Way of designing by architects is most often 2D CAD and 3D CAD


Rotterdam, April 9, 2017 – Architects are still in the lead when it comes to the design of a building, but BIM developments affect this in such a way that architects need to collaborate more and more with other parties involved. These developments also have influence on the way of designing. In the Q4 2017 report of the European Architectural Barometer of USP Marketing Consultancy, 1,400 architects were asked what kind of CAD software they use. 2D CAD and 3D CAD software are most often used by architects and only a small part of the European architects still work mostly on paper.

Way of designing

CAD (computer-aided design) software is used by almost all architects. Only a small share of architects still work mostly on paper, for years we have seen this trend developing and the construction industry is digitalising at high speed. Most architects in Europe work with 2D and 3D CAD software. Differences can be seen between large and small firms. The bigger firms (more than 40 employees) use 3D CAD software more often than smaller firms.


Looking at the way of designing, there are clear differences between BIM users and non BIM users. BIM users are more likely to use 3D CAD software. Among non-BIM users almost half of the architects design using only 2D CAD software or they still work traditionally on paper.


One fifth of the architects in the Netherlands still work mostly on paper, which is surprising because the Netherlands is one of the countries that is seen as a frontrunner regarding digitalisation in the construction industry. There is only a small share of architects (around 5%) in Belgium, Germany and Poland that also work mostly on paper. In all other investigated countries, there are almost no architects that usually design on paper.


Many types of CAD software used by architects

ARCHICAD, AutoCAD and Revit are the most used types of CAD software by architects. In most investigated countries there is one software which is really favoured by the architects. In other countries however, like France and the Netherlands, this is more divided. Zooming in on e.g. France, AutoCAD is used by 39% of the architects, ARCHICAD is used by 34% and Revit is used by 28%. These differences are even smaller in for example the Netherlands.



CAD software is clearly used by a large majority of the architects in some degree. 3D CAD software is often used by BIM users and 2D CAD software only is more often used by architects that do not use BIM. Overall it can be said that the use of 2D and 3D CAD software, has transformed manufacturing, allowing for more complex products to be designed and manufactured faster than ever before.


BIM report:

The report gives more key insights in the usage and familiarity with BIM in Europe, the way of designing, the CAD software used, reasons why organisations start working with BIM or have not yet started with BIM and the extent to which several channels and methods of BIM are used.


About the European Architectural Barometer

The European Architectural Barometer is a study by USP Marketing Consultancy, which is based on app. 6,400 successful interviews with architects in eight European countries annually. Every quarter, a report is published covering a specific topic like BIM, prefabrication, media orientation of architects and many more. The report also provides future building volume predictions, based on the orderbook development of architects and other economic indicators in the construction sector.


About USP Marketing Consultancy

USP Marketing Consultancy is a leading international market research agency that is specialized in the construction, installation and DIY sector for over 25 years. USP Marketing Consultancy works for internationally renowned companies (such as Knauf, Xella, VELUX, Saint-Gobain, Rockwool, Vaillant, Grohe, etc.). Our clients often have pan-European questions about their brand awareness, customer journeys, market opportunities, e-commerce trends and other research needs. USP Marketing Consultancy delivers the insights to make decisions and acts as like marketing advisor for its clients.

Bas Venema | Sales & Marketing

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