The AEC industry has not been the same since the introduction of AutoCAD in the late ’80s. The program is still widely used by architects and engineers to create designs for construction projects. AutoCAD has received quite a lot of new updates and functionalities since its release, making it even better. However, recent years have seen the rise of BIM (Building Information Modeling) software, which combines complex 3D modeling with embedded data and collaboration capabilities.

One of the most popular BIM platforms is Revit, and more and more architects and engineers have been switching to it from AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture. Both tools are owned by the company Autodesk and have quite a bit in common. However, there are significant differences between AutoCAD and Revit, making each software more suitable for a specific type of work.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at Revit and AutoCAD and the features they offer. We will also list the key differences between the two platforms. If you are wondering which software is best suited for your particular needs, read on to find out.

What Is Revit?

Revit is a BIM software that has many tools used for the conception, planning, and execution of a construction project. In addition to complex 3D modeling capabilities, Revit has functionalities that can be used during the entire life cycle of a project — from the initial design to construction and exploitation. Revit is renowned for its exceptional interoperability, scheduling capabilities, and in-depth modular data. Also, Revit is a cloud-based platform that allows multiple teams to efficiently collaborate over the course of a project.

What Is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is one of the first and best computer-aided design drafting tools and has been around for nearly 40 years. Different tools within AutoCAD support both 2D and 3D designs, but its main purpose is to create 2D lines that represent real objects in a construction project. While AutoCAD does not have the same collaboration capabilities as Revit, it does support work sharing and commenting, as well as importing and exporting various file types. AutoCAD also has superb documentation functionality and can be quite flexible.

What Are the Main Differences Between Revit and AutoCad?

While both AutoCAD and Revit are still quite popular platforms in the AEC industry, there are some major differences between them, making them more suitable for different tasks and goals. In the following paragraphs, we will examine what we consider to be the main things that make AutoCAD and Revit so different from one another.

Purpose

Revit is a full-service BIM software that lets you manage all different aspects of a construction project. While it does include advanced 3D models and clash detection, the sheer amount of information available in Revit makes the platform useful not only for architects and engineers, but for project managers and team leaders as well.

AutoCAD, on the other hand, chooses to focus on the individual components that form the project. It is much more like a drawing board where you can create models for the different elements of the building. Most importantly, AutoCAD does not have the advanced collaboration tools and cost estimation (5D BIM) that come with Revit.

Workflows

With Revit, all elements of the project are designed and created simultaneously. Models are available to each team member that needs access to them and are always updated thanks to cloud technology. With AutoCAD, each separate element needs to be created individually. Of course, this is not necessarily a con, as many architects and project managers prefer this approach.

Flexibility

As we already mentioned, Revit is a software solution that takes care of many different aspects of a construction project — not just the 3D models. However, this comes at a price, since everything in Revit needs to be well-structured and organized. For this reason, the platform is not as flexible as many professionals would like it to be.

Being focused almost solely on 2D and 3D design, AutoCAD is the more flexible software of the two. You have a selection of surface, mesh, and solid commands, as well as plenty of other functionality that attributes to this.

Clash Detection

Clash detection is essential for any construction project, no matter its shape or size. Revit excels at clash detection since it allows all models to be linked to one another. As a result, it is easy to spot and mitigate clashes between different elements in real-time. AutoCAD, unfortunately, follows linear coordination, which means that you have to go back and forth between elements and associated groups.

System Requirements

We cannot ignore the technical requirements of both platforms, since they play a huge role when it comes to which people can use them. AutoCAD can be used on both Windows and Mac computers, while Revit is currently available only for 64-bit Windows computers. On top of that, AutoCAD now has a web app that allows you to create and share your designs straight through your browser. Revit, on the other hand, is only available as software that needs to be installed and used directly on your machine.

Conclusion

As you can see, even though AutoCAD and Revit share some similarities, they are quite different pieces of software. At its core, AutoCAD is a program that allows you to create 2D lines that represent real elements. Revit is a full-service BIM software that not only allows you to create models but lets you generate and use huge amounts of relevant data. BIM software can be used in all stages of a construction project, while CAD software focuses on the design and modification of individual elements.