Technology in Architectural Practice


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The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

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Software Used by Small Firms

  • 1.  Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-06-2018 12:50
    A survey of software being used by Small Firms that has been running for a number of years. Check out what others are up to ....and add your own entry.

    Small Firm Software - Google Drive

    Michael Malinowski FAIA
    Applied Architecture Inc
    Sacramento CA

  • 2.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-08-2018 09:04

    Great idea, thanks for doing this. Do you know of any similar surveys of larger firms for comparison?




    Clint Newton III, CSI, CDT, LEED AP

    Project Manager

    Spillman Farmer Architects

    1720 Spillman Drive, Suite 200

    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015-2169

    Tel: 610.865.2621 Ext #29


    Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of CSI

    President Elect

    2018 Expo Chair


    CSI GLV_expo 2018

    Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of CSI

    SAVE THE DATE – 2018 CSI Expo – April 11, 2018 –



    Greater Lehigh Valley CANstruction

    Event Coordinator

    SAVE THE DATE – 2018 CANstruction – October 12 -26


  • 3.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-09-2018 10:53
    Interesting.  With all the hype now-days I would have expected more BIM adoption, but I guess cost is the killer.  The "pencil/trace paper and eraser" software seems popular.  I conclude that small firms sketch on trace, scan to Dropbox, then use MS Word/Excel for the invoice.  Just the 'old man.'  Thanks for sharing your efforts.

    Roger Dunn Assoc. AIA
    Hong Kong

  • 4.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-12-2018 17:34
    Try using Vectorworks, its cheap enough, easy to use and can do BIM, 

    Dov Hadas, Architect pc
    70 E. Sunrise Highway
    Suite 500
    Valley Stream, NY 11581

  • 5.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-12-2018 18:21
    I found in my travels that more design-build firms are using BIM than design only or build only.  The assumption from the architect/designer is: Why would I/we take on more risk for the same money and that is a valid argument when an Integrated Project Delivery contract is not in place.

    I do not get involved in large multi-million dollar commercial projects, I like designing upscale residential homes and condos. I did start as a builder yet I hung my boots up a couple of years ago and now predominately design and QS from the BIM, and I find that builders love it and pay extra for the privilege.

    I use an IPD contract for several reasons:
    1. Although I come from a construction background, I remember that I had my quirky little methods to construct which I put in the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) model. However, many builders take a more traditional approach and prefer their own method. I charge for changes and amend the model if an item is tagged and explained. I also allow the builder or engineer to change the model as this is what IPD is all about. At the end the day, each participant takes responsibility for their own changes as the desired outcome is a better, more profitable & a smoother project from concept to completion. 
    2. Each participant goes through my work and highlights any issues, sure my wife and kids think I am perfect, yet like everyone I make mistakes and it is good to get a second set of eyes before the VDC/BIM model moves to a construction drawing set.  The best thing about this is we share responsibility as we all know builders and architects have never been great friends yet this approach is doing what it should and uniting my customers and allowing me to make suggestions without being shot down or abused and in return me firing back.
     Collaboration is the key when using BIM, and I feel this is what most do not get when they think of BIM.

    Share your models my friends, yet first, have a contract in place that enables you to share the liability and protect your IP.  From this everyone is a winner.

    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia

  • 6.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-13-2018 15:20
    Michael Malinowski,

    Thank you for putting this together!  It's an amazing, important piece of research!!


    David Joshua Plager, AIA, NCARB, BE
    BIM Earth Founder & CEO

    David Plager
    General Engineer
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Portland OR

  • 7.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-14-2018 19:07

    Thanks for the pat on the back David!



    Michael F. Malinowski FAIA


  • 8.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-12-2018 20:56
    It is interesting to note that 56% of businesses use SketchUp yet only 2% use Layout. I also note that you have Build edge as a BIM plugin yet missed PlusSpec for Sketchup which automates Layout scene creation and is a parametric BIM modeller.

    It is a shame to see 56% of firms using different technologies to deliver projects especially when SketchUp 18 pro now has the capacity to do all of the above.

    Andrew Dwight
    Designer/BIM manager AAD Build
    BDM RubySketch
    Sydney Australia

  • 9.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-14-2018 18:46
    ​this is great work;  thanks very much!

    [Buz] [Tenenbom] [AIA]
    [CTA Design Builders]
    Seattle WA

  • 10.  RE: Software Used by Small Firms

    Posted 02-16-2018 17:37
    This is tremendously useful.  Thanks!

    Steven Weiss FAIA
    Weiss Architects, LLC
    Chicago IL