Must-Have Digital Tools For Architects

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Architects’ work is traditionally focused on accuracy and precision: avoiding calculation errors, being important in any activity, is vital in architecture. This is true for both creating models and for organizing work process. That is why digital tools that automate routine processes are being increasingly adopted by architecture bureaus and used in their workflows.

Software solutions not only help prevent employees from errors and inaccuracy: they also save valuable time and help properly organize work in any circumstances. Working on complex projects, finding individual solutions for clients, working from remote locations – all this involves using special tools that make work process more convenient and effortless. Here’s a list of must-have digital tools for architects that simplify specific tasks and entire workflows for architect bureaus and self-employed specialists.

1. ARCHICAD

ARCHICAD is a building design suite that provides different tools for architects and designers. It includes all essential building information modeling (BIM) functions, such as 2D and 3D drafting, modeling, visualization etc. The tool combines several software applications integrated in a complex solution that covers all design needs of an architectural bureau.

ARCHICAD offers collaboration features that ensure convenient teamwork on a project for office employees and distributed teams. The tool allows to develop and implement projects of any scale, export the data in many commonly supported formats, and connect to other software tools for streamlining work on the concept and details.

2. Rhino

Rhino is a design and modeling tool for architectural bureaus, students and freelancing professionals. It can create, edit, render, and animate various objects of 3D models. The tool ensures accuracy in designing, prototyping, engineering and production of any object. It supports file formats compatible with other 3D-modeling, design, engineering, animation and rendering software, so you can collaborate on files created in this tool with your colleagues who work with other solutions.

Rhino is available for Windows and Mac. It doesn’t require any special hardware and works fast even on ordinary machines. Being designed not only for professionals but also for beginners and students, it is easy to learn and use. What’s more, it offers advanced functionality at an affordable price, which is important for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs.

3. Chief Architect

Chief Architect offers a wide range of tools and features for working on home design projects. It allows to create construction drawings, interior design projects, CAD details, and 3D models. Chief Architect offers product lines for both professional architects and DIY enthusiasts, and while solutions for any level of skills are available, both professional and DIY tools by Chief Architect have been reported to be easy to learn and use.

Chief Architect tools are available for Windows and macOS. There are also mobile apps available for Android and iOS. This way, the tools can be used on virtually any device: desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

4. Revit

Revit BIM software is one of indispensable tools for construction, structural engineering, and architectural design. It includes various features for design, modeling, planning and construction of buildings and infrastructure objects. Its features for conceptual design, visualization and analysis ensuring convenience at any step of work on an architectural project.

The tool supports collaboration on project files, which allows contributors from various disciplines to create local models with suggestions and improvements and collaborate on the centrally stored and shared project model. For more convenient work on architectural projects, Revit provides the ability to expand its functionality with add-ons and API access.

5. actiTIME

Architectural bureaus and self-employed professionals often bill their customers for time spent on work for them. That’s why keeping accurate records of how much time has been spent on various activities is essential: it helps prevent under-billing and adds transparency and clarity to interaction with clients on how much cost has incurred and why.

Here’s where actiTIME time management system helps: it ensures effortless timekeeping and provides exact data on work performed for each specific client, project and activity. actiTIME allows to review details and summarized data on any portion of work, analyze profitability of projects, and issue invoices for customers.

A helpful feature that architects would appreciate is the ability to log time from anywhere: working from remote locations is common for such types of activities as design, planning, construction etc. actiTIME mobile app provides accurate records of how much time has been spent on client’s site. Its timer feature simplifies time recording even more: just start the timer upon arrival, and stop it when work is done.

6. ArchiSnapper

Managing architectural projects can turn into a nightmare without an easy and convenient tool. Planning and monitoring field works, taking into account every single detail, and making decisions on necessary changes is challenging, so using a special tool that automates and simplifies these tasks is a reasonable way to free up managers’ time and prevent employees from overlooking important details.

ArchiSnapper is a project management tool designed specifically for architectural projects. It allows to organize work on a project in a convenient way, track progress, upload on-site photos, sketches and annotations, and stay updated on every work assignment within a project. The tool stores all data in the cloud, which ensures its integrity and availability from any device, from anywhere.

7. Elorus

For small bureaus and self-employed individuals, accounting and invoicing are one of the biggest struggles in their work routine. Having zero background in accounting and bookkeeping, it’s not easy to organize finances and prevent billable hours from being missed. However, there are special tools that help small businesses and freelancers overcome this problem – and save valuable time.

Elorus is a smart and easy tool that helps create and send professional invoices, manage expenses, and handle costs. It also allows to accept credit card payments and provides tools for monitoring your business’ performance. To avoid double data entry, you can integrate Elorus with other tools you’re using in your workflow and enjoy hassle-free billing and invoicing.