Using layers for quick changes in plan


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I am a builder, who uses Chief for house plans in Subdivisions. These are possible options that we show potential customers.


My overall question is not necessarily a simple one:


1. Can layers in Chief handle modifications to a "spec" plan top to bottom?


Example: We have a spec plan with (1) 16'x7' overhead garage door. But we also have an option to have (2) 9'x7' doors. To make this change, the garage has to be widened by 4' lets say. Can a plan be set up to turn on/off the needed layers and everything updates? This option would have a layout showing it. A customer could decide they want this options, and I can make the change to the plan quickly, and be ready to submit plan for building permit.


All these things must change:

- foundation, framed walls, roofs, windows/ doors may move, schedules update, dimensions update, .layout updates, 3D updates, etc.


2. If this is possible, what about Front Elevations? Can there be 1 plan, with layers on/off for "gable front", and "hip front"?


3. Are 2+ (separate plans) needed for these changes. I am spending too much time modifying my plans. Example: Plan 1 is gable front with normal garage. Plan 2 is hip front with larger garage., etc. I have 10 plans for the same house.


4. If what I am after is possible, is there anyone reading who is capable of completing this, and that I can hire to create a plan for me? This is not something I know how to do.


I can not find any topics on this. If there are any, pass them to me please.



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It can handle basic, non-conflicting items.  Some things will not work so great.  For instance, you can place two different kitchen cabinet layouts on the same plan with the cabs assigned to different layers.  If the two versions have a spot where sinks overlap, it will not display properly.  If the various options are pretty involved, you might be better to have two separate plans.

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I don't have an answer, but will ask, what part of the process is taking the time?


Changing a garage as you described should take minutes, not hours -- same with changing from hip to gable.


Do you auto build roofs and foundations? 


Schedules should update automatically.

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layers can allow some flexibility for options


however, Chief does not have great features for showing various "builders" options


as stated it will probably require a separate plan for most "option combo" sets




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ok. So what do you all do? Any suggestions?


I have a pile of plan files of the same home. Each one a little different. I never know which one to start from on a new house that the next customer wants to change. answer your question: I do not use auto roof. They do not draw out correctly, and I find it faster to manually draw them.

I do not use auto Foundation, because it erases my piers, girders, details etc. when it updates.

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I had the same question when I started using Chief, and could not believe there was no clean way to do it.


I experimented with keeping parts of a plan in different files, then doing a copy/paste. The basic plan was in one file, different roofs would be in separate files, etc. A complete plan could be assembled from the parts. 



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I have variables on many projects, usually only 4 but I have to do this each time.

For variables I have one layout with pages linked to each plan option- w/ plan view, primary elevations, a perspective or two.

Then a complete layout linked to plan "A", save as then link to plan "B" etc. . All plans have the same cameras & elevations though positions may have changed- IOW all from same template or Save as depending on your preferred method.


Work with client in multi-plan layout first, allows opening any plan as needed (affords more cameras than shown in layout).

Once decisions are made,close that layout, open layout for selected plan, save as Final (or whatever you use), make changes to plan as needed; when possible copy paste/edit area from secondary plan(s) to selected. Not perfect, but not that bad either.

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