United Kingdom Users?


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Are there any UK users on this forum ? I've looked in the Local User Groups, but can't find anything.


I have used a number of software programmes and asked a lot of money doing so -  the latest being Archline XP. However, i keep being drawn back to Chief. There's nothing I've seen that matches it for 2D plan / elevation graphics and ease of use. However, as i've only ever downloaded the trial I've never made much headway. I'd be interested to know the experiences of UK users / other countries where brick and block cavity wall construction is the norm, rather than timber frame. What do you find easy / hard, especially the section representation



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I am an not a professional user, but use Chief to assist with my passion for buying and remodelling my homes and gardens in stages and to similarly assist friends and relatives. I fully model the house as built and then use Chief to plan out several years or remodelling.  For changes that don't require professionally created plans I provide my plans to the relevant trades (if not doing the work myself) and in other cases they're used as the base to finalise and get approvals.


I purchased Chief as the only other tools I was familiar with are general CAD tools such as Revit and in comparison Chief is way more productive for this purpose.  


When I started using Chief there were some issues with brick and block cavity construction with windows and doors especially (endless gaps to cover due to lack of casing) but some of these have improved over the years. However there are still some annoying issues with doors and windows in this type of construction such as a lack of control for door inset and also window construction in general (I submitted some enhancement requests a couple of years ago).  Most of these can be worked around but it does reduce the time otherwise saved of using Chief versus a less specialised product.


The symbol library is also heavily based on non European sizes/styles and that adds some work updating symbols and finding new ones where required. For a professional user this is less of an issue but for me with a fewer number of projects this was a pain initially.


While this post may sound a little negative, I am still surprised by how many UK professionals in building, kitchen/bathroom fitting etc end up quizzing me about how I produced such detailed and well presented plans and 3D views compared to their software and especially in the time taken.

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Though I'm not currently located in the UK I have done several projects in St Albans, just outside of London. As you are aware Chief is certainly geared towards North American construction methods and materials, and requires some customization. Fortunately, Chief has many features that permits this so you can define and create wall types and symbols to accommodate the specific needs in the UK. What I did find to be the most challenging was more related to the difficulty in replicating the finer architectural details versus the base construction, especially the intricate exterior brick work. The home below is currently under an extensive renovation including a ground floor back extension and loft conversion. Note the details around the windows and doors, specifically the fact that the bricks have either camphor or radius ends/edges.





One significant benefit, though not realized when the project was first taken on, was the capacity to accurately demonstrate exterior shadow projections using the sun settings and the 3D model. When the project was submitted to city planning the neighbour complained that their "Right to Light" would be compromised by shadows being cast onto their property and conservatory. With Chief it could be demonstrated that these potential shadows were not significant and when cast they were only for a very short period of time, planning agreed and the neighbours request for consideration was rejected.

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