Graphisoft responds to growing complexities in AECO industry

Upgrades to four of Graphisoft’s main software products will equip users to deal with the biggest challenges in AECO projects.

Joel Orr

Graphisoft recently announced upgrades to four of its main software products—Archicad, DDScad 19, BIMcloud, and BIMx. These upgrades, which will begin releasing in the fall, aim to address the increasing complexity of architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) projects. The upgrades focus on design, visualization, collaboration, and documentation. Archicad 27, for example, will offer users tools to deal with integrated design options and better management of project attributes. It will also feature a new tool called Distance Guides and a new GDL editor. Additionally, the new Archicad version will automatically create VR and AR files in FBX format, and its structural modeler will allow for the generation of models for structural analysis.

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Addressing project complexity is the main focus of Graphisoft’s 2023 product lineup. (Source: Graphisoft)

Graphisoft announced a series of product updates at its recent Building Together–Collaborate digital event that took place June 14–15, 2023. Most of the upgrades are aimed at dealing with  a growing challenge in the world of architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO)—that of increasing project complexity.

To that end, the company’s focus for its 2023 products, unveiled for the first time, is on four specific areas:

  • Design—Increasing complexity, requiring more design options, has now been greatly facilitated. A variety of tools have been introduced to make the creative process faster and easier.
  • Visualization—Enhanced image quality, offering freedom of choice among design variants.
  • Collaboration—Standards, data security, and specific approaches to multidiscipline challenges for enabling team communication in order to greatly facilitate collaboration.
  • Documentation—Accessible anywhere, in a wide variety of formats, and designed to accommodate frequent changes. 

These refined accommodations for current design trends have necessitated updates and changes in four of Graphisoft’s main software products. Archicad 27, Graphisoft’s flagship CAD program, has had a plethora of improvements, making it more efficient and functional in all aspects of architectural design, as well as how it communicates with other applications. With the help of new tools and features that minimize manual tasks and workarounds, users will be able to better streamline their design process.

This upcoming Archicad version also provides users with enhanced methods of dealing with integrated design options. Often designers find themselves working on multiple project options in parallel. With that in mind, Graphisoft has come up with a new capability that allows designers to easily manage multiple integrated design options. The company has for some time realized that designers can benefit from producing and comparing multiple designs. Now Archicad allows the user to switch among options with little effort—the process is almost seamless, as it has been integrated into an end-to-end design workflow. Users can create, explore, and manage multiple design alternatives easily, with no complex workarounds, and can integrate documentation for all design options.

As designs evolve and models become more complex, precise placement of elements and efficient project management tools are crucial. One of the new features developed to support and improve user experience are Distance Guides. Designed to make element placement easier and more precise, the feature helps position walls, beams, columns, and objects with the help of dynamic measurements that guide users through the process. This feature will not only make the work easier and more accurate, but it will also enable designers to focus on the creative aspects of their project.

In Archicad 27, the process of managing project attributes has been enhanced, easing the process of attributes in the project database and making it more efficient. In previous versions, Graphisoft has been simplifying attribute management workflows by introducing folder structures to key attributes, surface layers, composites, building materials, and more. Now these capabilities are extended to all attributes, ensuring consistency and optimizing usability, resulting in a major step towards a more centralized attribute management process. With these improvements, architects, project leaders, and BIM managers will be able to keep all project attributes clean and better organized.

One of the most powerful tools in Archicad has been a programming language, GDL, which enables users to create customized objects for their project requirements. Packed into the current release is a new GDL editor, which dramatically increases the speed and productivity of the GDL programmer. It has been updated with modern and intuitive tools to improve workflow and save time, including improvements such as line numbering for easy identification of each code line syntax; a mini map to ease navigation; auto completion suggestions during code input; and a dark mode option.

Another aspect of the 2023 Archicad product announcement is native support for importing and exporting FBX files, a file format is considered the standard when transferring 3D files to AR and VR applications. With no additional software needed, models can be exported as FBX, directly from Archicad (Archicad can also import FBX files). With this functionality, users can seamlessly connect their BIM models to mixed reality technologies.

Important to construction projects of almost any complexity is the ability to generate models for structural analysis. Just announced is the latest version of Archicad’s structural modeler, which creates models directly from Archicad and allows them to be edited, to meet the needs of the structural analyst.

Meanwhile, DDScad, a modular software solution for the integrated, interdisciplinary planning of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems, also has been enhanced. This Open BIM product makes it possible to design complete MEP systems and perform MEP calculations, as well as create designs, reports, and parts lists; detect and prevent design errors; and save time with many automatic functions. The 2023 version of the Open BIM DDScad enables users to leverage product data directly from consumer objects and supply device libraries, as well as functionality improvements to the electrical scope.

The need for full-featured collaboration makes BIMcloud an attractive tool for architects. The latest innovations focus on security and data synchronization.

Lastly, Graphisoft is elevating BIMx from a simple presentation tool to a robust collaboration platform for streamlining workflows and enabling faster decision-making.

Graphisoft will begin the 2023 product rollout of the commercial versions of Archicad, BIMcloud, and BIMx on October 4 for a large segment of localized languages, with the remaining language editions following shortly thereafter. Building Together–Connect will take place October 4 with detailed product demos and a live Q&A. The company will also provide an updated public roadmap at that time.