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Montana Plumbing Contractors Answer 20 Questions: CAD vs. BIM

Photo of Montana plumbing contractors using CAD and BIM systems

Montana plumbing contractors using CAD and BIM systems

If you are in any stage of a new construction, whether residential or commercial, you have probably heard a contractor mention utilizing a CAD or BIM file. These 2 systems are incredibly helpful and have become standard tools in building construction in Montana and beyond.  Let’s take a look at what they are and then jump into a friendly game of 20 questions.

What is a CAD System?

CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. This system was first introduced in the 1950s as a way for engineers to design multiple-step projects. As it evolved, it now allows users to create 2D and 3D models of buildings, products, or any other objects, enabling them to visualize and analyze their designs before they are built.  This software has revolutionized design, construction, and manufacturing.

What is a BIM File?

BIM stands for Building Information Model. The main purpose of a BIM system is to provide an integrated and collaborative approach to the design, construction, and operation of a building or infrastructure project. It allows for the coordination of contractors in varying fields, including Montana HVAC and Plumbing contractors, to coordinate their work to create a streamlined and 

Let’s Play 20 Questions:  CAD or BIM

1.       Can BIM or CAD use 2D image files?

Both platforms can be used to create 2D image files to aid in the planning and building of various types of structures.

2.       Can BIM or CAD use 3D image files?

While both BIM and CAD have the ability to create 3D files, BIM is superior in this functionality.  CAD originally only produced 2D images and as it developed, 3D functionality was added.  Many find CAD’s 3D images problematic and clunky.  Some say that the problem occurs when translating a file from 2D to 3D, while others argue that CAD’s 3D files are just simply limited.

3.       Can BIM or CAD use 4D, 5D, 6D, etc image files?

Cad software does not go beyond 3D images.  BIM software, on the other hand, includes 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D, and 8D. These layers represent variables, including sustainability, time, and even risk detection.

4.       Are there multiple options in programs for CAD or BIM?

CAD’s original software program was called Pronto, released in the 50’s. Updated programs, including AutoCAD, came out in the 80’s, and SketchUp in 2000. Currently, there are over 20 different programs for use to develop a CAD file.

ArchiCAD was released in the 80s and REVIT came along in 2000. REVIT is a shining star for Montana Plumbing Contractors like Garden City Plumbing and Heating. Today, there are over 20 different software programs for creating a BIM file.

5.       Which is easier to learn how to use, CAD or BIM?

CAD typically involves creating 2D or 3D models using basic geometric shapes and commands, making it easier to grasp for beginners. It is commonly used for drafting, technical drawings, and product design.

On the other hand, BIM is a more advanced and comprehensive software that integrates various elements such as geometry, data, and collaboration tools to create a digital representation of a building or structure. BIM requires a more in-depth understanding of building processes and workflows, making learning more complex.

Overall, the CAD learning curve is shorter than BIM, but both software requires time and practice to master. Some may find CAD easier to learn due to its simpler interface and functions, while others may prefer the more comprehensive features of BIM. It is important to research and consider your specific needs and goals when deciding which software to learn.

6.       Which would be better for new building construction?

When it comes to office buildings, BIM simply has more functionality that applies to this type of project.

7.       Is CAD better or BIM for maintaining a building over time?

Because BIM has a built-in dimension for time, it is much more effective for giving the overseers the ability to manage it more effectively.

8.       Which is better for building a new house?

While CAD’s 2D image files can be used to design anything from a cell phone to a spaceship, many would argue that BIM’s software is better for building projects because it can integrate various contractors to install electric, plumbing, HVAC, etc.

9.       Is BIM better, or is CAD for maintaining a house over time?

CAD is typically used solely for design and drafting, while BIM software’s functionality continues beyond the construction phase.

10.   Would it be better to have a BIM or CAD file to use for an addition to a home?

For simple projects, CAD can be sufficient.  For more complex additions, BIM is more capable.

11.   Which is better for a project with various contractors who need to coordinate?

Undeniably, BIM is better for coordinating between contractors. Not only can BIM be shared via the cloud, but updates and changes can be made easily when problems arise. 

12.   Does BIM or CAD have more functionality?

BIM has much more functionality. From handling 3D images far better than CAD, BIM can make changes and updates much more simply.  While programs for both types of files have experienced updates as time has passed since their inception, BIM was designed to do more from the beginning. 

13.   Does a BIM file or a CAD file show more information?

BIM has a number of functions within itself to produce more info. This makes for a larger file, but most contractors and landowners agree that it is worth it.

14.   Is CAD or BIM more effective for home design?

With basic home design, especially in a one-story home, CAD can produce an effective file for less than what it would cost to produce a BIM file. For multiple-story homes, CAD can produce a file but it can become insufficient. 

15.   Is BIM more cost-effective for building design?

If you use a CAD file to create a building, it would be clunky and have limitations.  Even though a CAD file could cost less, a landowner would end up spending more having contractors running numbers for different variables manually. With a BIM file, even though it may cost more, these variables would be included in the cost of the production of the file.  Therefore, BIM is likely the more cost-effective.

16.   Which file is easier to share, CAD or BIM?

Because CAD is a much smaller file, it is easier to share.

17.   Can CAD or BIM files be shared over cloud software?

Because BIM is designed for collaboration, including Montana Plumbing contractors, BIM software often supports cloud-based sharing. CAD software may require additional software to support cloud-based sharing.

18.   Which file is more accurate, CAD or BIM?

While both files are pretty reliable on their own, a practical reality does elevate one above the other.  While much BIM information is generated through the program, CAD files are manually input and can fall victim to human error. This means that BIM files are less likely to have faults.

19.   Which type of file will be able to efficiently make changes to designs, CAD or BIM?

While changes can be made to a CAD file, it can be cumbersome.  BIM Files, on the other hand, can manage changes rather easily during both the design and construction phases of a project.

20.   Can either CAD or BIM software help contractors estimate costs?

With CAD software, costs have to be calculated manually. On the other hand, BIM software has the functionality to link components with databases for automated cost estimates.

Hiring a Montana Plumbing Contractor to Create a CAD file or a BIM File For A New Structure

While CAD files can be used for 3D printing, BIM is widely known to work as a better file for coordinating between contractors. Whatever your needs, give the top Montana plumbing contractor, Garden City Plumbing and Heating, a call at (406) 728-5550 or contact us online to get help with any questions you may have about these programs and designing your projects.

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