transition from CAD to BIM, Revit LT 2015 is a BIM software created by Autodesk which offers a seamless conversion. Revit LT gives you the ability to produce 3D architectural designs and supports BIM project workflows. (This is a 30-day free trial version).
- There is a full library of predefined photorealistic objects and materials to help create your floor plans on a 2D design that will automatically generate into a 3D model.
- This can automatically generate schedules right from the model that shows costs, quantities, etc.
- When modifying the design on a 2D sketch,it will automatically update and reflect on the intelligent 3D model simultaneously.
- Effectively communcate the project to your client with an animated walk-through of the visuals, space, design and idea virtually.
FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler. It is an open-source platform that is used to create real-life models. Parametric modelling means that the shapes are based upon certain properties or are dependent on other objects.
- You can build geometric constrained 2D shapes with this software with the ability to extract 3D drawings and create 2D Sketch’s.
- This software is compatible with Windows, MAC and Linux.
- It offers a robotic simulation module that lets you view robot movements.
- You can simply export your 3D drawings with external rendering that currently supports povray and LuxRender.
Tekla BIMsight is collaboration software for construction teams with a focus on BIM. The tool allows the project team to identify issues during the early stages of construction. Try out the free download.
- You can combine all models in the building lifecycle into one to immediately view any errors or overlaps.
- It offers live collaboration to avoid any issues or miscommunications on-site and in the office.
- You can easily determine any mismatches between the structural and architectural models by navigating to and focusing on a certain areas.
- If you find any clashes between the models you can leave a note communicating with the Engineer about this issue.
Maybe you think BIM is too complicated or that it’s too expensive to get started. As a beginner, why not try out one of these free tools to see just what you’re getting into. Like all project scheduling, it will take time to get the hang of BIM. But the advantages are clear.
Whether you are an Engineer, Planner, Designer, or Architect, BIM software provides many benefits for your role.
What are you waiting for? I hope this list helps you find the right fit for you.
Are there any other free BIM software tools that you use? Let us know and leave your thoughts in the comments below.