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Ken

Selling VW to DIYers

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Not sure if these forums are appropriate for this, but what are your views on selling Vectorworks to a general building contractor (or owner) who wants to bypass the architect/designer?

Advantages:

- Larger user base -> ultimately stronger and better product long term

- Better communication when (or if) they involve you

- They come running to you after realizing it's not magic, you set fees accordingly

- You gain kickback respect from their firsthand frustrations at "practicing architecture"

Disadvantages:

- They will likely take advantage of the 90-day money back

- They're the worse students to tutor -- especially the GC's

- You lose business if they succeed, however they succeed

- You further erode the role and capacity of Architect

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People are welcome to try and get through life without the aid of professionals. Attempting medicine, law, and construction without the aid of doctors, lawyers and architects may lead to some very serious consequences.

I have seen it first hand and it is not pretty.

VW is a tool and nothing more. Buying VW will not make you an architect; just as buying a stethescope will not make you a doctor.

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Baaaah...Humbug!

I am entirely against putting a professionals tool into elementary hands. Of all the completely idol, moronic and allbeit stupid things to saturate an allready homogonized industry....I would rather turn over the governership of California to hollywood....actors...baaaah humbug.

I came from a craftsmans background as a journyman carpenter who was taught the old school ways of construction. I have a set of construction books that are over a hundred years old and they have more wisdom in building than you could find in the entire life a DIY. I apprenticed for seven years and to let some dimwit hoosbangin falwonker submit drawings to the local BD would be a travisty. DIY's...stick to your stinkin building supply chain for excellent advice on home improvement. It is almost as bad as mail order architects. Shoe salesman draftsman. Strip mall architects. Ooops...did I crack on the aia...darn.

May I suggest goin to yer local Horn Despot and laukin oop yirsilf eh...un a them thar niw fangled corntraptions culled Victerwirks. I thinks maw and me aught in git us som a dat.

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I'm sure VW would sell to anybody who wants to buy it, and why wouldn't or shouldn't they. Last I checked this was a semi-free market society. This can't be a serious thread...right?

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I'm confused about the sometimes conflicting values represented by what your dual role as reseller and architect. In your pro/con matrix:

You lose business if they succeed, however they succeed
, but you would succeed in selling more liscenses, no?

- Better communication when (or if) they involve you
seems to make a better student, but
They're the worse students to tutor
?

I am more on the manufacturer side of things, but I am concerned like Kevin, that bypassing design professionals bypasses a lot of design training and impetus. I think a lot of GCs will use the quickest, most available, in short, most profitable methods, symbols, templates etc.

This can only exacerbate the banalization of design that reverentially-used CAD programs impose.

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One of my long-term contractors actually tried this once. (bought Autocad and had a super who learned it in community college.) It?s America and it was a business decision. I stood back, laughed, and watched the train wreck. It was a short-term experiment that fell flat, and consequently my future fees didn't.

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Like Panthony ... I'm Old School ... with years in the "trades" and welcome all who are interested in learning VW .

I tell my students: CAD is NOT drawing... CAD is Computer Programming ... VW requires significant programming skills. CAD is much more than ' lines on paper'... it is a language.

Those who do not understand this fundamental distinction are easily frustrated by all the 'unnecessary' complexities required to become proficient in CAD.

These forums are , in fact, a testament to our dedication to understanding and developing VCAD.

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Lets see if i can put this in perspective (pun... you bet). I am going to make a large, but realistic, presumption here that this is referring to residential projects only, specifically single and two family dwellings. Most states have some sort of exemption in their codes (usually a UCC or ICC code), that allows the building owner to do his or her own drawings. As a licensed professional, I feel obligated to tell people- potential clients included- that they can pursue this option. There are many competant builders and design-builders, who can facilitate this. I have no problem with this concept as it usually is aimed towards simple, structurally uncomplicated, and un-design amibitious homes.

Any other habital structures are, by some sort of code, required to be designed & sealed by a licensed professional.

If a homeowner, or buider, wishes to buy VW, I beleive there is nothing from stopping them. It is really a moot point, as was pointed out by Michael K above. Complex, sophisticated, drawing software like VW usually discourage all but the most ambitious and time unrestrained buyers.

My philosophy is that if there is a GC or owner who does not want to use an architect, than the project is not worth it. You can gain respect by the projects you say no to.

Edited by jfmarch

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There are many competant builders and design-builders, who can facilitate this. I have no problem with this concept as it usually is aimed towards simple, structurally uncomplicated, and un-design amibitious homes.

Indeed, we have a number of contractors and builders that purchase VW for this very reason. We also attend a number of US-based builder trade shows and get good feedback from our product.

A lot of times, the builders and contractors that are using the software are doing interior space remodels, mainly kitchens and baths. In these cases, there's rarely the need to recalculate structural elements, which makes CAD a viable alternative to hiring an architect to do something that they may very well be capable of doing themsevles.

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Katie, I agree with the notion that this is a free market, and that if people with no architectural training want to attempt to do their own drawings and get their own permits, that's a self-regulating thing. When I was a builder I did my own design.

But I wanted to give you some feedback on what is a common misconception about the role of an architect. Most people think that architects have a particular focus on structural questions. On the one hand, this is sadly not the case for many architects, who I find more often than not are not capable of doing a simple beam calculation correctly (fortunately, we have structural engineers, who are trained exquisitely for such tasks). On the other hand, what architects are trained to do, and for the most part do well, is to impart utility and beauty to what they design. The arrangement of space, the quality of light, the grace and durability of materials, harmony with the site and environment - these are the things that make the architect's fees worthwhile. Valuing these things is by no means an exclusive domain of architects and professional designers; many amateurs are capable of doing beautiful things. But for the many who don't see the value in them, it's a sad thing for all of us to have to live with the claptrap that gets built left and right.

So as I see it, the question is not whether to VectorWorks or not to VectorWorks. Because while CAD programs do a great and sophisticated job of creating lines and 3d solids, they can't be programmed to create beauty! (Islandmon, I make an exception for the fractal CAD ultra-power user!)

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A stranger dared to comment:

As an architectural designer, building contractor and avid DIYer myself it beats me why this topic is being discussed.

Or are you trying to say that this discussion is too off-topic or taboo or otherwise should be prohibited?

On the contrary, I think it's very refreshing and enlightening!

And Gytis, my itemized "conflicts" probably come form my hyperbolic thinking and expecting nobody was interested in offering clear, open, honest views. Evidently all but one came through. And to fill in some blanks, reseller profits are all but trivial unless you sell literally hundreds of new licenses a year. Tutoring also doesn't get much further off the ground. I'm glad to have my niche in architecture. I just happen to come across a lot of people who ask about the software -- lately of which are general building contractors scoping out architectural services.

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what are your views on selling Vectorworks to a general building contractor (or owner) who wants to bypass the architect/designer?

Who determines who is a "qualified" purchaser, you?

Perhaps you could hire some ex-CIA types to determine their real reason for buying the software before you agree to sell it to them.

Edited by George Hannigan

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I suppose that is one way. You could even mark up the price (as shown on the web site) to double or even triple and try to get suckers to bite. Just wear a hat that says, "qualified." People are amazingly gullible and stupid these days. No need for CIA or ex-CIA involvement! wink.gif

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My "clear, open, honest view" is that this question has little to do with selling Vectorworks or any other program for that matter but more about your aggrievance at people not using your architectural services, choosing to find an alternative and your loss of revenue from this.

In another guise this would be construded as a protectionist policy frowned on by the leading free world economies of today.

Judging by the remarks on this forum there are a great many Architects who form a large number of the VW user base, but I can assure you there are many using VW in a wide variety of industries other than architecture for their drawing and modelling needs so how are you going to rank and judge these in your "only to people who deserve to use it" world you are putting forth.

If you are losing business, if people are choosing alternatives don't look to the faults and wrong thinking you percieve they have to justify yourself, look instead at what you are doing wrong to make them decide to seek alternatives in the first place. Then deal with it.

Alan

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Since the printed output of a CAD program can still be produced the "old fashioned way", would one have to verify that they are "qualified" when purchasing a drawing board, paper and a set of manual drafting tools?

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Since the printed output of a CAD program can still be produced the "old fashioned way", would one have to verify that they are "qualified" when purchasing a drawing board, paper and a set of manual drafting tools?

Yes, and when you brought that set of spanners did they ask you to prove you were a qualified mechanic.

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Alan,

It's a very long list.

The urge to regulate everything we do has taken a lot of the fun and adventure out of life. I'm an amateur photographer living in NYC. I can use my camera in Manhattan, handheld, without much restriction (no bridges,etc). If I want to use a tripod, I'm supposed to apply in advance for a permit from the mayor's office, with detailed info as to my plans.

Ugh!

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Alan,

I can use my camera in Manhattan, handheld, without much restriction (no bridges,etc). If I want to use a tripod, I'm supposed to apply in advance for a permit from the mayor's office, with detailed info as to my plans.

Ugh!

George, that is BIZZARE!

Is there some sort of rationale for this? Blocking up footpaths? "Terrorist threat"?

The tourists must cause merry hell!

Just think how different it would be if you were a QUALIFIED Photographer

instead of a dirty AMATEUR. :-D

cheers,

N.

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Think yourself lucky, in that alternative universe "ArchKen World" you may be able to get and use one of those disposable cameras, but only dream of using anything like a SLR without accredition and proof of professional status.

Maybe as a daring amateur you could score a backstreet deal on a Polaroid but you'd be paying well over the odds and as for anything approaching a Pentax or Canon you'd be looking at selling the house.

Getting caught using one does not bear thinking about;~)

Alan

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As explained to me by uniformed park employee - using a tripod is considered a "professional" activity, the permit,(free of charge) is the city's way of keeping the pro's at bay. It applies to the streets, not just park area. Until recently, taking pictures in the subway was forbidden. Just carrying a camera in sight down there was risky.

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Actually, George, photography in the NYC subway was never illegal. Just the police thought so. The MTA considered enacting a law for such activity, but the volume (written and audible) of response made them reconsider. I always took photographs, even after 9/11 because I knew this. I was never hassled, although my friend was approached by some freindly officers because he was sketching in an elevated station- seems the booth clerk thought he was 'drawing the subway system'. I gues thats what all those free maps are for...

Anyway, I digress. It seems all the VW chat is really about addtions and remodels to homes, right? Its not worth all the fuss, as I mentioned. There is nothing wrong with a DIYer playing with his/her own home, right? DIYers can't compete with professionals once they enter the commercial areas, since we are now dealing with life safety issues.

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Maybe another way of looking at this is the possibility of VW offering a low cost stripped down version of VW aimed at DIYers.

It would help spread the use of Vectorworks. This would only be a good thing in the long term.

John Ryan

Camilleri-Preziosi Ryan Architects - Dublin

VW 12.5 Mac OSX

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