Survey Results: Technology in Landscape Architecture

Survey Results: Technology in Landscape Architecture

Written by: Keysoft Solutions

Back in November the Keysoft team sent out a quick survey to gather feedback from the landscape architecture community and better understand what tools are being used to produce concept plans, construction documents, and see what challenges are facing today’s practice. Here are some of the findings.

Construction Documents

AutoCAD is still the number one way to complete a construction set with over 80% of respondents. The other 20% are using Vectorworks or Microstation, evenly split. Half of all respondents use a plugin to extend the capabilities of AutoCAD. Despite the buzz around Revit (and the pressure for landscape architects to use Revit) only 5% of respondents reported ever producing CDs with it. 

 

Conceptual Design & Visualization

We all know that trash paper and pencils will always have a place in early stage conceptual design. Often the hand sketch must be quickly converted to a rendering (3D or illustrative plan view), sometimes even before the contract is won.

Sixty-six percent of respondents use AutoCAD in some manner during the concept stage, but many use a plugin or an external rendering tool for visualization. No one piece of software dominated the conversation. This indicates that because landscape architects are part architect, part ecologist, part planner, part engineer, and part artist, there is no single software suite that fits our needs. Responses included KeySCAPE, LandFX, Sketchup, Rhino, 3D Studio Max, Lumion, Photoshop, Morpholio, and others.

 

BIM Workflows and Mandates

Roughly a quarter of respondents have participated in a project with a BIM mandate. It is unclear if the mandate came from the client, from the prime consultant, or from a municipality. It is clear that the firms who understand BIM principles can differentiate themselves from the competition and win projects.

When asked if/how landscape architects are preparing for BIM mandates from clients or municipalities, 60% reported that they were not concerned. The other 40% were researching BIM workflows or actively developing a BIM workflow for their firm.

We also asked the landscape architects who were concerned about BIM what they thought about Revit. Revit is a powerful parametric modeling software designed specifically for architects and MEP engineers. Two-thirds of respondents do not think that Revit is an appropriate tool for landscape architects. Interestingly, two-thirds of respondents thought Revit was an appropriate tool for collaboration between disciplines!

Takeaways

When considering new software, the biggest perceived hurdle among landscape architects is overcoming learning curves and the fear of aligning with a piece of software that falls out of favor with the mainstream. That, paired with the confusion around BIM and misinformation around Revit, indicates that landscape architects have a no clear technology path to the future. There is no single software that will put them on par with architects (who have Revit) and civil engineers (who have Civil 3D). The landscape architect’s ability to wear many hats also means that they will need a collection of software as diverse as the projects that they take on.

When it comes to BIM and working with consultants, there is no perfect platform for collaboration. Revit is not intended to be the central hub of collaboration, but it often is used this way. This will shake out in the near future as new collaboration hubs, such as Project Quantum, come to market.

Do these results reflect your experience as a landscape architect?

Let us know by reaching out to nate@keysoftsolutions.com!