SunnyD

Evaluating Chief Architect for custom home design and build

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We are a custom home builder, also providing design services.  We are looking to upgrade from autocad because i) we feel that 3D design options will allow our clients to make decisions quicker and ii) we would like to shorten our time to design the homes as well as building by performing automated takeoffs. In our architectural package we provide floor plans, elevations, site plan, basic landscape plan, building sections, details and construction notes, electrical layout, and structural engineering markups.  We are requesting feedback on:

  • Time to learn (if users had autocad experience)
  • Time to learn (if users had no drafting experience)
  • Time to create drawings in Chief vs autocad
  • are users creating all above drawings in Chief or using programs like autocad to supplement?
  • Ease of use
  • Any other advice

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance

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The quick answer, and this has been discussed on this site ad nauseum. (Do a search)..... CA is the tool to use for most residential projects....... period.

And yes, it is the quickest tool to use for 98% of residential projects......... JPC, do you agree ? ( he probably is more familiar with all of the other options)

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I do agree! - thanks for plug scott :)

 

The learning curve will be commensurate with the complexity of your homes, but for traditional residential design (speed and presentation) I have yet to use something comparable.  Hands down the best i've seen for the package of drawings you are looking for.

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I do agree! - thanks for plug scott :)

 

The learning curve will be commensurate with the complexity of your homes, but for traditional residential homes (speed and presentation) I have yet to see something comparable.  Hands down the best i've seen for the package of drawings you are looking for.

I knew JPC would help you out. I respect his opinion, he is very well versed with the other platforms.

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I think most users on this forum will agree that Chief is the "best" for doing residential

 

and this opinion comes honestly and not just "ours is better than yours"

 

you can download and try the Chief demo for free

 

also contact CA's sales team and they will be very friendly and helpful in addressing your questions

 

Lew

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Coming from an AutoCAD / TurboCAD background, I really had to get used to the way Chief Architect does things.  I am still learning the program.  After a while, I think a person gets to a point where they actually appreciate the way Chief Architect does a lot of things.  I personally like the idea of being able to create elevations, ray trace renderings and other 3D visuals derived from the 3D model to show to a customer.  The software tries to help you kill two birds with one stone as you create your plans.  You start out creating what appears to be a 2D floor plan.  The software in background is actually at the same time creating a 3D model / 3D representation of that floor plan.  Depending on how detailed your 3D model needs to be, you add a roof and a foundation and your 3D model may be complete.  Once you have a 3D model, generating elevations and other visuals from the model is fairly easy.  Creating 3D ray trace renderings does take some practice and learning.  Personally that is one area I haven't gotten into much yet.  They do have a rent-to-own option for purchasing the software.  I have been able to learn the software as I make my payments for the software.  The rent-to-own program is great if you don't want to dish out about $2700 for the software right up front.

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We are a small homebuilding/development company producing approx. 100 finished houses per year and do everything in house.

We are currently using Softplan, deciding whether to upgrade to Softplans newest version or switching to ChiefArch.  Has anyone had experience with both and how do they compare? 

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Switch to chief architect.  Do a search,  many discussions regarding this.   

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I used to draw in Softplan switched to Chief 12 years ago and never looked back. Chief is so much easier to learn.

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Coming from 20+ years of using Autocad /  Autocad Architecture before switching to Chief in 2014 the hardest thing to get a handle on was dimensioning. Now the process seems so much better than Autocad. Since I had 3d experience with Autocad Architecture learning to build the model in CA was quick to learn. The tools in chief are so much better though. If you've only used 2d Autocad there will be a learning curve but it will be so fun! There is an abundance of resources and tutorials to help you get going. Definitely the 2nd best decision I've made in my home design business. The best decision was hiring Melissa Baca (she found out about CA and shared with me)

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Depends on the level of customization you are aiming for ? You will never get a perfect take off system but you will get close if your houses are not too complicated. All software has limitations. Learning work arounds take time with a higher level of complications. Do your research on this site first before choosing. 

 

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Get the X9 public beta and give a test drive have fun.

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On 1/14/2017 at 6:31 AM, Grkawaja said:

 

We are a small homebuilding/development company producing approx. 100 finished houses per year and do everything in house.

We are currently using Softplan, deciding whether to upgrade to Softplans newest version or switching to ChiefArch.  Has anyone had experience with both and how do they compare? 

 

On 10/18/2016 at 4:55 PM, SunnyD said:

We are a custom home builder, also providing design services.  We are looking to upgrade from autocad because i) we feel that 3D design options will allow our clients to make decisions quicker and ii) we would like to shorten our time to design the homes as well as building by performing automated takeoffs. In our architectural package we provide floor plans, elevations, site plan, basic landscape plan, building sections, details and construction notes, electrical layout, and structural engineering markups.  We are requesting feedback on:

  • Time to learn (if users had autocad experience)
  • Time to learn (if users had no drafting experience)
  • Time to create drawings in Chief vs autocad
  • are users creating all above drawings in Chief or using programs like autocad to supplement?
  • Ease of use
  • Any other advice

Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance

 

This is a tough one! For SunnyD, take the plunge! read the literature that can be downloaded free. Draw a "test" project get everyone involved. (Keep an eye on this forum, lots of good resources here) I typically post bugs I find in the program. (Keep AutoCAD, comes in handy for details, importing pdf's, site work etc.).

 

For Grkawaja, Stay with Softplan! Lots of new features, good for networks, cloud, etc. No need to re-learn much.

 

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On ‎4‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 1:00 PM, jorgearaya said:
On ‎1‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 9:31 AM, Grkawaja said:

We are a small homebuilding/development company producing approx. 100 finished houses per year and do everything in house.

We are currently using Softplan, deciding whether to upgrade to Softplans newest version or switching to ChiefArch.  Has anyone had experience with both and how do they compare? 

 

at the advice of friends I purchased Softplan about 3 years ago...tried it for a year...saw no advantage and decided to sell it

I think my Softplan friends just had no idea of the ease of use of Chief

 

your experience may vary

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