ARCHICAD, although flawed, pretty much destroys the competition
July 02, 2019

ARCHICAD, although flawed, pretty much destroys the competition

Paul King | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with ARCHICAD

ARCHICAD is the primary tool we use for the production of construction documentation, design coordination, and visualization processes.
  • Design modeling: the user interface allows for a pretty intuitive and integrated creative process. It's great for exploring and communicating ideas, and in cases where the process is not inhibited by the need to switch to different software for different stages of work, such as when moving to develop the design in detail. It also allows for a much more seamless process when changes are requested, so that all material from initial visualizations all the way through to detailed design information are all always in sync and up to date. No redundancy of effort is triggered through the logistics of needing to pass the design through multiple software platforms (eg SketchUp => Revit =>AutoCAD) as each design iteration evolves.
  • Design documentation: it's reasonably clear that ArchiCAD has the best implementation of BIM in the architectural domain, compared with the nearest rival Revit, and is unmatched for design development and coordination between disciplines, supporting large multidisciplinary teams who can all work simultaneously via the cloud or a local server on the same integrated model.
  • Somewhat responsive developers: unlike some others, if an issue is reported, there seems to be a fair chance of the developers engaging with the user and for the issue to be addressed in a subsequent update.
  • The Site Mesh tool could be enhanced by auto contour line generation and regeneration, surveyor break lines for cutting/controlling mesh triangulation, and allowing concavities in mesh surface without resorting to SEO. Built-in roads, sidewalks, retaining walls, etc. that modify surface appropriately and intelligently would also be great. Note there are paid 3rd party plugins addressing some of these, but I think these should not be necessary as these requirements are integral to most projects on sloping sites.
  • It could do with enhanced case by case control of materials' priority vs SEO, and other junction resolution methods for composite slabs, walls, columns, beams, and roofs.
  • Currently, a universal rule-based approach for the whole project may work for 90% of junctions, but it then leaves 10% of cases quite hard to resolve satisfactorily without workarounds.
  • As a freelancer, in one sense the productivity gains generated by ArchiCAD are a (short-term) negative, because greater efficiency results in fewer billable hours -- though long term, it is hard to remain competitive that way.
  • As an architect, the productivity gains give me an edge over the competition and allow me to improve quality quite drastically within any given time budget compared with alternatives.
  • I am able to tackle much larger and more complex projects, single-handed if necessary, and with more confidence than I ever could have without ArchiCAD.
Essentially ArchiCAD has proved better by any metric, despite my original skepticism.
ARCHICAD is well suited for Architects and engineers (with appropriate 3rd-party add-ons). It's less suited for specialist visualization artists who will play no further role in building design or construction documentation.