As a student studying architecture, what CAD software should I be learning to use?
There are a number of different CAD programs in use in the Australian architectural landscape at present. As a Brisbane architect practice primarily involved within the niche market area of residential project work, with mainly individual mum and dad clients we have been grappling with this question ourselves for some time.
Up until the end of the 2013/2014 financial year we had primarily used AutoCAD for all drawing work and Sketchup for presentation work. We have dabbled in the use of Revit over the last five years and have now decided to switch to the full use of Revit as our main CAD package and only use AutoCAD for projects currently being completed. To assist in our setup we have purchased the locally created “ARC” add on to Revit to help us transition into Revit. “ARC” is an add on with templates and families etc. suited to our scale of work. The reason for this is not to do with BIM so much (as with residential you don’t have a large group of sub-consultants nor facility management needs) but more importantly for us to be able to package our building documents more effectively and accurately. We will continue to use other render packages to create market acceptable visuals to present to our niche client group.
Having using traditional 2D CAD over 20 years we have found more and more of our technical staff are less able to visualise the 3D outcome from plan to elevations and so we are hoping that by using a 3D package this will eliminate these visualisation issues. What is of extreme importance, regardless of CAD package used, is for those using Revit (or any CAD package for that matter) to have technical knowledge of the type of construction being employed for the project being drawn. This is essential in any CAD work, but of extreme importance when creating a realistic and technically advanced 3D model of a real project.