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Hi guys,

im new here and have been contemplating which program to use for a while, chief architect or vectorworks architect? i dont currently have the trial vectorworks architect software (although i did look at it last year).

i used to use vectorworks years ago when i was teaching high school design and technology and found it a great program however im not sure about its architectural program.

any input on advantages and disadvantage on program compared with chief?

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In case it matters, Chief does not run on a Mac or, unless I am mistaken, not even on a Mac emulating Windows.

Others can chime in about relative functionality and I think there have already been posts regarding this, but you will have to search the forum.

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My observations of the two products.

This is a very short comparison.

I suggest downloading both products and see for yourself.

VW will produce and do things yo can't do in CA.

VW has more design freedom than CA.

For mouldings (door, window, baseboard, etc...) CA is easier.

Cabinets (sinks)and appliances, go with CA.

VW is still a convoluted process to do what should be automatic.

By that I mean when one inserts a sink it should auto cutout the countertop. VW does not, although you can cutout for the sink.

Should be able to select edge profiles for countertops on the fly and click to apply. VW does not, although it can be done.

Should be able to click on window trim change profiles on the fly. VW does not, although it can be done.

VW could use some lessons in this Dept.

For 3D, trim, shutters, interiors, CA is faster to produce.

CA is more automated then VW.

Which Software you use depends on your needs.

I do not mean to come across as a basher against VW.

Just an end users point of view.

I have and will continue to use VW.

I will also use my other software (not CA) as well.


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i noticed,last year when i looked at vectorworks architect, creating a building from scratch did seem somewhat cumbersome when compared with Chief. having said that, i can also add that one particularly annoying aspect of building design using chief lies in its automation.

for example;

if you are constructing a multi level building and wish to add addtional floors, chief uses a default settings for the new floor (structure,floor and ceiling height etc). unfortunately,not all new floors have exactly the same defaults...for example; a carpark in lower ground may have different ceiling height to the floor above, and additional floors may have different floor structure thicknesses.

in chief, this creates enormous headaches. it bloodywell keeps changing floor, floor structure and ceiling heights on the floors you have already created whenever you insert new inner walls that create additional rooms on a given floor, or insert new floors underneath existing ones. this can completely stuff up all the ffls of upper floors and to fix it is a complete nightmare. i have spent many an hour cursing the designers of chief because of this incredibly annoying quirk.

there should be a way of going into the individual floors and locking all that particular floors properties so that no matter what you do above or beneath, nothing changes within the envelope of the existing floors you have already built. also, any new rooms created on existing floors should default to the properties already set for that floor and not some random bloody default the programmers built into the software!

imagine the following...

existing ceiling height = 2400mm

upper floor structure thickness = 240mm

floor surface = 25mm

you decide to add an additional room to the existing floor by creating another partition wall. as soon as you close in the room chief sets the above properties on the new room as follows:

ceiling height 2850mm

upper floor structure = 300mm

floor covering thickness = 18mm

can you imagine how that affects floors above and below? and what if your floor surface is not 18mm thick on all other existing floors you have already drawn?

does vectorworks architect have this problem on multi storey buildings when new floors are inserted between existing floors?

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Adamjedgar, you can see Vectorworks Architect 2011 in the demonstration videos hosted at http://www.nemetschek.net/2011/new_features.php or in Youtube, Vimeo and other places. You can see their new Slab Syles in action here:

The answer to your last question as "no", because floors and slabs are placed on Layers, and creating a new floor on a new Layer does not change the floors on the other layers. Unless, of course, you are changing a slab's attributes on a Slab Style.

I hope this new working environment doesn't confuse you too much!

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The question you need to ask your self is what are your needs.

CA has always been a pain in the editing dept.

VW is (if I may) way more flexible than CA.

You can create or draw to your standards or anyone else.

No one software package has or does it all the way we want.

For really professional looking plans and such, VW is the way to go.

CA has never had the professional touch Imho for ConDocs.

VW has a finesse (for lack of a better term) that CA has never had.

VW is not as automated as CA but I feel as though one looses something with that.

Edit ability is everything regardless of Software Vendor.

VW will do things you did not even think was possible due to its wide range of tool sets.

The key is knowing which tools do what and with the least amount of effort to achieve the desired results.

As with all CAD Software, there is always more than one way to solve the problem.

Again, only you can answer what your needs are.

Do you have a need for adhering to IFC?

Do you have a need for free form 3D modeling?

Do you have a need for NURBS?

Do you have a need for Push/Pull like Sketchup?

Do you have a need for classes and layers?

How much control and edit ability do you need?

These are all important questions that only you can answer.

I am sure that others on this forum (or others) can chime in as well.

Chief Architect is a great product, but does it meet your needs?



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I use both Chief Architect and Vectorworks Architect.

Most of my work is residential, residential and small commercial.

I use Chief Architect for design and rendering. It is much faster to draw with and has a far better library of residential items as well as specialty libraries such as restaurant fixtures, medical, even crime scene. The quality of the renderings is better and faster.

However, the drafting tools in Chief are primitive and are not near the quality of Vectorworks. They have improved some, but are still lacking. I use Vectorworks for most 2D tasks in my office.

The question you have to ask yourself is can you live with slightly less attractive construction drawings to produce a set of documents 100% extracted from the Virtual Model you create. On small Projects with small fees, I have found that I make a lot more money doing the Project in Chief Architect. I also have a set of drawings that may not have the exact look I desire, but they are totally coordinated.

I have not been happy with Vectorworks 2011. It has been a buggy release and the new rendering engine has not worked at all for me (literally it takes hours and then crashes). That has made me use Chief even more.

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I appreciate your opinion.

VW needs to be more up to date with it's libraries of symbols / objects

It is surprising the range of focus between VA & CA.

If VW gets up to speed in certain circles with CA (or others) it will be unbeatable.

VW has made tremendous strides forward with 2011 release but could make certain items a lot easier in the roof dept., Int. & Ext. trim Dept. to name a few.

I would love to be able to go to Maryland ans show them what else is out there for Software and what they could utilize to better their Product. Formal invitation is being notified here.

I do not have version 2011, but plan on upgrading before the year is out as I am 3 versions behind.


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May I suggest one possible update strategy:

Buy 2011 in early September (VW usually updates at this time) if you can get a free upgrade to 2012. You may need to contact your local supplier if this is possible.

That way, if 2012 is buggy you can revert to 2011, which I think is relatively stable.

Thinking about doing this myself...shame you have to think this way though.

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