What computer program would you recommend to a small project practice start up?
Pick a BIM program. BIM is the present and past, as well as the future. 2D is not a business plan. 2D + sketchup is a dead end. You need to be able to do intelligent 3D as part of your documentation process. Your competition is.I've written a bunch of articles on this topic, but I want to highlight two from 2013:
Which BIM software should I use:http://www.shoegnome.com/2013/03/29/which-bim-software-should-i-use/Starting an Architecture Firm? Let's Discuss Software and Hardware Costshttp://www.shoegnome.com/2013/05/05/software-costs-when-starting-an-architecture-firm/Talk to the other architects you will be collaborating with and see what they are using. Talk to your friends who have similar sized firms and see what they are using. Talk to the other architects who will be your support network and see what they are using. Try out Revit, ARCHICAD, Vectorworks, and any other BIM program. See which one you enjoy most. Talk to and find the community that uses those software and see which community you enjoy most. Look at the online resources for those BIM programs and see which makes you feel most comfortable. Do not pick a BIM program before spending time talking with someone who uses that program and can show you quality work from it, work that aligns with what you will be doing with it. Do not put yourself in a position where you are isolated.I use ARCHICAD. And I recommend you use it to. Or at least seriously consider it and see if it fits with your design and production proclivities. The ARCHICAD community is fantastic and supportive. There is a very open and collaborative community of small firms using it on all types of projects all over the world. There are also medium, large, and giant firms using it. But they don't matter. It's the small firms that you'll get to know and share with.If you want to learn more about working with ARCHICAD, the community, etc. Let me know. I'm happy to chat. I'm happy to share examples. I'm happy to connect you with people who can tell you more, train you, mentor you, collaborate with you, etc. And if you aren't interested in ARCHICAD, that's fine. Make sure that you find the same community with the BIM software you do choose (again jump to BIM now). Our design and production software is integral to our businesses. It's one of-if not the most-important decisions you can make when starting a new firm.
Thank you all very much for your helpful suggestions and availability to chat if needed. You have given me a lot to work with – very much appreciated!
Irene Xenakis, AIA