5 Major Differences Between AutoCAD and Revit



Go back in time a few decades and the tools used by engineers, builders, architects, and draftsmen could all be found within an arm’s distance from large drawing boards. Then the 80s came about and slowly more and more workloads were digitized. For those in the above mentioned professions AutoCAD was about to make a splash and forever change how those professions operated.

5 Major Differences Between AutoCAD and Revit

Some 20 years after that the next major tech revolution to impact those professions was the introduction of Revit. Often both are mentioned in the same sentences as being somewhat akin to each other but there are some pretty major differences. In this article we will briefly look at five major differences between AutoCAD and Revit. The five differences help show why BIM modeling is seen as a growth path for many businesses.

Digital Drawing Board and a 3D Database

When comparing revit vs autocad the first place to start is remembering that AutoCAD, with the CAD standing for computer aided design, uses two objects and lines to represent real world objects. In a sense it is handy to think of AutoCAD as a digital piece of paper. Of course it is a lot more than the above oversimplification but it is a handy starting point.

Revit allows for the representation of 3D objects taken from real world information. The term BIM, or Building INformation Modelling, is most associated with products like Revit as it is capable of rendering real world objects from multiple information sources. Information models using Revit can be seen as a 3D database.

Workflow and Unified Models

In AutoCAD each necessary element is drawn separately. The elements are then combined to create larger plans. This helps create a logical workflow for users to start with the smallest elements building up to the final deliverable. With Revit rather than a workflow consisting of numerous separate drawings everything is stored within one unified 3D model. This has major benefits in preventing project clashes between disciplines.

Manual Tracking and Instantaneous Modifications

As frustrating as modifications are, they are a reality from the smallest project to the largest. With AutoCAD major modifications needed to be done manually and were a time consuming endeavor to say the least. In Revit any modifications update the unified 3D modeling making the need for anything to be adjusted a far less frightening task as it was previously.

Coordination and Clash Detection

To see a project through to the finalized building takes no small amount of effort and coordination between different disciplines and trades. Using AutoCAD the process was fairly linear, relying on constant back and forth between all parties involved with the hope that no major clashes would happen resulting in missed deadlines. With Revit structural, mechanical, and electrical models form part of the unified model allowing for automatic clash detection helping prevent going back and forth and the delays that are associated with solving clashes.


Those counting the differences will notice I have only included four. In concluding I would like to mention the major difference that will make itself apparent in the near future. Revit and BIM have already proven quite future proof in readily adopting virtual reality technology allowing those involved to “walk” in digital models before foundations are laid. With advancements in AI and machine learning making themselves felt, they are already being implemented in BIM modeling solutions with future adoption set only to increase.

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.