ArchiCAD 13 Review

This review takes a detailed look at the new server-based BIM collaboration capability of ArchiCAD 13, which is the first of its kind, and explores the other new features of the application including 64-bit support, view rotation, embedded libraries, improved curtain wall editing, and various other productivity enhancements.


6 thoughts on “ArchiCAD 13 Review

  1. I’m impressed with this article on how well the author understands this new technology and the implications. My firm Beta tested AC13 on several real projects. We were able to start and finish (in plan check) one 48,000 s.f. Assisted Living Facility. We had up to eight people from two different offices working on the model at once. We currently are working on a new project, our Stuctural Engineer as well as our MEP Engineers are all working in the same model from different locations, a first I think. We think this is going to Change Everything on how Architects and Engineers work. We are bringing in the GC and Owner soon for their input during the design process.

  2. It appears the author of the article hasn’t used Revit in 4-5 years. Stating that Revit users need to sectionize the model into worksets before anyone can work on the model is incorrect. Revit created element borrowing about 4-5 years ago in which users dynamically check out (reserve) objects as they work on them. Synchronizing the reserved objects in Revit is no different than what the new release of ArchiCAD is doing. The only difference I see is that ArchiCAD created a standalone application to do what Revit built into each client, a color coded system to see people’s reservations, an integrated instant messenger, and a role-based security system. This is what ArchiCAD is claiming to be ground breaking in this new release, yet Revit has done it for a long time.

  3. While “Anonymous” is correct in pointing out that Revit allows element borrowing to work with elements not included in their own worksets (and I actually did state that in my review), the preferred mode of working in Revit is still for the project team to carefully plan how the building model will be assigned and broken down into simple and logical worksets. See this AECbytes Tips and Trick article authored by a Revit specialist from Synergis, which provides a detailed overview of how worksharing is done in Revit:

    It should also be noted that element borrowing was introduced all the way back in version 6.0 of Revit, which I reviewed in January 2004 ( And since then, there have been no significant enhancements to the worksharing capability in Revit. I even pointed out the lack of automatic notification as a significant shortcoming, which forces team members to rely on the phone, e-mail, or some external IM system to communicate element borrowing requests to each other. It’s been over five years since that release, and Revit still does not have this feature, let alone many of the other advanced aspects of ArchiCAD’s new Teamwork capability.

    In general, users would do well to recognize the shortcomings of the applications they use and appreciate the innovations coming out in other applications, as this will ensure that those innovations eventually also find a way into their own applications. Revit itself is a great example of this. Its innovative and breakthrough building modeling capability raised the state of the art of AEC technology as a whole, as vendors of other design solutions were forced to provide many of its capabilities in their own solutions to keep up. I would therefore encourage users to welcome rather than disparage the “cool” new features in other solutions, as the innovations are ultimately going to benefit all of us in the AEC industry.

  4. “I even pointed out the lack of automatic notification as a significant shortcoming, which forces team members to rely on the phone, e-mail, or some external IM system to communicate element borrowing requests to each other”;

    A very valid point, but Autodesk sort of half addressed this with the worksharing monitor, although, agreed it should be embedded inside the product, rather than a bolt on app. Archicad features do look cool, but in true Apple V Microsoft style, I am sure Autodesk will play catchup! 😉

  5. A positive attitude towards any new technology can keep things going and benefiting all for sure. But I will be happy more than anything to see an improvement in the modelling capabilities in Archicad. Unfortunately, I ended up with disappointment every time, even with the release of Archicad 13.

    Archicad 13 is still lacking powerful modelling tools such as free form modelling ability. To achieve this, Archicad heavily relies on add-ons, which greatly increases the cost. In real life, it forces my office to use Archicad as a completely 2D drafting platform instead of using the BIM approach that Archicad is supposed to enable.

    Another downside in Archicad, in my point of view, is layers. In a 2D environment, it is a smart way to organize lines and hatches. But in an object based BIM environment, it just becomes highly ineffective. Sometimes it even causes more problems than solutions. For example, Archicad files often end up with a large number of layers unexpectedly. I have to say that Revit has done a good job on this by using categories.

  6. It is preferable to have single disciplinary BIM applications that can be used together with any other BIM application rather than a platform for multi-disciplinary BIM applications, which only can be used together with other versions of the same application. And they are really are not multi-disciplinary in the sense that you can use the same software for everything anyway, you still need different variations of the software, which then use different object types and so on. It is not that easy and integrated anyway, most of the
    time, as in the case of Revit. The architectural version maybe is very good, but the MEP version can be rather useless, making then the whole package useless?

    If the application is for use by one single discipline, it must still be possible to work together with other disciplines, along with software from other vendors. If it is a part of a multi-disciplinary package, it will probably not be that focused on making it work with other vendors’ software.

    A best of breed approach seems to be preferable for many reasons. Also for competition, no BIM software is multi-diciplinary from the start. So I cannot say that I see it as a major problem that ArchiCAD “still remains, by and large, a single disciplinary application rather than a platform for multi-disciplinary BIM applications.” As long as it can be used together with the best software for the other disciplines, you can still get the most out of it.

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