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Design forum

Is ArchiCAD the right software for me?

Brett Brown
Chief Architect is your best bet. Far easier to learn than Archicad and far better suited to residential houses and has the glass house effect standard. Also doesn't need add-ons to get the job done. Far cheaper also.
Imac, Big Sur AC 20 NZ, AC 25 Solo UKI,

Karl Ottenstein
jasonbakers wrote:
Is ArchiCAD the right software for this purpose? Or is there something else that suits our needs better?

I assume you are a reasonably competent computer user and have perhaps done some CAD before or are at least a bit 'left brained'? Otherwise, you should seek someone - even an architecture student - to assist you vs buying and learning a complex new program.

If DIY is your game plan, then at some level I agree with Brett about Chief Architect as being simple. But at another level, if the home has complex levels and trim and other custom details that you want to model, then ARCHICAD SOLO, which is about half the price of the professional version, might be worth looking at. Again, big learning curve that is difficult to do without at least a few days with an experienced user/tutor if you are new to CAD / 3D modeling.

If you have the skills, and are not overly concerned about money, then a way to get a head start on your home model is the Canvas app from Occipital which uses Occipital's Structure Sensor which you attach to an iPad:
The $ 399 price, assuming you already have a compatible iPad, lets you visually scan rooms - as seen in the videos there - via a 'painting' sweeping motion and then get 3D models for a small price per room, with an extra fee for the US-based Canvas staff to integrate all of the rooms into a single model.

My tests showed that measurements of dimensions for all elements of a room, including complex ceiling soffits, doors and windows, etc, were overall less than 0.5% ... but some individual errors of items less than 12 inches in width/height could be up to 8%. Where I had a major glitch in what I received, the Canvas people re-worked the model. If you've ever measured a room, or house, for an as-built, sizing and locating every window and door opening, cabinet, light switch, outlet, etc... it is an insane amount of measuring. So, to get a quick first draft with something like Canvas can be handy.

Output formats are .skp, .rvt., .dwg. .dae and .ifc. I imported SketchUp (.skp) models into ARCHICAD and found that they even modeled cabinetry and various pieces of furniture in each room - as separately grouped 'objects'. (This was before they offered IFC models - which I had suggested that they add their output list.)

For a quick 'as built' (your seeming initial goal) - or for context modeling for a remodel or expansion - this could be something to consider. If you want a precise model, you'll need to stretch/adjust things based on your own laser measure for the error rate of the sensor.

If you are a sophisticated computer user / engineer - then I would still recommend ARCHICAD for its modeling flexibility, ability to view the project in different ways, ability to handle remodels, visualization, ability to import/export in various formats, etc. But, again, you likely would want some in-person training for a couple of days (or more, depending on your personal skill set).


PS Disclaimer: My mention of Canvas above is just my personal experience after purchasing the hardware and scaning 6 or so rooms last year. I am not wearing my 'hat' as a moderator in this post.
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.2.1, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Barry Kelly
The original post (link removed) ...
Hi there, home owner here

We moved into a huge, old house last month. It used to belong to distant family of my SO and we decided to buy it from them. It's a really nice building from the 1830s and it will need quite some work in the upcoming years.

From the last redevelopment roughly 30 years ago, there are notes and some pictures where all the pipes and cables go through and while we will have a professional working with us to document upcoming changes properly, we decided that we also would like to have a digital version of it for future uses.

So right now, we are hoping to find a software that allows us not only to create the most accurate 3D model of hour home - so we can use it to virtually test out different changes easily - but also a way to have all the house's "intestines" displayed as well.

They way I imagine it would be like having a 3D model with different layers that can be peeled away to show what lies behind the walls - or maybe some sort of "ghost" mode that changes the transparency/opacity of the walls or something like that.

Is ArchiCAD the right software for this purpose? Or is there something else that suits our needs better?

All suggestions are welcome

Sorry guys but this was a spam post with inappropriate content in a link in the signature.
Poster has been banned and post deleted.

I remember reading this post before (or one very similar) but I can't find it now - so that must have been spam and deleted too.


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Erwin Edel
I tend to 'scan' new member posts for dodgy links now instead of typing up a reply because of this. Pretty annoying for those meaning well with help
Erwin Edel, Project Lead, Leloup Architecten

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Adobe Design Premium CS5

Well at least I found Karl's heads up on Canvas interesting. It's amazing how fast optical measuring is developing and amazing how accurate this stuff is getting. Thanks Karl!
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Stress Co_
DGSketcher wrote:
Well at least I found Karl's heads up on Canvas interesting. Thanks Karl!
Marc Corney, Architect
Red Canoe Architecture, P. A.

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Eduardo Rolon
I think I was the one that removed that previous post.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
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