BIM Evaluation Study Report

This research report captures the results of the BIM evaluation study that was conducted by Lachmi Khemlani, Ph.D., founder and editor of AECbytes. It was commissioned by the AIA Large Firm Round Table (LFRT) CEO Committee to provide the LFRT firms with an in-depth comparative evaluation of the main architectural BIM applications that are available. The study was conducted over a one-year period starting from June 2009 and ending in June 2010. The results are captured in a 163 page report that the AIA LFRT CEO Committee is now making available for purchase.

Additional details about the report are provided below, followed by the download link.

Overview of the Study

The bulk of the study is focused on evaluating the technical capabilities of each application, which was accomplished by installing and working with the latest version of the software that was available at the time of the evaluation. In addition, the study also looks at implementation aspects including pricing, training, technical support, and market position of the applications, as well as the long-term potential of their vendors. This information was compiled through market research, information gathered from the vendors themselves, and from talking with various firms implementing each of the applications.

Applications Covered

The six BIM applications included in the study are listed below. The version of the application that was evaluated is also indicated.

  1. Revit Architecture 2010 from Autodesk
  2. Bentley Architecture V8i
  3. ArchiCAD 13 from Graphisoft
  4. Allplan Architecture 2009 from Nemetschek AG
  5. Vectorworks Architect 2010 from Nemetschek North America
  6. Digital Project V1, R4 from Gehry Technologies

What the Evaluation Covers

For each of the six applications listed above, the report presents a detailed evaluation that includes:

  • Overview of the application and its vendor.
  • Evaluation summary highlighting the main strengths and limitations of the application, along with its list price.
  • Detailed evaluation tables looking at criteria organized into six categories as shown below:

    1. Application repertoire: The range of tasks that can be performed with the application.
    2. Intrinsic nature and capabilities: Different aspects of the application that play an important role in determining how well it performs.
    3. Issues specific to large firms: Aspects specific to large projects and distributed teams and workflows.
    4. Interoperability: Exploration of well the application works with other tools, both from within the architectural discipline as well as from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
    5. Implementation: Aspects related to the deployment of the application at a firm.
    6. Vendor: Evaluation of the vendor's responsiveness and long-term potential.

  • Extended discussion of some of the key features of the application, including:

    1. Project setup
    2. Interface
    3. Functionality

  • Conclusion summarizing the key points about the application and its future outlook.

After the detailed evaluation report of each application, a comparative evaluation chart of all the six applications is presented. This allows a quick side-by-side comparison of all the applications for each of the criteria listed in the evaluation tables.

Case Studies

The report also includes implementation studies of the six applications at various firms to explore how successfully each of them has been deployed, the challenges involved, training processes, and the overall level of satisfaction with the application. The case study firms include the following:

  1. HKS Inc.
  2. Jacobs Global Buildings North America
  3. Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
  4. Morris Architects
  5. King & King, Architects LLP
  6. Miguelangel Gea Arquitectos S.L.P
  7. Zaha Hadid Architects

The report can be downloaded here.