What is the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server?

Put simply, TEAMWORK 2.0 is part and parcel of ArchiCAD, allowing members of a team to work together on a project within an office network or over the internet. It speeds the process by updating changed elements only – as the work progresses.

In doing so, the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server™ technology has resolved bottlenecks in workflow management and provided support to team collaboration on projects of varying scopes. It is a unique technology to the industry, allowing members of a collaborative team to come together and work on a single project in real time.

The BIM Server manages multiple points of connectivity, maintaining a central point of truth that all parties can access. Unlike file-based sharing solutions that behave like an FTP (there’s a hard drive somewhere and they can check in and check out of the drive) – the BIM Server keeps everyone on the same page. Working in multiple data sources allows for a missing link in the chain of communication. The GRAPHISOFT BIM Server helps avoid missed updates, which means no user is liable to fall out of the loop and no longer be part of the process.

What does this mean for the industry?

GRAPHISOFT BIM Server responds to an industry need – allowing remote teams to work together and handle large files. It also allows working offline and from just about any location, so that team members can log in and work anywhere. Any project data that can be imported into ArchiCAD can be communicated via the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server.

Graphisoft BIM ServerMerging information is seamless. ArchiCAD and the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server are both multi-threaded. This means they are optimized to take advantage of multi-core processors as well as machines with multiple CPU’s.  ArchiCAD is the only BIM authoring tool that has been optimized to do this.  Someone who purchases a new computer will have 2 to 4 cores in the CPU at a minimum.  One of these will be used by the authoring tool while the others are accessing email or other system activities.  Picture a car driving on one cylinder… Since ArchiCAD and the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server are multi-threaded, they will leverage all of the resources (investment) available from a workstation.

Taking advantage of GRAPHISOFT BIM Server’s ability to connect to the workstations directly, rather than being confined to interactions between the LAN server and a Central WAN Server in another office – provides flexibility while still being nimble enough to easily synchronize over a variety of internet strengths and connections. The exchange of element information is streamlined by removal of the need for additional server synchronization solutions. The elimination of these additional elements and can save money, time and resources.

What does it mean for you, the architect?

GRAPHISOFT BIM Server can run in more than one office so that not all the projects in a company need to be hosted from only one location. Architectural firms just starting out can network with colleagues and take part in projects previously inaccessible to them. Staying in touch once the project is begun is simple with the built-in IM system found in GRAPHISOFT BIM Server, known as Task Oriented Instant Team Communication. It fully integrates the editing requests with the workflow. Other methods found to enable communications within the work sharing environment falter in this aspect, where GRAPHISOFT BIM Server excels  in usability, integration and elegance.

Graphisoft BIM ServerFully scalable, the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server can allow much larger teams to collaborate in a single Virtual Building® model without any need to split the model to give access to an larger team. Further adding convenience, GRAPHISOFT BIM Server features “Pack and Go”. This function permits users to work offline and eliminates any possibility of “Working at Risk.”  This is balanced by the ability to control which users have access to which Teamwork projects. There’s no need to purchase a second server to protect sensitive projects. Users can take advantage of handy scheduled backups as well as reverting the central model to any backup version. This is a key difference in other server models which do not permit any roll back of a central model.

GRAPHISOFT BIM Server can act as middleware, removing formatting and allowing two individuals to work together. The benefits boil down to the day to day activities, managing design change with intent and providing for interoperability to the BIM server.

How much extra does the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server cost?

There is no extra cost for the GRAPHISOFT BIM Server, it’s is a standard component of ArchiCAD versions 13 -16 .  Yes, that’s right, it’s in the box. It’s easy to set up and install.  You can even use an office workstation as your BIM Server, if desired.


  1. Alex

    It is possible to work from the pc that is the BIM server?

  2. Jared Banks

    Alex, yes the BIM server could run off a machine that is also used as a workstation (either a desktop or laptop). If the machine has enough processing power and ram it shouldn’t be much of an issue from a performance standpoint. You can see the recommendations for the BIM Server and for ArchiCAD here: http://www.archicadwiki.com/RecommendedHardware

    That said best practice of course would be to have the BIM server on a dedicated machine. Or a machine that’s not being used for a lot of other day to day stuff. You’d hate for the guy whose machine is also the BIM server to forget and restart or turn off his computer for whatever reason.

    I do know of plenty of people who have started off with the scenario of BIM server on workstation and migrated to a dedicated machine once they could. Also for my own research and tests, I’ve run the BIM server off my laptop and then logged in as a couple different users from the same machine (great for User Group demonstrations).


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