In simple terms, when using CAD for building design, you focus on creating drawings. When using BIM, you focus on creating a building model and then the drawings can be generated from the model.
What is BIM?
BIM is Building Information Modeling. It is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
CAD is Computer-Aided Design. CAD software provides technology for architects, engineers, and construction professionals to design and create precise 2D and 3D drawings, replacing manual drafting with an automated process.
The biggest difference is that AutoCAD is a CAD software and Revit is software for BIM. While AutoCAD is a general drawing tool with broad application, Revit is a design and documentation solution, supporting all phases and disciplines involved in a building project.
Revit is used to coordinate all data inputs (including CAD) and produce federated project deliverables. Both programs are often used within the same firm, with BIM and CAD specialists working on different elements of a project.
Image courtesy of Botswana Innovation Hub - SHoP Architects
Are BIM and Revit the same?
BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information on a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle. The role of BIM is to gather and link data relating to the design, construction, and operation of a building to produce a comprehensive 3D model.
Revit is BIM software widely used by architects, engineers, and contractors to create a unified model that all disciplines and trades can use to complete their work. Autodesk Revit was created to support BIM and not to replace BIM. Revit hosts the information that forms the model from which drawings and documents are derived.
AutoCAD and Revit are interoperable and can be used together. They are commonly used together to incorporate designs created in AutoCAD within a Revit project. Firms may use AutoCAD on certain projects or components of a design and use Revit to generate BIM deliverables and to enable collaboration with other design disciplines.
Get access to Revit and AutoCAD in a specialized solution with the Architecture, Engineering, & Construction Collection.
The AutoCAD Revit Interoperability Guide demonstrates how you can use Revit with AutoCAD to help manage a project and its deliverables. You‘ll learn how to integrate existing AutoCAD projects with Revit, export views or sheets to DXF or DWG format, link external data into Revit, and much more.
Use AutoCAD together with Revit in the AEC Collection. Unlock your best building designs with BIM and CAD software. With intelligent model-based design and task automation, you can focus on the most important design challenges and work better, and faster together.
AutoCAD Architecture toolset is now included with AutoCAD
Get access to the specialized Architecture toolset (formerly known as AutoCAD Architecture) when you subscribe to AutoCAD. See how you can work faster on common architectural design tasks by downloading the AutoCAD Architecture Toolset Productivity Study.