Triguy

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Hey everyone. I'm a Revit user considering switching to CA. I've been using Revit for over 10 years. I've heard some good things about CA but not sure what to believe. I've been reading some reviews and some of them have me concerned. One review I read said it will only create 18x24 size sheets. Is this true? Most of my plans are sized D 24x36. Some even larger. I've also heard it's not very user friendly and takes quite some time to really learn the inner workings and tools. I am not a DIYer. I am a professional. I draw plans full time and create some pretty large homes. I've heard CA isn't the greats for creating large complex homes. Thoughts?

Thanks

 

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The Chief Architect Premier software will create drawings of almost any size you could want.  The Home Designer Pro software is limited.  There is a big difference between those two.  You should go into the Chief Architect site and review the capabilities. 

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Buy the "Premier" version and you can have any sheet size you want. For me Chief was very easy to learn (took two classes),but I didn't come from an Acad background. how large is pretty large. I've done a lot of projects since 2005 in Chief, never had one that Chief couldn't handle. I'm starting a 12,000 s.f. custom home next week and sure Chief won't let me down, but the answer is "what's in it" that counts.

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Do you have an example of a typical project you might do? I've completed some nice homes with Chief just fine, but will admit the learning curve is fairly large on complex homes. There is a logic for Chief that takes some getting used to, but once you do Chief is the fastest "BIM" I've seen.

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...and takes quite some time to really learn the inner workings and tools.

This will obviously be true with any new program and CA uses a very unique paradigm to build computer home models and many who come from an ACAD/Revit background find it difficult to adjust to. There are also a few quite arcane methods and techniques that a new user could never understand without some experience but once understood can become very quick and flexible.

 

If you are seriously thinking about the switch I would check out David Michael's site http://www.chieftutor.net/ which can also be found under Chieftutor.com. BY FAR the best resource for all things Chief and you can get a feel for how Chief works and see if it will work within your work flow.

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One review I read said it will only create 18x24 size sheets

 

this is why CA should rebrand their HD product line

to avoid confusion with Chief Premier

 

HD PRO should be called HD Deluxe or HD Master

 

calling it PRO gives the wrong impression

 

Lew

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I think the H.D. version only allows you to print one page at a time.

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I have had no problem printing jobs on 36" x 48" paper with using the layout sheets and my plotter, all went well

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I was a revit user myself. (1 year only)

Things you will love about Chief:

- Kitchen cabinets and the like

- The "room" concept where it's easier to have baseboards, crown molding etc. set up the way you want instead of creating wall profiles which is Redit's cumbersome approach.

Things you will hate:

- Dimensioning to anything that isn't in plan, such as dimensioning in elevations. It's a mess.

- stairs and their railings. Revit kills Chief in this department.

- 0 collaboration possibilities. You're it.

These are the main ones. However I will say that if you are in a rush to get a complete set of plans out to the city you will appreciate Chief's efficiency. Also this forum can get you out of any mess you get into.

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I am also a Revit user now using CA,using X8. It's only been 4.5 months. I am a 2015 graduate (switch of careers, so not a young new graduate) and we learned Revit in college.  In the short time I've been using CA, I was able to model a large church - which was mostly the exterior (but with a complex landscape for a beginner), the entry, welcome/lobby area and the sanctuary. This was for presentation purposes only, so exactly accurate dimensions were not necessary, but proportion was. I have also modeled and completed a small CD set for a front porch, a few small bathrooms, and am currently working on a new house build, and have a few kitchens to draw up as well. 

 

Michael (above) hit it on the nose. There are many great things about CA, more stylistic things, that make it simple and quick. You can set defaults if there is a standard door/window/backsplace/cabinet style you like to use. If you work withing multiple styles, you can setup a template for each (setting up corresponding defaults for each). Changing a door or window style is as easy as opening the object and making a few selections. So, what I have found is the 3D and visual aspects of CA far outdo Revit. They also have a great library online, and it's easy to change the size and materials of FF&E. 

 

My greatest frustration is the dimensioning of elevations and cross sections. I hope CA is able to fix this in later versions. I also miss the ability to 'lock' items. When I place something in a critical location, I want to be able to ensure that it does not move, at least not without giving me a warning. If this is a capability, I am unaware of it. 

 

I guess it depends on what you need/want more of - easy and quick 3D modeling and renderings, or ability to do complex sections and elevations (in my 4.5 months of using CA)

 

Good luck!

 

Anna  

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 I also miss the ability to 'lock' items. When I place something in a critical location, I want to be able to ensure that it does not move, at least not without giving me a warning. If this is a capability, I am unaware of it. 

 

Anna:

 

No, you are not missing much

 

Chief is sorely lacking in this area :(

 

Lew

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Agreed. The only work around is to first place the item you want to lock on its own layer and then lock that layer. Not elegant but it does work. For example, I always place my exterior walls on their own layer and lock that layer.

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then lock that layer

 

sorry, but while this prevents the user from moving the item directly

 

Chief is allowed to move it

 

Lew

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On 10/15/2016 at 5:38 PM, Matt_Wagoner said:

My greatest frustration is the dimensioning of elevations and cross sections. I hope CA is able to fix this in later versions. I also miss the ability to 'lock' items. When I place something in a critical location, I want to be able to ensure that it does not move, at least not without giving me a warning.

 
 

 

Could not agree more on BOTH these issues.

 

The "Floor" User Interface in CA is COMPLETELY counter-intuitive, and should be SCRAPPED in its entirety, and completely redesigned from SCRATCH again. 

 

I think it was Dan Baumann who made the point in one of his CA Tips, that a real builder (as opposed to a programmer who hardly knows what a brick actually looks like) wants to start by having a GOOD "sectional view" of the walls and Floors right at the outset.  CA should listen to his voice of reason, and acknowledge that the eccentricity in their program is not funny anymore.

 

Revit and Archicad have both got a simple interface in this regard that completely nails it.  CA needs to change their paradigm, and build the model like a builder does (and also thinks).  That is, you build from the floor UP.  And NOT from the CEILING down.

 

The ability to "lock" ANYTHING (be that a dimension, or a wall, or a note, etc) is a critically USEFUL - and missing - functionality that needs to be put into CA ... PRONTO! 

 

Many of the announced "new improvements" in X9 are quite lack-lustre and unimportant.  They SHOULD have been sacrificed for this sort of REAL functionality  instead (does anybody at CA actually ask the users what THEIR preferences for the priorities of new features would be?).

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On 10/13/2016 at 3:53 PM, Triguy said:

Hey everyone. I'm a Revit user considering switching to CA. I've been using Revit for over 10 years. I've heard some good things about CA but not sure what to believe. I've been reading some reviews and some of them have me concerned. One review I read said it will only create 18x24 size sheets. Is this true? Most of my plans are sized D 24x36. Some even larger. I've also heard it's not very user friendly and takes quite some time to really learn the inner workings and tools. I am not a DIYer. I am a professional. I draw plans full time and create some pretty large homes. I've heard CA isn't the greats for creating large complex homes. Thoughts?

Thanks

 

 

1) CA is not so great for commercial properties where you need blocking and replication of a sections of the building. 

100 apartment complex with mostly 5 or ten repetitive units would be easier and more practical to do in RevIt [unless CA will do something in X9 to address the issue].

 

2) CA Layout [See file/print/Drawing Modes] supports 23 different predefined paper sizes(and   D 24x36 is the most common), but you can also define your own. No issues there.

 

@Jonnoxx

> The "Floor" User Interface in CA is COMPLETELY counter-intuitive

 

I personally disagree, however I wish they would adopt Model(s) encapsulation.

 

It would be very nice to be able to define Model 1 (Standard Basement, Standard First floor, Second floor, Attic); Model 2( Standard Basement, Alternative First floor, Second floor, Attic), Model 3 ( as Built Basement, as Built First Floor) , etc.... Currently this is done by having separate plan files that are merged into one layout.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jonnoxx said:

 

Could not agree more on BOTH these issues.

 

The "Floor" User Interface in CA is COMPLETELY counter-intuitive, and should be SCRAPPED in its entirety, and completely redesigned from SCRATCH again. 

 

I think it was Dan Baumann who made the point in one of his CA Tips, that a real builder (as opposed to a programmer who hardly knows what a brick actually looks like) wants to start by having a GOOD "sectional view" of the walls and Floors right at the outset.  CA should listen to his voice of reason, and acknowledge that the eccentricity in their program is not funny anymore.

 

Revit and Archicad have both got a simple interface in this regard that completely nails it.  CA needs to change their paradigm, and build the model like a builder does (and also thinks).  That is, you build from the floor UP.  And NOT from the CEILING down.

 

The ability to "lock" ANYTHING (be that a dimension, or a wall, or a note, etc) is a critically USEFUL - and missing - functionality that needs to be put into CA ... PRONTO! 

 

Many of the announced "new improvements" in X9 are quite lack-lustre and unimportant.  They SHOULD have been sacrificed for this sort of REAL functionality  instead (does anybody at CA actually ask the users what THEIR preferences for the priorities of new features would be?).

I agree with your sentiment and have been frustrated by Chief's 'Floor User Interface' paradigm since I first opened the program. After 15 years of use I am just now beginning to understand the interface. Some people get it, others not so much. I'm in the not so much camp and would love a complete overhaul but that's some very heavy lifting (read expensive) for a program as mature as Chief. And where is the motivation for Chief to make such sweeping, expensive, changes with a program that creates the basis of a (we must assume) thriving, profitable company?

 

Also agree about X9 but even though X9 may have some unimportant 'new improvements' it will be a better program all around and those users familiar with its ways will likely not be disappointed. Please remember though that through all the incremental changes Chief will be Chief will be Chief and they are good at what they do even though some users don't like the way they do it. Again, why change the basic foundation of the program? There's simply no incentive to do so and I wonder how many users would even welcome such a change?

 

I've been using Chief a long time and it has created the basis of a very good business and for that I am very grateful. Would I like to see some major changes? Sure. Do I expect to see them during the useful life of my using Chief? Not so much but I will remain hopeful and keep using the program as intended and look forward to any new features.

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I came from autodesk architectural desktop. I like chief quite a bit better but there are a few things that are troublesome. The biggest lose in my opinion is not having a grid system tool. This is exacerbated by not being able to draw a line or other object and have it visible on all floors. When I see a set of drawings without a grid system it is usually a red flag that it might not be up to industry standards. The snaps need to be functional on more objects. They work well on objects that you are allowed to snap to but many objects do not allow snapping. There are many advantages that make up for these things but it just seems crazy that Chief won't fix things like this. 

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2 hours ago, Jonnoxx said:

CA should listen to his voice of reason, and acknowledge that the eccentricity in their program is not funny anymore.

I like the way Chief does it and do not want this kind of change, everyone would need to re-learn it.

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44 minutes ago, HumbleChief said:

I've been using Chief a long time and it has created the basis of a very good business and for that I am very grateful. Would I like to see some major changes? Sure. Do I expect to see them during the useful life of my using Chief? Not so much but I will remain hopeful and keep using the program as intended and look forward to any new features.

1

 

ALL improvement (in ANY field) comes from DISSATISFACTION.. 

 

Progress NEVER comes from satisfaction (we'd still be riding horses if that were so).

 

Consumers have a DUTY to NOT accept lame excuses from lazy companies who supply vital products that the customers' livelihood depends on.  When executives fob off loyal customers with lazy excuses like this, it is the first (and ominous) sign that they have become TIRED and COMPLACENT and have forgotten what got them their customers in the first place.

 

This is EXACTLY when they need to be prodded with a very SHARP stick by their existing customer base!

 

So long as CA can so readily find the funds to pay programmers to busy themselves with inconsequential fluff, then I don't accept the excuse that refreshing MAJOR failings in CA can't be done "because it is too expensive". There is enough money.  There usually always is.  Check the bonuses the C-suite gets.  That's the give-away.   It's a question of priorities and executive will.  And WHOSE priorities count. 

 

THAT is where those sharp sticks come in. 

 

When the CEO's backside actively feels the pointy-end, then only will CA will improve immeasurably.the way the CUSTOMERS want it.  And NOT the way the CEO and the head-in-the-clouds programmers think they should want it!  

 

Let CA off the hook in this regard and yes, your sentiment will be self-fulfilling, and you almost certainly won't see these changes in your life time.

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A lot of current users like the way Chief works now and any changes would, of course, have to be carefully considered to not alienate current users. Completely changing the way Chief does things would be a really bad business decision IMO. Un-needed/wanted learning curve for current users would be the biggest downside again IMO. But there's so much that can be done and keep the current paradigm so current users would be happy to jump in.

 

Take the current floor spec. dbx. All Chief really has to do is make that silly little graphic (which has been with Chief almost since day one) larger and clearer with terms that are a little easier to see and understand. Maybe have short explanations about what some of the terms mean and why? If you have a monolithic slab perhaps there shouldn't be a floor height associated with that kind of foundation. There a few more very simple changes that could remove some of the confusion and keep the same paradigm so current users could simply proceed as normal, just a little more clearly perhaps.

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8 minutes ago, HumbleChief said:

A lot of current users like the way Chief works now and any changes would, of course, have to be carefully considered to not alienate current users. Completely changing the way Chief does things would be a really bad business decision IMO. Un-needed/wanted learning curve for current users would be the biggest downside again IMO. But there's so much that can be done and keep the current paradigm so current users would be happy to jump in.

 

Take the current floor spec. dbx. All Chief really has to do is make that silly little graphic (which has been with Chief almost since day one) larger and clearer with terms that are a little easier to see and understand. Maybe have short explanations about what some of the terms mean and why? If you have a monolithic slab perhaps there shouldn't be a floor height associated with that kind of foundation. There a few more very simple changes that could remove some of the confusion and keep the same paradigm so current users could simply proceed as normal, just a little more clearly perhaps.

 
 

 

I agree.

 

A few slight tweaks could effect MAJOR improvements.  And it would be equally simple to change the paradigm to control heights UP from the floor, and NOT down from the ceiling.  Hardly the scary change to existing users.  And New Users would just walk in without ANY of the hassles they currently NEEDLESSLY have to suffer.

 

I like the section diagram in the dbx.  Change should be entered DIRECTLY into the diagram itself. (not into a field called"F", and then you have to look where "F" is).

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