Designer Software -Please advise

pauladd1963May 5, 2014

Hello All,

We are going to be building on a lot that we have purchased. One of our options is to use a smaller, custom builder who built the current home we live in - it was a spec home. If we do go with him - we will need a plan. I have been scouring home plans on the web, and found a few that we would need to make modifications. My questions are:

1.Is is better and more economical to buy the plan online and have the architect the builder works with make the mods - or have them done by the designing company online? I know the plans on the Internet do not come with a stamp - so we would need a local architect anyway.

2. I have seen several posts regarding the use of designing software. Are you using these programs when you are starting from scratch? Or, are they helpful if you find a specific plan on the Internet and want to make changes - and then have an architect implement these changes. I like the idea of playing around with a floor plan myself - getting it where I want it and then having them implemented professionally. Just don't know if the investment is worth it.

Thank you for your help!

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ZGAnderson

I've used Home Designer Suite. I recognize the floorplans from this program being posted here from time to time.

My experience is that it took a lot of work to get good at using the tool and understanding the quirks (disappearing walls/roofs for no discernable reason, things not showing up how you expect them to, etc).

Second, as someone with no design/architecture background I had a ton of trial and error and got lucky that the folks here on this forum were so helpful. I feel like I ended up with a very good plan based largely on their feedback and suggestions.

Third, I would recommend that you use a draftsman/architect to render your final construction plans. I did my own, but did hire a draftsman to review my plans with me and he found a number of details that I didn't know about.

Lastly, I spent about two years on the planning stage. Not continuous, but I did spend hundreds of hours working with the program. I'm very comfortable with it now, but there's a steep learning curve.

I'd only recommend this path if you will really enjoy the process and it's not just a means to an end. For me, I loved the process and had a good time doing it. With luck, I'll be moving into a house later this year with an extra bit of pride that I designed AND built my own house.

... weather permitting, we're breaking ground on Wednesday!

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Designer Suite

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 7:15PM
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musicgal

I used software to do roughs to bring to the architect. My roughs were pretty detailed and the design is very recognizable in the final plans, but he could incorporate things like plumbing and electrical spaces that I could not. The Home Shows here in town always feature a company that drafts from your own roughs. We considered using them but our architect was already known to us and reasonable. The software is a good investment imo- less than $100 for mine and learning to use it makes you think out things you might not think about otherwise, such as door heights- roof pitches- lines of sight, etc. This should all be part of your frame of reference before you bring a plan to a professional for refinement. I believe we paid less in hourly fees because our plan was so well-developed at first. Best wishes-

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Bethanysmom

I also used Home Designer Suite software and then took my plan to a drafts person to have her draw up the final plans.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:42PM
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