difference between BIM and CAD


The AEC industry is rapidly evolving by introducing and integrating digital technology at every stage of the design and construction process. With time, the quick evolution has led to an increase in the dilemma between clients and service providers. As new technologies are launched on a daily basis, it is increasing difficult to determine which approach is appropriate for certain applications.  

CAD, BIM, and VDC are also among the most commonly misunderstood terms in the AEC business. Many individuals confuse the three names and believe they are interchangeable. However, the scope and uses of all three technology – CAD, BIM, and VDC-are vastly different. Let’s have a look at the differences and see how each one has its own set of applications in this blog. 


First Generation Methodology, CAD – Computer Aided Design 

CAD is the oldest of the three methodologies. This is a design and documentation tool that utilizes computer technology to produce the most precise, complete, and information-rich model possible within its constraints. It’s generally utilized for planning and constructing complicated projects with various precise parts and components, like mobile phones, aeroplanes, and buildings. 

Both 2D drawings and 3D models are used in CAD. Since the 1990s, 3D CAD has been standard in manufacturing, and it has greatly benefited the industry by allowing more complicated design work to be completed more rapidly and efficiently. Its rapid adoption was partly motivated by the necessity for businesses to stay competitive, as 3D CAD allowed items to be delivered to market much faster than before, causing any company that did not use it to fall behind. Building design has become more reliant on 3D CAD.  

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Enhanced Collaboration with Advanced Technology, BIM -Building Information Modeling 

While CAD is a technological tool, BIM represents a collaborative process facilitated by advanced digital technology. BIM has produced a significant positive outcome in the construction industry in recent years by providing a holistic approach to construction that combines design, construction, and documentation throughout the project lifecycle. The main difference between BIM and 3D CAD is that a BIM file contains significantly more information, such as performance parameters, requirements, and other non-physical data, all of which are incorporated in a shared 3D digital model of the project. 

BIM Modeling ServicesBuilding Information Modeling is a technologically enabled collaborative design and production process that allows architects, engineers, contractors, and clients to collaborate in a single model, both concurrently and sequentially. Prior to the project’s “breaking ground,” decisions can be made and challenges defined and solved using a shared computer-generated model and database. Prior to construction, clash detection and coordination between trades can be resolved at coordination meetings, preventing delays and issues in the field. This saves time and money while also lowering the impact on the environment. BIM also makes it possible to realize increasingly sophisticated and ambitious 3D designs successfully and safely. 


Integrated Models Management, VDC – Virtual Design & Construction 

Consider VDC as a broad word rather than a specific application or technology. VDC is a method of bringing together all of the tools, options, and services used in virtual design construction. VDC, for example, include any tool or, application that falls under the digital construction platform, such as the use of 3D scanning devices to map out installation requirements and take precise measurements, the use of software for man-hours and job scheduling, the use of drones to take measurements by flying over the site, the use of robotics system to map out areas to mark for plumbing installation comparing with the design drawings, utilizing virtual reality and walking through the site using Microsoft HoloLens and moreover, utilization of 3D printing.  

VDC is a term that refers to everything for the use and management of all of these tools and many more, that have yet to be invented. 

Use BIM Automation to Automate Modeling and Design Activities

Applications of CAD, BIM and VDC in Construction Industry 

While these three names are closely related, the extent and uses of CAD, BIM, and VDC are vastly different. 

3D CAD is a design tool that is used to create industrial things, vehicles, and complex components. It is mostly employed in the industrial industry and is an important aspect of the engineering process. 

BIM, on the other hand, is commonly utilized for large-scale construction projects such as multi-story buildings, transportation hubs, office complexes, and other real estate projects. It is the industry standard for managing everything from design to facilities management through a unified digital model that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration. Please feel free to look through our portfolio of BIM projects. 

VDC is a step forward of BIM, however it is not as widely used in the industry as the other two approaches. VDC is an approach that combines 3D CAD and BIM principles to improve information sharing, comprehension, collaboration, and communication. The architectural design, engineering, and building processes would be more efficient as a result. 


The construction industry continues to benefit from technological advancements that save time and money while also improving accuracy. Hopefully, this walkthrough of the technology development and terminology can clarify the misunderstanding. Feel free to contact us for further discussions.