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Why would you buy a new licence every two years? Anyway, see my calculation of the hourly cost above.

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Of course, you wouldn't be able to use the SketchUp in your office, since it's free for non-commercial use only.

But if you were really contemplating using Autocad LT, you could instead buy BricsCad (which supports Lisp and 3D) for ?114 and save more than enough to buy SketchUp Pro.

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You do not need to buy a new licence every two years but you do need to regularly upgrade and there are costs associated with that. So CAD is not a one off cost but a regular annual cost which is not tax deductable, it is an actual cost which comes out of your profits. In the UK you can only claim the VAT back if you are VAT registered.

All I am saying is that vw is not cheap but it is competitive and rightly so. But it has to add value and there has to be a real reason for each upgrade that makes it attractive.

For instance, what has 12.5.1 given? I have posted this on other threads and still no one answers and it seems to be giving more problems than it resolves.

Remeber, there is always competition. Sketch up is cheaper, selling quicker and catching up!

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Michael,

You are of course right in almost every respect. However, you can't compare VW with either AutoCAD LT or SketchUp - or their combo.

AutoCAD LT is a drafting program. SketchUp is a conceptual visualising program. Neither can do real 3D-modeling, scheduling and so on nor do they have parametric objects. Etc.

If one does not require any of the advanced capabilities of VW (which I can very well understand), then of course there are alternatives, of which AutoCAD is the most expensive.

As comes to VW price in the UK, a firm called CAD Shop seems to sell VW Architect for ?900. Fundamentals (which would be more comparable with AutoCAD LT, but much more capable) is ?675. Renderworks seems to add some ?270.

Finally, why wouldn't CAD-software be tax deductible - is this a UK peculiarity? And aren't professional users usually VAT (or GST or whatever) registered.

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Of course CAD software and any upgrades purchased is tax deductible in the UK.

Sounds like you need to get yourself another Accountant.

You don't even need to upgrade if you don't want to. I don't think that is the case with Autodesk's products though. Don't you have to upgrade to maintain support with Autocad?

Of course you'll not have the functionality of the latest version should you decide not to upgrade, just the one you decided to stay at, which at the time of purchase surely met your needs.

I've remained at the versions you see at the bottom because the Fundamentals version I use has not included the items I'd maybe use in that level of the upgrade.

As Petri briefly touched on, it depends what you want from the software you use.

If you are not going to do the work that the program is capable of doing and use it to its fullest then sure, use something else much cheaper that will be sufficient for your needs.

As somebody pointed out Google SketchUp is only free if used for none commercial use.

Alan

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Of course you'll not have the functionality of the latest version should you decide not to upgrade, just the one you decided to stay at, which at the time of purchase surely met your needs.

Exactly. I use Microsoft Office X, FileMaker Pro 6, Photoshop Elements 2, Dreamweaver 3 and so on. My needs have not changed so much that I could justify the upgrades. (Which, mind you, in some cases mean buying an entirely new licence!)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that you get even official support (if any) for VW pretty much regardless of the version. At least plenty of unofficial support.

When you finally decide to upgrade, you pay also for the "missed steps", which IMABHO is quite proper.

Hey, you didn't contribute to the development costs of features A, B and C. You now want feature D, which may (or may not) have parts created in A, B or C. Sorree...

Edited by Petri

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There is an interesting debate going on the RIBA architects site in the UK comparing the best CAD software, and one thing that I did not fully appreciate is that VW is not seen as 3D CAD and so obviously needs to be cheaper!

But I had always it as 3D, what do you think?

This is what was said and if anyone can give me stuff to fight the VW case then please reply:

Vectorworks will continue to be successful, but IMHO it is a 2D product with 3D add-ons rather than a true 3D product - although maybe that in the end does not matter?

Applecore reckon they are seeing VW users fed up with the direction VW is taking and switching to Archicad to get 'proper' 3D - but then they would say that, wouldn't they ;-)

An interesting quote from a Nemetschek person contained in an article,

http://www10.aeccafe.com/nbc/articles/view_weekly.php?articleid=345853

'At the moment, we believe there are four important CAD platforms on the AEC market. Three of these come from Nemetschek -- Allplan, Archicad and Vectorworks.'

Long time cad commentator Ralph Grabowski's thoughts on this are that the 4th is Revit, and that it is fear of Revit that drove the Nemetschek takeover of Graphisoft (although it seemed to me that the whole thing was long planned).

http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/blog/2007/02/susan_smith_on_.html

If Mr Grabowski with all his inside contacts reckons that Revit really is selling very well, then it probably is so.

The AEC 3D market is wide open for Autodesk to 'own' it completely - despite being as unpopular as the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation* ;-)

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This is what was said and if anyone can give me stuff to Vectorworks will continue to be successful, but IMHO it is a 2D product with 3D add-ons rather than a true 3D product - although maybe that in the end does not matter?

It does matter. Now, this forum is not the ideal place for any theoretical discourse, because Australian draftsmen & builders abuse (with a totally unfriendly and non-professional tone) anyone with any interest or knowledge on theoretical matters, but in short:

Drawings will always be needed. Even the best model cannot contain or display in a useful fashion everything that is needed on the site.

It is rather pointless to model every stud, purlin, batten, piece of corrugated metal, tile and so on. Even if one would do it, the resulting projections of the 3D-model would be less useful than drawings that can show - in a symbolic or generalised way - combinations of components that actually do not exist.

Let's consider even the floorplan. The horizontal sectioning cannot always (if ever) be defined as a plane. We need to be able to show things that are above the notional plane or obscured by something that is below it.

So, what matters is the ability to mix 2D and 3D work in a sensible (and intuitive) way.

My counterquestion would be: what is it that one can't model in 3D with VW? Yes, there are various kinds of objects and certain styles of architecture which are difficult, if not impossible, but I would say that 90% world's new buildings can be designed, modeled and documented entirely with VW.

No, I would not recommend VW to a budding Hadid, Gehry, Calatrava, Makovecz, Pietil? or Aalto. It is not the ideal tool for glass sausages or blobs either. But for the rest of us, it's pretty good.

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Drawings will always be needed. Even the best model cannot contain or display in a useful fashion everything that is needed on the site.

It is rather pointless to model every stud, purlin, batten, piece of corrugated metal, tile and so on. Even if one would do it, the resulting projections of the 3D-model would be less useful than drawings that can show - in a symbolic or generalised way - combinations of components that actually do not exist.

Your comment shows a depth of ignorance and depravity found only in people whose names begin with P. It's no wonder the Australians always abuse you. And the Californians, North Carolinians, etc. (just kidding).

But seriously: I disagree. I think that's exactly where CAD is headed ? no drawings, only a virtual model, including not only every stud but every nail, pipe, and wire. CAD software would do some of the virtual construction, with options to set the stud spacing and size and to override the default framing pattern in a particular location. Builders would use viewing software that can walk around the model, or crawl around in pipe chases, and show any view at any level of detail, with automatic dimensioning. It would show the quantity of any selected element, in the whole model or in a selected part of it. Moving around in the model would be easier than moving around a Sketchup model is now; but the model would be intelligent and refined ? qualities which you can never aspire to (just kidding).

I wouldn't want to guess how soon we'll get there, or whether global warming or nuclear holocaust will kill us all first, but present trends in hardware and software suggest something along those lines. Even now, the only reason to produce 2D drawings is to show builders what we've got in the 3D model. And the only reason we need to do that is that the model isn't complete, as you said. Progress in software and increasing computer literacy rates will soon allow builders to look inside the model, and ongoing increases in the number of gigabytes that can dance on the head of a pin will eventually allow the model to be as detailed as necessary. Of course, in Finland they'll still be building from sketches drawn in the mud with a stick (just kidding).

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But seriously: I disagree. I think that's exactly where CAD is headed ? no drawings, only a virtual model, including not only every stud but every nail, pipe, and wire.

Maybe headed, but will it ever get there? Will we one day see the True Blue Aussie Chippie changing The Model after he has "adjusted" the location & dimensions of a wall?

The truly big problem with BIM-approach will, for a very long time at least, be modifications, reuse/recycling and the like. I very much doubt that the proud owner of a McMansion in Maryland will maintain an accurate as-built model of his or her house. Not even large corporations or Government bodies will do it.

OK, "always" is also a very long time, but in the foreseeable future drawings will certainly be used as a means of communication.

Choosing software today should consider tomorrow, not next year. When drawings have become obsolete, there won't be any VectorWorks, ArchiCAD, Revit or Allplan.

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I'm a small designer/builder and just want to throw in my two cents. VW works fine for me, as I use modeling to help clients visualize, do not show every construction detail in them (I can build it in the time it would take me to draw it and why insult the pros on my crew or my subs?), then switch the 3d to 2d for construction drawings, which are aimed squarely at the building department in order to get permitted, and nothing further.

I realize I work in a niche, but just want to let people know we are out there, using VW as a tool and not an end in itself. For what I use it for, it's more than adequate.

DonB

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No, I would not recommend VW to a budding Hadid, Gehry, Calatrava, Makovecz, Pietil? or Aalto. It is not the ideal tool for glass sausages or blobs either. But for the rest of us, it's pretty good.

Petri, though not as sophisitcated as CATIA (at 20x or more the price), VW is distinguished from AutoCAD and ArchiCAD in that it does have NURBS capability. (I don't know enough about Allplan or Revit to comment on them). So, in that you refer to "budding" free-form architects, VW is maybe the only way they could afford to go. I've scanned freeform models, converted them to NURBS objects and imported into VW - exactly the process that Gehry started with in designing the Bilbao Guggenheim.

But I do agree emphatically with your main point, that the hybrid 2d/3d interface is crucial to the success of 3d modeling, and the main strength of VW - though NNA sometimes don't seem to appreciate that, as they keep ignoring my suggestion that the 2d root objects of extrudes need to move in lockstep with the object itself so that they can remained registered with respect to the drawing origin.

I think other improvements could be made in this direction. For example, some of the objects you refer to as wanting to include in plan (e.g., skylight locations) could be built into the program in the way that walls were from day 1. To follow the example, we could have a hybrid Ceiling object that could be viewed as a dotted outline 3d in the plan view (and as a solid for reflected ceiling plan).

I think you're also absolutely right that we will always need to add simple 2d annotations when the odd situation demands it. We'd never meet deadlines if that couldn't be done, and the new Viewport object supports that workflow technique beautifully.

I also have a hunch that Michael's comment re: Nemetschek's position vis a vis Revit is right on point. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding the Graphisoft acquisition. I can't see Nemetshek's engineering resources continuing an inefficient effort to serve separate enterprises when Revit threatens market hegemony.

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I am from Australia. We were considering Vectorworks as a companion product to Sketchup. The price for Vectorworks Architect 12.5 here is VERY ambitious. Some 70% more than the USA. Upgrades are similarly ambitious.

We asked the Australian distributor why and were told '...it's expensive doing business in Australia." Mindscape don't think so, Turbocad is actually cheaper here for TurboCAD than in the USA. In real terms most Architectural CAD costs the same.

Accordingly Vectorworks is now off our list. Pity really because the package looked complete and robust.

Perhaps the free trade agreement between Australia and the USA has escaped Ozcad's and Nemetschek's attention.

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I have VW Australia and New Zealand and I think it's gret value. The Heliodon tool for sun studies is great, and Windoor, it worth it's weight in gold. We also get Custom colour which has all Australian paint company colours. Plus the exchange rate is a bit of a cripple.

We just need Animation Works thrown in...

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Surely the comparison between Australian and US price is irrelevant. What's important is what you get for your $A, is it value for money? And compare it to to the alternative - also priced in $A.

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In every country the price is different, and the main raisen for this is that the distributing company mostly add tools and pios to the package.

But sometimes they drive the price to high

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I admire your enthusiasm and loyalty to the Australian distributor, but with the current 0.84c credit card exchange rate and Australian GST taken into account buying direct from the USA would be AU$1,818.56.

OzCAD in Australia charge AU$3,184.50. Thats AU$$1,365.94 more. Hardly great value for a few compulsory add-ons.

If OzCAD sold it in the USA it would equate to US$2,418.37. Rest assured US sales would be well down. Arris and DataCAD would be happy.

Has anyone here from Australia purchased Vectorworks Architect direct from the USA. Any problems with upgrades from Nemetschek thereafter?

Thanks

Edited by digby dart

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michael.. the difference between '25% of the NA marcket' and '25% of our sales' is a huge one.

but interesting points.

we pay approx ?600 for 'second user' license and ?900 for the first license (approx $1200 and ?1800 US$)

which is cheap compared to acad etc... but the price is simply down to how much we will pay.. and since on a mac there is little option i cant see them cutting it soon.

plus MS Office is ?300, and their economy of scale must be massive.

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Hello Again,

Since last posting here some 10 days ago we have done a fair bit of research on other Architectural Cad software available to us both here in Australia and in the USA.

For what its worth we were pretty unanimous that Vectorworks represents great value and is clearly a class leader in the USA. US$1295 for Vectorworks Architect on Amazon from Nemetschek North America direct represents excellent value.

In Australia Vectorworks Architect is trying to compete with higher specified Architectural Cad. Most notable is that offered by the parent company Nemetschek Allplan. In Australia for around AU$4000 Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks is competing with Allplan 300 Architecture.

For around AU$5000 Vectorworks Designer with Renderworks starts to edge towards Allplan 500 Architecture and Archicad. Both Allpan and Archicad are Bim's. A different league of Architectural Cad.

There are other products we compared but I merely wish to show here the variance in Australian prices for products owned by the same parent company - Nemetschek.

We were pleasantly surprised to see the level of Allplan technology appearing in Vectorworks which further increased the value for money aspect of Vectorworks Architect in the USA. Not so in Australia with Vectorworks Architect being priced comparably with Allplan 300 Architect.

Simply put: In the USA Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks is half the price of Allplan 300 Architecture. In Australia they are priced about the same. It would seem prudent to go with Allplan or one of its direct class competitors.

I returned to post this here because I am indebted to all the forum posts for information on Vectorworks and wish to give some knowledge back which may be of some use. Reading the many honest appraisals has been invaluable. Amazing product for the money... in the USA.

Edited by digby dart

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You can't compare the Australian and US versions of VectorWorks, because the Australian version has tons more content, tools, and localized stuff that doesn't exist in the US version, as well as a local distributor who provides intense and high-quality tech support. If you're going to compare to Allplan (or any others) you'd need to make a direct comparison of the specific content and capabilities of the two--including your localized versions. Using the US version as a reference will lead you astray in your price calculations.

Dan J.

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I bought Vectorworks Architect after I finished Uni. I didn't know it then but I got ripped off big time. I am pretty cross about that now and I am not the only one. I like the software but the extra stuff you get in Australia is no big deal. I wouldn't pay for it. What really creeps me - ozcad is still doing it cos you have to buy from them.

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Susan,

The best advice I can tell you is to contact your local distributor and discuss this topic with them directly.

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I bought Vectorworks Architect after I finished Uni. I didn't know it then but I got ripped off big time. I am pretty cross about that now and I am not the only one. I like the software but the extra stuff you get in Australia is no big deal. I wouldn't pay for it. What really creeps me - ozcad is still doing it cos you have to buy from them.

Susan,

By making perjorative claims like you "got ripped off" and "What really creeps me - ozcad is still doing it"; you (and the others who feel the same) are missing a fundamental reality of business.

The actual price of any product is bound by 2 things:

1/The cost of providing the product for sale, and

2/What the market will pay for it.

(the 2 do not necessarily have any relationship)

You seem to think that Ozcad is using a "monopoly" dealership, or deceiving you in some way, and excessively inflating the price in order to make an "excessive" profit. (see item 2 above)

As others have pointed out; the reality is far more likely to be related to item 1

The cost of any product in one country does not define the final cost in another, except insofar as it is (just) one of the business input costs for the distributor.

This is just as true for selling imported software in this country as it is for selling Holdens to the US or Saudi Arabia.

More to the point; as has been pointed out previously, the cost of the software to the business is less than AU 0.50c / hour. If you were to pay "parity" with the US that figure would be perhaps AU 0.35c/ hour.

For a "typical" proffessional charge-out rate of between $60-120/hour, the 15c /hour you claimed to have been "ripped off" is meaningless.

The cost to the business of our primary tool for generating income is less than the cost of leasing the office photocopier, and the daily cost of the software is about the same as buying a cup of coffe at the local deli.

That's hardly a ripoff Susan. ;-)

N.

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It's normal that you pay more if they added a lot of extra tools. But I am still dissapointed by the way those tools get updated every version: they don't. So all the bugs that where in earlier versions are still there! That's a real shame. If they ask more, thy should also update their tools.

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