Avontus Designer® vs. AutoCAD: Guide to Scaffolding Design Software

AutoCAD vs Scaffold Designer

Creating a scaffolding model is a complicated procedure. And it’s even more challenging to communicate its intricacies to customers.

Fortunately, computer-aided design (CAD) applications have come to the rescue.

Designing and presenting complex scaffolding proposals is much easier now with automated drawings and 3D visualization. With the right technologies and tools, you can reduce the design effort and streamline the cost estimation process.

However, using generic CAD software for scaffolding projects can be time-consuming and inefficient. Think about the tedious process of calculating materials, generating quotes, coordinating work among teams, and tracking equipment along the way.

That’s why we built Avontus Designer, powerful design and estimation software that brings the simplicity of drag-and-drop design and one-click estimates to even the most complicated scaffolding projects. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the key features of Avontus Designer and how it measures up to the industry’s most popular CAD software, AutoCAD

Why Should You Use Industry-Specific Design Software for Scaffolding?

In the competition for customers, most contractors aim to get their bid out the door before anyone else, even if they have to compromise the quality of the scaffold model.

However, only proposals that balance the three core pillars, speed – quality – price, win the job. That is, being able to communicate the critical construction components for precise scaffolding erection, ensuring accurate material counting for competitive quotes, mitigating potential risks, and controlling costs.

Here’s why leading businesses choose industry-specific design software for tailored scaffolding solutions.

  • Automated drawing of scaffolding components: Save time with built-in features like guard rails, toe boards, and other critical components of scaffolding.
  • Create a winning proposal at speed: A scaffold design software allows you to create professional-looking 2D and 3D models in next to no time. Your sales team can even modify the design to reflect the customer needs in real-time during the design walk-through.
  • Unity of systems for all aspects of design, asset control, and rental: Instead of spending time and effort in manual materials calculation needed for the design, scaffolding design software allows you to generate a bill of materials automatically for accurate quotations and inventory management
  • Scaffolding safety standards: A critical part of designing scaffolding is safety. Scaffolding design software helps you customize to local standards to ensure safety compliance, such as leg load calculations, bracing, ties, sills or sole plate configurations.

As competition in the scaffolding industry heats up, bidding for work requires more than just a good-looking proposal. Robust visualization in scaffold design and accuracy in estimation is key to a winning scaffolding proposals.

Investment in design software isn’t just for accelerating the bidding process. The goal is to build confidence in your customers and deliver value at the beginning of the contract.

With these benefits understood, here’s a comparative guide to Avontus Designer and AutoCAD. 

How Avontus Designer Compares to AutoCAD 

Considering the requirements of scaffolding design and construction, we will weigh the value of AutoCAD and Avontus Designer based on the following points: 

  • Scaffold-specific features
  • Materials estimates
  • Visualization capabilities
  • Cost and usability

Learn more about the key differentiators between Avontus Design and AutoCAD below.  

Scaffold-specific toolsets for scaffolding business

  • AutoCAD
    AutoCAD itself provides a number of toolsets and apps for multiple architecture supports, such as electrical and mechanical toolsets, making it one of the most widely used CAD softwares in the market.

    While it’s hard to beat the extensive drawing capabilities offered by AutoCAD, the built-for-all design functionality also creates some major drawbacks. This is especially true for scaffold designers, since you’ll need to manually create even basic components like brackets, ledgers, connector bays, or loading bays, depending on the scaffolding types and safety requirements.
  • Avontus Designer  
    Avontus Designer is packed with every little detail that goes into the construction of scaffolding, such as independent scaffolds, power plant boilers, dance floors, bird cages, circular tanks, hanging scaffolds, cantilevers, and bridges.  

    You can even customize a pre-built scaffolding model to cut scaffold drawing and counting time by up to 90 percent. The software incorporates the specifications of popular scaffolding types like Ring, Cup, and Kwikstage system scaffolding among others, so you‘ll have a construction-ready design. 

Materials counting for quick and accurate bill of materials

  • AutoCAD
    AutoCAD doesn’t provide a materials counting feature for scaffolding design. Instead, you can install a third-party plugin, Scaffold Counter by Avontus, to generate your bill of materials.

  • Avontus Designer  
    Once you have completed a design, Avontus Designer automatically generates a bill of materials to help you identify the materials needed, make necessary modifications, and predict equipment availability. 

    Plus, you can integrate Avontus Designer with 
    Avontus Quantify to ensure accurate material counting for competitive quotes, mitigating potential risks, and controlling costs from bid to completion. 

Not having to sit someone down to do an equipment list is a huge time-saver, and because it’s part of Quantify®, it immediately tells us what we’re short on. If we have to redesign, the draftsperson can make a change in minutes rather than hours. It’s ten times faster than AutoCAD.– Jeff Remfert, General Manager, Skyline Scaffold

Visualization for a killer proposal and scaffolding construction

  • AutoCAD
    When it comes to visualization, 3D modeling is part and parcel of the software. AutoCAD is one of the most powerful 2D and 3D CAD softwares in the market, especially for engineering and architectural design.

  • Avontus Designer 
    The recent 
    Avontus Designer 2020 release has pushed Avontus’s 3D design capabilities closer to its counterpart. Some of the key features include 3D drawings with more extensive shading modes, vector-sharp views of the 3D model, and export to 3D functionality that is compatible with BIM packages, AutoCAD, and Acrobat PDF Reader, among others. 

    Whether in the boardroom or at the job site, using Avontus Designer® and 
    Avontus Viewer®, you can easily bring your design to life with the added power of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).  

This additional feature enhances scaffolding visualization capabilities, helping you communicate your vision to customers effectively and gain their confidence. Crews can also “carry” the design in their pockets for real-time construction execution and safety precautions.

Usability and costs

  • AutoCAD
    Since it is created for regulated professions like engineering, architecture, and construction, AutoCAD users are typically required to get certified to use the product, which covers extensive knowledge beyond scaffolding requirements. As such, hiring an AutoCAD expert is also a big investment for scaffolding companies.

    Another drawback with its complexity is that you can only communicate the scaffolding proposal and construction to non-AutoCAD users on paper. This may take much longer to coordinate work between designers and the on-site crews.

    Pricing $200 monthly subscription for a stand-alone single-user license.

  • Avontus Designer  
    Avontus Designer offers ease of use for any user, even non-design experts. The powerful editor allows you to customize scaffold models to reflect the actual building condition with high accuracy. Featuring a drag-and-drop interface, Avontus Designer offers the same automation experience that you have in AutoCAD, tailored to scaffolding. The best part? You can learn at your own pace with built-in training videos. 

    Avontus Designer really shines when it comes to bidding. If you’re relying on AutoCAD-trained engineers to build 3D models for proposals, you’re likely investing thousands in bids that may or may not be successful. With Avontus Designer, your sales team are able to create the designs themselves, in a fraction of the time. 

    Pricing: From $169/user for monthly subscription or customized pricing for on-premise deployment.  

Need a quick overview of AutoCAD and Avontus Designer? Get the comparison chart below. 


Avontus Designer 

Design capabilities

  • Complex drawing tools for architects, engineers, and construction professionals
  • Support major scaffolding types and manufacturers
  • Simple navigation with specific toolsets for scaffold designer
  • Customizable scaffold design structure
  • Design to your local regulatory standards

Visualization capabilities

  • 2D drawing and 3D modeling
  • Annotate drawings
  • Export to DGN files, Navisworks, and Bing Maps
  • AutoCAD-like 3D modeling capabilities
  • Compatible with BIM packages, 3D PDF, AutoCAD, Navisworks, SCIA Engineer, Microsoft Office, and more for cross-platform collaboration
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality enabled for visualization

Materials estimation

  • Automatic bill of materials generation
  • Fully customizable material list for modification
  • Accurate cost estimation
  • Integrate with Quantify for asset control and rental management


  • Steep learning curve
  • Requires intensive training
  • User-friendly with built-in training videos
  • Avontus provides on-demand training

Labor cost

  • AutoCAD certified engineers are expensive
  • Required additional purchase of scaffolding design plugin for materials counting
  • The software can be used by anyone who knows about scaffolding
  • Cut down on labor-intensive procedure like equipment counting


  • Subscription-based (from $200/user/month)
  • Stand-alone license for a single user
  • Subscription-based (from $169/user/month)
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee for new subscriptions
  • Scalable based on your enterprise need

Want to see Avontus Designer in action? Book a demo with our team today.