Revit vs Chief?


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone! I'm new to ChiefTalk, and just joined because I want to put my foot in the door to possibly move away from Revit to CA in the future. I'd like those that have (or have had) expert level experience with Revit to compare using Revit to Chief Architect for mainly residential projects.


I am a Revit expert with previous commercial experience for previous employers, but my preference and bread-and-butter is high-end residential. I have a business that offers BIM services (renderings, 3D modeling, drafting, ect.) and have current clients that I need to use Revit with. Revit is very powerful, but it is obvious that it's geared more towards commercial rather than residential. I have spent hours and hours creating and continuously modifying my families (i.e. doors, windows, vanities, ect.). Plus, everything takes way too long! CA seems to have all the beautiful content already available, and the videos make it seem so easy to place and modify.


A couple of my clients may be able to be convinced that CA is better. They are builders that view the model for constructability and want the documentation to be superb, as well as have weekly client meetings that I attend in which I have to to tweaks per client requests (which is so difficult with Revit!). I am very good at creating detailed plans and 3D modeling, with many compliments. 


So, if you have or previous had expert Revit experience, please tell me your thoughts of CA if you switched or use both. I'm really curious! I have very very limited time, so I'd only want to try the trial if it's worth my time. Also, since you can't save in the trial, I feel if I liked it a bit I would end up renting the software to practice more. Too bad the student version is not available to anyone like Autodesk does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been using Chief Architect for many years for residential design work.  In that time I have learned many things about using Chief for both designing and producing construction documents.


I also use Revit on a daily basis for very high end commercial projects for a large commercial contractor.  I produce 3D models and plan sheets for job specific shop drawings.  Like you, I also find that time is in short supply, but I would be willing to give you some feedback from my personal experience with Chief.


If you would like, send me a personal message (See Icons Above) with your contact info and I will get in touch with you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I took 90 days of revitt every thursday night for 4 hours. I did not like it. I like chief better and been using it for 3 years. You can lease for $49.00 month and after 15 months you own it. then just pay renewal fee or subsciption monthly and there you go. I love chief. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your opinion, Designer100! 


I'm using Chief Architect x10 now, just slowly learning it an hour a day or less while I continue to use Revit. I am considering training options so I can get up and running faster with CA. The more awesome features of CA I see the more annoyed I get with having to use Revit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, nVisionTEKBIM said:

Thanks for your opinion, Designer100! 


I'm using Chief Architect x10 now, just slowly learning it an hour a day or less while I continue to use Revit. I am considering training options so I can get up and running faster with CA. The more awesome features of CA I see the more annoyed I get with having to use Revit. 

CA for

You may at times go to revit to perform some BIM based calcs for MEP, but for the most part everything you need is in CA for con-docs, really really fast 3d modeling in real time in front of a client is a breeze.

I personally export models to 3ds for renders as there are no plugins, maybe a bit slower than revit but not much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Member Statistics

    Total Members
    Most Online
    Newest Member
  • Similar Content

    • By Ty_Tradeswork
      Hello everyone, thank you for clicking on my post. It's gonna be pretty long, so I appreciate your time and help,
      I'm a relatively young independent contractor and graduate engineer. I'm trying to steer my life in a direction that will have me designing and building one-off, small but beautiful homes/cottages for clients, and friends/family.
      In terms of the types of design I'm going for, it's stuff like this:
      Modern, highly architectural, often with unusual elements (at least, unusual for residential builds), like slanted walls, display features made of unusual materials, piers keeping the building suspended off the ground, etc. 
      I have a background in computer-based design, and am already familiar with parametric CAD modelling programs like SOLIDWORKS. Additionally, I've taken about 35 hours of courses in Revit, and can now easily handle all the basics, and create finished projects for simple buildings. What I've started to notice, however, both first-hand, and from forum discussions, is that Revit really isn't geared towards residential, timber-framed, architectural construction. Just trying to build a timber-framed garden shed involves placing every single stud, joist, and beam 100% manually, with arrays and copy commands and the like. Wood-framing add-ons exist, but are phenomenally expensive ($3200 a year was the quote I got from AGACAD's Wood Framer Pro). And heaven forbid you go to change the length of a wall after...
      I know that Revit is the "powerful but cumbersome" program. I know that everything IS possible in it, but sometimes at so high of a time-cost, that it simply isn't worth it.. This has lead me to reconsider if Revit is the best program for me, or if there are programs better suited to the style of buildings I want to make. This search eventually brought me to Chief Architect. Seeing as I've only invested a few dozen hours into Revit, I don't mind pivoting to a totally new program, so long as its a good one.
      Now, the reason I'm making this post is because my use-case is a little bit weirder than most, as I will take on all roles related to the design and construction of these buildings: I will be the architect, the interior designer, the framer, the mason, the everything.
      I will be building these structures entirely with my own hands, doing everything except for the final MEP hookup and installation. (Whether or not this is a good idea, however, is beyond the scope of this discussion. Please just assume that this is what's going to happen). Because of this, I need to create a model that is more detailed than just a pretty-looking box. I need full section views, I need detailed construction drawings, I need proper framing, because the model-making process is the only opportunity I'll have to actually think through the construction, and ensure that my designs are code-compliant and feasible to build. 
      A lot of people have suggested Rhino 3D, or even Sketchup, but, like Solidworks, these are just parametric 3D CAD programs. They just create objects, shapes, volumes. If I wanted to create a stud wall, first I'd have to draw and extrude a panel to represent the drywall.. then I'd have to draw and extrude a single stud, then I'd have to copy that stud in an array. Then I'd have to draw and extrude a top plate and bottom sill, then I'd have to draw and extrude sheathing, then bricks, then mortar, then....and that's all for a single wall. These programs really aren't meant for building construction... These programs also don't have any of the BIM data that I'll need. I can't create door and window schedules in Rhino 3D (to my knowledge), so how will I generate lists of which windows to buy from which manufacturers, at which sizes? I'd have to do it manually.
      So then it really comes down to Revit, Chief Architect, ArchiCAD, etc... but I don't have the experience to know which program would be best for me. For the sake of this discussion, assume the price of the base-program is NOT a factor, but, that being said, I don't want to have to buy 28 different Add-ons to get a useable program.
      If anyone can shed some personal experience with these programs, it would be hugely useful to me. I've tried to do my due-diligence, I've tried to browse the web and read forums and discussions, and I know the "Is Chief Architect better than ____" topic is worn out, but nothing I've read has addressed my specific use-case, so I'm turning to the community here, looking for help
      Any help or discussion is greatly appreciated, thank you all for your time. 
    • By KTKArch
      So I just returned from a demonstration of current high tech and its use in the future of home design.
      I must say, Point Clouds from laser scans are the way to go.
      Sure the high end is 1/4 million $ scanners and drones/aircraft. But even a $75K backpack scanner at the right resolution will take a 6-hour site measure and office drafting time down to a 30-minute walkthrough/around and 1 - 2 hours in the office for 3D overlay.
      Can't put out $75K...hire it out and markup 3rd party's price for the walkthrough. You not only get the building but the topography as well. Fences, trees, and neighboring buildings will get picked up. Great for landscaping and the all-important tree schedule. You will be able to simply measure tree trunks at whatever height the local jurisdiction requires from the comfort of your desk.
      If you find any boundary markers. Put a recognizable 3D item over them to locate them in the point cloud. Want to verify the scale of the point cloud? Measure one or more items that you can verify later and scale as needed. Better resolutions reduce and eliminate this but dramatically increase your file size.
      So a good scan will be within a 1/2" of accuracy and you know those pesky double-thick interior walls you can't get to? Or that one that goes off at an angle or stairs that follow a curving wall. No guessing the radius or if there are multiple slopes on the roof. Its all in the point cloud at less than half the time and cost of hand measuring.
      Still can't 'see' it? Watch when the countertop installer measures up the next kitchen with one. The countertop fits like a glove after a simple scan is fed into the CNC machine. If the countertop installer can make it work we can too. 
      So Chief Architect, when are you going to simplify importing point clouds into CA?
    • By JanHalter
      Hi there!  I have been searching for a bit, and attempted a few things to no avail.  Anyone have a step by step tutorial (or is it just not possible?) on how to at the very least import an existing title block from Revit or CAD to Chief?  I am far from proficient in Chief at this point and wondering if it's possible.   We want to make sure the title block matches our Revit sheets case we have to draw something in one program vs. another in the same CD set.
      I tried exporting to .dwf from Revit and importing into the layout page, however it doesn't allow me to import that file type into the main layout page.
      Also, am I blind? I can't figure out where to put my I just typed info below.
      Rafter P Construction
      Cheif ArchitectX10
    • By Haskellf
      In South Florida, homes are prominently constructed out of concrete blocks, metal studs & beams, concrete headers/lentils/beams, and wooden trusses. Which software would you recommend that would be best suited for concrete home construction? 
      Also, I can't find any training videos for CA that uses concrete blocks and therefore I wanted to ask you all if you know of any videos or tutorials for CA... Or maybe one of the aforementioned software would be better suited for concrete block construction?
    • By Reddrick
      Everyone what do you think of Revit, Sketchup, and Autocad? And how do you think they compare to Chief Architect for traditional conceptual home design, custom complicated modern home design, and detailed construction home drawings?