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About Archicad's design tools, element connections, modeling concepts, etc.

Archicad vs Revit ability to create custom objects

Hi, I know this has been discussed a million times, but having searched for answers I come up blank reg. some specific comparisons.
I am trying to move my firm to one of the two programs, I believe that although Revit marketshare is larger, Archicad can create more detailed and nuanced 2d deliverables with an easier workflow.

However - one thing which I think is super important and a deal-breaker possibly , is the ability to create custom parametric objects/families. I understand the way revit works in this regard, but I am trying to find out if Archicad has the same capablities, specifically:


1. the ability to make custom parametric objects for re-use

2. having different represantations for said objects in different view (i.e. custom linework in 2d view which is not just a top down view of the 3d model)

3. adapting said representations to different levels of detail/scale (i.e. different symbol in 1:25 plan than in 1:100 plan)

4. make these objects interact with other objects in the model - for example a window will "know" how to make a hole in a wall object

5. combining multiple parametric objects in a nested manner (i.e. custom object for stair tread will be combined in an array in a custom staircase object).


I realize this is probably possible with the native GDL scripting language but without scripting does Archicad offer these posibilities?

Many thanks for any insights


Archicad can do all of these things however from my knowledge you would likely need a little bit of GDL education or know-how to do some of the things in your list. They do have the paramo tool that may work for some of the items you're after however I don't use that item I strictly code all of my objects so that they do exactly as I need.

You can nest objects inside other objects as well and call them into parent objects. The stair tool allows you to create custom treads to map to the stairs as well as custom railing parts for the railing.

When I was looking to switch from AutoCAD I learned Revit and then someone showed me Archicad that was on version 15 and Revit was no comparison in terms of 3D manipulation. To my knowledge as of now Archicad is still King when it comes to modifying elements in 3D. For example I do zoom meetings with all my clients and we do all the design in real time so they get to see it come to life in 3D and have direct input on the designs direction.


I had the same questions whenever I decided between Archicad and revit for each project.

I assume GDL can do all of those things. A lot of objects in library are already doing them.


So these questions quickly came down to “is there anyone in office or even anyone I know in market know how to do those things?”

Sadly I’m still struggling to learn GDL and nobody in my city uses GDL for real project stuff.

MacBook Pro (16 inch, 2021) Apple M1 Max 64GB macOS Monterey Archicad 26 MBP trackpad Logitech Master MX3

Hi Residential Architect,


Im curious to the workload your firm will have and what you are currently using. Right now, I am in a commercial projects firm and our use case with Archicad achieves all our needs albeit not around anything being too 'tricksy' by which I mean, with hyper accurate modelling. Where I live in Australia, the majority of the market suppliers/fabricators will provide assets for Revit and if there is an Archicad equivalent more often than not it is subpar or out of date.


At the moment we are in the process of converting some revit objects, simplifying and making them into Archicad objects, which also involves training the junior staff into how to do it. I am by no means very good with programming at all but after reading the forums and talking to experienced users have been able to get by fairly well and able to train someone quickly.


1. If you want custom parametric objects for re-use a GDL scripted object is much better for long term usage only if you can program and keep it up to date. The question is around how much of this you intend to do, we are able to use the standard library, a few purchased one (whilst being frugal) and making one or two to get by quite comfortably. It is a common thing to see ppl dig into minutia when there is a simpler way.

2. Custom linework is an interesting one, I think if you need to do that, its asking a lot of any software. We don't tend to rely on that high level of control, from a business point of view, the pressure to document means that we are balancing a visual drafting outcome with a commercial one. The objects we use most often only need to be a set lineweight for the scale they are intended. With more traditional details we will then dive deeper and apply traditional drafting techniques. Using the standard tools (not objects) but slabs, walls beams, etc we create rich enough documentation that communicates our Architectural intent, use the software as its meant is easier than forcing it to do something else. I remember a reseller trying to espouse ditching 2D from our documentation and do it all in 3D.... it's just a question of time and effort.

3. There are add-ons for Archicad by our local seller which allows us to make objects at different scale details. Archicad has ways of controlling detail levels but not strictly by objects. Having said that its possible, GDL can detect the scale you are working in and you can script for different scales, seen it done and it works fine. We have no issues documenting from say 1:2000, 1:500, 1:100, 1:20, 1:10, 1:5 etc or equivalent imperial values.

4. Windows, Doors, MEP, columns, slabs are not objects they are 3D tools that all interact with each other. You build/draw a wall and you apply a window to it, no need to cut a hole for that. There is a tool dedicated to making curtai walls.

5. There is a dedicated stair tool now not an object, it does most of that of what you are asking, you can add custom bits to it of your own design, I recommend you look at youtube to get a brief understanding. Again, its a balance between hyper realistic modelling vs representational. But to the main point of question 5 we use a combination of things to nest together. We can nest in GDL objects using macro scripting, we can nest parts of the building by creating hotlink modules (ie a bathroom that's the same on every floor such as a skyscraper, fix one and all of them change), we can nest entire buildings into a multi site project, for a giant master plan outcome.


Not everything has to be an object. Archicad has additionally two other modelling tools for example called morphs and shells which allows you to make more organic or small custom items but they are their own thing and interact with the project better than an object.


Your best bet for a fair assessment is to actually contact local firms who use Revit and Archicad as well as your local licensed resellers. Its best to see it in use, I am always blown away by what other firms are able to do with either software.


Another thing is additional options, the parent company of Archicad also owns vectorworks.


The power of Archicad is not just 3D or objects, its teamwork functionality for many people to work in the same project, page layouts that you automate everything from publishing sets to schedules, good document control, revisioning etc. There are also many other under the hood items. Its not perfect but offers a good all round package. As I get more experienced, I am now trying to tap into the automation, database, scheduling functionality which is another side of the coin.


Good luck in whatever you choose and I hope the software you go with, allows you to get your designs out there as best it can.




AC25+earlier - Monterey 12.2.1 - 2021 Macbook Pro16 / M1 Max / 32GB

These two posts are very old and I haven't reread them recently so I don't know the relevance to current abilities of Archicad and Revit...BUT the two guys who wrote them are experts in Object making in Archicad and Revit respectively.

Kristian Bursell on GDL:

Martjin de Riet on Revit Families

Jared Banks, AIA
Shoegnome Architects

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