A low-cost alternative to Revit® or ArchiCAD® yet easier and faster to use... more than 4 times cheaper !

IDEA is a powerful Architectural environment, designed to meet in a very friendly and flexible way all the needs of an architect, including advanced architectural design, rendering and virtual walkthrough. IDEA adopts a modern BIM structure, for Intelligent model shaping and high design accuracy, natively applied on the real 3D building model. IDEA embeds a high performance version of the 4MCAD engine, keeping all the usual CAD features and functions as they have been introduced by AutoCAD (*), while on the other hand IDEA assures the open communication among the CAD users through the DWG format (opendwg).

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What is BIM

BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. While CAD software use only 2D or 3D geometry without any difference between elements, BIM software use libraries of Intelligent and Parametric objects. BIM services software understand the logical interaction between the different types of objects and store information about these objects.

BIM opens a new era for AEC professionals. They will save time while creating and modifying their projects but also by collaborating at a higher level with their partners while sharing discipline-specific contents on the same BIM service model.


The global construction industry is currently undergoing such a rapid transformation that enabling high technology adoption is essential. Embracing information and communications technology (ICT) is seen as the future direction in improving productivity in the industry. Building Information Modeling (BIM), recognized as the latest advanced ICT in construction, is defined as the process of creating and using digital models for design, construction and/or operation of projects.BIM will be mandated in all government projects in Malaysia starting 2016/2017 period.

4M is a pioneer of BIM with a complete suite of BIM Software for Architecture & Engineering initiated in 1993. The 4M BIM Software renown by experts to be the BIM software offering the easiest migration for AutoCAD users as they are the only ones to use DWG as their native file format and an AutoCAD-like look-and-feel.


IDEA Architecture and the FINE suite are part of the 4M BIM Suite of software for Architecture and Engineering. You can share the same project among all these software. You may for example create the building with IDEA Architecture and send the BIM model to a FINE HVAC user who will calculate and design the HVAC systems.

→ See for example how a Fine HVAC user can instantly calculate Thermal losses and Cooling loads from a BIM project created with IDEA Architecture : BIM Collaboration


The support of the IFC format (from versions 14) allows you also to share your project with non-4M BIM Software like Revit®, ArchiCAD® or AllPlan® and all the BIM Engineering software you can find on the market.

The easiest transition to 3D and BIM for CAD users

IDEA Architecture is a DWG-based 2D & 3D Architectural software renown by experts to be the BIM software offering the easiest transition from AutoCAD® or other CAD platforms.

IDEA Architecture 14 is a major milestone with very important new features


You just need to know some very simple 2D commands any AutoCAD® user knows like polyline, copy or entity snaps to create the floor plans using our BIM services technology.

IDEA Architecture will create the 3D BIM services model and let you extract any drawing you need for your project (floor plans, elevations, cross-sections, perspective views…). All these DWG drawings will be updated in real-time while you modify the project.

IDEA is a powerful BIM Architectural application that combines the autocad-like interface with a sophisticated BIM technology. IDEA meets the entire needs of the Architect regarding model creation, high quality photorealism and virtual walkthrough. Now IDEA latest release 14 redefines the AEC industry standards, by introducing a new BIM generation built on the top of the 4MCAD functionality and affordability


BIM objects are intelligent and parametric. You just need to choose a shape and can define the size and options.  Smart modelers help you to create any  kind of 3D stairs or roofs in a few clicks. The software understands the logical interaction between objects and will adjust them accordingly. You save a lot of time both in 2D and 3D.

But unlike other BIM software, our BIM technology does not come at the expense of speed. ourarci

It is just the opposite! Drawing in 3D with BIM in IDEA Architecture is even faster and more simple than simple 2D design in CAD software. The user just needs to draw the floor plans using simple polylines and our libraries of intelligent and parametric walls, windows, stairs, roofs… etc.

The software will build the 3D and let you extract in a few clicks all the 2D and 3D views you need (floor plans, elevations, cross sections, perspective views and more). You save time at each step of the project and the software keeps these views updated in real time while you modify the project.


IFC is the common, and open ISO standard to share BIM projects. Using IFC you can import and export projects from/to non-4M BIM Software for Architecture and Engineering and benefit from high synergies with your partners.


Architectural Synthesis & Design with IDEA

IDEA provides unlimited freedom while designing on the 3D building model, thanks to its State-of-the-Art BIM structure. The real time display of the model transformations, while the modifications are being done, enables the user to focus absolutely on the design process itself, thus avoiding time-consuming drawing tasks. By defining or editing any building element (or even entire building components), all the 2D-3D building drawings are immediately updated and correctly presented.


Walls & Openings: IDEA allows the native application of all the Standard AutoCAD commands (copy, move, trim, break, mirror, extend, copy-paste etc) directly to any building object (walls, openings, slabs, beams, columns etc), as well as the native use of the usual CAD Editing Tools (grips, “right button -> properties” etc) to any building object. Every creation or modification updates all the drawings in real time through the smart project drawing explorer (tree-view browser).     


 There is no limit to the user's freedom and no restriction to work on every aspect of the real building model (i.e. on the ground-plan, on a 3D view or even on a facade, cross-section or a perspective). IDEA’s advanced BIM structure results to continuously update the project drawings (sections, views, perspectives, etc) while also keeping updated any other intervention made by the user on the layout (insertion of library items, text, annotation, etc). As a result, over the design process, the user has the full control and supervision of the whole building and its parts, as far as both are considered, a) the real 3D model itself, and b) the project drawings.



Composite Building Elements: IDEA includes a set of sophisticated dialogs and modelers to create slabs, staircases, roofs, rails and vertical or horizontal elements of any type and shape. The parametric behavior of all these structures enables changing most of their properties at any time in the design process. Among others, IDEA contains:

Dialog boxes to define and shape beams, columns, slabs and other structural elements
Staircase modeler to generate even the most complex shapes, along with their parts and accessories.

Roof modeler with unlimited options to design any type of roof structure and add components such as attics, lofts, skylights, inclined openings and others.

Dialogs for vertical elements, gables, ramps, rails and many other more specific building entities such as chimneys and pergolas.


Working with IDEA, the user can shape his/her model with practically no limitations, working either on the view plan, any 3D view or even on front views, cross-sections and perspectives, watching at the same time the effects of those interventions. The fact that the user deals with an "intelligent" model is due to the BIM structure of the program. Thanks to this structure, IDEA handles efficiently important aspects of the design & construction processes, such as the bill of materials, the smart topographical functions, even the seamless integration between IDEA and each one of the other 4M Suite software solutions (STRAD & STEEL for Structural Design, FINE for the Building Services – HVAC, Electrical, Sanitary etc), all of them using and referring to the same, standard Building Information Model (4M-BLD file format).

Libraries: Further to the Parametric Library Generators wherever required (i.e. openings, shutters etc), IDEA also includes a large number of items (objects, accessories, symbols etc) grouped into thematic libraries (Living Room Furniture, Dining Room Furniture, Kitchen Furniture, Office Furniture, Equipment, Plants etc). In addition, through the Dynamic Library Editor, the user can define and create new libraries, edit existing items, or even insert any dwg drawings and convert them into library items.

Photorealism: PhotoIDEA is the photorealism module of IDEA that produces high-quality photorealistic scenes. PhotoIDEA uses a rich library of real materials with texture (e.g. marble, wood, stone, carpets etc), which can be selected and adjusted properly if necessary. Given that all the material information is natively embedded within the building object attributes, the whole process is fast and easy and the results immediately visible on screen by just clicking on the mouse. The ability of selecting and editing materials from the rich program library, the positioning of the lighting sources, the background selection, the use of photographic objects, as well as many other options and settings are all performed in a friendly and fast way through the "PhotoIDEA" group of commands.










Animation (Virtual Reality): WalkIDEA is the virtual reality module of IDEA, generating walking through scenarios in a very simple manner: Any virtual "trip" can be stored as an avi file. More than a simple walk, the "WalkIDEA" group of commands allow many other visual effects, such as the ascension of a staircase, the option to open a door while "walking" etc. In addition, WalkIDEA can offer the experience of a 4D stereoscopic reality through a pair of stereo glasses.












Portfolio of projects designed with IDEA BIM
Free 3D Architecture projects designed with IDEA BIM

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