BIM and ARES—Additional Notes on the US AERTWORKS Agreement

BIM is becoming increasingly central in Graebert’s ARES Commander. The latest technologies address the realities of design production.

In Graebert’s press release this week announcing its new reseller partnership with US CAD distributor AERTWORKS, the German software company noted that AERTWORKS has discontinued its US distribution of BricsCAD in favor of ARES CAD.

ARES CAD, which comes with a license and cost equivalent to nine (9) years of ARES for the same cost as one year of AutoCAD, was BricsCAD’s main (.dwg), CAD competitor on files, in a mutually shared framework. attack against AutoCAD from the American company Autodesk. For its part, Autodesk has hardly backtracked in this pitched battle for its inherited dominance in 2D/3D CAD. Still, the US-based CAD company appears to have a significant weakness when competing for large enterprise accounts due to the fact that whether it’s Graebert or Bricsys (now part of Hexagon), the cost savings offered by the two European companies are very competitive. . This may be a classic case of “comparative advantage” given the location of each of these companies and the staff and talent they employ.

The partnership with Serge Jonnaert (CEO of AERTWORKS) made sense for both companies. Cédric Desbordes, director of business development and marketing at Graebert, told me that the German CAD company believes that now is the time to make the United States its next priority. AERTWORKS has a proven track record of moving large enterprise customers from one CAD solution to another for multiple benefits (presumably for workflow dynamics in addition to better economy).

The exact reason for AERTWORKS’ decision to terminate BricsCAD in favor of ARES is not fully disclosed at this time. But the press release from both companies has now made known the change in preference. This positions Graebert’s ARES CAD technologies for the types of large accounts that AERTWORKS is well known for. While BricsCAD and ARES have developed CAD strategies and technologies that differentiate themselves from AutoCAD, Graebert has focused on some unique BIM-centric features.


The folks at Graebert are not aiming to create a BIM alternative to Revit or any of the other major BIM systems out there. Rather, they aim to be better than AutoCAD or even Revit at creating 2D drawings in file format (.dwg) which are usually produced alongside the AEC process on BIM projects, especially those working within the Autodesk ecosystem. Relive.

Cédric Desbordes de Graebert writes to us that “BIM software does a poor job of creating drawings, with a higher level of detail, and that is why, in the second phase, CAD software is often used to create most working (construction) drawings.The program, however, is that in the meantime the BIM model will keep changing and this is a waste of resources because in AutoCAD or other CAD software the drawings will constantly have to be updated manually.

Graebert argues that BIM to AutoCAD workflows should become BIM to ARES workflows. ARES Commander offers many automation commands that better streamline the drawing process while maintaining connectivity to BIM model changes, says the Berlin-based CAD firm.

The workflow developed by Graebert is aimed directly at Autodesk offices that use both Revit and AutoCAD for their workflow. This workflow is broken, as mentioned above by Desbordes, but Graebert aims to solve this specific problem with ARES Commander. The three problems that ARES Commander solves for CAD users working on Revit BIM projects include:

  1. Allow CAD users to visualize and understand all the rich information contained in BIM projects.
  2. Allow CAD users to create drawings faster (without redrawing geometry that can be extracted from the BIM project) and with a higher total level of detail.
  3. Essentially, create smarter DWG drawings whose geometry stays tied to the BIM project. This minimizes the effort involved in updating drawings when BIM models change.

Graebert emphasizes using automation and intelligence by leveraging rich BIM data (which saves time in drawing creation). An example of this process is the command hatch all my walls of this same wall type with the same hatch pattern, or create labels for all my windows with BIM information inside.

A better partner than AutoCAD

Ironic as it may sound, Graebert argues that ARES Commander is a more powerful partner application to Autodesk Revit than AutoCAD itself. The company has built functionality into ARES for downstream AEC BIM and CAD users, such as contractors and manufacturers. Its filter technology is area specific with a perfected workflow for these types of users, including general contractors. These types of users need to extract data from BIM and CAD files. Often they work from PDF versions of drawings and use popular tools like Bluebeam to generate quantitative data for prices and orders. By working directly with BIM data in ARES Commander, a user can quickly isolate all doors in a multi-storey mid-rise building and visualize them, review their properties (e.g. material = oak) and extract this data in the format of Excel file.

BIM model displayed in ARES Commander.

ARES Commander has an effective filtering technology that allows AEC users, especially downstream users, to isolate and visualize BIM object data, and extract this data for spreadsheets, tables and Excel export.

ARES Commander’s mapping technologies allow the user to map graphic standards such as specific hatch patterns to specific BIM object geometry. Once mapped, all data matches will correctly assign these hatch properties themselves. The smart dimension technology in ARES will associate with the BIM geometry data, so if the BIM data changes, such as a wall or window, changes location, the ARES Commander drawing will automatically adjust when ordering. update of the BIM reference object.

ARES can also link labels to information inside BIM objects and extract this information (which comes, for example, from Revit) and place all or part of it inside the label in ARES Commander. In short, Graebert ARES offers unique functionality and technology on the market and has advanced the idea that consolidated BIM authoring tools do not yet offer the user the ability to create true 2D drawings with the same level of control, flexibility and accuracy that many AEC BIM users still say. they rely on AutoCAD to manage. The difference is, Graebert examines how people use AutoCAD in conjunction with BIM tools, especially Revit, and develops ARES to solve problems that AutoCAD fails to solve.

Final commentary and analysis by Architosh

Users who are fully committed to BIM tools and do not fall back on 2D CAD programs may be biased to look at the Graebert McLeemy curve shown in the image above and be convinced. What Graebert is trying to show with the curve is that the reality is that companies (many companies) rely on AutoCAD to really complete documentation and therefore live today with the two main peaks of effort: a BIM model pic and an AutoCAD drawing production pic. Another pitch from Graebert is aimed at downstream users, some of whom may feel they should base their work on the same tool as architects and engineers (BIM tools). This is what happened 25 years ago. Graebert is basically saying “you don’t have to do this, you can stick with an AutoCAD-like CAD program but has automated communication with the BIM models”.

Graebert has four great videos that show exactly how ARES Commander works with IFC and Revit BIM models, addressing the three workflow elements mentioned above. We list them below for the reader to look at.

(1) BIM and Revit import with ARES Commander

(2) Read and export BIM properties with ARES Commander

(3) DWG drawings of Revit and IFC BIM projects with ARES Commander

(4) Automation of BIM drawings: material mapper, BIM tags, BIM dimensions