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Best Architecture Software in 2020 for Architects & Builders

Finding the best Architecture Software for your business is now faster and easier! Compare prices, reviews, features, and get free consultation to find the perfect software.

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What is Architecture Software?

Architecture software is used to make 2D and 3D structural, home and remodeling designs. Architects, interior designers and students use these software’s for designing and visualizing the structures to be built. They are used to create architectural drawings, documentation and making design iterations which otherwise is a tedious process.

Architecture software’s is used by seasoned architects, proficient interior designers, beginners and students for class projects and by civil engineers. In this age of automation, professionals are adopting software’s and tools that reduce their efforts and the time consumed in making detailed structural plans.

The wide range of 2D and 3D plans and automated features makes designing easier. Professionals can choose from the basic software’s for learners to advanced software’s for the professionals.

Architecture design software and computer-aided drawings (CAD) come in different forms that can be applied differently for various projects and specifications. 

2D Architecture Software

2D architecture software is used to create, edit, and annotate one-dimensional drawings that typically include floor plans, landscaping layouts, elevations, and more. 

One good example of 2D architecture software is Autodesk CAD.

3D Architecture Software

3D architecture software gives you a realistic view of your design with textures, materials, and automated tools. It helps you visualize what your architectural model will look like. It includes different tools like 3D wireframe and surface modeling that can help you create a skeleton representation of the object. Furthermore, you can create solid geometric objects with the help of the solid modeling tool. 

One good example of 3D architecture software is SketchUp.

BIM Software

BIM, or building information modeling, is an element of architecture software that uses an intelligent 3D model-based design process. It aims to help designers achieve a higher level of accuracy and efficiency when planning and designing buildings. 

One good example of BIM Software is Revit. 

It’s a tough task to choose the right architecture software to suit your needs. Often selecting the industry’s top software will not be the best choice. Firstly determine the priorities such as the operating system you’re using (Windows or Mac), the cost, functionalities and interoperability. The functionalities vary – the needs of an architecture student are different from those of an architect, interior designer or a civil engineer. Features of an architectural software

Listed underneath are the features your architecture software should possess:

  1. Technical support: Architecture software’s come with many features and functionalities. Features needed by a beginner are different from those required by a pro, hence ensure that the software you select supports your level of learning. Is it accompanied by a manual or a technical support team you can reach out to immediately if stuck at any point?

  2. User friendly: Incase of sustainable designs, the architecture software needs to be such that the changes made with respect to one parameter have to be implemented throughout the project. Such software leads to consistent and efficient designing. Is it easy to use, can it be operated without a manual? The key to good designs are easy to understand features, consistent and fault-free designs. Before purchase check if the software is compatible with your operating system.

  3. Supporting building information: The software supporting building information works wonders for your business. Supplementary information such as 3D designing, complete documentation, list of all materials needed and cost approximation should be provided by the architecture software. This is particularly helpful for professionals working on industrial and residential projects.

  4. Sustaining Workflows: In the architectural profession, it is essential to analyze every proposed concept, set timelines and meet goals during the entire project cycle. Look for software that supports workflows and keeps each progress in check.

  5. Flexibility: If your workstation has multiple people working on the same system, look for software that supports the needs of both beginners and experienced professionals.  Simple user interface, ability to draw from scratch and including components such as roof, windows and other objects makes the designing easier.

Architecture software has helped to restructure modern-day architecture and engineering. With the help of technology, designers are now able to draw, produce, and manage their projects easily. Here are a few ways in which CAD has been able to prove itself quite useful. 

  • Improved Collaboration and Communication

The use of CAD software has enabled easy collaboration and communications among designers in the industry. It has made it easy for several architects to work together on the same project and easily integrate their work. 

  • Better Project Management

Architecture software also supports the documentation of the workflow. Thus, it becomes easy to keep a check of the work progress, list and record every change and development done, and other essential details. Better communication and comprehensive documentation automatically result in better project management. It also impacts the success rate of projects. 

  • Improved Work Efficiency and Speed

Another significant advantage of using CAD software is that it helps architects in producing better models for their clients. The drawings have become more accurate, more efficient, and faster.  Architects can now quickly produce objects/designs/models in many views, including front, back, side, and isometric. Thus, it becomes easy to convert 3D models into technical drawings. 

  • Creates Better Presentation

With the help of architecture design software, you can draw a clear picture of your model. It gives a complete picture of what a project will look like in reality once it gets completed. This makes it easy to pitch your ideas in front of the stakeholders and clients and get it easily approved. 

Noted underneath are the benefits afforded by architecture software for corporate firms and startups.

  • Saves time by breaking down barriers: These intelligence-based software’s aid in building and managing construction projects at a faster pace and are cost effective. The comprehensive solutions including design, documentation, collaboration and conceptualization to enhance decision making and improved business.

  • Improves efficiency: A lot of time which would otherwise have gone in conceptualization, designing and meeting goals is saved by using architecture software’s. Sustainable practices, accurate analyses and collaborative workflows shared and conducted on cloud allows businesses to climb the ladder of success quickly

To better understand the use of architecture software, it will be beneficial to break down the essential services that every architect performs. 

  • Programming: Programming generally includes determining the scope of work without actually developing any design yet. You understand your client’s needs, wants, and problems, and this is where the decision-making process takes place. 

  • Schematic Design: Schematic design involves formal drawings and sketching. You develop the basic form of the building, including site plans, floor plans, elevations, and more. It also includes designing the basic building systems - HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical. 

  • Design Development: Once you have the basic design in place, you begin to redefine them. You start focusing on particular materials to be used to enhance the beauty of the model by taking into consideration their durability and costing. 

With so many vendors available in the market, it can be hard to make a pick. We understand that choosing the right software is a major decision. That’s why to help you, we have compiled a list of certain factors that you should consider before actually buying it. 

  1. Compatibility: One important thing to check is whether the software is compatible with other systems or not. You might work in collaboration with other fellow architects or companies. If the program you are using doesn’t work anywhere else, it might affect the speed of your work progress. 

  2. Functionality: As mentioned previously, there are different forms of architecture software with specific uses. You need to first identify why you want to use the software for. Is your primary purpose to conceptualize your design or use it as a presentation tool? There are rendering tools as well. Every need has a different program. That’s why always look for the one that matches your requirements. 

  3. Type of Computer: Architecture software requires powerful computer specifications to run in terms of graphic support and memory space. If your computer is not compatible, it might not run smoothly. Besides, if your computer specification is high, any software will run smoothly. 

  4. Cost: Installing new software can be a costly affair. While choosing, many customers forget to set their budget first before they decide to shortlist the software. Based on your needs and resources available, layout your cost plans. And then, try to search for programs that fit into your budget. Besides, there are both free and paid programs. Free programs can be quite useful, too, if your requirements are limited. Make sure to do your thorough research, read the reviews, and get the program that you can afford. 

  5. Easy to Use: Architectural programs can be hard to understand and use, especially if you are a complete newbie. That’s why you should always try to opt for the ones that offer a user-friendly and intuitive interface so that it is easy to navigate. Besides, it should come with a training manual so that you can easily learn and become efficient at it within a week or less. 

  6. Customer Support: The most essential of all is to make sure that when you buy software, your communication with the vendor doesn’t end there. You might face some technical glitches. At that point, you would need reliable and active support from your vendor so that they get it fixed immediately. Otherwise, it might hamper your work growth and also cause a lot of trouble. So make sure to always pick a vendor with excellent customer support. 

An architect uses architecture software to conceptualize design, create 3D models, edit images and presentations, and much more. The programs they use directly influence the efficiency of their work. The best 3D architecture software gives access to better collaboration through a cloud-based system. 

These cloud-based systems also ensure that the data is continuously backed up and reduces the chance of any loss of data. Besides, all the work can be instantly shared with other team members in real-time updates. 

Here are a few examples of best architecture software:

In order to shortlist your architecture software you have to go through some of the key things to look into: 

  1.  How often its software upgrades.

  2.  Before buying software ask for free trial or demo for 7 to 10 days if the software provides.

  3.  Also, look at the industry alignments if the software provides all those.

  4.  Check the compatibility and user-friendliness of the software before buying it.

Some of the issues encountered with the architecture software:

  1. Compatibility – Some software’s are compatible with Windows while others with Mac. Remember to check the software’s compatibility with your operating system.

  2. Installation – When the software is not installed properly, it is unable to run the desired functions. Ask the software company to install it on your system.

  3. Inability of the support staff to assist you virtually in times of technical issues can become frustrating. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Some of the advantages of using architecture design software include: Easy sharing of data, Improved drawing accuracy, Ability to create virtual 3D drawings with ease, Allows for easy and quick modification to the model, 3D drawings can be instantly replicated,
  • If every software has some benefits, it comes with its own set of cons too. Loss of data due to virus attack, Learning the program can be difficult and time-consuming, Loss of program when the system crashes, The cost of maintaining the system can be high,

Architecture software in following industries

Nikunj DudhatBy Nikunj Dudhat | Last Updated: October 28, 2020

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