Technology

To switch or not to switch architecture design software? Architects’ dilemma in 2020

September 16, 2021

What’s in this Blog?

  1. Switching software doesn’t seem easy
  2. Legacy no more?
  3. Let’s fast-forward to 2040
  4. When architects move to a new-age design software, will they sleep better?
  5. Try something revolutionary

As an architect, you know how globally, the architecture design software space is experiencing a Domino effect of the open letter. The dissent of leading architects and architectural firms towards age-old, established design software is reverberating from around the world. A lot of questions are being raised about the cost of ownership, changing licence models, interoperability, and performance of legacy tools that have had a monopoly in the industry since decades. More and more architects from the community are unequivocally, joining this movement to share their discontent.

And, it is natural because as your ways of working evolve, you expect more from your design tools (or less, depending on how you see it). And, to be fair to architects, they held onto the feeling of dissatisfaction for decades until it reached a tipping point. It also won’t be incorrect to say that there is no legacy software in the industry today that focuses solely on architects and their requirements. So, what do you do?

Switching software doesn’t seem easy

You might be wrestling with the idea of whether to adopt new technology, or to let this pass by and wait for the legacy tools that didn’t focus on you in the last 5 years, to make some amendments.

From our experience talking to architects around the world, we understand that it is not easy to adopt new design software for your architecture practice, despite being fully aware of its long-term benefits. The investment made in licence costs and time spent in training team members on the software, keep some away from switching to new, innovative offerings. For others, the reluctance is also the result of the industry being led to believe over the years that a couple of tools are the only way their designs can develop well. Some architects believe that they don’t have viable options for these tools.

According to an MIT study on Embracing Digital Technology, 78% of executives believe upgrading their systems is critical for their organization’s ability to maintain a competitive advantage. Yet, 63% also said their organizations are slow to adopt new technology.

In the backdrop of this situation, we take a look at what went wrong with existing tools and the possible answers that might work for the architecture world.

Legacy no more?

There’s no denying that these tools were highly promising in the times that they were launched. As the first CAD program in the world to run on PC in 1982, AutoCAD created a name for itself. Having been around for close to four decades, AutoCAD enjoyed the position of a pioneer and industry leader. It further improved its offerings by purchasing Revit Technology Corporation in 2002.

But, despite being the most popular tools in the industry, the gaps in its functionality started to crop up over the decades. Basic information like dimensions in AutoCAD had to be filled manually, as it didn’t have automated functions to extract information out of the plan or sketch. While powered by BIM, Revit was not working seamlessly with AutoCAD and SketchUp, hence the design had to be remodeled again in these environments which delayed the design process greatly. There are surveys which show that for 3D modeling in Revit, users have had to literally drag their mouse several hundreds of feet and click thousands of times every hour, which led to people not adapting the BIM process during the design cycle as it complicated the design process greatly.
While AutoCAD bought in a wave of digital approach to the traditional design industry around four decades ago, what they have accomplished over a period of time is creating over-engineered feature-rich tools, where most of the features are not even required. This led to the creation of complex ecosystems within their tool sets, which required elaborate professional training to be used. Architects were expected to put in time and effort to work around the limitations of the tools but as the industry continued to mature, the cracks in the legacy software started showing up.
In fact, this article by co-founder and editor of AEC magazine, Martyn Day is an interesting read to understand his perspective on the future of Revit.

Let’s fast-forward to 2040

We asked a few established and millennial architects to personify these legacy tools and tell us what image do these tools conjure up? And, a majority of them answered ‘military veterans’ (with all due respect). One with a stiff upper lip and rigid rules that don’t bend for anyone. One who carries the pride of service but enjoys living in the past days of the regiment. Commands respect but can be intimidating as well, and not easy to converse casually with.

Whereas to move towards the future, what architects need from their software is a trapeze artist. One that is flexible and agile, intuitively catches you before you fall at any step, maneuvers in auto mode, collaborates with a number of tools seamlessly and performs a wide range of dynamic functions, while staying stable at all points.

In order to truly comprehend and realize the benefits that shifting to a new-age architecture design software brings, architecture firm decision-makers must understand the implications of their decision, say, 20 years from now. It is a given that the future lies in automated, BIM compatible, data-driven, cloud-based architecture design tools. So, why wait?

You don’t want to enter the new decade, feeling like you are using a floppy disk!

When architects move to a new-age design software, will they sleep better?

Yes! You might probably have to make immediate sacrifices for long-term gains. You may have to come out of your comfort zone and give it some time but don’t you think it’s worth it? You work better, profit better and you rest better. 🙂

Ask yourself a few questions to help you decide faster and make this switch work in your favour, to improve your architecture business.

  1. Is your team spending hours each day juggling between 2D, 3D and rendering software?
  2. Is your software delaying the overall design process and making it tedious?
  3. Does your software operate flawlessly with other software in the ecosystem?
  4. Is your software draining your RAM?
  5. Is your software not flexible to supplement BIM?
  6. Is your software licence and maintenance eating into your budgets?
  7. Does your software have a high learning curve?
  8. Can your software be accessed anytime by all stakeholders?
  9. Is your software designed only for architects’ use or is a generic software?
  10. Is it really worth it?

When you know the answers to these questions don’t work for your profitability, you should know it’s time to make the switch, without any doubt.

Try something revolutionary

Snaptrude is a single, easy-to-use 3D Modelling tool for architectural concept design, which replaces AutoCAD (2D), SketchUp (3D) and Revit (BIM). It is the only comprehensive modelling tool, created just for architects.

Adopt Snaptrude to power your architectural designs with BIM insights at 50% the cost of Revit and reduce the cost of ownership of Revit by 50%.

Snaptrude can be learnt as quickly as one day and it has 10X faster design speed compared to tools in the industry.

A Snaptrude render
A Snaptrude creation (Original design of Unikato Residential was published in Archdaily)

If you too have been on the search for an innovative tool that understands your design goals, is easy for you to use, is interoperable and comes at a stable cost and value, try Snaptrude. It could be the answer to your quest.

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended. Please write to smita@snaptrude.com for any dispute.

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