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CAD Software For Contractors Or Designers...or Both.

 
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:01 PM   #1
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CAD Software For Contractors Or Designers...or Both.


New FOG on the block...as in my entire 65 years on earth has been in residential construction. I've been a SoftPlan Architectural System user since 1998.

If there was any one huge effort involved in bringing CAD into my office it was the "confidence level" of dealing with you're drawing; 2D plan drawings v elevations v sections to where we are now with SoftPlan (hereinafter SP) 2018+ which is the monthly version that stays current.

The learning curve was huge...however, nothing compared to AutoCad as SP is configured in it's design specific to residential and light commercial construction. There were a ton of controls, hot keys and character input to make things happen along with moving the cross hair with the mouse. However in the early days of any CAD program...what the real problem are not found in the one time huge book that came with each purchase or upgrade...it was the "work arounds" to make things happen when you had your hopes set on a simple process...and then your hand drawn as-built depicts minor conflicts that SP has never heard of which kills the trig on roofs or getting layers to line up...things that have been cured over the years.

But it still has it's buggy days that takes away from my income source...rather than being on the job, I was sitting on my backside trying to make the program draw...rather than just draw with confidence on a perfectly good Maytag drawing board and Mutoh Drafting square/machine.

If you're not 100% on what you just put into lines or configurations...you'll spend much too much time working on making a perfect drawing to fit a possibly imperfect existing structure. If you have the MTO module...you won't be 100% on your materials quantity take off that you have to feed your own $$values per unit.

I've been trapped on making the perfect drawing before because I started off with a good design; that got more complicated with little issues of the as-built (or for new construction, the site topo) that I spent too much time trying to correct to come up with a photo realistic 3D elevation only to find rafter poking through a lower wall or through the roof; windows that had a placing mind of their own; foundation sill plate that stuck out 6 inches past the sill; etc.

I'd finally hit the rack around 0300 only to get up about 0530 with not even a good night's nap.

It's taken me 20 years to be fully confident and competent with SP and I've done some outstandingly good construction docs that were just right for the permitting departments around the metro Atlanta area. But it was a LOT of trial and error with an emphasis on error to finally get a handle on SoftPlan and how to control it's every move. And then...they'll upgrade versions and leave me to sort through the working control changes.

as my retiring years are coming up in a hurry...I put in 20 years to become a CPBD via the AIBD in order to have my credentials that may work well with permitting departments one day in the near future. At that time, I'll be at my desk each day rather than ranting and raving on a job site. But being able to do both design and construction is a lot easier to say than to actually do.

For your own sake and business decision...it's a choice as to making an income for you and the company, or trying to reinvent the wheel that could be accomplished by other designers as an expense borne of the client.

I was very fortunate...I had a lifetime of learning how to handle homebuilding and even more so once I graduated high school and took on the role as a homebuilder in the metro Atlanta area. It was easy because I knew all there was to know about home construction after all the years of exposure.

And then.... on my first solo venture out with more brawn than brains and a WEEK into digging a footing, it occurred to me exactly how dumb I really was...and still am. You won't learn it all..but you can make very good decisions on how best to optimize your subs; where to buy your materials; how common street scenes can tell you how things are in the building market....not how you're TOLD that they are (the ruin of many home builders)...but most importantly, just as I found out there were just enough footing diggers out there to dig and pour a footing in one or two days....

....there are just enough rez designers as well as architects to do your design work at someone else's expense. You may have an LLC and best of hopes to survive a test of your personal liability...but so do most designers and architects who also carry Errors and Omissions Insurance as professional designers and architects. Most likely you DO NOT qualify for E&O Insurance for the term designer or consult and no matter how structured...when things go south (and they do) you'll spend a lot of money keeping out of harms ways with your own attorneys.

If you're unlucky...you'll spend a lot of money on the plaintiff attorneys as well.

"A corporation or LLC’s owners may also be held personally liable if they are found to have committed fraud. If the owner made fraudulent representations or omissions he or she can be held personally responsible for the resulting harm to their client at risk losing personal assets. Alternatively, if a corporation or LLC was created to further a fraudulent cause or business, a court can pierce the corporate veil to get to the owners as well."
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:48 PM   #2
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Re: CAD Software For Contractors Or Designers...or Both.


Tl;dr

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Old 02-06-2019, 09:29 PM   #3
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Re: CAD Software For Contractors Or Designers...or Both.


I'm sorry, I don't really want to read all of that.
Could you just condense it a bit and/or ask a question if indeed there is a question in there?

Andy.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:43 PM   #4
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Re: CAD Software For Contractors Or Designers...or Both.


No questions involved....it a legit observation about those that want to draw their own plans.

Definitely not required reading...just there for anyone that might need an opinion about whether CAD software is the best use of time and money for their business.
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