[ LONG POST ] - I'm a new user, hoping to ask the Chief community if Chief Architect is the best program for my somewhat-unusual use-case. Would greatly appreciate help.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: https://pin.it/nByfQTl
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.
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?
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 exactly...in 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 signature...so I just typed info below.
Rafter P Construction
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?
Chief Architect versus Revit, Sketchup, and Autocad for traditional conceptual home design and other tasksBy 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?