BIM + CAD: A powerful partnership between Snaptrude & ARES Commander Takes Concept to Construction Documents in a Wink

aec+tech
5 min readMar 24, 2023

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AEC tech startup Snaptrude (www.snaptrude.com) has partnered with well-known German CAD software house Graebert (www.graebert.com), forging a robust, integrated approach to go from concept to CD in days, not weeks!

“Design better buildings together”

Although it appears to be a fairly simple statement, Snaptrude’s value proposition addresses a very complex problem: the inefficiencies and redundancies that abound in the AEC industry. A truly design-first, end-to-end web application for architects, designers, contractors, and everyone in between, Snaptrude accelerates real-time collaboration and furnishes users with insights on every design action that project teams take.

The product stemmed from the realization that, however skilled architects and designers may be, they still work in fragmented silos. This means projects progress in a linear fashion, passed from one discipline to another, without the true collaboration that can save so much time and effort.

To solve this problem, the team behind Snaptrude created a platform where multiple users could engage with one another simultaneously, and make design decisions together while quite literally being on the same page! In addition, the product is capable of generating real-time feedback on building cost, compliance, and even environmental performance, as you iterate, design, and solve problems.

Snaptrude harnesses the abilities of parametric, data-driven BIM processes, and empowers users to create built environments in record time. From an intuitive user experience focused on a space-first modeling approach, to extensive interoperability functions with popular AEC software (such as ARES, Rhino, and Revit), Snaptrude bridges the boundaries between disciplines during critical decision making through all the project phases.

A CAD wrapper for the BIM realm

ARES Commander (developed by Graebert) is a DWG-based CAD software program that is capable of both fully replacing AutoCAD (and other similar products) and extending the abilities of CAD users to access BIM information in projects. For AEC customers, its use case lies at a sweet spot between the CAD and BIM realms, where they can benefit greatly from the automation applied to the drawing creation process.

BIM project linked in ARES Commander

Although BIM is becoming more and more central to the nuanced engagement and collaboration among AEC stakeholders, the end result of the design process that makes it to the construction site is always a 2D drawing with a level of detail adequate for execution — and CAD software is better suited to provide that. This is where Graebert brings in value with ARES Commander. By creating a DWG “wrapper” for BIM, they have integrated an array of specialized functions to make drawing creation easy and effortless: object filtering, labeling, annotating, dimensioning, and adding symbols are all achieved with very minimal manual intervention. In addition, the BIM to CAD workflow in ARES Commander works using direct links, so the drawings you produce are always auto-updated as the BIM model continues to evolve.

Automated BIM X Automated CAD: The AEC dream come true!

Snaptrude is a heavily automated online BIM product. ARES Commander is a heavily automated DWG product, which has integrated online capabilities. An integrated use case for the two paradigms in the AEC space has naturally encouraged the two software developers to join forces to redefine built environment design!

The combined, unitized workflow commencing in Snaptrude and concluding in ARES Commander offers a multitude of time- and effort-saving benefits to users.

The well-equipped, contemporary architect, designer, and engineer start their initial design research and begin to sketch out spaces in Snaptrude. They iterate multiple design schemes on the same screen, seeking inputs from all the design collaborators at the same time. This arrangement enables real-time feedback, so decision making becomes insanely quick and well-informed. The diverse professionals collectively detail their design using the multiple automation and generative design features Snaptrude boasts, and achieve high-quality BIM models in extremely short time frames. As soon as the requirement for drawings emerges, they export BIM files into Commander, and using the drawing automation features, produce clean, well-detailed CAD drawings that can be printed and shared. Furthermore, the link between the two products continues to effortlessly incorporate BIM updates from Snaptrude with every refresh of the CAD drawings in ARES Commander!

The two companies have already stress-tested the integrated usage of their products with pilot projects. In one of these, a multi-story commercial building, they were able to exhibit a remarkably short time from concept to construction documents (CD): it took days, not weeks. They were able to create a BIM model with an amazing level of detail, including the architecture, interiors, MEP, and the facilities scopes. This stands as testimony to what integrated usage of different products in the AEC tech stack can bring about, in speeding up the workflows of all stakeholders involved!

Snaptrude and Graebert plan to embed additional functions to make the link between their two products even more robust and productive. Meaningful collaborations between products surely disrupt the industry, and help us architects and designers reevaluate the way we expend our time and effort, optimizing for creating the most value in the most effortless way possible.

Good times ahead for the AEC Tech space!

Please make sure to join the free online Graebert neXt event on April 13, 2023, and discover Graebert’s latest innovations for CAD, BIM, Cloud, and Mobile with the ARES Trinity of CAD Software. The event will feature four sessions in three hours, including a presentation by aec+tech’s own Niknaz Aftahi: “CAD for BIM: Smarter DWG Drawings.” Register now!

This article was authored for aec+tech, by Harish Karthick Vijay, a Design Journalist based out of Bangalore, India. Currently an undergrad student of Architecture, Harish has a high level of interest and exposure to the domain of Design Computation and Data-driven Design. Having authored multiple articles and essays for different editorials in the past, he is all set to develop a professional Design Technology career in the AEC Tech Industry.

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