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Review: Roundup of BIM Software for Electrical Engineers

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Finding the right Building Information Modeling (BIM) software is not always easy for an electrical engineer. With numerous options available, it is crucial to identify which packages are tailored to meet your specific needs. Various BIM packages have been reviewed using the simple and effective Electrical Engineering BIM Scorecard to aid in this selection process.

Although the full scorecard has ten questions, to be useful for electrical engineers, a software package must pass the fourth question: Can you insert devices on a floor plan? The first three questions serve as preliminary filters, assessing whether the software acknowledges engineering and specifically electrical engineering as distinct disciplines.

For more information on how the 10-point scorecard works, see this video that discusses it in more detail. You can also download a scorecard graphic to help personally score BIM software.

Scoring

When looking for suitable BIM software to review, several popular programs were discovered that often appear in discussions but offer little to nothing for electrical engineers. Below is a roundup of these programs and their evaluations based on the scorecard.

Tekla Structures

Tekla Structures is a significant player in the industry, renowned for its structural engineering capabilities. However, as the name suggests, it’s focused exclusively on structural engineering.

  1. Mentions engineering: Yes
  2. Mentions MEP: No
  3. Mentions electrical engineering: No
  4. Insert devices on floor plan: No

Score: 1/10

Tekla Structures is not aimed at electrical engineers and does not attempt to be relevant to the MEP sector. Therefore, it is not a suitable choice for electrical engineering applications.

SketchUp

SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that emerged around the same time as Revit. It is widely used for preliminary architectural designs but falls short of meeting engineering needs.

  1. Mentions engineering: No
  2. Mentions MEP: No
  3. Mentions electrical engineering: No
  4. Insert devices on floor plan: No

Score: 0/10

Owned by Trimble, SketchUp is mainly for architects. It offers nothing for electrical engineers, making it irrelevant for these purposes.

DataCAD

DataCAD has a long history, dating back to 1984. It is often listed as BIM software, but its focus remains predominantly on architecture.

  1. Mentions engineering: Yes (mentions AEC)
  2. Mentions MEP: No
  3. Mentions electrical engineering: No
  4. Insert devices on floor plan: No

Score: 0.5/10

Despite broadly acknowledging engineering, DataCAD does not cater to the specific needs of electrical engineers.

Revizto

Revizto is relatively new to the field, launched in 2012. While it references the MEP industry, it primarily focuses on collaboration and clash detection over the design-phase needs of electrical engineers.

  1. Mentions engineering: Yes
  2. Mentions MEP: Yes
  3. Mentions electrical engineering: No
  4. Insert devices on floor plan: No

Score: 2/10

Though Revizto scores slightly better, its offerings do not align with the design requirements of electrical engineers.

What This Means

While these software packages are common in the industry, they do not meet the specific needs of electrical engineers. As you search for BIM solutions, use the Electrical Engineering BIM Scorecard to filter out irrelevant options and focus on those that cater more clearly to your discipline.



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