Allplan BIM 2008
Successful with Allplan: HABA Office Building, Bad Rodach/D (Knippers Helbig Beratende Ingenieure)

Frequently Asked Questions


General information

What is Allplan BIM 2008?
Allplan BIM 2008 is a component-oriented 3-D planning software package for Building Information Modeling (BIM). It covers all commonly used design types, from simple 2D design all the way to virtual building modeling with integrated quantity takeoff and cost calculation. Unlike any other CAD software, Allplan BIM 2008 symbolizes interdisciplinary planning by architects, construction engineers, design professionals and facility managers. In addition to traditional exchange formats, Allplan BIM 2008 supports PDF and IFC, the formats of the future, and thus ensures a smooth data exchange process among planning partners.

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?
BIM stands for “Building Information Modeling” and describes the seamless process of optimized design, implementation and management of buildings and real estate. All planning partners benefit from up-to-date, high-quality and freely accessible information about the respective design, implementation or current status. The goal is to make the design, construction and management process more accurate and cost-efficient.

Is Allplan BIM 2008 intended for Architects only?
Allplan BIM 2008 is an interdisciplinary design tool. In addition to an architecture model with integrated quantity and costing model, the software also creates a structure model. This model, for example, forms the basis for automated formwork and reinforcement design. The structure model can be converted into a structural model and then serve as the basis for calculation of a 3D finite element method. Nemetschek refers to this solution as “Round-trip Engineering".

How does Allplan BIM 2008 support Building Information Modeling?
Allplan BIM 2008 provides the data base for building information modeling. In addition to the creation of architecture models, Allplan BIM 2008 can also be used to determine quantities and costs. Design professionals can supplement the model with data about heating, air-conditioning, sanitation and electrical information. Moreover, the software can also generate structure models that can be converted into structural models. The calculation results from the structural model then flow back into the structure model.

Does Allplan BIM 2008 also support 3D Design?
Components with specific, building-typical properties are required to create a data base for BIM. These components consist of so-called architectural components, such as walls, columns, ceilings, doors or windows. Allplan has been using this special type of 3D elements for years, so that users can comfortably design in 3D.

Does Allplan BIM 2008 include all the components needed for a building?
Allplan BIM 2008 offers all essential components – from the foundation to skylights. If a specific component should nonetheless be needed, the parametric modeling system makes it possible for users to create the required component themselves and insert it in the model. Special components such as, for example, fences and railings have been predefined and are included in Allplan BIM 2008.

Why is IFC support so important?
IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) is the standard data format for the intelligent exchange of 3D planning data in the building industry. It is defined as a vendor-independent format by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability). Allplan supports the IFC format in the current Version 2x3 and thus enables designers to collaborate with other disciplines beyond the boundaries of the Allplan product family. It is thus the basis for the exchange of data between genuine BIM solutions.

What is the advantage of PDF export compared with other data formats?
The main advantage of PDF export is the flexibility it offers. Most offices work with the free Adobe Reader. Data that is made available in PDF format can be viewed without the need for additional expenditures in special readers or proprietary viewers. The drawing layer structure used in Allplan is retained in Adobe Reader and can be used there to control how data is displayed. The 3D data export offers the users the opportunity to display complicated details in the 3D model, thus making them more comprehensible. This results in fewer questions from clients, planning partners and from the construction site. Planning reliability increases.

What does this mean for clients?
Clients can take part in the design process without having to purchase specialized software solutions. The 3D building model can be embedded in PDF correspondence with the client, which results in a faster communication. As a result, decisions can be made much more quickly and efficiently. And photocopying and shipping costs are reduced considerably.

Is PDF-Import really an advantage?
Here it is important to distinguish between 2D and 3D import. The advantages of importing 2D PDF files are obvious. Many product manufacturers offer standard details and catalogs in PDF format. Until now, it has not really been possible to integrate this data with the CAD design. Thanks to the PDF import feature, this data can now be transferred as 2D details to the CAD design and be used as the basis for further detailing. This results in a faster and more efficient design process. The 3D import feature enables designers to import 3D PDF models into Allplan and to use these as the basis for further design. An integrated process is thus achieved.

Why are the two formats PDF and IFC necessary?
Each format serves a different purpose. The IFC format is for exchanging intelligent building objects, which are then further edited and, during the course of an integrated BIM process, further enhanced with supplementary information. The PDF format serves primarily to exchange information and to simplify the planning and approval process. The two data formats are not competing formats; they complement each other instead.

What are the specific new developments in the new version in support of BIM?
Allplan BIM 2008 now features a new, unique building structure for architectural components, which makes it possible to structure a building topologically along its levels and stories in a practical fashion. This process occurs centrally and, if desired, can also be used to control heights.

Which other unique features does Allplan BIM 2008 have?
Allplan BIM 2008 is capable of using an organizational structure to represent different usage types for CAD software. From simple 2D design to 2½-D floor plan-oriented input through to component-oriented building models. Users themselves can combine these usage types within a project any way they want, depending on their needs.

Do I have to change the way I work with Allplan BIM 2008?
Since Allplan BIM 2008 supports different ways of working with CAD, every user can decide for himself how he wants to work with Allplan. This may differ from project to project, or different methods can be combined in any way within a single project. Users are not forced to work in specific ways, and can take advantage of all methods of working with Allplan at any time.

Which way of working does Nemetschek recommend?
Use of the design method Design2Cost is recommended if you are designing solid residences or offices or if you are designing commercial structures with modular design. Compared to traditional methods, this method offers a unique range of additional work results despite the simple, wizard-supported input of data. The additional work results are ideal for impressive and convincing presentations and therefore increase the likelihood of winning contracts. TÜV SÜD has certified that the quantity and cost determination processes are accurate.

Is Design2Cost more than just content?
Design2Cost is an intelligent planning method that supports cost planning – from the initial estimate through to invoicing. Object-oriented quantity takeoff is an essential part of this method. For this, Allplan BIM Architecture, Allplan IBD and local content are simply combined to achieve reliable and transparent cost planning. This leads automatically to an architectural model that can be used not only for design and visualization purposes, but also for the quantity takeoff and cost determination. In Germany, this quantity takeoff solution based on an architecture model is the only TÜV-certified solution on the market since 2005.

What are the advantages of Design2Cost for me as a user?
Design2Cost enables you to plan your building and costs efficiently and precisely. The building model is associated with the costs and permits you to inform your client quickly and accurately about the effects any changes in the design or fittings will have on the final construction costs. Your competence as a consultant increases significantly.

Can Design2Cost be understood as BIM?
Design2Cost is one aspect of BIM. Enhancing the CAD data with material properties and construction times combined with the calculation of quantities under consideration of rules and standards is an ideal example of BIM.

Can Round-Trip Engineering be understood as BIM?
Round-Trip Engineering is a very good example of BIM. The integration of Allplan with SCIA • ESA PT permits designers and engineers to collaborate on the basis of a single building model. In addition to an architecture model with integrated quantities and costs, the software also creates a structure model. This avoids media discontinuities and repeated input of the building geometry. The Allplan structural model is used in SCIA • ESA PT to create the analytical model to perform structural analyses. The results of the analyses can be imported into Allplan again and used there to optimize the structure. Of course, the results of the finite element calculations can be used to automatically create reinforcement drawings.

Are design changes applied automatically?
Designers have to be in a position to decide for themselves whether or not they want to apply the changes made by another designer. The changes made in the architect wall model are available to the structural engineer in SCIA • ESA PT. The structural engineer can now decided whether or not to accept these changes into account. A 10cm x 10cm opening, for example, will not have any significant effect on the load characteristics of a reinforced concrete wall and can be ignored for structural analyses. A column that has been removed, though, is a different matter and will be taken into account and analyzed by the structural engineer for closer examination.

Does Round-Trip Engineering only work with SCIA • ESA PT?
Round-Trip Engineering is not software; rather, it is an general term that describes the integrated approach combining both CAD and structural analysis. Round-Trip Engineering exists in different forms depending on the field of application. For component-oriented structural analyses, Round-Trip Engineering consists of the interplay between Allplan and for example the programs from Friedrich + Lochner. Here, individual components are transferred to the structural analysis solution. The results of the FEM analyses of plates and discs are available in Allplan for automatically creating reinforcement drawings. Round-Trip Engineering with Allplan and SCIA • ESA PT is used to examine complex structures at a building level. This approach also exists for the interplay between Allplan and other international software solutions depending on the country and field of application.

With Version 2008, Allplan is introducing the palette technology. What are the benefits for me as a user?
Palettes are a modern and ergonomic way of entering data. The process of looking for functions in toolbars and menus will someday be obsolete. Whether you are an Architect or Engineer, the functions you need will be arranged more clearly and in a more organized manner. Furthermore, Allplan BIM 2008 offers the element properties and CAD wizards – including those with Allplan IBD content – in palettes. As a user, therefore, you will be able to work more efficiently and productively.

Allplan BIM 2008 drawing files have a new building structure. Can this structure only be used together with 3D building objects?
The building structure in Allplan BIM 2008 is not tied to a specific object or element type. Whether your approach is 2D, 2½D- or 3D-component oriented, you always benefit from a practical, organized building structure. Organize your data to reflect how your building is built – with projects, buildings, stories and rooms. On request, the building structure can also be exported 1:1 to an IFC file so that other project members and specialist engineers can be integrated seamlessly in the planning process.


Do I have to convert all data if I upgrade from a previous version?
Allplan BIM 2008 can be installed on top of both Allplan 2005 and Allplan 2006. In the process, an existing version can be converted to Allplan BIM 2008, if desired. The program automatically converts existing projects to the current version the first time they are opened after the upgrade. A manual step is not necessary.

Is Allplan BIM 2008 compatible with older versions of Allplan?
Allplan BIM 2008 can save all project data in the format used by the three most recent versions, which include versions 2004, 2005 and 2006.

System requirements

What are the system requirements for Allplan BIM 2008?
Allplan has been tested and released on the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2003 Server
  • Windows 2000

Below is a list of the minimum hardware requirements for running Allplan:

  • Intel Pentium 3 or compatible
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 5 GB free hard disk space
  • Graphics board: resolution 1,280 x 1,024 and graphics board with 128 MB memory
  • E-mail connection, network connection to install the license

Please to see a list of recommended equipment for different areas of usage as well as for additional information, such as, for example, operating Allplan on Intel MAC computers.

Which data formats does Allplan BIM 2008 support?
Allplan BIM 2008 is an open system that supports the following data formats for import:

Allplan BIM 2008 supports the following file formats for export:

In addition, the following bitmap formats are available in Allplan BIM for import and export:

Allplan BIM 2008

Your next step


  • “Allplan 2008 captures your attention straight away because of its newly integrated functionalities, such as palettes, which improve clarity. In use, I discovered more and more new functions that brought further direct added value.”
    (Markus Tretheway, from
    CDS Bauingenieure AG, Heerbrugg, Switzerland)