Archicad vs Revit


I think this is a good question, but in that sense, I think Sketchup will have to evolve a lot in the “Dynamic Components” and the “Generate Reports” …


There will be a resistance no matter what software your promoting - it’s incredibly costly and time intensive to switch an office over to another work-flow. Revit also has the benefit of being able to generate schedules, details, and reports all on the fly - saving firms lots of cash in the process. If SketchUp could maintain it’s ease of modelling - and somehow outpace Revit in it’s intelligence, firms will start to re-evaluate it’s usefulness. My own office currently uses a mix of both SketchUp and Revit because we’re an interdisciplinary firm and Revit simply can’t handle some of the tasks we need it to - though I imagine Revit will catch up sooner than SketchUp will. We’re also actively exploring the use of Mental Canvas on Surface as a SketchUp replacement.


Archicad, from what little I’ve experienced, is more of a " all in one" application and is set up out the box with more tools/functions… whereas Revit just focuses on BIM assembly and little more…it’s inflexible.
I suppose you have to think of Revit as part of the Autodesk ecosystem.

Autodesk don’t have an worthy replacement for Sketchup…so right now the best combo to me is Sketchup THEN Revit.

If SketchUp had a few extra capabilities in import/export and model organisation (layers, styles etc)…then it would absolutely become the main conceptual design tool used by most architectural designers worldwide. Meshing into Archicad AND Revit is really critical.
The sad thing with all these products is they don’t play well together and that’s hurting the industry, and ultimately our entire society (since people will inhabit buildings that may be compromised due to inflexible design tools). I hope in 5 years we’ll look back on the late 2000s and 2010s as those crappy decades when format wars ruined interop, and by then we’ll have embraced openbim/open cad… And in 10 years we’ll be screwed because everything will be designed by AI anyway :smiley_cat:


I think the same. I think the best way is to improve the “Dynamic Components”, “Generate Report” and more integration with LayOut, but I’m not sure if this is the best route to take and I also do not know what the developers think about it … .


in most of the countries, a good studio(firm) of architecture is around 20 people…and it’s considered a big firm where design is the main asset… in some countries like USA you have 300+ but only 5% or less design and the rest of people are Project managers, porject architects, principal (most of the time they don’t design) and the list is like credits for the movie…so that CEO wants really that other 95% work on production and shut down their romantic dreams to become a designer… so technically they don’t need SU under his eyes.

few big firms have the vision that everybody can jump inside in a non-linear way to go up so…this is to me the reason why that stupid CEO said that.


No. In my line of work a BIM system that is capable of creating normal standard construction elements is enough. We do not do 3D sculptures. Sometimes we have to repair them, however.


I don’t see this your way. Revit basically wants you to model your building all the way through, and the approach has many benefits, especially when changes have to be made. Archicad is more permissive, but it also does nothing to prevent you from creating a complete mess out of your project, and does not help you cleaning that. Revit even lets you inject accuracy into a sketchy model afterwards.

120% agree. The only way to transfer models between BIM packages is via IFC files, with many losses in translation. My current Revit project is one we originally decided to do in Archicad (it is what the majority of us know how to use) but the model of the building as existing was supplied to us in Revit. Translation via IFC made a mess.


I have a lot of Sketchup users in Cape Town, yet they are utilising PlusSpec inside or Sketchup for the structure and scene creation. Sketchup by itself has the power to be a BIM program yet Revit and ArchiCad are parametric, which means moving a window or adding a door does not require you to drill inside of groups or components and push-pull geometry, offset or add a component that you may have drawn previously. Basically editing and insertion of objects and families into other objects or families can be done via the tool sets.

Having the freedom of Sketchup is by far the biggest benefit yet exporting via IFC can be cumbersome when you need to find the right classification and manually associate it with the geometry.
I have many users who use Sketchup with PlusSpec who are consultants & engineers,. they tell me their workflow is: Import an IFC or DWG into Sketchup Pro, make amendments or add geometry using PlusSpec inside of Sketchup (as it automates the IFC), they then export it as an IFC. The reason they do this instead of using Revit or ArchiCad is they have multiple clients using multiple programs including Tekla and Bentley. For them, parametrics in Sketchup VIA PlusSpec is a time saver and this method allows them to play with all of the BIM guys and gals.

I have used Revit and ArchiCad and I must agree, Sketchup gives the freedom to design and that is why we added parametric structure and design capability to Sketchup instead of making Plugins for Revit.

One other drawback that I find with Revit is: creating families is a specialized job and is cumbersome, the same goes for GDL in ArchiCad. If you get some time to learn Dynamic components in Sketchup Pro you will find that they are reasonably easy to make once you get the hang of it. One other drawback is that it is very difficult to present images like this from a BIM


I’ve been working in Archicad for over 15 years, and lately I joined a Firm and I had to learn Revit with them.
Both softwares are very similar, but Revit has too many limitations ( Crop views limitations,JPG/PDF limitations, Stairs, Railing, Families, Layout restrictions, etc), a lot of components have to be created in Sketchup and imported as Families. Long-Short Story, after almost 30 projects done in Revit with this new firm, we will upgrade to ArchiCAD very soon.

the only bad point for ArchiCAD is the fact that doesn’t have V-ray (Revit has V-ray), so we will keep rendering using Sketchup+Vray, and purchase ArchiCAD SOLO liscenses, plus we will have to put some work transfering current projects using IFC format between softwares.

By the way, importing Sketchup models into ArchiCAD is just drag and drop.


I’d be interested to know how ArchiCAD compares to SketchUp?

I’ve used AutoCAD for 20+yrs, SketchUp (on and off) for about 10yrs and Revit for the last couple. The transition to Revit was one I forced on myself as it’s everywhere and (some) clients are asking for it. But tbh I hate it. It’s so over-complex to do the simplest of things. It forces you down a very (literal) linear path and does not allow organic creativity. I find it’s the polar opposite of SketchUp’s fluidity.

I’ve recently attempted to use SketchUp for everything (and drop Revit as it’s just not cost effective) but the enormous limitations of and issues with LayOut mean that trying to get any meaningful construction drawings issued out of it is like swimming through treacle with an anvil tied to your leg.

On this basis I’m always looking round for something which might be nice to use (unlike Revit), give me parametric capabilities but allow some fluid creativity and will create great looking construction docs. Something nice and logical to use and learn would also be a nice bonus after Revit.


I’ve used the term molasses before, not sure which one is thicker but using layout is definitely like the thicker of the two with a very very heavy anvil tied to the leg. Layout can produce some beautiful output but the journey is nightmarish.
I use it everyday and I dread moving from the the SketchUp phase to the layout phase as productivity drops off a cliff. On the bright side there is plenty of time to make tea whilst I wait for for things to render or zoom in and out Pan etc.


They are from different planets. SketchUp is a general 3D modelling application. Archicad is a dedicated 2.5…3D building design/documentation application.

Archicad is at least as complex, and if what you need is complex “organic” 3D forms it would IMO perhaps not be the right solution either. I think Revit’s 3D modelling tools are more robust than the ones in Archicad. That you find them unintuitive stems perhaps from their 3D solid core, as solid and NURBS -based modelling always uses a framework of curves and paths to determine the 3D shapes to generate.

In this, IMO Revit is the clear winner. Archicad, for instance, doesn’t have the parametric dimensions Revit does, and to create parametric objects (corresponding to Revit “Families”) you need to master a programming language (GDL) unique to Archicad. Revit’s Family Editor is somewhat clunky, but it lets you create parametric objects in a graphical environment.

What both Archicad and Revit excel in is the creation of “normal” buildings (you know, with vertical walls and doors and windows in openings). Archicad comes with a larger library of premade components while Revit compensates with an easier creation of new ones. (I have made a couple of parametric Archicad windows so I think I know what it takes).


:rofl::rofl::rofl: I’m hearing yah… 100% on the same page. SU is lovely (with the odd quirk and tolerable frustration) but LO is genuinely hateful. (it’s what you get when you have modelling and documentation areas for the same model in seperate programs - which bright spark ever thought that was a good idea).

If it had been developed to something close to the level of SU it would be amazing. But as it stands it’s simply not fit for purpose, no matter what anyone on here might say. There are so many issues and ultra-basic missing features within LO (I have a constantly evolving Evernote list) that it has to be stopping so many people/practices from adopting the complete SU ecosystem. Trimble so need to get a grip of LO. It’s been terrible since the day it was released.


I could live with the feature set if it had the speed but as soon as you put anything into it that actually has some complexity, you know, like construction elevations and sections it slows to a crawl, yes you can switch to raster but then you can’t see anything meaningful to trace overlays and annotate on. This simply isn’t a practical workaround. The actual output quality is awesome. I’m sure the Trimble team are aware as this issue comes up a lot and there have been lots of suggestions for splitting tasks / viewport across threads etc. It’s very frustrating watching the spinning beach ball or waiting for layout to update and seeing very low CPU utilization on a single thread.


This is true, at least here in Brazil.

But what do you think of these finished drawings in LayOut? Are not they enough for you?




We are off topic here but I don’t have any issue what so ever with the output, it can be beautiful and I love it! But it’s the actual user experience that is absolutely tortuous. With the current feature set I can pretty much get what I want out of it but that’s me and my requirements, I’m a one person architectural practice, larger studios would have a greater need of certain features. That said, there’s things that would awesome to add but that’s true for pretty much all software.


I’ve seen them before. They’re not bad. Most of us could produce drawings like that but we’d have stress related hair loss by the end. It’s not that it can’t be done in LO, it’s that it takes SO long to do anything it’s pointless even trying. I know my fees certainly don’t stretch far enough to cover the considerable amount of extra time required to produce something which would fly out from AutoCAD.


Well I think you’re both right and wrong. You’re right that Layot is frustrating both speedwise and in it’s worflow even if it’s output is beautiful. Exporting to CAD is also very flawed, to the point of us having to do aonethings in 2017 (exporting multiline texts in 2018…oh well). But the whole point in Layout is sketchup.

As soon as you leave sketchup you’re either at 2D CAD (yikes!) or at some sort of BIM.

Either way you break the connection to sketchup and that ruins it all.

Of course, there is no escape from BIM for big companies, but for all others… It’s probably better to have to deal with that tedious Layout stage than to have to deal with the loss of sketchup. In my case a sketchup model evolves to the last minute of construction documentation, so…


Sketchup wont become a viable alternative for most well established firms until the integration between sketchup and layout becomes seamless, ie click a button and floor plans, elevations etc are produced.

That is the biggest gripe that I have found “it is hard to get drawings out of” and this is true to an extent due to the somewhat clumsy way the two programs interact.

And as for the sketchup/layout issues, TEMPLATES, TEMPLATES, TEMPLATES.


It is with dismay that I agree with you, because this is true, but there are “spectacular” workflows like Nick Sonder’s.

The problem is that this is for people like us, who love SketchUp and Layout. Companies, especially large companies, in my opinion, when comparing the workflow of the SU + LO combination with other software added to the fact that most of the employee team are just “project operators”, do not hesitate to discard SketchUp , unfortunately.