[ 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.


Ty_Tradeswork
 Share

Recommended Posts

4 minutes ago, Ty_Tradeswork said:

I've actually already watched that whole video, thank you! Although the building looks decently nice from the outside, there's really nothing that separates it architecturally from a normal suburban home. Just four walls, roof and a floor, all plumb and level.

 

I think you are failing to see beyond the surface, it's a beginner overview so yes the structure is going to be simple. There's a reason programs like Revit are used to design the most complex projects constructed to date. Personally if I was just starting out and had a serious interest in architecture I would focus my time and effort on learning a truly professional level program. This is not to put Chief down but Chief is focused on and serves a very specific type of user, it's good but there are limits to what it is designed to do.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a house plan created in 2013 for a home I designed for a client in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe area. I'm including a screen shot from Chief and it will be hard to ignore how crummy it looks but there were over 60 iterations of the design and I don't have time to find the best representation and you'll just have to trust that the design and 3D were complete and the construction was permitted and built as the actual pictures of the home under construction depict. If I had to tackle this job today with Chief I wouldn't hesitate and would be much quicker with the skills I've gathered since.

 

There were steel beam superstructures, glass embedded into rock. Crazy stair details, a climbing rock inside the living room and a few other details baked in. Again the 3D from the plan I chose is pretty sad but the design was done completely in Chief.

TAHOE 3.png

TAHOE 2.png

 

NEW REMODEL RAYTRACE 45.jpg

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, TheKitchenAbode said:

 

I think you are failing to see beyond the surface, it's a beginner overview so yes the structure is going to be simple. There's a reason programs like Revit are used to design the most complex projects constructed to date. Personally if I was just starting out and had a serious interest in architecture I would focus my time and effort on learning a truly professional level program. This is not to put Chief down but Chief is focused on and serves a very specific type of user, it's good but there are limits to what it is designed to do.

..and as always this discussion goes to the heart of your business model and your intention as a designer.

 

From your initial post "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." That could be your current goal and if it remains your business focus then learning programs like Revit and ArchiCad will be a pretty heavy lift for such modest goals BUT those programs will set you up not for 'if' but 'when' those goals change. Really not sure what I would do if I was younger because I find both Revit and ArchiCad cumbersome at best and Chief, again as the discussion always turns, fits my business model.

 

Again best of luck whatever you decide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Ty_Tradeswork said:

.... but being able to create accurate framing is arguably more important for me. Chief can obviously do the framing in an instant...

 

Don't forget that Chief only draws framing - it doesn't design framing. Unless you are willing (and able) to hand-jam the calculations, you'll need to invest in specialty structural design software. Empirical design and span tables will get you only so far. Not to mention that there are professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to mastering single disciplines such as timber framing.

 

I don't know how old you are, or where you are in life, but here's a suggestion: get a job with a multi-disciplinary firm, spend 10 years learning how the industry works and what's involved. Let someone else pay you to learn the software, the shortcuts, the process, etc.

 

But, we need risk-takers and visionaries to move the industry forward, so I wish you the best of luck and extraordinary success. Seriously.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have experience with  Archicad, but I have worked with Revit on a daily basis doing commercial CAD Detailing for construction companies.  Revit, in my opinion, is a fabulous and fascinating tool and it is capable of some amazing things once you are very familiar with it's methods of modeling.  From my experience, anything remotely close to what you posted the link to would best be attempted while standing on your head using Revit.  Great program, even better marketing.

 

You have pointed out something that I feel is very important for this discussion, and that is the overwhelming number of perfectly fine programs that you could learn in an attempt to accomplish your goals.  Not my idea of a good time. This is a choice you will obviously have to make for yourself, but I would highly recommend that you choose one parametric automated architectural modeling system and supplement it's shortcomings, and there will be shortcomings, with one CAD slash Solid Modeling application that is powerful enough to do what you want without being to much of a brain burn to learn and will work well with the application you ultimately choose.

 

Regarding your comment about brute force as it applies to CAD programs, I happen view it quite differently.  My analogy is what I call the Hamburger Button, our marketplace continually tries to simplify and automate things down to the level that there is no need to think, just push the button.  For myself, I choose not to wait for any application to automate exactly what I want, just get as close as reasonably possible.  I would also like to point  out that as much as anything it will come down to your level of skill and knowledge of ways to do things that are not apparent OOB, Out Of the Box and that will take time and help from folks like those on this forum.

 

Finally, you appear to have overlooked that it is often times the builders who are the ones who make things happen, often in spite of the plans. 

 

 

 

   

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Finally, you appear to have overlooked that it is oftentimes the builders who are the ones who make things happen, often in spite of the plans."

 

I designed this house which is nearing completion.
https://michaelrichard.smugmug.com/Rockport-House/

 

The plans were approved by the local planning board. It's a Netzero passive design with 12 inch walls. I bought Chief so I could do the design. The point made above that the builder will have a lot to do with how things turnout can't be over looked. There are things that come up that can be done in multiple ways and since I have no history in the trades I depended on my contractor to make the right decisions. He has been in business for more than 20 years and what I have learned about the construction trade during this process has been astounding. These men are craftsmen. There were not any major deviations from what I designed, except we went from trusses to rafters which required moving some walls. I didn't do any framing and none was needed as the contractor made those decisions. I think that designing a building and building a building are two completely different skills. If you come up with a good basic design in Chief and work with a good builder then a lot is possible.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 3/19/2021 at 9:15 AM, HumbleChief said:

Here's a house plan created in 2013 for a home I designed for a client in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe area. I'm including a screen shot from Chief and it will be hard to ignore how crummy it looks but there were over 60 iterations of the design and I don't have time to find the best representation and you'll just have to trust that the design and 3D were complete and the construction was permitted and built as the actual pictures of the home under construction depict. If I had to tackle this job today with Chief I wouldn't hesitate and would be much quicker with the skills I've gathered since.

 

There were steel beam superstructures, glass embedded into rock. Crazy stair details, a climbing rock inside the living room and a few other details baked in. Again the 3D from the plan I chose is pretty sad but the design was done completely in Chief.

 

 

 

NEW REMODEL RAYTRACE 45.jpg

 

Overall that is pretty good for Chief....especially in 2013.  Although, since you brought it up the issue with Chief compared to other BIM apps is those steel columns and beams show as place-holders only unless you wanted to do a massive amount of custom modeling after your engineer was done sizing them - and then the beams/columns would be a shape or symbol rather than an actual structural member (from the apps point of view).

 

In Chief we can change a post or beam to show as a Steel I-beam but we have no options for its actual sizing/capacity.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know I keep saying it, but thank you again to everyone who has kept this conversation going. I really didn't think I would get this much feedback on this discussion. The Chief Architect community is certainly a helpful one :)

 

I apologize for my lack of responses recently, just got a bit distracted with something.

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:05 PM, TheKitchenAbode said:

 

I think you are failing to see beyond the surface, it's a beginner overview so yes the structure is going to be simple. There's a reason programs like Revit are used to design the most complex projects constructed to date. Personally if I was just starting out and had a serious interest in architecture I would focus my time and effort on learning a truly professional level program. This is not to put Chief down but Chief is focused on and serves a very specific type of user, it's good but there are limits to what it is designed to do.

 

That was actually my exact thought process which lead me to learn Revit in the first place. It's the same reason why I went directly from MS paint to Photoshop, not bothering to learn the easier-but-less-powerful intermediate programs out there. I figure I'd rather just start at the top, and have nowhere left to go, even if it presents the steepest learning curve. From my pre-selection research, I knew that Revit was the most-powerful-but-cumbersome program, and so I figured that it would give me the highest skill and ability ceiling.... thing is, even with that consideration, I still underestimated just how cumbersome the program really is. It's not just cumbersome in the sense of "architecture is complex, so naturally, these programs will be complex too." Unfortunately, a lot of its cumbersome-ness stems from just bad UX-UI design, and a refusal to modernize or update. Even simple things, like hardware acceleration. That's what got me second-guessing my decision, and made me look into other programs, like Chief.

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:15 PM, HumbleChief said:

Here's a house plan created in 2013 for a home I designed for a client in Squaw Valley

 

Again the 3D from the plan I chose is pretty sad but the design was done completely in Chief.

TAHOE 3.png

 

 

Are you nuts? That's a great building, and a gorgeous model! I don't care if it's not ray-traced, and doesn't have displacement-mapped textures -- none of that takes away from the quality of the actual model. Thank you for sharing this build! I wonder how long it would take me to re-create something like that...

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:23 PM, HumbleChief said:

That could be your current goal and if it remains your business focus then learning programs like Revit and ArchiCad will be a pretty heavy lift for such modest goals 

 

 

Interesting that you say my goals are modest, and that these programs would be overkill, meanwhile some of the features of the buildings I'm looking to make are straight-up impossible to model in Chief, and extremely clunky in Revit. The general discussion seems to suggest that Revit/ArchiCAD alone won't be Enough, let alone too much.

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:26 PM, rlackore said:

 

Don't forget that Chief only draws framing - it doesn't design framing. Unless you are willing (and able) to hand-jam the calculations, you'll need to invest in specialty structural design software. Empirical design and span tables will get you only so far. Not to mention that there are professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to mastering single disciplines such as timber framing.

 

I don't know how old you are, or where you are in life, but here's a suggestion: get a job with a multi-disciplinary firm, spend 10 years learning how the industry works and what's involved. Let someone else pay you to learn the software, the shortcuts, the process, etc.

 

But, we need risk-takers and visionaries to move the industry forward, so I wish you the best of luck and extraordinary success. Seriously.

 

That's a very good distinction to keep in mind, thank you for mentioning that. 

 

As far as your suggestion goes..... haha... yeah... no time for that. 

 

Thank you for your well-wishes though :)

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 12:32 PM, HumbleChief said:

Here's a couple of RayTraces from the build above meant only to show Chief's capabilities. You can also see the steel beams designed to support the indoor climbing rock...

 

NEW REMODEL RAYTRACE 47.jpg

 

See, to me, that looks so good, and it looks like everything I would need in my model... but I know it just seems that way because I'm not able to see the details, or the actual model. Based on what others here have explained, I'm guessing that the model, as generated by Chief, wasn't enough to prepare all of the construction documents, right? You still had to have structural engineers and the like revise the model, and add details to the construction plans that are accounted for by Chief, right? Still, it looks great!

 

 

 

On 3/19/2021 at 8:47 PM, RodCole said:

I don't have experience with  Archicad, but I have worked with Revit on a daily basis doing commercial CAD Detailing for construction companies.  Revit, in my opinion, is a fabulous and fascinating tool and it is capable of some amazing things once you are very familiar with it's methods of modeling.  From my experience, anything remotely close to what you posted the link to would best be attempted while standing on your head using Revit.  

 

 I would highly recommend that you choose one parametric automated architectural modeling system and supplement it's shortcomings, and there will be shortcomings, with one CAD slash Solid Modeling application that is powerful enough to do what you want without being to much of a brain burn to learn and will work well with the application you ultimately choose.

 

Finally, you appear to have overlooked that it is often times the builders who are the ones who make things happen, often in spite of the plans. 

 

Good to know your thoughts on Revit! Thank you for the vote of confidence in it. As far as your suggestion goes, yeah, fortunately, I'm already familiar with SOLIDWORKS, which I'm hoping can serve as that secondary parametric CAD program, to build the custom features not present in Revit by default. Now it's just a matter of learning how to actually bring custom CAD models into revit and create families based on them. Still though, the cognitive load of all of this is getting pretty intense. Despite my desires, I'm the type of person to get burnt out a lot...

 

As far as the builder thing goes, though... ohhh no, trust me, I'm not overlooking that one - I am the builder. That's exactly the problem though. Although I have several years of experience in these fields, it's not enough to build an entire house just yet. That's why I'm trying to supplement my lack of knowledge, with more planning. Rather than starting the build, only to find that I have no idea how to actually frame a specific wall, I'd rather invest the time to figure it out during the design phase, when I'm in the comfort of my own home, in front of a computer.... not standing on the jobsite wasting time and money. It's like that old parable: the more sweat you expend in training, the less you bleed in battle. I don't have enough experience to just show up on-site and know how to frame everything... so I gotta take the time to frame it all up virtually, and make sure it all comes together.

 

 

 

On 3/20/2021 at 11:52 AM, Reddoormedia said:

If you come up with a good basic design in Chief and work with a good builder then a lot is possible.

 

 

Ahh, but what happens when you ARE the builder too, hmm? See my reply just above ^   :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience of using Chief since around the later part of the 90's, the word "workaround" translates into hours of frustration and never really getting what you thought a CAD program was designed to do in the first place.  Little things like Chief considering a sill plate to be part of the foundation instead part of the frame get to be very frustrating in section views and elevation views.  Things like adjusting wall heights seem to take a long, long, long time to get correctly.  And Chief seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to adjusting foundation wall heights to accommodate frost levels ang grade conditions.  
I have been slowly learning Softplan, and when I get a little more competent I will probably switch all of my new work to Softplan.  It seems to draw the model more like you would build the model in the field, and offers way, way more options for library objects, framing, and better material lists.
Chief is fine for relatively straight forward box on box construction, which is probably 80% of my work.  The other 20% though has compelled me to look into the other program to do the things Chief cannot do or does not do well.  Sometimes I sub out the Chief work to other Chief users who know more about the program than I do or are simply better at using it.
By the way, good luck in your endeavors.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The framing model above was created using Chief of course and was created with the client's desires (for one) to run T & G ceiling boards longitudinally along the rafter/beams hence the purlins (or whatever one chooses to call those cross members) and by using TJI span tables and anything else I thought was relevant to the structural design. All of my designs leave my desk to a structural engineer's, every time on every job, to work up beam sizes, shear, foundation, connection etc. details. That framing plan was a very heavy lift with Chief and as I posted above, was intended only to show Chief's capabilities, minus the pain it took to get there. :)

 

"I knew that Revit was the most-powerful-but-cumbersome program, and so I figured that it would give me the highest skill and ability ceiling.... thing is, even with that consideration, I still underestimated just how cumbersome the program really is." I am still surprised at how 'cumbersome' Revit appears every time I see it in action but have never used it so grain of salt and all that.

 

I have also found that certain software programs will fit certain brains better than others. For example I tried SolidWorks and the interface made me nuts, settled on OnShape for my CAD work as the interface fits my brain better. Your brain might fit Revit's workflow and interface and obviously some are not only comfortable but more than capable using the program.

 

I have fought Chief's interface for years and my brain just works differently than its paradigm and design intent. Multi story buildings are modified from the top down, not like you build from the bottom up and where else, and in what program, when moving down to a slab foundation would you get controls for room ceiling height? And a floor height? And the option for a roof? And some arcane "Room Supplies Floor For Room Above" nomenclature that many here on this forum can make sense of and operate through that bit of crazy with no problems. I've been using Chief for over 20 years and cannot understand how, when moving down to a slab foundation any of that is possible but it makes my point about the importance of the interface and whether your brain can deal with the paradigm and intent of the software you choose.

 

I'm posting a pic of the dialog box you get when moving down to the foundation 'floor' with a monolithic concrete slab - notice you are in a Chief version of a 'room'  - still do not understand it but maybe you will? Either way best of luck no matter.

 

 

FOIUNDATION DBX.png

  • Upvote 1
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
 Share

  • Member Statistics

    30082
    Total Members
    9156
    Most Online
    BuilderSteve
    Newest Member
    BuilderSteve
    Joined
  • Similar Content

    • By toucanskeleton
      I'm trying to replicate a window sill I have on a model in SketchUp. I can import a .SKP file and convert it to a 3D symbol just fine, but then in elevation views, CA wants to show these CAD lines every couple inches for some reason. The 3D view looks just fine, but I do need to be able to create elevation views as well. Is there some checkbox I could toggle and solve this issue?




    • By divreig
      I have imported the loading doc roof I did in sketch up the, the structure is 3852" wide . Chief imports the correct size, but then when i try to move it up to the correct height chief shrinks the imported roof structure to 3000". I did not find any limits on imports on the docs or help. 
       
      Anyone ells had this problem? 

      existing model.plan
      existing roof only.skp
    • 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 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.
       
      Janea
      Rafter P Construction
      Cheif ArchitectX10
    • By nVisionTEKBIM
      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.