First Look: VisionREZ30 Sep, 2004 By: AIA ,H. Edward Goldberg Cadalyst
In my review of architectural desktop, June 2004, p. 26, I gave the program a 5-star, highly recommended rating as superb and productive architectural software. There is one caveat. Architectural Desktop as it comes out of the box is an all-purpose architectural product that you must configure for optimal productivity. Ameri-CAD, a 15-year-old architectural services and software development company, has harnessed the power of basic Architectural Desktop for the residential and light commercial industry through its new software, VisionREZ.
Figure 1. VisionREZ includes a full-featured residential roof object with trim. You can add and adjust various styles of fascia trim to represent the way it will be built.
Ameri-CAD's focus has been on standardizing drawing processes for speed and uniformity, with digital data links to graphics and estimating. These principles have guided the development of the new VisionREZ—Plug-In and VisionREZ—Stand Alone. These products are positioned to deliver new levels of productivity to the residential sector, bridging the gap between 2D and 3D, by using the BIM (building information model) concept. Ameri-CAD chose Architectural Desktop as a development platform because of its huge trained user base, the dominance of the DWG file format, and the Architectural Desktop API (application programming interface).
VisionREZ—Plug In is for those who already own Architectural Desktop and those who require all of the features of Architectural Desktop as well as custom enhancements for their residential application. Feature enhancements include
- 1. Full-Featured Residential Roof Object with Trim. Add and adjust various styles of fascia trim to represent the way it's built. Transitions between rakes and eaves are shown in plan and model view, and you can insert them automatically or manually.
- 2. Window Group. Draw any shape (such as curved or sloped) for a group of multiple windows or windows with doors and insert them into a wall as a group.
- 3. Bay/Box/Bow Window. You can insert them into a wall based on user-defined parameters.
- 4. Preset Styles. These cover a large segment of residential requirements so you can start using the software immediately. Styles include doors, windows, stairs, slabs, walls, 2D elevations, roofs, trim, and schedules.
- 5. Enhanced Content. Content incorporates predefined materials for rendering, lineweights for construction documents, and information for takeoffs.
The VisionREZ—Stand Alone platform offers the power and flexibility of Architectural Desktop without requiring you to buy a seat of Architectural Desktop. To offer this excellent value, VisionREZ disables selected commercial features. VisionREZ—Stand Alone displays and manipulates all AutoCAD and Architectural Desktop objects. However, it doesn't include all Architectural Desktop commands. Missing are ceiling grids, layout grids, grid assemblies, curtain walls, and door and window assemblies. It also doesn't include VBA or AutoLISP functionality, so it won't work with Architectural Desktop third-party plug-ins. Just like the plug-in, this platform includes a suite of solutions optimized for those areas that are most likely to improve overall design speed. These tools include roof design, trim detailing, and labeling. Those users who don't already own AutoCAD or Architectural Desktop and need a more economical product for their current development processes will welcome the stand-alone version.
Figure 2. The program offers a large number of preset styles tailored to residential design needs.
Ameri-CAD plans to publish a comprehensive training series either via video or a Web-based application that will take customers from the start to the finish of a typical project. The company is developing a framing module that will also focus on increasing the roof functionality in addition to releasing the first version of the framing and BOM (bill of materials) program in the fourth quarter of 2004.
If you use Architectural Desktop, or think you might purchase it, take a look at the Vision REZ software. To best judge its value and return on investment for your company, go to www.visionrez.com and request a 30-day full-featured demo version.