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Architects & Builders - Is IMSI serious about gaining Construction Pro's?
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* April 16, 2012, 01:27:43 PM
I am a design-build contractor.  Is IMSI serious about selling itself to construction pros?  The reason I ask that I've downloaded the trial of TC19 and out of the marketing, the forum, and the training that comes with the software - I get a distinct message that IMSI isn't devoting a lot to winning the builder or architect over.  It's all little bits and pieces but never the whole A to Z information or training that a pro designer or builder needs to know.
The Kevin Mendenhall training video seems to be the extent of how the use T-CAD in construction design - but by the advertising, it's a lesson on one single-level house - and lacks any reference that you will learn how to draw the complete plan of every house.  Where does a new but experienced pro learn to create from the plot plan, plot contours, select foundation types, add stories, create schedules, material lists, engineering specs, wall layers, truss and joist details - basically have everthing permit ready.
There also seems right now to be no training on how to work plans into Google Sketchup Pro or another program to integrate 3-D landscaping, since it seems to have none of it's own.
When I look at Cadsoft's marketing page http://www.cadsoft.com/builders.php - I know they want a builder to buy and it's a one-stop application.
The same with Chief Architect.  Those marketing sites have a clear message:  "We want architects and builders".
So Turcbocad building industry pros - what makes T-CAD the standout to you?  I'd love to be be convinced to buy - right now the trial isn't thrilling me to stay since it has little of no available pro architectural-buiilder training in the trail download.


* April 16, 2012, 09:36:12 PM
Bob,  Thank you for your honest answers. 
Roofs that don't always work, no bid lists, no 2D-3D landscaping, not easy to learn, not really programmed as a real solution to a pro builder or architect.
What is that saying?  You can only ever have two but not three: speed, price, quality. 
My two biggies were price and quality, so I may need to move up a notch and go speed and quality.


* April 21, 2012, 07:04:21 AM
Hi Michael,

For all the reasons you have stated, I do not use TCAD for most of my Architectural work (residential, small commercial). As I have stated many times on this forum , the combination of TurboFloorplan and TurboCAD is a more rounded solution.

IMSI Design is coming out with a set of training videos I've done which first goes through the process of creating a 2D/3D home in TurboFloorplan. I have created a TurboCAD 'template' which consists of individual 'rectangles / boxes'. Each box allows you to place a dxf export of your 2D model generated in TFPlan (plans, sections, elevations, electrical, framing, roof , plot plan etc).

The 2D template has preset Paper Space Views defined, so after inserting your 2D work, you can zoom in on each, modify them as required and the paper space views are automatically updated, ready for print at Arch D / 1/4" scale (24x36").

TFPlan solves all the problems you mentioned that are lacking in TCAD . TFPlan is compatatble with all Cadsoft products as it is one.

TCAD solves the problem of Working Drawing layouts and has stronger 2D drafting tools than TFPlan.

A very nice combintation of speed, BIM, quality renderings and working drawings.

My site has more information on the Training Videos. IMSI Design should have the training out shortly.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 07:21:59 AM by Jack Zimmer »


* April 21, 2012, 03:17:51 PM
Thanks, Jack
I went to your website.  I'm impressed!

Usually, I don't complain.  It's just that IMSI seems to have made it really difficult to find out IF TC19 was a really good product or not for a design-builder.

After looking at your website and following the links, I can see that IMSI stays in the 3D modeling CAD business, even thoug it looks like someone at IMSI spent a lot of programming time and dollars to put architectural tools in TurboCAD.

From what it seems, if I want to "concept" out houses and draw floorplans, I also need Turbo Floorplan 3D as almost an essential with TC19.  
Plus, I need to spend extra dollars for your training vids before knowing if I will want to keep the product.  

I couldn't see if the training vids are refundable though, if I decide I don't want to go beyoind the free trial (?)

As a startup professional package, all of this extra purchasing is also getting pricey and complicated enough - to have me seriously looking at what the next level of CAD's there is that is already the whole package.  



* April 21, 2012, 04:06:13 PM
Hi Michael,

TCAD has been improving it's architectural tools for a long time now. Many TCAD users are quite happy with what they can do and what can be produced with them.

You specifically were interested in a product designed for Architectural work only and TFPlan is designed to only do that. That is why I suggested using both in combination.

If you download the trail version of TFPlan, you don't need training to get started. A 'tutor' is included and when you select a tool a pop up occurs showing you how to use that tool. Of course the basics are relatively simple and straight forward, the full abilities of TFPlan as with TCAD, come from use, questions asked/ answered on the forums and experimenting. But the trial should give you a taste of what it can do.

Both TCAD Deluxe and TFPlan are cheap IMO. If you want more complicated / advanced programs, they are available in MicroStation / Vectorworks / Revit etc. But be prepared for much higher costs and longer learning curves.

I did receive your email, I look forward to show you what the programs can do , and you can better decide what is best for your needs.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 04:25:30 PM by Jack Zimmer »


* April 21, 2012, 05:52:41 PM
That's really great.  I look forward to it.


April 23, 2012, 11:26:31 AM

I am a sole proprietor architect and have been using TC since Version 8 in my business.  My work includes residential and light commercial.  I first bought TC due to its price and similarity to AutoCad.  I had worked for a firm for 3 years that used AC version 14 so that was my current frame of reference. The program that I had used in my previous business (Drafix now AutoSketch) was no longer supported.  TC is the 6th Cad program I have used since the late 70's.  I have used better 2D programs, but in the long run they lacked a lot of features that are necessary for design and production work.  Like Jack Zimmer I use a combination of programs for design and drawings. but unlike Jack my companion program is Sketchup.  I use Sketchup for design and most of my 3d work and TC for production drawings.  I do not use TC's rendering capabilities as Sketchup provides enough rendering to suit my needs and is far simpler to use.

I agree that there are very few training aids for the building construction business and even fewer for using TC and Sketchup together.  I have developed my own process from trial and error.  As Jack has said, TC has greatly improved its architectural tools and one can do a pretty good good job on floor plans using architectural walls, doors, windows, and stairs.  TC also has a good translator for Sketchup native file format which both reads and writes Sketchup files.  I usually start with a floor plan created in TC adding basic wall heights, doors and windows.  Sometimes I will develop a mass model in Sketchup and X-ref it into TC and build my floor plan around that model.  I then transport my 3-D floor plan to Sketchup for design modification.  I do my roofs in Sketchup and will make them into a seperate files X-refed back into TC.  My projects usually have non standard roof designs which are driven by structure so I do not attempt to create a roof in TC. 

Sometimes I like to draw my structural members in 3-d and show them in isometric views to help clarify whats going on to the contractor.  I do this work in Sketchup.  Sketchup is not really useful for creating any kind of dimensioning or annotations.  All of this work along with organizing my drawing sheets is done in TC.  When one translates from TC to Sketchup you loose the smart architectural objects.  They translate as 3-D objects but are no longer smart and will translate back into TC as just 3D objects.  For this reason I have begun using TC's X-ref capabilities and just working back and forth between the two programs.  I tried Envisoneer for a time (on which Turbofloor plan is based) but it did not work well for me.  I have not tried Turbofloorplan but Jack Zimmer does some great work with it.  Unless one is willing to put out a lot of money one has to work out their own process and what programs will do the best job for them.

I have often thought that I would put together a tutorial for using TC with Sketchup but my architectural work seems to get in the way.  I thought that something like that might come out of IMSI's Double Cad which I think was partially intended to be a drafting companion for Sketchup along with competition for AutoCad lite.  I really have not seen anything, however, I have not looked that closely.  In addition to Jack Zimmer's tutorial a couple of places to look for training are http://www.cadcourse.com/ or http://www.textualcreations.ca/.

Jon Coxwell, AIA
Windows Win 7x64
TC19,20 32 bit, 20,21,22 64 bit (Platinum)
RedSDK usually off  Win 10 pro

Save the Planet
Conserve & Recycle

* April 23, 2012, 01:40:12 PM
Thanks very much, Jon.
Your expererience and summary gives me a lot of help, as has Jack Zimmer's.  It's starting to help me understand what pro's like yourself and Jack have done to make TC their own architectural design tool.
I've been hoping that I'd learn from someone just how effective and functional the Sketchup/TC interface is like.
Besides myself, I know these questions and sharing by highly experienced members will be benefitial also to others seeking the same answers.

I am going to try the methods and starts that Jack and you have recommended me to try.  I think Jacks videos will be a lot of help also.

I hope and expect that IMSI will also read this string.  This has honestly been a very time-costly research - both before deciding to download the product and after downloading the product - how much I had to dig and search to find these answers.  Some new marketing stategies and updates could really help them expand their market to design-build contractors.     


* April 25, 2012, 04:21:50 AM
After reading this thread, I wanted to add to the conversation. I own and run a small construction contracting and project management company. We used to use Revit and AutoCad up until several months ago when we lost our draftsman to a rival business and thus losing the software with him. I decided that it would be bettter for the business to complete it's modelling inhouse. I wanted to have a CAD program that was cost effective and easy to use, giving our business better access to mass models, drawings and some BIM coordination ability. I purchased TurboCad 19 Plat and have not looked back since. Similar to Jon, I use a cominbation of TurboCad and Sketchup Pro to produce our work and have had good success in learning the programs so far.

I have found this forum to be a great resource for the software and work throughs.

Based on our experience so far, we will continue to use TurboCad

Darren - EstimateAssist
TC21 Platinum

* April 25, 2012, 08:15:45 AM
This is a very interesting thread.

I always thought that Turbocad was fashioned as a tool for the U.S. market of Architecture, at least the extensions and modules come across as very regionalized tools. This is one my main complaints, since I can´t use most of the prefabricated elements such as windows and doors and have a hard time to generate my own elements/blocks for 2D/3D. In addition to that, the dimensioning tool could use a few tiny additions such as automatic detection and display of the height of a wall opening. I have complained about the missing compliance to international standards, but the reaction to that´s been not too promising.

A BIM of a house may work for very simple projects, but there´s too much that needs to be "polished" after I generate 2D drawings from a good 3D model. But if anyone has a good tutorial, I will very likely change my mind ;)

I use TC17pro mainly as a digital drawing board, since creating a working 3D model seems (and always has been) far too time consuming, with not too many benefits of calculation tools for material (cubic meters for brick walls), automatic generation of room areas with descriptive text and lists of rooms etc. being not really existent (I know there´s a floor tool and there are report tools, maybe I need to have a closer look). So my drawings are entirely 2D, the wall tools coming in handy, but that´s about it.

So, I too question if IMSI is really serious about attracting Architects as users, but mostly from a very localized POV ;)


* April 25, 2012, 09:46:20 AM

I purchased TurboCad 19 Plat and have not looked back since. Similar to Jon, I use a combination of TurboCad and Sketchup Pro to produce our work and have had good success in learning the programs so far.

DJA - It sounds like you and I have similar business applications.  

You hit the ground running and producing working plan sets - and I am curious to know what your first steps were to learning to draw plan sets and how you got moving so fast, and adapting to the interfacing with Sketchup Pro so fast?

I am looking forward to connecting with Jack Zimmer and his training modules (if I move past the buy the trial download and buy the product).

I am extremely computer-design literate and technically experienced.  I have been hand drawing house plans for 20+ years, and started using amateur CAD sets for the basics about 5 years ago and have been turning these over to a CAD outfit in town.  I want to get the full control as well as sit with the client and make changes on the fly.

But I still don't have hours to spend hours inventing workarounds.  I am running a business.  Comments about windows in the set not being USA compliant, complicated roofs not being able to be generated - makes me wonder how much time it takes to discover the solutions.
What has been your experience?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 09:53:53 AM by Michael_J »


April 25, 2012, 10:30:19 AM
Hi user's
Please see attached picture for TC power.
Best regards from Mali(West Africa)

Architect living in Mali ( West Africa)
Turbocad from TC3 to TC pro Plat 2017 user

* April 25, 2012, 11:47:55 AM
Hi user's
Please see attached picture for TC power.
Best regards from Mali(West Africa)


Henry H


* April 25, 2012, 12:33:18 PM
Very Great Work. Impressive!!
I would love to see the 2D drawings.


April 25, 2012, 01:35:13 PM

If you are planning on making changes on the fly with clients looking over your shoulder stick to Sketchup or Turbofloorplan.  You will get bogged down in the complexity of TC or any other complete CAD system.  I think this is why Sketchup never really tried to come out with CAD tools to compliment it.  I believe design software needs to be more free wheeling.

I do not agree with the notion that TC is not compatible with US standards.  I usually keep my drawings pretty generic and cover specifics in notes and specifications.  I find I can very easily pick from the architectural entities, windows and doors that will very closely match those that come out of the manufacturer's catalog.  If I need to be more specific then I look for download details from a particular manufacturer.  My TC drawings are intended to be technical for construction and my Sketchup drawings for explaining the design to the client.  At this point I an not into BIM.  It seems too complicated for the size of projects I do.  I began my career drawing on linen, progressed to mylar and pin bar drafting.  My drawings are still organized based on the way I learned my craft.  BIM would probably be an advantage if I was doing a lot of repetitive work or larger projects but I think there is still no better way of coordinating than to sit with the plans and try to figure out what I or someone else has actually drawn.   I love my computer but it also can lull me into a false sense of security that everything is OK because it was done on the computer.  My experience is otherwise.

Jon Coxwell, AIA
Windows Win 7x64
TC19,20 32 bit, 20,21,22 64 bit (Platinum)
RedSDK usually off  Win 10 pro

Save the Planet
Conserve & Recycle

* April 26, 2012, 01:17:00 AM
Thanks, Jon - and everyone else.  It has been good to read entries and advice by the pro's of TC, and take the veil off of the mystery of it.


* April 26, 2012, 04:48:54 AM
Sorry that I caused some confusion here ;)

The elements of course look like they are compliant to U.S. standards, but since I am here in Germany I can´t use them. I should have added that I am not located in the U.S. and thus need completely different sets of elements ;)

Regarding the session with a client, stay away from that! There is nothing worse than having a client sit next to you and you´re working on a cad drawing or 3D model! Besides a lot of problems that come automatically if you use a medium that does not lend itself to immediately transforming your thought into something tangible or visible, it actually degrades the value of your own work.
Pen and paper are still the most powerful tools in sessions with clients. Nothing worse than a PC that hangs or a program that crashes. For presentations, yes, for actually making changes "on the fly", I say there is no software in the world stable enough to guarantee smooth and glitch free work.

And what does a client probably think about your pricing if he sees you create a drawing within an hour or making changes really quick? ;)


* April 26, 2012, 07:10:28 AM
Hi Youssouf,

Very nice model. I like you use of balconies, offsets and material changes for definition. Colors are wonderfully added. I don't think color is used enough in some buildings, you've made the building much more interesting combining them.

Nice job, thanks for posting.


* April 28, 2012, 05:01:58 AM

I purchased TurboCad 19 Plat and have not looked back since. Similar to Jon, I use a combination of TurboCad and Sketchup Pro to produce our work and have had good success in learning the programs so far.

DJA - It sounds like you and I have similar business applications.  

You hit the ground running and producing working plan sets - and I am curious to know what your first steps were to learning to draw plan sets and how you got moving so fast, and adapting to the interfacing with Sketchup Pro so fast?

I started my drawing knowledge by hand (paper and drawing board) and played with CAD programs on and off for years. In our current business we had the idea of using simple mass models to provide visual information to our crews on the ground construction the works and to create simple 3D planning to try and reduce risk on site. We use do this in Revit and used a viewer on site. Due to our draftsman moving on the our capability to produce this was lost as we could not drive the software. I started to play with google sketchup as an alternative and found the interface very simple to use and generate mass models. Applying further detail was also easy and it allowed viewing by our crews at no cost on site using the free version. The issue we had was that we could not present or get micro detail design into the model, thus we started using TurboCad as both programs could interact with each other.

I have to admit,  I thought it was going to be easier than it actually was to learn and adapt our business to the programs. Basically I wanted to created detail construction drawings and a 3D that could be used for basic BIM applications to allow quality construction and construction programming.

We are still in the early phases of implementing this and have been successful to date.

My background is construction and commercial building, our business is primarily construction delivery management. A lot of our work involves the design coordination of projects (I have picked up a lot of knowledge through the years from the consultants which has helped me)

For our major designs we still use external resources, however I would like to bring everything in house at some point.

Darren - EstimateAssist
TC21 Platinum