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Top 5 Affordable Vectorworks Alternatives

Mouse, keyboard, computer, cup on desk. Vectorworks icon

We’ve talked about Vectorworks a couple of times before here at Scan2CAD. Although not as big of a name in the CAD and construction industry as some of the larger solutions, Vectorworks still stands out as one of the top pioneers and most-used software for cross-platform BIM and CAD drafting work. The software focuses on solutions for specific industries, going as far as packaging itself in four different ways to focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, entertainment, and industrial design markets.

As useful and intuitive as it is though, some might find that the cost of Vectorworks programs might be a little beyond their budget. Luckily, there are a lot of alternative programs that won’t break the bank as badly.

In this article, we’ll be discussing our top 5 affordable Vectorworks alternatives. We’ll factor in usability, costs, and overall capabilities for each program.


Vectorworks Pricing

We’ve already delved deep into Vectorworks pricing. As much as Vectorworks offers to its users, we really do have to take into consideration how much the program costs. There are various distributors and official resellers stationed around the globe. But based on prices we’ve procured from a reseller, you’ll be looking at $190-$262 a month for monthly subscriptions, $1900-$2620 per year for yearly subscriptions, and $2,045-$3,733 for single purchase licenses.

Network licenses are also offered with pricing that depends on the number of users, and there are also maintenance fees that come with optional upkeep packages that can be availed by users. Taking all of this into consideration, I think most of us will agree that Vectorworks isn’t exactly the cheapest program on the market.

It’s worth noting that Vectorworks does offer a 30-day free trial to those who might want to try using the program first before purchasing. For students and educators, they also offer free educational versions provided those that avail of it can prove their status as a student or teacher. Vectorworks also has a discounted pricing option for recent graduates to help ease them into the working world.

But even with all that, there are other software solutions that offer similar functionalities to Vectorworks that are more affordable. As for which one of these you should consider purchasing, it mostly depends on what you use Vectorworks for. We’ll be discussing all of these below.


1. Draft It Architectural Software

Draft It CAD Software screenshot

Drawing In Draft It (Source)

Overview

Draft It Architectural Software is a robust and intuitive 2D CAD program for architectural users and construction industry professionals. This program’s main market is designers, architects, interior designers, real estate agents, and building construction professionals. The software has tons of functionality and useful tools for drafting but tries to stick to the fundamentals to keep things streamlined, efficient, and most importantly, affordable. The program boasts the latest design and CAD technologies, to speed up the drafting process without giving up drawing accuracy or precision.

Features of the program include intuitive wall-drawing tools and a vast array of all the essential symbols for architectural drafting. If you need to get a better view of your drafted plans, Draft It has an automatic 3D model viewer tool that lets users view rotatable 3D models created from the plans drafted on Draft It. The 3D viewer has all the standard functionalities – users can zoom in and out of the model, use the mouse to pan around and see the model from all possible angles. It also has tools to seamlessly incorporate furniture layouts onto interior floor plans, add lighting, electrical, and plumbing fixtures, and create detailed reflected ceiling plans for all your interior design needs.

And as if the affordable one-time purchase fee for the program isn’t enough, Draft It Architectural Software also guarantees affordable lifetime updates, to keep its users up-to-date with the latest improvements to the software while making sure no one has to break the bank while doing so.

An alternative to Vectorworks if:

…You mainly utilize Vectorworks for architectural uses and would like a program that has the same capacity to create detailed floor plans and drawings for construction and permit uses

Fact file

Product website

cadlogic.com

Operating Systems

Windows, Linux, MacOS

Pricing

Free, $25 for Plus, $126 for Pro, $253 for Architectural; all one-time payments.

‘Free’ tier features

  • Standard drawing tools
  • Creation of basic professional architectural drawings
  • Supporting Metric and Imperial Units

‘Plus’ tier features

  • All features of the free version
  • Extra drawing tools
  • Customization and personalization of architectural symbols
  • Management of drafting layers

‘Pro’ tier features

  • All features of the Plus version
  • Importing of DWG and DXF formats from AutoCAD
  • Extra dimension tools
  • Integrated symbol library

‘Architectural’ tier features

  • All features of the Pro version
  • Seamless tools for wall generation
  • Standard architectural symbols
  • 3D model viewer

2. Easy Blue Print

Easy Blue Print software screenshot

A floorplan in Easy Blue Print (Source)

Overview

Easy Blue Print is a program specifically created to generate floor plans without the complexities that usually come with it. This kind of program is perfect for professionals looking to create plans for real estate companies, to facilitate the marketing of modular commercial projects, for basic school projects, or for quick remodels of house and office layouts. This program is for users who need something done fast and in a simple manner.

An alternative to Vectorworks if:

…You’re looking for a quick and no-fuss way to generate accurate and easily presentable floor plans or detail drawings. Best used by real estate agents or those looking to create advertising or print media using floor plans.

Fact file

 

Product website

ezblueprint.com

Operating Systems

  • Windows, Mac

Pricing

Free Trial; Free for Basic; $59.99 for Pro.

‘Basic’ tier features

  • Create and save working files and drawings.
  • The ability to view all drawings regardless of file size. This includes detail drawings created with the Pro version of this software.
  • Exporting floor plans as bitmap images with customized resolution. Users can also opt to export and paste floor plans and detail drawings directly onto applications such as Microsoft Word for easy generation of presentation materials or printed media. With the Basic version, there is a limit to the file size of exported drawings.
  • Function for rotating objects, changing door orientations, and zooming in and out of drawings.
  • Can customize a pre-determined grid to position and edit dimensions in selected increments.
  • A fully integrated help panel with a menu that changes as you select different tools or buttons.

‘Pro’ tier features

  • All functions of Basic without the file size limitations.
  • Ability to plot and set the scale of printing for the entire drawing.
  • PDF export capabilities.
  • Automatic generation of rooms by converting lines or polygons into walls.
  • Import and tracing over a pre-existing image file of a plan or detail drawing.
  • Customizable symbols and libraries for symbols.
  • Can write over the original length of the dimension line with a custom dimension or text line.
  • Editing the gap between a dimension line and the wall it is measuring
  • Hide functionality for dimension lines.
  • Undo and Redo tools
  • Programmable wall list editor to change the attributes of walls in one consolidated table.
  • Change widths of stairs, doors, and window elements.

3. Cedreo

Cedreo CAD software on Macbook

Drawing in Cedreo (Source)

Overview

Cedreo is a web-based application for the design of home layouts and the production of presentable 3D models. The web app and the customer support that comes with it helps users create professional drawings and ready-to-present 3D renders of houses.

The program also has built-in features to help with the tracking and organizing of both ongoing projects as well as client lists. Cedreo also comes with different project management tools to help you keep track of everything.

The process is as simple as creating the floor plan on the web app, sending it over to the Cedreo team for 3D modeling and getting back rendered HD pictures of the house in sometimes even less than an hour.

All-in-all, this program is reliable when it comes to quick and presentable 3D renderings of proposed house layouts.

An alternative to Vectorworks if:

…You’re looking for a quick and easy way to generate presentable 3D house models to clients but don’t have the time to learn how to use new programs for rendering and 3D model generation.

Fact file

Product website

cedreo.com

Operating Systems

Web-based

Pricing

  • $79/month for the Pro version but is available for free until July 15, 2019; Enterprise version has quote-based pricing

‘Pro’ tier features

  • An unlimited number of projects with a monthly cap on HD renderings and Full HD renderings of the floor plans created through the app.
  • Limited support by Cedreo staff and experts.
  • Creation of 2D and 3D floor plans with surface area tables, customizable room types, and a mirror feature for floor plans.
  • Automatic and customizable wall openings, roofs, and furnishes.
  • Over 3,500 different material and surface covers
  • Optional Cedreo web services such as catalog furnishing, virtual tour creation, and full HD renderings that are print ready.

‘Enterprise’ tier features

  • All features of Pro.
  • More HD renderings and Full HD Renderings per user per month.
  • Project Management capabilities.
  • More comprehensive customer support than Pro. Includes one on one onboarding and phone support.

4. ArCADia-Architecture

2D drawing and 3D Rendering in ArCADia

A 2D drawing and 3D Rendering in ArCADia (Source)

Overview

ArCADia-Architecture is a specific module of the ArCADIA BIM system. With the program, users can create professional-grade architectural documents, drawings, and models. This module of the program is specifically intended for architects and architectural professionals, but there are other modules such as those for gas and heating, electrical and telecommunication, and other engineering industries.

ArCADia-Architecture specifically has architecture-centric tools and functions to streamline the generation of design drawings. These tools include automatic creation of cross sections, dimensions, and building element lists and tables. Like with all BIM software, ArCADia BIM automatically creates a 3D model while users set up the plans and elevation drawings. Every element and drawing is parametric and attribute-controlled.

ArCADia-Architecture is an expansion that supplements the capabilities of the basic ArCADia BIM program with architectural tools. This means that a number of the options available in this module a module will also be available in the basic versions of the program, namely ArCADia BIM, ArCADia BIM Plus, and ArCADia BIM LT.

Alternative to Vectorworks if

…You’re looking for full-on BIM-capable architecture software that has as much functionality as Vectorworks but is more affordable.

Fact file

Product website

arcadiasoft.eu

Operating Systems

  • Windows

Pricing

$907 for ArCADia BIM 11; $1050 for ArCADia BIM Plus 11; $686 for the additionally-paid ArCADia BIM – Architectural Module

‘ArCADia BIM 11’ features

  • Views and Information management with the Project Manager clear tree
  • Smart tracking for inserting building elements
  • Option to view model elements in 3D real-time renders.
  • Personalized list of the top 10 most used commands to personalize a user’s own tool kit.
  • Version comparisons between an older and newly-edited version of a file.
  • Optional integration of installation models into building models.
  • Collision lists for all systems shown in a view or a list.
  • Library for standard 2D and 3D symbols and objects.
  • Table creation.
  • Customizable settings for elements to be saves as setting templates.
  • Expandable library of all types of elements.
  • Dimensions (linear and angular)
  • Accurate plotting and printing.
  • Can export and work with the latest .dwg formats.

‘ArCADia BIM Plus 11’ features

  • All features of ArCADIA BIM 11.
  • ACIS solid modeling.

‘ArCADia BIM – Architectural’ module features

  • Arched wall creation, can have multiple layers.
  • Wall creation from 2D polylines.
  • Seamless insertion of editable and customizable windows or window openings.
  • Seamless insertion of specialized doors, openings, and wall recesses.
  • Insertion of customizable floor or ceiling elements.
  • Insertion of orientable steel elements and structural bar elements.
  • Creation of spiral stairs and ramps.
  • Sketch-based insertion of balustrades.
  • Fully-editable roofs and roof elements with importable wooden structures from structural ArCADia modules.
  • Insertion of editable footings (strip and step).
  • Creation of sun exposure reports per room and shadow reports per building face.
  • Solid 3D volume creation.
  • Cross-section generation.
  • Built-in rendering capabilities.
  • Automatic dimensions of the drawings.
  • Automatic report on rafter structures.
  • Generation of roof report (area, material, accessories, etc.).

5. Sketchup

3D model of house and garden in Sketchup

A 3D model of a house and garden in Sketchup (Source)

SketchUP a 3D and CAD program that is intuitive and user-friendly. One of the more well-known applications in the industry, the software is known to help users create 3D models of interiors, architectural projects, landscape designs, and even full urban-scale building models. It specializes in ease-of-use supported by state-of-the-art and powerful modeling technology.

The program has built-in lighting and shadow effects, texture and material editors, layer management, and even walk-through and animation tools. Users will also find a very helpful online repository of user-submitted 3D models in Trimble’s 3D warehouse.

All said; the program itself is more of a CAD and 3D modeling program than it is BIM software. Don’t expect instant generation of walls, rooms, and building elements, although there are multiple sources of plug-ins that could aid in the creation of those.

Using the program is easy due to the customizability of the program’s menus, tabs, and palettes. Users can personalize what is shown and hidden and where the different menus and buttons are docked. One can even opt to personalize shortcut keys and modeling tools.

In short, the program has a user interface that is dead simple and easy to understand but has an underlying technological sophistication that keeps it on par with many of the industry’s top CAD and modeling software. This is perfect for beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

An alternative to Vectorworks if:

…You’re looking for a fully customizable, intuitive, and simple-to-use 3D modeler for construction and design works.

Fact file

Product website

sketchup.com

Operating Systems

  • Windows, Mac

Pricing

  • Free for the basic web-app version of Sketchup; $119 per year for Sketchup Shop; $299 per year for Sketchup Pro

Free version features

  • Basic online modeler
  • 10 GB of cloud storage
  • Model viewing on iOS and Android

‘Shop’ version features

  • All features of Free with a premium online modeler
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Customizable styles, materials, and outliner tools
  • Customer support through e-mail

‘Pro’ version features

  • All features of Shop with professional desktop software usable offline
  • XR headset viewing capabilities
  • Can handle plug-ins and extensions

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