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INDEX 02: CAD: AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction)

The Mac platform has always been popular in architecture circles in particular but increasingly within the overall AEC industry. This list of AEC CAD apps is just one component of what we will eventually have for AEC app list coverage.

HERE WE HAVE a complete list of CAD apps for the AEC industry for the macOS platform. The list is in alphabetical order below.

We spotlight three of those apps below. Two of these are dominating forces in the entire AEC community while we focus on another promising software company that aims to be delivering a unique position within the overall AEC BIM market. (Note. We have a BIM-specific apps list in the making here. Much more to come as we develop it further).

Mac CAD AEC Industry Notable Apps

The first AEC industry CAD app of note is GRAPHISOFT’s ARCHICAD, the original first BIM application. In the beginning, prior to the term BIM (Building Information Modeling) the Hungarian company called it Virtual Building software. Today ARCHICAD is arguably the technology and innovation leader in the AEC industry. It has the fastest BIM platform and scales exceptionally well. It is also multi-threaded at the highest level in the industry. Unlike Autodesk’s Revit, which benefits from high-frequency single-core processing, ARCHICAD (aka AC) goes into turbo mode on 6-8 core computers.

01 – ARCHICAD features a uniquely direct connection to GRASSHOPPER

02 – Vectorworks 2018 has added powerful new SubD modeling features.

03 – BricsCAD BIM 2018 is growing rapidly in features and supports IFC.

The second AEC industry app of note is Vectorworks. Like ARCHICAD, this tool is part of the German software holding company, named Nemetschek Group, so the first two apps of note are sister apps from sister companies. Vectorworks Architect is a full-fledged BIM application, and Vectorworks Landmark is a top-tier CAD/BIM for landscape architects and related professionals. Vectorworks, being a more general app, is the Mac CAD market share leader, with robust users bases in Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the United States, among its key core markets.

Finally, we want to note BricsCAD BIM from Belgium, an emerging Mac, Windows and Linux CAD/BIM application that is DWG native. This means it feels comfortable for AutoCAD users. It features increasingly SketchUp-like modeling tools, is IFC compliant at base levels and is establishing itself within European markets.

A Word About BIM

Not everyone needs a BIM-capable CAD package for AEC. In the list below the reader will find many mid-level to top-tier CAD packages for AEC at both the 2D and 3D level. Standouts include AutoCAD, ARES Commander, Chief Architect, HighDesign, and others.

INDEX 02: A complete listing of Mac AEC CAD/BIM Apps

There are exactly 20 AEC CAD apps listed below and nearly all of these are major solutions with strong user bases.

  • ARCHICAD — offers computer-aided solutions for handling all common aspects of aesthetics and engineering during the whole design process of the built environment — buildings, interiors and urban areas. ARCHICAD is a BIM industry innovation leader and one of the top global BIM packages around the world. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • ArchiFacile — free floor or house planner software which allows you to design them in two dimensional. This tool is very beneficial for architects as it allows to export design in PDF format. It can be used to plan floor, house, garage, wooden house, a garden shed or pool. (web-based)
  • ARES Commander — powerful CAD software for day-to-day work as well as complex projects. Leverage the productive tools and intelligent features for drafting and design that you’ve come to expect from top CAD products plus some exclusive productivity features, at a significant cost-savings. (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux)
  • AutoCAD LT for Mac — the fully macOS native version of AutoCAD LT offers near feature parity with its Windows version and delivers it in a superior user-interface than its Windows version, taking advantage of unique Apple Mac user-interface features and integration, like support for the Apple Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro. (Mac OS X)
  • AutoCAD for Mac — this is the complete professional CAD package for AutoCAD on the macOS platform and has all the features of LT above plus a whole lot more in the form of 3D. (Mac OS X)
  • BricsCAD — offers all the familiar .dwg 2D CAD features, yet it adds time-saving tools and 3D Direct Modeling. (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux)
  • BricsCAD BIM — a powerful full-featured and native DWG file 2D/3D CAD and BIM system that features direct-modeling, IFC support and more. (Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux)
  • Chief Architect — The industry leader for residential architectural home design software. This program is easy to use for the building professional.
  • DomusCAD Pro — You can immediately begin to create three-dimensional elements without needing to start from a two-dimensional plan. Elements such as walls, floors, roofs, and stairs are created from the onset in their full three-dimensional form. Watch the 3D model change in real time as you design in plan. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • DomusTerra — land modeling CAD program for architecture from the same folks behind DomusCAD Pro.  (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • HighDesign — award-winning 2D CAD program originally made exclusively for Mac OS X, it ships in LT and Pro versions. The Windows version is currently in Beta.
  • MacDraft — UK-based native Mac OS X CAD program comes in both Professional and PE (Personal Learning) editions, while Professional can open and edit AutoCAD DWG files. (Mac OS X)
  • PowerCADD — You want drawings that look like those you’ve always done by hand — or better. Exquisitely detailed. Perfect arrows. Crisp lines. Or maybe even a squiggly sketch. You don’t want it to look like it was done on a computer. (Mac OS X)
  • TurboCAD Mac Deluxe 2D/3D — IMSI/Design’s mid-level CAD package for Mac features ACIS modeling tools along with strong 2D drafting CAD features, including support for 3D printing and both AEC and MCAD tools. (Mac OS X)
  • TurboCAD Mac Pro — is IMSI/Design’s professional mid-level 2D/3D CAD package and includes both ACIS modeling, AutoCAD DWG compatibility and powerful rendering tools along with 3D printing support. (Mac OS X)
  • Vectorworks Architect — a full BIM and CAD application oriented at the professional architectural market used for modeling, BIM, and drafting documentation. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • Vectorworks Designer — The complete package of all vertical industry series solutions of the Vectorworks product line. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • Vectorworks Fundamentals — the entry-level version of the Vectorworks product line, focused on general CAD and modeling needs across various industries. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • Vectorworks Landmark — a full BIM and CAD application for landscape architects, urban designers, and other landscape designers. (Mac OS X and Windows)
  • Vectorworks Spotlight — an industry-leading application for the design of entertainment venues and performance spaces with simulated lighting, rigging, and documentation tools. (Mac OS X and Windows)


Growing This List

Have we missed a key software package? If you think so please email us at [email protected] and tell us about it. We will be sure to add it to the list at the next update AND we will give you a complimentary annual subscription to Architosh INSIDER premium membership.

series index page: Mac App Guides for CAD/CAM/3D/AEC industries.

Architosh will be reviewing and updating all our App Lists on a regular basis. See the dates below.

Listing of Updates by Date

01 Dec 2017 — Creation Date


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