Architosh News Reports
  Architosh Staff ([email protected])


Abracadata software for Home Design and Estimating

21 June 99.

Abracadata is a software developer with a unique niche market: hobby and home design (improvement) specialties. Their "Design Your Own Home" (TM) series includes a number of good software titles geared more toward the "do-it-yourself-er" than the professional architect or builder. Yet there is one product that may be of interest to professional builders on the Macintosh and even architects who do a lot of small commercial and residential work. That program is Design Estimator.

Design Estimator (TM) has been around since 1982, long before the Mac, and must have lived at a different software firm, since Abracadata has only been in business since 1985 (according to their website). The program estimates construction costs for jobs using the "electronic paper" columnar approach, produces fuzzy logic finds, sorts, tagging, etc.. The program comes with example price books which can be modified and updated to reflect current local costs, including labor and unit material costs. Design Estimator is built to interface with Abracadata's other Design Your Own Home series software products, like DYOH Architecture and DYOH Landscape, and even integrates with Intuit's Quicken financial management and planning software. You can also simply run the program as is, as a stand alone item. The program is upgradable to a more powerful version and Abracadata has now added upgrade patches and items to their website for easy retrieval. The system requirements are really minimal at 1 MB of required RAM.

The other programs in the "Design Your Own Home" series include: DYOH Architecture, a simplified CAD program for producing accurate and professional blueprints; DYOH Landscape, a similar program for landscape architecture; DYOH Interiors, an interior design program similar to the architecture program but for interiors; and DYOH 3D Design, a program that quickly creates floor plans, allows you to place furniture and then tour the design in 3D with its built-in rendering environment (QuickDraw3D-based, pretty sure of it). This last program allows you to explore your designs in a virtual "walkthrough", real-time rendered environment (at up to 15 frames per sec.). The systems requirements for all of these programs are minimal: System 7.1 and up, 68040 processor (FPU unit required for the 3D program, not sure about other apps) 8 MB RAM for the 3D program and up to 30-50 MB of hard drive space.

You can purchase the entire "Design Your Own Home Suite" for $149.00US and receive Mighty Draw, an invitation card drawing program, free in the bundle. As far as "closet architect" types go and "do-it-yourself-ers", this series of programs will have them completely buried and busy in the all their design projects. For some architects and builders, the Design Estimator software may be worth checking into if you still do cost estimates by hand on paper and prefer a simplified approach. Otherwise, you can recommend the software to your "Home Improvement"- type neighbor or relative and let them know that there is Mac software that covers this niche market quite nicely.

Architosh will include a nonprofessionals Mac CAD and AEC section in Architosh 2, where these and hopefully other software programs will be permanently listed. Architosh 2 is the next generation version of this site, planned for a summer '99 introduction. For more info click here.


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