3 BIM Trends from the International Builders Show

Highlights from the IBS showcase BIM and VR.

Much of the International Builders Show (IBS) is centered on the coolest new products for building homes, but it draws a much larger crowd than that. The show, put on by the National Association of Home Builders, sets the stage for trends in design software and building information modeling (BIM).

So what were some of the highlights from 2016’s IBS?


BIM for Small-Scale Projects


This piece of software was GRAPHISOFT’s new offering at the IBS. ARCHICAD 19 Solo is a BIM software solution designed just for homebuilders and their needs.

It features tools such as a filter to identify whether you’re doing a renovation or construction as well as schedules for bills of materials and quantity and material takeoffs.

GRAPHISOFT’s software also incorporates a fairly new tool called BIMx, which is a 3D presentation app for solo homebuilders to show off custom residential homes.



SoftPlan was one of a series of CAD/BIM vendors present at the show. Although it doesn’t necessarily offer massive collaborative workflows like large-scale BIM projects do, the company’s software does use smart objects to create a model with self-identifying components.

It also generates construction documents and bills of material concurrently with the user’s creative whimsy. So as you draw, it builds a consumer-level BIM model.

The new big thing with SoftPlan is that it now offers a subscription add-on, SoftPlan+, which introduces cloud services to the platform.


Chief Architect

Like SoftPlan, Chief Architect is a consumer-level CAD/BIM software that generates information such as a 3D model, bill of materials and various construction documents—all as you draw and place smart objects.

The company also offers a separate product to assist with kitchen, bath and interior design.

For the past few months, Chief Architect Software has been releasing teaser videos about its new X8 beta, which became available for current users after the IBS.


StrucSoft Solutions’ MWF

Canadian structural software developer StrucSoft Solutions made an appearance at the IBS with its Metal Wood Framer (MWF) add-on for Revit. MWF generates wood and cold-formed steel framing within a 3D Revit project to assist with construction.

The add-on also claims the ability to generate dimensioned 2D shop drawings and CNC output for easy production of framing schemes.


Home Information Management


FreshBrix is an information management app that creates a two-way workflow between home builders and homebuyers at every stage of construction. Sound like BIM?

It lets builders take buyers on guided virtual tours before the build, provides updates for buyers, supervisors and sales during the build and houses a database of home contents using the FreshBrix home product library after the build. This database includes photos, specifications, manuals, warranty details and other specifics like repair history and maintenance reminders.

FreshBrix took home the trophy for Best Home Technology Product at the International Builders Show.


BIM and VR

Lowe’s Holoroom

While this display from the IBS might seem a little out there, it does use basic BIM principles to bring a room model to Oculus Rift, the virtual reality (VR) visualization tech. The Holoroom incorporates real products to let users design a room and then ports this model to Google Cardboard for further collaboration with a contractor.

Although it is heavily branded, this version of Marxent Lab’s VisualCommerce system shows the value of miniature BIM models to both the industry and the public.

The Holoroom was being demonstrated at the show to celebrate that it will be rolling out to 19 Lowe’s stores across the United States starting in November 2015. It also took home the trophy for Best Kitchen Product.


Virtual Studio for Envisioneer

You may have seen our previous coverage of this software, which was also on display at the IBS.

Cadsoft will be incorporating Oculus Rift VR technology into its Envisioneer platform. You won’t be able to walk around a model just yet—controls are run through an Xbox controller.

It was displayed at the show as a tool for marketing and selling homes, but it holds plenty of potential for nearly any BIM project.

These are just a few of the demonstrations from the IBS, but they show where the industry is headed when it comes to BIM.

Which of these tools do you look forward to seeing in action? Tell us in the comments below.