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Difference Between BIM and CAD

August 9, 2021 | 4 min read

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD has been used for several decades to accurately design detailed 2D and 3D models of various product types as well as building blueprints. The unique ability of CAD software to enable designers to model parts and assemblies has changed the overall way that these products are developed, and dramatically enhanced the capabilities of the manufacturing industry. Today, however, the topic of BIM vs. CAD has surfaced as demand for more comprehensive solutions increases.

When it comes to commercial buildings where the number of moving parts is far more abundant, CAD software reaches its limit in terms of functionality. Modern construction requires a significant amount of forethought which can only be achieved using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which has quickly become the leading tool for the planning and development of various facility types.

BIM vs. CAD: Direct Comparison

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

CAD is used in a variety of industries to create accurate drawings from which products and buildings can be developed. These drawings can be in either 2D or 3D (or commonly, both).

  • In manufacturing, immensely detailed drawings are drafted in order for manufacturers to create specific parts and assemblies right down to the minute details.
  • In building design, CAD is used to develop detailed floorplans and blueprints that contractors use during construction.

Architects, civil engineers, plant designers, and many others use CAD software to speed up the planning process and eliminate many unforeseen issues during the construction phase. The use of lines to represent different components of a residential or commercial building simplifies the design process and enables designers to create complex plans that can be executed accurately in the real world. That said, buildings are becoming ever more complex, and the increasing demand for more intricate design solutions means that CAD software alone doesn’t offer the required capability for many modern building projects. This is where the BIM vs. CAD conversation begins.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Contrary to CAD’s focus on drawing creation capability, the use of BIM software enables designers to create complete models of buildings that include explicit details with regards to electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing, fire sprinklers, and more. BIM offers a big picture view that can be used to successfully consider all aspects of a commercial building before any construction begins.

  • BIM doesn’t focus on floor-by-floor blueprints but instead takes the entire building into account. Models showcase how every component integrates and works together.
  • Architects, engineers, and contractors can all combine forces to design and build a commercial building using the same model so that it can be analyzed in detail before breaking ground.

When BIM is used for buildings, drawings can be generated for each floor or area that include data and details added during the joint development of the model. Having a full digital representation of the proposed building enables involved parties to review it from all angles and determine areas that need to be adjusted or improved. The data itself represents much more than just the placement of walls, too – data pertaining to safety, workflow efficiency, and daily operations can all be analyzed to create a truly efficient building that best serves its occupants.

Launch Your Next Project With VIATechnik BIM Services

In the case of BIM vs. CAD, our BIM modeling services help owners, designers and construction professionals improve project timelines, mitigate risks, and reduce wasted materials. In addition, our services provide the ability to view real-time data in order to stay current on costs and project scheduling. Our team has worked collaboratively on over 2000 projects to date, and we are ready and equipped to help you launch yours. Contact us today to discuss how BIM can help your next commercial project succeed.

We would love to learn more about your needs and discuss how we can partner with you to level up your projects. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can contact us at or use the contact form.