The investigation started by evaluating trial programs. Being an
or should I say“
” user, it only seemed natural to try
from Americad first (http://www.visionrez.com/index.php) by ordering their trial CD.
works as a plugin for
2008 & 2009, or a standalone with a limited version of the current
. Americad is a verywell supported company which is now owned by ITW, an international company specializing inconstruction software. They did not have anything in the form of an online support forum for prospective buyers to see. There is, on the other hand, a great wealth of online videos. This programlists for $2,995.00 for the Residential Builder Suite 2009
standalone seat. It felt more along the lines of something I had wished from Autodesk. Being somewhat of a power user of
, I felt like my searchwas done, already.
had added many more usable wall styles, intelligent roofs, take off capabilities, and manyother quantifiable building components than
. I navigated very well on my 1
try. But I struggleda bit when I tried to put something together. I had to learn their sequence for their toolbar buttons andtool palettes. From what I can see, it was capable of creating beautiful models and do some pretty goodtakeoffs. What stood out for me was that it was not only capable of creating quantities for sheathing, italso had the ability to create sheathing layouts to illustrate graphically.
certainly has someautomation added, above and beyond what
has. However, the modeling capability was not asautomated as I hoped it would be. I did find this program to be limited to the house you are designing,and lacking any tools for dealing with site design challenges. Nonetheless, this program is a realwinner.
is fully customizable since it is based on a CAD engine with an open API (open for 3
party programs), and that is probably the biggest advantage it has over its competition. It drawsdirectly to dwg format, which is still industry standard. My vice was that I still felt like I was beingforced to use an outdated format for managing drawings. There are just too many requirements tofiddle with settings to get things to work. Something as simple as if you wanted to modify or create awall type and its displays, you better have a manual handy. I am certainly capable of dealing with this, but there are just times where I want my time spent on the construction docs. For me it was like I pulled into a new car lot driving a Toyota Corolla, looking for a more advanced vehicle, and wasshown a Toyota Corolla with new rims, more interior controls, and a great paint job. It was certainly better than what I have, but not anything groundbreaking. It still has the overly complex process of creating each drawing as a separate file, xref'ing it into a plot drawing into model space, creatingviewports in paper space, and adjusting the scale to bring that drawing in, repeating it over and over....I am fine with having better tools to manage plan creation. But I do not feel that we need to be confinedto the .dwg format if we do not have to. Today, the .dwg format is what the .dxf once was. I think of itas a cross platform transfer format since every program can import and export it. So there should belittle fear in switching over to other programs as it relates to working with vendors and consultants. If you haven't noticed,
has overcome this.I consider
to be my fallback program at the moment as I searched for something a bit moretime efficient. Right now I would recommend this for only serious residential designer who have comefrom Autodesk products. The search shall continue.