David Anderson holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a partner in ADA Architect Inc. in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Chief Architect
By David Anderson

Chief Architect
Architectural Software
Advanced Relational Technology Inc.
301 North Third Street
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Phone: 800.482.4433
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.chiefarchitect.com

List Price: $947.00

Chief Architect by Advanced Relational Technology, Inc. (ART) is now in release 7.0. Intended primarily for the design-build residential market, the program is maturing to the point where architects specializing in light commercial buildings may want to investigate its usefulness to their practices. This latest version features a significant number of enhancements that have narrowed the gap between Chief and other mainstream, full featured, CAD programs.

The program ships on a single CD and installation on both Windows 98SE and NT.4 SP6 was faultless. The company provides a number of licensing and registration options. Hardware locks are available, at an additional cost, in both parallel and USB versions.

For customers who don't wish to purchase a hardware lock, an Activation Password is available from ART via the Internet 24 hours a day. A Deactivation Password is also required if you want to use the program on another computer.

This Activation/Deactivation method works perfectly and provides an effective method of using the program at the office and at home. For customers who don't have an Internet connection, passwords are available through a toll-free number. In this case, those customers who need to work on two computers may want to consider the hardware lock option.

Also included with the software is a four-CD set of training videos. These videos contain, in addition to a sample project that illustrates the typical workflow, over 16 hours of video instruction. The videos demonstrate all the important features of the program. They enable new users to become quickly productive and provide experienced users with a complete demonstration of the new features included in this release. Even at the advertised price of $199.95 these training CDs provide excellent value.

Used in conjunction with the well-illustrated 800+ page reference guide and given the program's inherent ease of use, there is no reason that new users could not become proficient by themselves in a relatively short time. Additional resources are available on the Chief Architect web site and numerous Internet user groups where members are usually very helpful to provide answers on all types of Chief questions.

Chief Architect's strength has always been its ability to create floor plans, elevations, sections and 3D views quickly and easily. Its weakness was that this ease of use and speed were counterbalanced by the limited choices available to the designer. Trim profiles, library objects, door and window styles, muntin patterns and railings were fixed or offered in limited choices for customization. With version 7.0, ART has addressed some of these limitations, added some impressive new features and, as conversations with company representatives have indicated, are planning even more in the next version, tentatively scheduled for approximately 12 months.

Some of release 7.0's most important features are as follows:

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