Based in Henley-on-Thames, Simon Mack Architecture was established nine years ago. The studio specialises in contemporary residential design for new builds, home extensions and renovations.
Simon had been using Autocad for 15 years, but that meant drawing in 2D and then re-doing presentations in 3D. The studio enjoy making presentations exciting for clients and they love to work in VR too. So, rather than using lots of different software programs, they wanted to find one that does everything.
“I tried Revit as it’s often the natural progression from Autocad, but I didn’t like the way it presented. After using Revit for a while, I came across Archicad.”
Simon mentioned that the option to try Archicad for a six-month extended trial was a great help. The only way to get know a new program is to try it out and this enabled Simon to try the software for a reasonable amount of time.
Learning to use Archicad
Simon has now been using Archicad for 10 months. He explained that while it took him 6 months of self-learning during weekends to learn how to use the software, he has enjoyed learning something new.
“Now, I’m churning out the projects using Archicad. I love BIMx – it’s fantastic. Having the option to take all the documentation from a project on my phone is a big positive.”
Praise was given to Applecore Designs and Graphisoft for their helplines, although Simon had to admit he did not realise he could take advantage of this service straight away!
Much of the studio’s work is contemporary residential extensions and Simon admitted that he thought it would be difficult to draw existing properties using Archicad, but in fact, he expresses that it’s not difficult at all.
“One recent design is for a converted stables and it includes a glass box and black cladding, so is quite different for the client to visualise. It really helped to give the clients BIMx so they could walk around the building. In fact, they loved it.
We have completed ten planning applications in the last four months which include lots of detailing. With Archicad, we’ve been able to provide all the planning drawings from a single program – which is so much easier.”
“With the help of Archicad, I’ve reduced the time I spend on creating the visuals for planning applications by 75%, as previously I did hand drawings as well. This is a tremendous time-saver.”
How Archicad impacted Simon Mack Architecture
The studio are happy with the fact that “everything is in one program”, and Simon is able to train new employees to use just this one program. Simon Mack Architecture are thrilled that they no longer need to carry A3 binders with drawings to sites anymore, as everything can be taken on an iPad.
“Often with residential clients, there are lots of tweaks and changes to make. Now – if I move a wall – all the sections and elevations change at the same time and are all automatically updated. There is no need to change ten different aspects manually. This saves a huge amount of time.
“Archicad just makes things easier for me. It makes my life less stressful.”
Also, when presenting to clients, I can give three similar yet different options to choose from. It’s quick and easy to do that with Archicad.
Archicad helps with the design process and gives me the flexibility to express my designs. It also helps with visualisation. Many clients can’t visualise in 3D, so being able to show them the model and allow them to walk around it is very valuable.”
Working in 3D enables the studio to carry out checks and balances within the design. It is easy to check for themselves whether there are any clashes for example.
Simon Mack Architecture’s favourite Archicad features
“With Archicad, once you get started, you’re immediately working on a 3D model. It’s incredibly quick to draw a plan and elevations and therefore saves a tremendous amount of time.
Everything is included in one programme, including BIMx. Again, this saves a huge amount of time and just makes my work so much easier.”
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