I have been using Chief Architect for over 20 years.
Today my Softplan key came in the mail and I drew my first real floor plan, although I have been practicing with the trial version for about a week.
It is a simple addition to an existing house. After drawing the walls and dimensioning them, I went for the roof. It is an L shaped ranch, with an inset entry, mostly hip roof but a gable on the portion forming the L.
If I understand Softplan correctly, every roof is first drawn as a hip roof. Chief does the same thing, but you can pre set walls to be gable or hip roof above before generating the roof. So I clicked the auto roof, grabbed some of the reference circles and made a few adjustments. Ta Da, the roof is perfect. I think it took about half the time it would have taken in Chief.
It seems the Project options and System options in Softplan give a lot more control than you get in Chief. I also like the fact that with Softplan you can set the height of any individual wall, whereas with Chief you can only set wall heights to an entire "room".
I also like the Manufacturer Libraries in Softplan, with for instance Andersen 400 series giving an extensive list of the windows. In Chief, you have to open a window, edit it for size, glass area, etc then add it to a "User" library. Very time consuming.
Another thing I consider a drawback to Chief is that it considers the sill plate of the foundation as part of the foundation, not part of the framing. However, in certain views it considers it as part of the foundation, in others not so. I think the parameters are easier to set in Softplan than Chief.
Dormers in Softplan are extremely easy compared to Chief. Dormers in Chief are time consuming and a lot of guesswork and do overs. I like to describe Cheif Architect as putting the guesswork back into drafting.
In short, I was able to produce the basic drawing in about 2/3 the time it would take in Chief, and I know because I did the same project in Chief just to compare.
One thing Chief has and I do not know if Softplan has, is a CAD Drafting mode. It is a fairly powerful 2D Cad program, and is very useful for drawing CAD Details. I have not gotten there with Softplan yet, so I don't know how it generates CAD Details. With Chief you can save the CAD Details to a library, and then use them in any plan or plan set. Very useful for me when my drawings have to go to the New York City Department Of Buildings, because in every set of plans, there are at least ten sheets of specific details and general notes.
Another very useful feature of Chief is the ability to draw dimensions to the Wall Surface Layer (aka drywall in most cases) or the Framing Members. That can be done on any dimension string, and even for dimensions within the string. I was looking for a way to dimension to the drywall in Softplan, but I have not found it yet.
So far, and again my experience with Softplan is very limited, absent the CAD Details I can produce the drawings faster in Softplan. I am eager to find out if the entire plan set can be generated faster too.
Imagine how fast you will be able to draw when you have used SoftPlan for more than a week.
Just open a new drawing under file to draw your CAD details.
Remember to check out the tutorial library located towards the bottom of the navigation window under Tutorial tab.
You are going to love the planset template feature once you get it set up for the way you want your construction documents to look.