There are three levels of architectural and engineering design:
CAD, AEC, BIM.
What is CAD?
Computer Aided Design, a type of software in which designs are created using 2D and 3D models. In addition to vector files, it can also handle images.
This includes software that uses the DWG format.
What is AEC?
Architecture, Engineering and Construction CAD software is a narrower group of software used for the design of buildings and structures.
These include software that knows walls, slabs, stairs, roofs, etc., but knows how to implement them in a unique way, such as Revit, AllPlan, Archicad, ARCHLine.XP.
What is BIM?
Building Information Modeling is a process in which building data can be entered in order to achieve a higher level of collaboration between actors (investor, architect, engineers, contractors, users,…).
BIM is the natural direction of development for AEC software.
Its format is IFC.
IFC is an independent and open 3D object-based standard and file format that enables the transfer of information between construction CAD software from various developers by being able to describe spatial building elements with graphical and non-graphical data used in construction. IFC objects include the physical elements (walls, beams, windows, etc.) placed in the virtual model.
What are its limitations?
The basic condition for the digital cooperation of different project participants is that the software they use can exchange data with each other in an mutually interpretable way. A data exchange process between two or more software fulfills the concept of interoperability if it takes place without data loss, taking into account the intended use. In practice, this means that software from different vendors stores their own data in a way that can be interpreted by other software. Currently, the most common standard and open source file format is IFC, which provides the ability to save model element geometry and descriptive metadata with the least amount of data loss.
At the current level of technology, IFC is the best option for a higher level of collaboration between architectural design software from different vendors, but data loss is also inevitable during data transfer between different software.