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From AutoCAD to ArchiCAD – Step1: Evaluating Project Requirements.

Step1: Evaluating Project Requirements

Transitioning from AutoCAD to ArchiCAD can be a significant shift for any architectural firm. This change requires careful planning and evaluation to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. In this article, we will explore the first crucial step in this process: evaluating your project requirements. This step is essential for setting the foundation for a successful conversion and maximizing the benefits of ArchiCAD’s Building Information Modeling (BIM) capabilities. 

Evaluating Project Requirements 

Before diving into the conversion process, it is essential to evaluate your project requirements thoroughly. This involves understanding the project scope, timeline, team collaboration needs, and BIM workflow expectations. By doing so, you can determine the specific features and functionalities you need in ArchiCAD to meet these requirements. 

Project Scope and Timeline 

Understanding the scope and timeline of your projects is critical. Assess the scale and complexity of the projects you plan to convert. Are you dealing with large commercial buildings or smaller residential projects? The size and intricacy of the project will influence how you approach the conversion process. Additionally, consider the project timeline. Identifying the most optimal time for conversion can prevent disruptions. For instance, transitioning at the beginning of a new project phase, such as moving from schematic design to design development, can provide a smoother transition. 

Team Collaboration Needs 

Evaluate the team dynamics and collaboration needs for your projects. Identify the key team members who will be involved in the conversion process and their roles. This includes assessing the skills and experience of your team members with both AutoCAD and ArchiCAD. Determine if additional training or familiarization sessions are needed to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the new software. Understanding your team’s 

strengths and weaknesses can help in assigning roles effectively and ensuring a more streamlined transition. 

BIM Workflow Expectations 

Setting clear BIM workflow expectations is crucial for a successful conversion. This involves understanding how your team will function within the BIM environment. Unlike traditional 2D drafting methods, BIM introduces a more collaborative and integrated approach. Evaluate how your current workflows will adapt to this new environment. Consider how tasks such as model reconstruction, data migration, and collaborative setup will fit into your existing processes. 

Common Pitfalls and Solutions 

When evaluating project requirements, it’s easy to get caught up in certain areas that can delay the transition. One common pitfall is focusing too much on the appearance of the drawings rather than on production efficiency. While the look and feel of your drawings are important, it is more critical in the initial stages to focus on producing accurate and comprehensive documentation. Template creation and stylization should be addressed later in the process. 

Another common issue is underestimating the complexity of BIM workflows. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of how your team will interact with the BIM environment. Using tools like mind mapping software can help visualize and organize these workflows, making the transition smoother. 


Evaluating project requirements is the foundation of a successful transition from AutoCAD to ArchiCAD. By understanding your project scope, timeline, team collaboration needs, and BIM workflow expectations, you can set the stage for a smooth and efficient conversion. Focus on production efficiency initially and use the transition as an opportunity to refine and improve your workflows. With careful planning and evaluation, your firm can leverage the full potential of ArchiCAD’s BIM capabilities, leading to more streamlined processes and higher-quality project outcomes.