Structural Plans in chief


kevin30
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Engineer here making the switch from autocad to chief....man what a difference. We do a lot of residential structural engineering right now and productivity and speed with framing plans, truss plans, and foundation plans are priority. Detailing seems to be a pain but I’m sure it will get better. I see the light but it’s been a pain trying to make the switch. Any advice on how to get quicker and more productive with framing? 

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I use the autobuild joist option to frame joists just to get the rimboard.  I set the o.c. spacing to 96" as you can't set it any higher.  I then delete all joists and place them where I want from a starting point I want (also use the framing reference marker).  If you get all of the joists / beams in the correct spot there is less to detail.  Roof rafters and roof trusses almost always have to be detailed in a cad detail.  I don't use live cameras for my cross sections.  I know I'll get heat for that but usually the people bringing the heat have no idea how to frame or how it will be framed in the field..........

 

I was an EWP designer for 4 years under a structural engineer and back then (1999) I actually used CA version 8 for doing the structural floor plans for a major lumber yard.  BC Framer wasn't quite up to snuff at that point.  It can be done, I do it every day but I'm sure there are easier ways.  I size all my beams / joists / rafters as I'm working on the framing plans to make sure that the cross sections are accurate.  At present I use Strucalc for steel and Forte for wood.  I was a long time user of Boise Calc but they switched over to an online only version in January and ...........it wasn't smooth (insert extreme sarcasm / understatement here).....

 

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Yes we do alot of the designing as well as the engineering and it would be really nice to use chief for the structural plans. Just need to get a good process down. Right now we are doing the floor plans, elevations, ect. in chief then switching over to autocad for the structural. Forte is awesome for wood and doing design very quickly....we have other programs that we use for heavier structural design that most designers wouldn't need or even want to dive into. 

 

Doing truss layouts are fairly easy in chief actually but we are having issues trying to get chief to do what we want for the foundation and framing plans. Its probably simple but we are so busy that its hard to spend the time to get up to speed when we can just knock it out in autocad.

 

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We use enercal for steel, masonry,(wood sometimes) and foundation design. Woodworks is awesome for lateral and wood connections but use mostly forte for quick wood calcs. Fortes online software is pretty snappy now and works for 80%-90% of our wood projects. Truss engineering gets sent out to lumber yards but we still need to put together the layouts and load takedowns.  If we get into a large CMU house on piles we will use the NCMA software. Framers around here (north Florida) avoid using steel like the plague so we try to stay away from it with residential. Commercial is a different story....but we try to stick with LVL's/PSL's unless an architect dreams up a wide open floor plan with windows everywhere then steel might be the only option. 

 

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More productive in framing... 

What exactly do you mean? Are you trying to do foundation plans? lateral plans? Floor framing? Subfloor framing? Roof framing?

Are you trying to model these in 3D? If so, what for?

CAD work should be done in CAD, not in Chief. Or take the time and learn the cad tools in Chief, add your own shortcuts, set your lines, line types, weights, layers on a layer set, give it a try. 

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