Some of the traditional tools architects use include slide rules, compasses, dividers, leads, markers and drafting machines. The advanced tools architects use include computer-aided design software, building information modeling, graphic editing software and office equipment.
Many professional architects use traditional drafting tools to accomplish preparatory work, because the tools are typically inexpensive and easy to use, especially for beginning architects. Architecture students often learn conventional drafting using a combination of modern software and traditional tools, including a variety of drafting board accessories, markers, lead, triangles, templates and dividers.
An alternative to the traditional drafting board is CAD software, which helps architects organize and print layouts, design elements and drawings on the computer. CAD software allows architects to work on complicated engineering concepts and examine the strengths and weaknesses of the suggested structure. One of the most common CAD programs is the Autodesk AutoCAD.
BIM is a program that enables architects to create building plans and models. It shows a real virtual image of the structure and evaluates the structure for possible problems. Both CAD and BIM programs allow architects to draw structures in 2-D and 3-D. However, BIM offers a more detailed model that includes the mechanical operations of the structure. It provides a clearer representation of the actual, completed building, allowing architects to enhance the design more easily.