material list & how material choices affect it


Recommended Posts

I am trying to understand the philosophy of material choices and how they affect the material list.  I have some examples below to clarify what I am trying to understand.  I am not looking for a specific answer to these examples, but a way to understand how Home Designer treats elements you create so I create them correctly.


For example, if I create a slab and apply a paver from the library browser, is it considered stamped concrete or a real paver?  How do I know which I am actually putting down?


Making a railing invisible for a deck.  Does that take the invisible materials away from the deck materials list?


Converting a CAD object to a slab.  How does that appear in the materials list?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's no real control over this in Architectural.  Pro has a "Pattern" tab for defining materials that affects how the Materials List generates.

You can try just placing these types of things in a new blank plan and generate a materials list to get an idea of what is going on though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Empiric testing done in a simple test plan is what I recommend, a simple plan file with a single object of whatever type, create a materials list and view the results, I have never done this myself but if I cared to know in detail what it does that is how I would do it.


From my own experience, I have only had a single client in the last twenty years who was willing to hire me to create a model (plan file) that would produce a materials list, His firm bid and constructed prefab housing. In order to create a precise materials list one has to make sure that all objects in the plan file precisely emulate the actual objects that are to be used in the actual construction. Materials assignments have to be done carefully with no 3D shortcuts one might use to simply produce construction documents.I would build framimg and then check every board, stud and rafter for precision manually editing the results, Concrete had to be set to precise thicknesses for foundations, grade beams had to be precisely created (I did that in concert with their State Licensed Structural Engineer as to specifications). Pavers had to be the exact same thickness as the actual pavers, underlain with the precise thickness of concrete or packed earth or other strata.


What I knew going in is the materials list feature ONLY measures what you put in it and how you put it in the plan file, This requires a complete mastery of Home Designer and its tools. Your problem, as I see it is that this can only be done, in a fine tuned way with Home Designer Pro and also requires a professional's knowledge of building practices, (I have functioned as a Sub Contractor, Remodeling Designer-Salesperson, punch-out Man and Construction Supervisor having to deal with other building professionals including Building Inspectors and city plan checkers).

This does not mean that you must have been these things to have the proper judgement, I am just saying I have a little more reality than most casual users in this field of activity.


Professionals who do estimating for a living do NOT use the internal Materials List feature, they use the Chief Architect plan file for raw data, dimensions that they feed into a software program specifically designed for cost estimating.


I am not saying that Home Designer software can not be used for a useful Materials list, what I am saying as my opinion that most persons who buy Home Designer software do not have the depth of dedication, understanding and knowledge to use Home Designer to create the necessary environment to produce one. You could be an exception of course.


The reason I rarely get hired to produce a materials list is that it is cheaper to hire a professional estimater or lumber company to do one using industry established procedures than to make a perfect in every way, virtual model and then read its resulting Materials List.

The above is my own opinion based upon my own experiences, I am not an employee of Chief Architect Inc nor is my word the "last word" on the subject,



  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thanks for the very detailed response.  I agree that I would only use a materials list from Home Designer as a starting point.  There is a section in the manual (page 520 in the Home Designer Architectural 2014) that discusses exporting the list as a .txt file that can be imported into spreadsheets and estimation programs.  When the time comes, I would probably refer to that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now