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The AIA Technology in Architectural Practice Knowledge Community (TAP) serves as a resource for AIA members, the profession, and the public in the deployment of computer technology in the practice of architecture. TAP leaders monitor the development of computer technology and its impact on architecture practice and the entire building life cycle, including design, construction, facility management, and retirement or reuse.

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ArchiCAD use

  • 1.  ArchiCAD use

    Posted 15 days ago
    Friday
    26 June 2020

    I have been using archicad for many years even for the first designing that I do, I don’t have to convert anything once I get going on the actual working drawings. It is very good once you figure out what you want to use for walls and roofs, It can be changed mid-stream.

    I was so used to is that the company used one of my designs on ArchiCAD 11 in order to teach others what I had learned in designing a plan that was based on equilateral triangles. It was a design that Frank Lloyd Wright had done back in 1950 that was for the original site just north of New York City on an Island in a lake. It was quite fun to take Mr. Wright’s 5 original, preliminary designs an make them into something that would pass all the new requirements that are used these days. We just passed the energy code by a slight margin.

    I still use the program and just get ArchiCAD 20.

    Thank you,
    Thomas A. Heinz, AIA
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  • 2.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 12 days ago
    Currently on Archicad23, and only have a few years of experience with it.  I find it much easier than Revit even where American manufacturer's don't seem very interested in supporting it like they do Revit.

    I am curious; if you use Archicad how happy are you with it on a scale of 1-5?  And if you use Revit how happy are you with it on a scale of 1-5?

    Anxious to see user responses.  Thanks,

    ------------------------------
    R. Coco AIA
    Architect
    Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, Inc
    Midland TX
    ------------------------------

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  • 3.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 12 days ago
    I have found Archicad easier to use, once I got used to it, than any other cad drafting program out in current use.

    The learning curve is rather steep but well worth it.

    Thomas A. Heinz




    Sent from my iPhone


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  • 4.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    We have been using Archicad for many years, mainly for custom residential, and give it a 3.5.  If you do not draw in 3d all the time it is difficult for me to get back up to speed.  The other people in the firm drawing in 3d most of the time, are much more efficient.

    I have never used Revit so can not make a comparison.

    ------------------------------
    John Weaver AIA
    Weaver Architects
    Jackson MS
    ------------------------------

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  • 5.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    Our office has been with ArchiCAD since 1989 (!!!), version 3.4. Decades later, we're still very happy with the communication abilities that the program allows. We're able to have fluent conversations with our clients while touring within the virtual model, making chnges on the fly; it's enabled us to be better designers. It's true that there's a learning curve for new hires, though we've had several associates make a successful transition from former AutoCAD lives. The issue of plentiful available library parts has gotten much better, as there are translation applications to enable the import of most objects that were written initially for other programs, though I also lament the fact that many manufacturers that produce 3D objects will do so only for Revit.

    ------------------------------
    Richard Perlstein AIA
    Senior Architect
    Polsky Architects
    Larkspur CA
    ------------------------------

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  • 6.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    I am a firm of one and I have been using Revit for about 15 years, including before starting my practice at other offices. I naturally gravitated to it in starting my own practice. I have tried to use ArchiCAD and it has improved dramatically since version 16, but I still find it cumbersome with the layering system and customizing schedules. I guess I could give a try again if it keeps improving and the user base increases. As of this moment here is my "happiness scale" for each software: (1 - not happy and 5- very happy)
    Revit: 5
    ArchiCAD: 2

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Guich, AIA, LEED AP, CDT

    S T U D I O C O N V E R G E
    San Francisco, CA
    ------------------------------

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  • 7.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    Archicad happiness level: 5 out of 5. But that's probably no surprise if you've come across my YouTube channel, blog, or Archicad Template over the past decade plus. Sure there are bugs and unfulfilled wishes-just like with any software-but after 14+ years of using the software I'm still finding ways to innovate and improve how it supports my business.

    ------------------------------
    Jared Banks AIA
    Shoegnome, LLC
    Seattle, WA
    ------------------------------

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  • 8.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi Jared,
    I would go to ArchiCAD since they are not subscription based if I can customize a template and also be able to output acceptable design documents and CDs for permit similar to what I get from Revit or better. I will check out your channel and blog. Are there other ArchiCAD resources that you can recommend that would help me transfer over?

    Thanks.

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Guich, AIA, LEED ap, CDT
    ------------------------------

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  • 9.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    Daniel,

    You can customize your template to your heart's content and Archicad excels at automated and beautiful output, if you set things up correctly and know what you're doing. Or you can just start with someone else's; mine is free to download if you want. A good template is too important to hoard.

    Feel free to send me an email: jared@shoegnome.com and we can chat more. There's plenty of good resources and trainers out there and I'd be happy to point you in the right direction based on your needs.

    ------------------------------
    Jared Banks AIA
    Shoegnome, LLC
    Seattle, WA
    ------------------------------

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  • 10.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 11 days ago
    I've been using ArchiCAD for over 20 years, off and on, and I still love it.  I have experience with AutoCAD, Sketchup, MicroStation, Rhino.  I'm the BIM manager at a multi-state firm using ArchiCAD, and I've had to learn Revit to support different workflows... I really can't get the hang of it.  It's terribly restrictive, and not very intuitive.  Plus, it's expensive, and a computer power hog.  I much prefer ArchiCAD as a cradle-to-grave design solution; I'd give it a 4.7/5... there are still a few features I'd like, but Revit barely makes a 3 in my book.  It's a pity many accept it as the status quo... or is that AutoCAD?

    chuck kottka
    ARCHITECT – BIM MANAGER
    AIA
     
    orcutt | winslow
    PHOENIX • NASHVILLE • DALLAS/FORT WORTH







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  • 11.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    My BIM/modeling career began with Architrion (about five years) and transitioned to using VectorWorks for about fifteen years.  I have been with a firm that uses Revit exclusively for almost five years.
    Probably most on this forum haven't heard of Architrion, which was an early competitor to ArchiCad and MiniCad (VW).
    I would score Revit as a 4 out of 5.  I like the application's capabilities and the resources that come with a larger user base.  Referencing it against VectorWorks is partway towards an apples and oranges comparison, but I often missed the flexibility that VectorWorks had during my first few years of using Revit.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Conard AIA
    HEALTH FACILITIES GROUP LLC
    Wichita KS
    ------------------------------

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  • 12.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    Shout out to Architrion! That is some old school BIM. I never used it, but when I first started using Archicad in 2006, I came across a lot of users that had switched over from Architrion when it sailed off into the sunset. It's a good reminder of how old BIM is and how slow our profession is to adapt (how are we not at 100% BIM usage in 2020!?!?!).

    Here's an old article from 2013 with some Architrion and BOA images: http://archtools.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-french-connection-architrion-boa.html

    ------------------------------
    Jared Banks AIA
    Shoegnome, LLC
    Seattle, WA
    ------------------------------

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  • 13.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    I have fond memories of using Architrion.  It was very capable and, as you said, it shows how old the BIM concept is.  My first employer began using it in the late 1980s.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Conard AIA
    HEALTH FACILITIES GROUP LLC
    Wichita KS
    ------------------------------

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  • 14.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    My very first internship was at a small firm that also used Architrion, back in the 1990's. We were using it on a Macintosh IIci. Back then AutoCAD was the dominant software though.

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Guich, AIA, LEED ap, CDT
    ------------------------------

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  • 15.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    I work at a firm that is considering switching over to ArchiCAD. Most of our projects are large phased projects which Revit appears to be better suited for. I have found that in ArchiCAD the only way I can get it to handle the phasing is to create hundreds of layers which is a real pain. I also just have an issue with the fact that it still relies on layers instead of organizing things around systems.

    Are there any people out there that are doing large phased projects in ArchiCAD that have found a better way to handle the phasing?


    ------------------------------
    Stephen Black
    ------------------------------

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  • 16.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 9 days ago
    James - it was such a pleasure chatting in Vegas at the Archicad event and subsequently via email. You are ALWAYS welcome. It's great talking to other passionate BIMnerds, regardless of platform. If business travel ever takes you to Seattle, let me know and we'll grab a drink.

    Stephen - have you talked with Tom Simmons <tsimmons@archvista.com>? He's the reseller in our area and will be able to answer your questions/connect you with other users who are doing similar types of work. He's been part of the community longer than most users and is super helpful. Another person in the Seattle-Tacoma area that would be great to connect with is Thomas Bormann <info@bormann-international.com>. He's a BIM consultant that has helped a number of larger firms in the area switch to Archicad. He'll also be a great resource in talking about theories, challenges, and opportunities with large scale projects and teams.

    ------------------------------
    Jared Banks AIA
    Shoegnome, LLC
    Seattle, WA
    ------------------------------

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  • 17.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    Gosh, seeing a reference to Architrion is a real blast from the past. I never used it myself, but it was one of the standards back when Mac IIs were current.

    ------------------------------
    Jody Keppers AIA
    President
    Keppers Design
    Duluth MN
    ------------------------------

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  • 18.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    I have been using ArchiCAD since 1997 and rate it 5/5, although it isn't perfect. It's very flexible and allows me to work nearly seamlessly between 3d presentations and construction documentation.
    It is very good at handling remodel projects, as it allows you to designate elements as existing, demolition or new and then switch between proposed and demo views of the project at the touch of a button.
    It includes BIMx capability, which allows you to easily create and share 3d models of the project with your client that they can view on their smartphone, with our without a Google Cardboard viewer. It's a real "wow" factor for clients.
    I haven't used Revit, so I can't make a valid comparison there. I'm one of those few who are proud to have never bought into the Autodesk monopoly. The main advantage that I can see that Revit has is a large base of trained users. Unless you're in a large metro area, you'll probably need to train new employees from scratch as the ArchiCAD user base is pretty small.

    ------------------------------
    Jody Keppers AIA
    President
    Keppers Design
    Duluth MN
    ------------------------------

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  • 19.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago

    I have been using ArchiCAD for 25 years, starting with version 4, now using ArchiCAD 23 and would give it a 4.7 out of 5.    I chaired the Baltimore ArchiCAD User Group for many years, where about a dozen firms would meet to share their experiences to see how others used ArchiCAD and solve problems and prioritize the list of fixes and wish lists to Graphisoft... some which resulted in the folder hierachy (aka: organizer/navigator) that is so important today.

    Most of ArchiCAD's tools and "addons" are great, especially if you are starting a design from scratch and want to design on the fly and produce multiple schemes, and eventually turn the design into construction documents all in the same program.

    I tried Revit and even took a series of classes along with others from my old firm, since they reasoned that it was easier to get more Revit hires than ArchiCAD users.   By the time the classes were over, I think the professor was glad to see me go…. because I was constantly showing him and others how easy it was to do things in ArchiCAD compared to Revit.  

    Revit required too many steps to create and design on the fly…. For example, ArchiCAD allows stretching of an entire portion of the design across multiple stories and push/pull/stretch manipulation in 3D and even allows you to stretch a window or door to any size you want on the fly and even change grid/mullion patterns, materials, thickness from the same window/door… not like Revit that requires you to create a new "family member" of that window just so you can alter the width.

    I think the best thing I saw from Revit was the stair tool for creating scissor egress stairs, but not custom stairs.   Eventually ArchiCAD updated their stair and rail tool to make custom stairs which improved quite a bit, but still needs a few tweaks for simplifying editing.  Like all programs, ArchiCAD has a few items that need tweaking like the Revision mark-up tool and being able to schedule the doors that are part of a curtain wall, but considering the intuitive nature of the tools and ease of use and some great features like solid element operations and profiler tool features that make it possible to quickly manipulate and create.



    ------------------------------
    Dwayne Van Horn AIA
    dwayneVH@levinbrown.com
    Levin Brown Architects
    Owings Mills, MD.
    ------------------------------

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  • 20.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago
    Many Revit families have limited capabilities due to the user's ignorance of how to properly build and implement them.  The technical knowledge required for proper modeling and creation is beyond many of us, at times.
    How would ArchiCAD users rate its ease of use?

    ------------------------------
    Robert Conard AIA
    HEALTH FACILITIES GROUP LLC
    WICHITA KS
    ------------------------------

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  • 21.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago

    As for the Revit & Families issue, it's a problem that doesn't really exist in Archicad. The out of the box available Objects are more than good enough for the vast majority of projects and needs. Some users go down the path of building custom objects (either as dumb 3D elements or scripted GDL objects that are super powerful) or finding/purchasing 3rd party Objects, but the typical user never needs to bother with that.

    Regardless of software, the need to better understand buildings while modeling is definitely a hurdle for younger staff. It's easy to draw some lines and not know what you're showing. Much harder to model a wall assembly or floor structure. But limited 3d content and the need to understand how a building goes together isn't what's holding things back.

    I agree with James that owners and AHJs could transform the industry by demanding different output (permitting based off an IFC file for instance). Contractors could also be pushing it to, by being open to building off things other than black and white print outs covered in dirt.

    BUT... the fault also lies with architects. There's very little financial incentive for architects to migrate from 2D to BIM. A firm that's making a profit off a traditional workflow has very little incentive to dismantle their business model and create a new one. We can all go on and on about the benefits of BIM, but if the typical firm doesn't understand how BIM will make them more money, then they are not going to switch. Many of us reading this of course know all the reasons BIM is more profitable, leads to better buildings, reduces errors, etc. etc. But the average firm hasn't been convinced that a transformation to BIM (and it is a transformation of a business, not just a switch of production methods) will make them more money. And why would a firm change what they are doing if they think it won't make them money?

    Until that happens, the BIM revolution will continue to progress slowly as some legacy firms switch to BIM, others go out of business, and more new firms start out with BIM than not. Eventually that combination will create an atmosphere where the majority of architects and firms use and believe in BIM. But it's a long way off. Architects often don't hit their creative stride until middle age and work well past the time other people retire.



    ------------------------------
    Jared Banks AIA
    Shoegnome, LLC
    Seattle, WA
    ------------------------------

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  • 22.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 2 days ago
    I agree with the comments put forward by Jared Banks, AIA. I have been using Archicad from v8. Currently using v23.

    I was an early part of consulting group to Charles River Software, the inventor of Revit. The consulting group was called the Pioneer Program. I worked with them from v1 - v4. When they sold to AutoDesk, I moved on.

    The opinion Jared makes is completely accurate. There are firms out there that can see the advantage of going to BIM as a part of their daily workflow.  As an example, I was asked to work with a local high-end residential firm to produce a 20,000 sf house, 7,500 sf guest house and a 1,200 sf gate house.  The architect had a contractual requirement to produce the project using BIM. At the time, they used AutoCad exclusively.  I had previously consulted with the firm on other projects using 2D software.  We often discussed them converting to a BIM platform. At the times we did this, Revit had been in the forefront.

    Consulting on the BIM project, I built in seven months, six house models, two guest house models and one gate house model using ArchiCAD. The principal (and lone decision maker of the firm) had the light go realizing the benefits of using a BIM platform. Near the end of my consulting on this project, he went into the studio, announced as of that day they were dropping AutoCad and converting to ArchiCAD.

    He purchased 11 licenses, bought iPads for the staff and they were off to the 3D world. They spent one month having the local reseller come in and educate the staff. At the end of the first month, three house projects had been modeled and using Google Earth, placed into the exact site location. The principal of the firm came back to the staff another month later and asked if they wanted to return to AutoCad. The staff unanimously voted no.

    Those firms reluctant to switch have many reasons.  But if the decision makers SEE for themselves how well the work flow goes and increases their bottom line, they would convert quickly.

    I am primarily a commercial architect, but do residential work. ArchiCad has been used exclusively for religious buildings, hotels, additions and renovations and many other building types very successfully by my office. If you are curious you should look at all of the opportunities offered by BIM and pick the one that work best for your office. I can highly recommend ArchiCad for any building type including tall buildings and highly complex projects.

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    Greg Burke, FAIA
    President
    Gregory John Burke | ARCHITECT, PA
    Vero Beach, Florida
    ------------------------------

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  • 23.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago
    Nice to see someone else has used Architrion!  Beyond a little MacDraft and some drawing programs, it was my first architecture program in the early 90's.  They taught it at my University to the Freshmen on Mac II's, before you could get into real CAD.  We could only do basic massing and layout planning, but it had amazingly simple, real-time 3D modeling; it seemed like more of a predecessor to Sketchup than anything BIM.  After that I was taught MicroStation, the polar opposite of Architrion, where every little thing is complex, but it had limitless capabilities (on a 486 DOS machine no less).  When I got into ArchiCAD a few semesters later, I realized you could have the best of both worlds.  Since then, I've used FormZ, Sketchup, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino... I still think ArchiCAD's the best tool for Architecture.

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    Charles Kottka AIA
    Architect, AIA
    Orcutt | Winslow
    Phoenix AZ
    ------------------------------

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  • 24.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 3 days ago
    I haven't heard of Architrion in a while!
    I purchased a license of Architrion in 1990 and a Mac IIci. I used it until they went out of business. I even purchased a license of BOA which attempted to build on their platform. Then I went to Archicad Version 7 around 2001 and have been with them since then. I agree that Archicad is the best tool for Architecture. 

    Robert Moore, AIA
    ROBERT E. MOORE
    A R C H I T E C T
    100 N. Sutherland Ave.  
    Monroe, NC  28110   
    phone. 704.283.1196  
    fax. 704.289.4422  
     REMa








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  • 25.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 10 days ago
    I've been using Revit since its early days - about 2002, my first large project was started in Feb 2003. Since then, I've transitioned into a career in design technology management and leadership and Revit is still our main tool for development of design models and documents. In 2018, our firm conducted testing and a project pilot with Archicad. We liked its slightly different approach to BIM, but there were many other factors that forced us to discontinue the pilot. I won't get into all the details in this post, but if you're using Revit now and are considering a switch, I'd be happy to have a conversation with you.

    By the way, I had the pleasure of meeting Jared and some other Archicad gurus - and they are some of the nicest, most helpful people I've met! I wish we could have continued our piloting efforts so I could keep working with that crew. I may return to the Archicad conferences in the future just to keep in touch with them. :-)

    ------------------------------
    James Vandezande AIA
    HOK, Inc.
    New Hyde Park NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 26.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago
    I've been following this post for the past week or so and although I'm retired and not really engaged with BIM any longer I'm curious about the current situation. I started using Revit way before AutoDesk acquired it and then used it exclusively for years. In addition, I think I was the first to teach Revit based design studios through the 90's and early 2000's. At the time i was sure that BIM would transform Architectural Practice because of the ability to  incorporate remarkable information, of many different types into design and construction documents-all in a three dimensional model. I was also convinced that it would just a number of years before BIM, and especially Revit, would become the standard. I remember telling students that AutoCad and other drafting programs would disappear in ten years.
    What happened?
    The current discussions are not that different from those we had in, say, 2004.I don't follow things too closely these days but I'm amazed people are still extolling the virtues of AutoCad and whether or not BIM should be universal.
    I would really appreciate any insight those of you can give me about this. Why isn't BIM the universal design approach? I look forward to any thoughts.

    Ronald Filson, FAAR, FAIA
    Dean and Professor Emeritus
    504.858.8698



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  • 27.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 4 days ago
    Dean Filson -

    In my personal opinion, I believe the reason BIM use has not become a universal standard is related to lack of it as a requirement by more Owners and AHJ's. To this day, almost all of our projects still need to be delivered in 2D construction drawings - without any requirement on how those drawings are to be created. Our firm has standardized on a BIM approach, but there are still professionals out there who prefer a 2D approach. But imagine if the building department required an open standards-based BIM file for permit application in addition to drawings? I think that would change the game significantly.

    ------------------------------
    James Vandezande AIA
    HOK, Inc.
    New Hyde Park NY
    ------------------------------

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  • 28.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 2 days ago
    As an avid Vectorworks devotee, I don't want it to get lost in this discussion. It certainly has all the bells and whistles I need. Regarding BIM, everything I do is 3D and I use BIM to extract data from objects as appropriate.  Even when I end up producing a largely 2D set for permits and construction, VW gives me the capability to show the client the building in model form, renderings, walkthroughs, etc.  Long live Vectorworks!

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    Judith Repp AIA
    Principal
    JUDITH REPP ARCHITECTS
    Evergreen CO
    ------------------------------

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  • 29.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 2 days ago

    Regardless of what AHJs and/or owner requirements for 2D or 3D drawings, BIM has improved my firms internal design processes and coordination. I cannot go back to a 2D production mode. I do not desire going back to layer management and endless mouse clicking, trimming and extending lines, and updating plans, sections, elevations and RCPs separately.

    Also, I always hear the excuse that implementing BIM in a small office doesn't make sense, or it doesn't make sense on small projects, etc. I use it for house additions, bath remodels and kitchen remodels. I don't feel that it's a burden based on size of projects. It allows me to explore design options and present 3D images to clients and just enhances the overall design process and keeps everyone engaged. And it makes architecture a lot more fun.

    I know change is hard, I was there once, but the pains are worth it as it pays back in major dividends. One of them being "your time".

     

    Daniel Guich

    AIA | LEED ap | CDT

     

     

    STUDIO CONVERGE

    415.683.9600 

     

    www.studioconverge.com

     




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  • 30.  RE: ArchiCAD use

    Posted 2 days ago
    I second that emotion regarding Vectorworks.  We have used it since it was known as MiniCad and could not be more satisfied.  Constantly updated and very affordable and Mac based though it is cross-platform.

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    Carl P. Blum AIA
    Carl P. Blum AIA Architect
    Morgan City LA
    ------------------------------

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