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Bentley's Openbuildings Designer vs Revit: A Comprehensive Comparison

Written by BIM Outsourcing
October 18, 2022

In this article we will look at the Bentley's Openbuildings Designer vs Revit. The BIM market is saturated with many BIM authoring software. Each with their unique selling points and set of limitation. Bentley and Autodesk provide two software solutions branded Openbuildings Designer and Revit as the market leaders. Both powerful tools help BIM Engineers get their vision from concept to completion. But which one should you choose? Here's what you need to know about each program before you decide between the two.

Introduction and Background of Autodesk Revit

Invented in 1997, Revit from Autodesk is the most used building information modelling software. It is enabling users to plan, design, and analyze different construction phases. It dominates the BIM market capturing 45% of the market shares. Revit is widely used by architects, electrical & mechanical engineers, and interior designers worldwide.

Introduction and Background of Bentley's OpenBuildings Designer

Like Revit, Openbuildings Designer  by Bentley is another leading BIM authoring tool. It was known as AECOsim Building designer as a multidiscipline building designing software.

It captures about 0.06% of the market shares. And provides information-rich models for building design, simulations, analysis, and documentation.

Both companies were founded in Massachusetts (USA). Let's look at this head-to-head comparison of both tools on different aspects.

File Formats and Capability with previous versions

Bentley uses the DGN extension for their native files. This format is available across all Bentley products, such as Openbuildings or Microstation. In contrast, Autodesk offers four file formats for Revit and two CAD formats. If we take the opposite perspective, having many file types makes the management easy.  Additionally, both offer to import and export from PDFs, images, point clouds, and IFCs.

Openbuildings has a crucial advantage because it accepts Revit Family Files (.rfa). Thus increasing its usability and access to extensive family collections.

Revit does not allow you to open files from newer versions in older versions of the software. While Openbuildings can do so regardless of which version they were saved.

Hardware and Software Requirements Openbuildings Designer vs Revit

Though resource-intensive, Openbuildings, and Revit both require better processing speeds. One would need a high-performance machine to work at peak capacity. Some processes, like rendering or walkthrough animations, need high GPU capability. RAM storage and hard drive speed matter too when running this heavy-duty software. If you're using an SSD, that'll be even better as it higher clock speed! Again this all depends on what kind of project you're working on. Residential projects with less than 400MB file size need less computing power. While large commercial projects over 1GB file size need higher processor and RAM.

Revit can only run on Windows operating systems, MAC requires to boot windows first. You need to install BootCamp, which enables to run your system into windows OS. While Openbuilding can operate within either Windows or MAC OS environments.

Interoperability Openbuildings Designer vs Revit

Concerning BIM, interoperability is the capability of different programs. Such as Revit or Openbuildings, to exchange data via a standard set of file formats. Reading and writing the same file types while using the same protocols includes IFC. IFC is a standard in the BIM industry for opening projects created with one program on another. Although international foundation class (IFC) format was interoduced by Autodesk. Since interoperability scores in Revit seem pretty low compared to Bentley's. IFC exported through Revit contains more errors and data loss. It can provide better outcomes if an external add-in is utilized.

As mentioned earlier, all Bentley's items use similar extensions for all files. Thus, closed BIM interoperability is quite good. Nonetheless, within open BIM, Bentley also need some growth to ensure data with zero error. When files export towards different platforms' ability to read/write complete information.

Scalability Openbuildings Desinger vs Revit

Bentley is well known for its design experience for large horizontal projects. That includes airports, railway tracks, heritage buildings, and more. It has a dedicated product for rail & transit station design named Openbuildings Station Designer. On the other hand, Revit has a good repute in vertical building projects. While several large projects, including the airport, are also designed. Stuttgart airport, Germany, is a perfect example of that.

Both tools are at the same level on a scalability base. Whether you use them for architectural, structural, or MEP. Revit's limitation is that it cannot design any element smaller than 1/32 inches. But who builds things down at this scale anyway? Still, there isn't much difference between these two programs. When considering what type of AEC project they're designed for. Either way, they're both ideal choices.

Libraries and Plug-In Openbuildings Designer vs Revit

Revit, a widely used BIM authoring software, has a large user base. Thus provides a massive library of its families and components. Moreover, each version release has several family components, architectural, structural, electrical, or mechanical. Thanks to the popularity of Revit, a large family bank is also available. Because companies prefer to model their own family as per the need or use case. Several skilled professionals and companies generate revenues by creating families of specific niche. Which they sell on various online websites. The same is true for the plug-in. It's a small piece of software installed on a Revit environment to perform specific tasks. That includes generating better pdfs, rendering, or IFC exports.

Contrarily, the Openbuildings software package comes with a limited library. As well as Add-Ins created by external users are also limited due to their lower number of users. It has advantage of accepting Revit family (.rfa) files, which significantly alleviates this problem.

Learning Curve Openbuildings Designer vs Revit

Revit is simple to learn and use, as Autodesk provides several learning pathways. Including tutorials and education on its website, especially its online Autodesk University. The same is the case for Bentley's Openbuildings Designer. They provide online learning paths and training through authorized partners in every region. For beginners using Openbuildings Designer's initial workflow can be challenging. Specifically for new bees when trying to understand it. Revit tutorials and learning videos are on social media like Youtube, Facebook, etc.

Revit has users worldwide from all AEC disciplines. Moreover, unauthorized and authorized educational institutes also provide training around the world.

Furthermore, Autodesk is more focused on educating people to use their revolutionary BIM authoring tool. It also provides one year of free educational license for instructors and students. Contrarily, Bentley only provides one month of free trial.

Key Takeaways

There is nothing perfect in this world. Both are powerful authoring tools that come with their own set of limitations and advantages. It would be impossible to decide which one is better or worse than the other. It all depends on what kind of project you're working on and what type of skills you have available. Ultimately, it's all about utilizing the right skills for efficient results. The final product and workflow of Revit and Openbuildings are almost identical. Moreover, both are working at their best to overcome flaws.

We only need to consider each aspect while deciding on BIM authoring software for your next project.

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