This page gives a general overview of how the different tools and concepts found in other mainstream BIM applications compare to FreeCAD, specifically its BIM Workbench.
TODO: Add other BIM apps: Allplan, Tekla, Vectorworks, BricsCAD, what else?
|Pricing and license||Free for anyone to use, no registration necessary||Free to use for students upon registration, registration and fee needed for other users||Registration and fee|
|Default file format and versions||The default FreeCAD files uses the .FCStd extension. Openable by FreeCAD and Blender (using a plugin). They can also be unzipped. Any FreeCAD file, created will any version, will open in any other version, newer or older. However, some complex objects created with a more recent version might not be editable anymore when opened in older versions.||The default Revit files use the .rvt extension. Only openable by Revit. Files created with any older version will open. Files created with a newer version will not.||The default ArchiCAD files use the .pln extension. Only openable by ArchiCAD. Files created with any older version will open. Files created with a newer version will not.|
|Interchange BIM models and data formats||IFC, DXF (2D only), DWG (2D only), ACIS/SAT (Using CadExchanger or InventoLoader addon), STEP||IFC, DXF, DWG, ACIS/SAT||IFC, DXF, DWG|
|Setting up project units||In FreeCAD, all models accept any unit. The unit you prefer to work with can be set in in menu Edit -> Preferences -> General -> Units. Changing the unit doesn't affect the model.||Select the right template (Metric or Imperial), then modify the unit aspect in menu Manage -> Project. Changing the unit doesn't affect the model.||Select the right template, then set the unit in menu Options -> Project Preferences -> Working units. Changing the unit affects the model.|
|Organizing the elements of your project||You can use sites, buildings and building parts (storeys/levels), or standard groups to group and organize objects, and other FreeCAD workbenches offer additional grouping options. Building Parts can be made active by double-clicking them, which automatically adds next objects to them.||Objects are automatically organized into Floor Plans. You can further group objects into Groups.||Object are automatically organized into Floor Plans. You can further group objects into Groups and Layers.|
|Families of objects||There is no concept of family in FreeCAD. The same idea is achieved by cloning another object, in which case it adopts its shape and all its properties, or by constructing another similar object such as a wall or structure (column, beam) on the same base profile, in which case the profile is common but all the other properties (height, etc) are independent. Wall compositions depend on the multimaterial used, which can also be shared by several wall instances.||Each object belongs to a given family.||Each object belongs to a given type.|
|Grouping objects into reusable components||FreeCAD groups cannot be instantiated (independent copies), but objects grouped into compounds or building parts can be cloned (dependent copies) or copied (independent copies).||Revit groups can be instantiated (dependent copies).||ArchiCAD groups cannot be instantiated (independent copies).|
|Standard BIM elements||Walls, structures (beams, columns and slabs), windows (doors and windows), roofs, stairs, frames (railings), equipment (furniture, appliances, etc)||Walls, beams, columns, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, roofs, stairs, railings, components (furniture, appliances, etc)||Walls, beams, columns, slabs, windows, doors, roofs, stairs, railings, curtain walls, objects (furniture, appliances, etc)|