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Chief vs Archicad

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Archicad is superior in every way. I took a 3 day crash course held by a sales rep in my area. He kept unlocking the trial download for several months. In the end I didn't buy though.

I was thoroughly impressed, but way too much money. Double to be precise.

It wasn't just the money though. Chief is quite streamlined and tailored for residential construction, so I felt like I was swatting a fly with a baseball bat in Archicad. Sure it gave me much more precise control over every object I drew, the speed at which I could go from floor plan to 3D rendering to construction documents in Chief was way more productive and efficient.

I do reconsider on a monthly basis though, but nah. I'll stick with Chief.

I loved the professional looking desktop interface.

Also the simultaneous construction document creation as you draw. - nice system

Basic rendering out of he box was not impressive though.

Kitchen cabinets out of the box also were quite limited.

It seemed that to really make this program complete you were required to purchase or rather subscribe to plug-ins.

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If your focus is on residential, Archicad isn't "superior in every way" - and id say Chief beats it out in key areas.  I own a copy of Archicad, and I pretty much never use it (its like 3 versions old) - and I keep track of whats available in the newer versions.

 

Archicad is owned by the same company that owns Vectorworks, and id actually place Vectorworks ahead of Archicad unless you are doing massive commercial projects (although Vectorworks works well for that too).

 

As i've told other designers/architects - Chief has some amazing ease of use tools for residential that make it unmatched.  The downsides to Chief are lack of "tactile" precision (drives me crazy), lack of 3D instancing/grouping, not great 2D, and a very strict set of modeling "rules".  However, at this present moment I think the positives still out-weight the negative and there are just a whole lot of things 10x harder in other apps that Chief makes easy.

 

I honestly feel Chief is nearly a no-brainier if you focus is residential.

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That's the kicker. I do residential as well as commercial. One friend has Archicad, another has Revit. They all say that theirs is best. No good side by side comparison with people to talk with.

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That's the kicker. I do residential as well as commercial. One friend has Archicad, another has Revit. They all say that theirs is best. No good side by side comparison with people to talk with.

Light commercial or larger projects?

I know some will say they have no issue using Chief for commercial, but the lack of 3D group/block instancing and no true custom schedules is almost too huge a draw-back for me to suggest it for commercial projects. Commercial is all about repetitive elements and Chief has no good way to manage that process IMO.  I know Chief can handle commercial, I am just saying Archicad and other apps are better suited.

For me, I am 90% residential, but I do use Vectorworks as well so i'm covered between the two apps.

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The Light Commercial projects that are in the gallery are quite nice.  I'd like to see what a set of cd's look like that were created with Chief for LT Commercial.  I saw the Condo project that was done with 9.5 and that was pretty impressive.  I'd like to see that in a CD format.

post-9419-0-94547200-1459987739_thumb.jpg

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I guess it depends on the definition of what Lite Commercial is.  That 10 story Condo is not lite commercial.

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I know I need to upgrade.  I'm using AutoCAD v2008, Sketch-Up v7 and Chief 9.5.

 

I want/need to be able to do lite commercial up to maybe medium weight commercial.

 

These samples are good examples especially if they can be exported to DWG format.

 

 

post-9419-0-16546900-1459988963_thumb.jpg

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I guess it depends on the definition of what Lite Commercial is. That 10 story Condo is not lite commercial.

Since you cannot block walls/windows/doors etc in CA, imagine having 5 units per floor (x9) = 45 smaller condo units. In apps like Archicad/Vectorworks you can have "versions' of those units such that it populates the entire building with "copies". If you make a change to a single "unit" it can update all the units in the building. In Chief that would have to be done floor-by-floor and unit-by-unit.

Further, the structural elements typically between floors 3 and 4 are the same as 8/9 etc - and again, in CA every floor structure/element is individual and not part of a more organized workflow that would allow changes in one area to reflect through the entire plan set.

Yes, CA can be used for these buildings but it will be a lot more effort.  Chief just isn't designed for these types of structures - but it can obviously be done.

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I need to be able to do this:

 

> Existing Condition Survey

 

> CD's e.g. Plans, Elevations, Sections, Details

 

> Schedules would be great

 

Seriously, aren't houses just smaller versions of Bigger buildings?  Is it not possible to create Blocks or Components in Chief?

 

Steel trusses for roof and floors, concrete floors with decking, Walls that are curtain wall and shaped?  Has no one taken the leap to push Chief past residential?

post-9419-0-87446600-1459989547_thumb.jpg

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I need to be able to do this:

 

> Existing Condition Survey

 

> CD's e.g. Plans, Elevations, Sections, Details

 

> Schedules would be great

 

Seriously, aren't houses just smaller versions of Bigger buildings?  Is it not possible to create Blocks or Components in Chief?

 

Steel trusses for roof and floors, concrete floors with decking, Walls that are curtain wall and shaped?  Has no one taken the leap to push Chief past residential?

 

Yes, Chief can do all this.  Just not as conveniently as other apps designed for commercial.  Even looking at the site, the parking etc...those tools are all in other apps.

 

Yes, Chief has blocks and symbols, but not "components" as you probably understand them from Sketchup.  No, Chief cannot block certain 3d objects like walls, windows, doors, and other things.

 

Yes, many have done commercial in Chief.

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oh, and no curtain walls in Chief.  Some have gotten "railing walls" to sorta look like curtain walls...but its not the same thing.

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Chief 9.5 is an antique

 

download the trial version of X8 and join the 21st century

 

I mean that seriously - no comparison between chief 9.5 and any X version

let alone X4-X8

 

Lew

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CA is definitely not for multi-storey, multi-unit projects.

 

Chief should have a Multi-residential version. with blocking feature.

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Does anyone have any thoughts about Archicad compared to Chief?

I have been using both Chief and ArchiCAD since the 90's, and have and use the current versions of both. For people doing fairly mainstream residential, as most here are, Chief is the clear winner, and I wouldn't even waste time looking elsewhere.

 

However, for projects with really finicky, intricate details, or larger construction document sets (say 50 or 100 sheets), or you need to produce a project as a team, then it's worth looking at ArchiCAD. 2D CAD is amazing, you can do canted (or actually any profile) walls and insert doors/windows in them, terrain meshes are absolutely precise, referenced callouts stay connected to the details so that if you move a detail to another sheet, the reference updates correctly, and a bizillion other things. However, you pay for all of this capability with a steeper learning curve. Roughing out floor plans is WAY faster in Chief, and you can get to a walkthrough or rendered view faster, mostly because a lot of the design is automated. Floors and ceilings are being automatically generated in Chief, which is both a blessing and a curse.

 

I think for residential work in ArchiCAD, you need a few add-ons, as Michaelgia pointed out. OOTB cabinets in AC are fairly simplistic and there is not the huge library of residential items. Residential interior designers/decorators/K&B folks will be happier with the vast libraries that Chief has to offer. AC also doesn't have terribly sophisticated framing; Chief's is much better. Of course, most of the projects being done with AC have structural engineers involved, so framing is not necessarily as critical. On the other hand, AC has "morphs," which function almost identically to Sketchup objects with pushing and pulling and deforming, so a skilled user can get virtually anything they want, and any object in the library can be converted with a couple of clicks to a morph, modified, and then saved as a new library object.

 

Finally, I should mention that there is a new ArchiCAD SOLO version available for about the same price as Chief, which doesn't have Teamwork or high-end rendering features, but might be attractive to some. So price shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor. I've tried Revit briefly, but couldn't stand the user interface, and I also abhor Autodesk's business model, so I'm pretty happy to stay with AC and CA.

 

Hope that helps.

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Yeah, id say Richard uses Archicad like I do Vectoworks.  If you office does a fair amount of mid-large commercial projects Chief alone isn't going to cut it.  Doesn't mean you can't use CA if you are doing some interior design and unit "staging" etc.  Its just CA has given almost no time and attention to tools related to commercial - outside those tools which happen to be also useful for residential.

 

Consider this - I dont think i've seen a single training or webinar video produced by Chief showing a commercial structure being designed/worked-through.  Perhaps someone can point to one, but i've never see it. 

 

I did this presentation model in CA a while back.  Once past the presentation I took the project into Vectorworks to complete.

 

post-75-0-69217300-1460052030_thumb.png

post-75-0-14750300-1460052049_thumb.png

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CA is definitely not for multi-storey, multi-unit projects.

 

I don't know about that. This is a concept for a 5 storey building done with wood and steel.....

 

https://tallwoodbuildingcompetition.org/

 

I could easily work through this plan set with my engineer using Chief only...no doubt..

post-70-0-46683400-1460175692_thumb.jpg

post-70-0-23131100-1460175699_thumb.jpg

post-70-0-48799200-1460175704_thumb.jpg

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I think the only thing Chief would need to do in order to drastically improve their multi-unit modeling ability is blocking of walls/windows/doors with instancing.  Considering how many changes are made from concept to final CD doing everything in CA would be a lot more work....but no question it could be done.

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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the thread. Very informative.

 

This pic may have been posted before (not sure), but I found it to be very helpful, too, in sorting through the many software options that are available.

post-571-0-01486700-1460204356_thumb.jpg

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Mickey and all the folks who have weighed in on this topic, Thanks so much! 

 

The chart that Mickey provided was exactly what I was hoping I would find. 

 

My eventual goal is to get my license.  Here in PA as well as other States, the process for eligibility to sit for the A.R.E. exists based on experience, the non-traditional path to licensure.  I have been working with an architect who is slowly growing the project types e.g. residential and commercial.  The architect has been using Archicad for roughly 10 years and swears by it for residential as well as commercial.  when she was working in other firms, those firms adopted Archicad as the sole cad platform.  The learning curve is fairly shallow compared to Revit and yet more powerful and flexible than Chief. 

 

As I am slowly getting involved with more commercial projects I'm seeing that Archicad is probably the way to go.

 

Thanks again folks.

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Archicad is superior in my opinion. I am using AC since the V6. It has a bigger learning curve for sure, but the power is customization. I agree that CA is more streamlined and "efficient" in some cases, but if you customize Archicad with the profiles for your needs it is just as efficient. You have to invest time to create different profiles for different projects. Someone mentioned in the thread that Archicad is owned by the same company as VectorWorks. That is true, but the workflow of AC was established way before the acquisition by Nemetschek . I personally was afraid that they will change things for the worse, but luckily it did not happen. I am not a fan of Vectorworks at all. I use Chief only because they have good residential libraries available, and some customers use it.

One more thing; you don't have to use BIM or even think about it to utilize AC. I know I sound biased, but believe me once you get used to AC there is no need to use VectorWorks or AutoCad. 

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The problem with this discussion is that "better" or "superior" is not being tied to any measurable criterion. Better for what? Certainly AC is more powerful (can handle bigger projects) and has more features. (And a much steeper learning curve.) But this is like saying that a 747 is "better" than a single engine plane. If your business is crop-dusting, it isn't better for YOU.

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The problem with this discussion is that "better" or "superior" is not being tied to any measurable criterion. Better for what? Certainly AC is more powerful (can handle bigger projects) and has more features. (And a much steeper learning curve.) But this is like saying that a 747 is "better" than a single engine plane. If your business is crop-dusting, it isn't better for YOU.

 

Well said

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