Can Home Designer Architect handle non-standard framing


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I am about to embark on a project to build a couple of houses on my property and I want to draw up detailed drawings including material lists to help me do so.

I have fairly detailed manual plans that are a standard layout/floor plan.  My intention is to modify these plans to my own purposes and I would like to use Home Designer Architect to do so if possible.

The challenge is that these houses are not standard stud framing or brick walls.  They are gable roofed, loft design houses based around a onsite milled unseasoned hardwood post and beam structure that takes all the building load.  This then allows me to move the exterior and interior walls as I want without affecting the load calculations.  As the exterior and interior walls don't take any building load the materials are very flexible and can accomodate anything from traditional timber, to brick to adobe, to mud brick to straw bale, etc.  My intention is to build using straw bale exterior walls and possibly traditional framed stud/gyprock interior walls, so what I would ideally like to be able to do is draw up the main framing structure so that I can get my material list from that and then draw in my external and internal walls including windows and doors afterwards to see what it looks like visually as well as get accurate dimensions for construction. 

I know I can likely do it all manually using something like Sketchup but that will not help me with auto generating material lists and instead I will need to go through all my final components and objects and manually add up materials.  I can and have done this before for smaller projects; however I was really hoping to have a tool like Architect help me this time.  My challenge is that I cannot just draw in stud walls and roof trusses by drawing in the building outline as all these components need to be placed in specific locations and tied together with bearers and joists for the first floor and rafters and roof beams for the roof.

I have read through some of the help articles showing how to design a "post and beam" structure by doing things like using decking components but I really don't want to have to warp the software too much to do what I want.

The last thing is that I have talked about Home Designer Architect mainly as the, hopefully, most cost effective option as I won't be doing this as a business or anything like that and may never use it again after building these two houses, but I might consider Home Designer Pro if it had tools that worked better for what I want.  I don't think I can afford Chief Architect though.


Any advice would be much appreciated.


Thanks for your help,






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Your question would be best answered by sales directly -- there is a Sales Related Questions section that is monitored by Chief Architect.


You could also download the trial version and see what it will do.


Pro will do this easily, but all versions are setup for normal american style construction and issues frequently arise when deviating from this.

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Within reason you can do whatever you want AFTER  you have fully learned how to use Home Designer Pro. Truthfully software does not DO anything by itself, it takes a dedicated user who is willing to take the time to fully learn through study followed by practice how to use the software to emulate to other building professionals what is needed and wanted. That is something you do after spending the time to develop the competence necessary to do so. There is no short cut to competence other than just hard, dedicated work.



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