BenSherman

Uk Users: Chief Architect Vs Visual Buildings

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Hi All,

I am a builder who is looking to move into a new venture offering architectural design services for homeowners looking to extend or remodel their home. I want to offer conceptual 3D renders and fly-throughs, proposed and existing 2D elevations for planning applications and construction blueprints for building regs approval and building contractors to work to.

After much research, I had decided to go for Chief Architect Premier, which looks very slick and professional - and has a plethora of online videos and training support.

However, I have read on a number of forums that the program is designed primarily for the US market, and can be awkward for UK use (particularly for UK planning and building laws).

So I came across Visual Building Premium whilst searching for UK specific software. It certainly looks like it offers everything I'm looking for. However, there are obviously compromises compared to Chief Architect, as Visual Buildings is over 10 times cheaper!

Has anyone used both know what the main differences are between CA and VB? It could well be the case that CA has features that I won't need, and therefore VB may be a far better value choice for me.

Thank you for your time and expertise!

Ben

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Welcome Ben,

 

Just popped over to the Visual Builder website to take a peek at it. Considering the price it certainly seems to offer a considerable number of features.

 

Having worked for over 13 years (R&D and Marketing) for a division of BPB (British Gypsum) I can appreciate the differences in construction techniques, terminology and building codes. Definitely something you need to seriously consider, especially if you just want to get up and running as fast as possible. Chief Architect does however allow you to customize just about everything so you can create for example your own wall types and nomenclature (plasterboard versus drywall).

 

They offer, as does Chief, free trial versions. May be worth downloading so you can evaluate each to determine the features most important to you. You mention conceptual 3D renders and fly-throughs as being an important consideration. From my brief look I think Chief has a distinct advantage with very extensive 3D model catalogs, materials and Raytrace rendering capability.

 

You may also wish to investigate how large a "professional" user base Visual Builder has. The forum did not appear to be very extensive. From my use of Chief their user and member support is exceptional and there is a wealth of information available if one makes the effort to do a little searching.

 

Cheers,

Graham

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Hi Graham,

Thanks for your advice. The popularity within the industry and overall training support are both important. I still feel like I'm leaning towards CA. At the the end of the day, it's a one-off purchase for something that I'm going to be using everyday (hopefully!) For years to come. Would that initial saving be worth it in the years to come...

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Your Welcome Ben.

 

From reading your original post I was highly confident that the best product would prevail. You may wish to scan this forum further, there are active members utilizing Chief in regions who's building practices & codes are more aligned with the UK. I am certain they would be a great resource as you adapt Chief to your suit your specific needs. For techniques, everyone here is more than willing to jump in.

 

I have been using Chief for at least 10 years and never looked back. Best software investment I ever made.

 

Graham

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it's a one-off purchase

 

Ben:

 

there is the annual SSA fee to consider which is now $495 (used to be $445)

 

while it is an optional fee it is highly recommended to stay current

 

Lew

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Absolutely Lew, in my opinion SSA is a bargain. Always up-to-date, access to all catalogs, training videos and great tech support. If you are using Chief for business/profesional purposes it only makes sense.

 

Graham 

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