[ 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.
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 roof only.skp
I imported a Import a surveyor DWG file. I followed the instruction in the tutorial (Import a Surveyor DWG file for a Site Plan or Terrain Perimeter (chiefarchitect.com) . And got some strange spikes hills. I have tired cleaning up the elevation data but no luck. There is simply no elevation data in the area that is that tall, not sure what is generate this. Pleas see the attached pic and surveyor map.
Fellow More-experienced CA users,
I have drawn as-built plans of a house for a renovation/addition project in CA v.12. I recently received the final survey from the surveyor with property lines, major and minor contours, the building footprint, and other typical survey information. I imported it from .dwg as a .plan file with layers for terrain perimeter and terrain, and converted the terrain using the convert tool to make it 3D. It shows up with terrain. Yay! Now I'm not sure of the next steps:
1. How do I bring the terrain into the building.plan?
2. How do I set it in place - using a Place Point or Point Marker at a corner of the house?
3. The survey elevations are in the 650' range so how what do I do to place the terrain relative to my house (1st floor 0.0)? This house has a walk out basement, if that matters.
4. I copied in a 2D version of the survey to use in plan view (on layer CAD, AS-BUILT SURVEY). When I send it to layout, the house floor plans are obscured and the secondary contours didn't come in - admittedly, this is a previous version of my survey attempt and I've since remapped the survey layers.
I have also attached the house plan, if that helps.
Thanks for recommendations from this group, as I've watched numerous videos and couldn't find any that addressed this process.
CA Premier X12
Zoutewelle FINAL SURVEY.plan