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Opinions on cad platforms please.


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I did not renew my Architectural Desktop license a few weeks ago and am looking for new software for residential design and construction documents. I have used plain vanilla Autocad for years and adt 3 for a couple more but it is not (in my opinion) suited very well for residential, at least quick residential. So I have been trying Chief Architect for a few weeks and though it has some nice features, like the quick cabinets that are mostly parametric from an extensive library, it really lacks on the layout, notes and drafting side. I would appreciate any and all opinions.



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Have a look at "SOFTPLAN". It is made for quick residential, ie.

plans and elevations. It also has a 3D componant. The biggest downside is that it only works on a windows platform and of course the software itself is not cheap.

I work in both VW and Softplan, and of course find some features in each which I would like to have in the other.

As you know, the perfect CAD program has yet to be and of course probably never will be written.

Good luck with your search

Garry Dreger

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Fitness for purpose is an important factor, but there are other factors to be considered as well, not the least of which is the total cost of ownership. Look at:

- The frequency and cost of upgrades. Given that it is difficult to predict into the future I suggest that you do this historically over say the last 5 years. You might be surprised at the $ number you get!

- The cost of the additional software components ( "Productivity Tools" ) you will need to buy to achieve functionality like:

"? Photorealistic presentations that cannot be achieved with standard built-in rendering engine"

"? Tailor-made parametric library parts that are not included in the standard library"

"? Geometric shapes that are difficult to achieve using the provided elements and parametric objects"

- The cost of training, including the availability and pricing of alternative self help training resources.

- The cost of support.

Other factors to look at are the basic form modeling and 2D capabilities of the programs.

- Have a look at the modeling movies on the NNA website. With VectorWorks is you can model almost anyrthing without resorting to programming. The same cannot be said for many other programs.

- Working drawings are a big component of the work and being productive here is essential. VectorWorks has a distinct advantage here, and decent 2D drawings for other disciplines can be produced much earlier in the modeling process.

Also look at the future potential of the program and ascertain whether you can see a degree of 'future proofing'. By this I mean that the program will improve and continue to meet your needs, as they change, into the forseeable future.

VectorWorks scores pretty good on these fronts!

[ 02-07-2005, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: mike m oz ]

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