10:24AM | 06/26/06
Member Since: 06/25/06
1 lifetime posts

I am researching the use of home design software for a possible article. Has anyone used programs like Punch, Sketchup or Chief Architect in coordination with a professional architect, designer or builder? Have you encountered unexpected structural problems with your designs once you brought the plans to a pro?

If you'd like to share your experiences, please contact me at

Thanks so much!


07:45PM | 07/01/06
Member Since: 11/06/02
1281 lifetime posts
I use Softplan professionally.

You would do well to contact joe Stoddard at JLConline to discuss this subject froma professional POV.

Punch is a lower budget homeowner type of CAD with built in errors

Sketchup is a modeling program.

Chgief and Softplan are both object oriented computer aided design programs.

Vectorworks is also in that class.

These programs are all tools. That is all they are. Buy a license to use software no more makes one a designer than purchasing a saw and hammer makes one a carpenter. That means that HO plans wil inevitably contain flaws that need corrections. it is far better and less expensive to identify those errors and fix them well before the spade hits the dirt.

That said, Having your basic ideas placed on paper can be a valuable communications device to begin your relationship with a design professional. it is a starting point for discussion so that professional can learn what are your needs and desires.

As a professional, I find that one of the greatest strengths of a good 3D modeling and design program is the visualization. The old simple floorplan and elevation drawings do not speak to the larger part of the population, at least 85% of whom are dimensionally challenged, unable to understand what all thjose lines on paper mean. The possibility of digitally walking thru a house opens the door to understanding.

Excellence is its own reward!



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