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Michelle

Chief Architect- an easier program for GC's to use?

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Does anyone know/use this software. My dear friend a contractor draws his own (simple) plans (by hand), he has tried to learn Vectorworks and gave up and felt this program Chief Architect could be easier for his very simple purposes. Does anyone have an opinion? Thanks and happy new year!

m

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It depends on what you mean by simple.

I used Chief Architect 9 a few years back, before I bought Vectorworks. I think VW is a much more professional program, especially for more complex modeling and document production and is extremely adaptable. But I think CA had some advantages for lighter duty, such as being able to assign a room a type of trim or color individual walls and it would happen automatically, no extruding shapes, etc. At the time the symbols were also better for residential uses and I have since copied over an adapted many of them. I think they really are set up for residential modeling.

It was also fairly intuitive to us. I will say that for simple design and plan layouts he might even be able to use a budget homeowner program, such as 3D Home Architect (one of them is made by and can upgrade to CA). No working drawingss of course, but ok for basic modeling for schematics, then hand draw the construction plans or use the 2d functions for basic drawings. He will need CA if he wants to print to full size drawings. It is also fairly expensive for a full program and he might want to look at things like Turbo Cad.

Keep in mind that everything has a learning curve and if he was just shown the basics of VW in terms of document set up, layering and classes, modeling or just 2d, and setting up sheets and viewports, he should be able to do a lot and not spend any more money. And finally, nothing will make you an architect unless you think and work that way. Programs just do what they are told.

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If your friend designs and builds with little collaboration, he can use what he wants, and the simpler, the better. I take it he never took to using Autocad before, and would rather be board drafting.

I'm preparing for the day when general contractors will require IFC models to do their estimating and schedulting (i.e., using Navisworks, Solibri or other software tools), and Vw can do that and more, with its many export options. Engineers need exported files, too, and I don't know how CA rates on that ability.

Happy New Year's Eve and Day!

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Chief is designed to do residential design primarily so IFC estimating is not likely to occur especially since they have their own system.

The builder giving up on learning Vwks is the larger, more important issue and the solution to that problem is the difference between keeping and losing a customer.

And the first rule of this discussion is don't blame the customer.

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