flexiblefullpage - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Enhanced Reality: A Closer Look at Chief Architect Room Planner

billboard -

Enhanced Reality: A Closer Look at Chief Architect Room Planner

This app helps you take measurements for making as-built drawings for estimating, as well as create 3-D renderings to help homeowners visualize the project

By By Sal Alfano October 13, 2015
An example of using Chief Architect's Room Planner digital libraries
This article first appeared in the PR October 2015 issue of Pro Remodeler.

Remodelers spend a lot of time taking measurements and making as-built drawings to use when they’re estimating projects. Increasingly, they also use 3-D digital renderings to help homeowners visualize what their remodeled home will look like. Wouldn’t it be handy if there was an app that would help you do both at once?

At last year’s Remodeling Show, I tried out an app from Chief Architect called Room Planner that does exactly that. I recently talked with Gary Doski, owner of 3D Home Design Services, a design/build firm in Sandy Hook, Conn., about how he uses the app in his day-to-day business.

When Doski first visits a client’s home, he brings up the Room Planner app on his phone, selects a room shape (freehand drawing is also an option), pairs a laser distance meter to the phone via Bluetooth, and imports dimensions as he walks around the house. 

“Once I have the information I need, I can save it and upload it to the cloud,” Doski says. “When I get back to the office, I download it into Chief Architect. But I’m a one-man show. If I had designers in the office, they could start working on the design even before I’d left the client’s house.”

Room Planner has many of the tools found in the Chief Architect desktop application, so you can create a fairly detailed design on the spot if need be. You can add and merge rooms and create bump-outs. You can use digital object libraries to drag and drop architectural elements, such as doors and windows, stairs, or fireplaces, and adjust their dimensions on the fly (below). Other libraries contain objects such as cabinets, furniture, and appliances.

architect room planner virtual sketch

You can change dimensions for walls and most objects either by dragging their “handles” or by direct entry through the keypad. And you can add labels and notes to call attention to details such as bearing walls or vent stacks that may affect the design. 

Take a Walk

But wait, there’s more. Once a completed design is loaded on a mobile device, a patented feature called “Sojourn” uses the device’s built-in gyroscope, inclinometer, and camera to create three visualization “Experience Modes.” Two are familiar: Dolly Mode allows you to “look around” in the 3-D model, and Fly Mode introduces motion, either using the app’s “thumbstick” controls or by tilting and rotating the device to change the direction.

The third mode is called Walk Through, but “Enhanced Reality” may be a more appropriate name. It uses the device’s camera to display the existing space but superimposes the new design. A client holding the device at eye level can not only see the new design but can also “experience” it while literally walking around in the existing space (below).

architect room planner virtual sketch

“I still use a laptop to project the 3-D walkthrough up on the wall,” Doski says. “But Sojourn is a fun feature that really increases client engagement.” 


Read about other high-tech tools for home improvement pros

This app helps you take measurements for making as-built drawings for estimating, as well as create 3-D renderings to help homeowners visualize the project

written by

Sal Alfano

Executive Editor

Sal Alfano is executive editor for Professional Remodelersal.alfano@gmail.com, 202.365.9070

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories

10 Remodeling Sales Techniques for 2024

Mark Richardson explains the benefits of visual selling, strategic questioning, intentional messaging, and more on this episode of Remodeling Mastery

3 Ways to Start and Operate a Successful Handyman Division

So, you want to start a small projects division? Three successful remodelers lay out their winning approaches and hard-learned lessons

6 Results-Proven Marketing and Sales Tips for Contractors

The Pinnacle Experience’s keynote speaker, author of "They Ask, You Answer" offers results-driven tips contractors can start today for improved leads

How to Get More Leads with a Stronger Remodeling Brand

Discover how to build a strong brand for your construction company, and learn key strategies to differentiate and attract better leads

How to Increase Your Odds of Closing Remodeling Sales

Use these tips to hone your sales process and grow close ratio

Building A Small Projects Division from the Ground Up

Through hard work and careful strategy, Harth Home Services has seen big growth

A Mindset of Serving Others

A research study shows surprising results about what makes us take ownership of our work.

10 Questions to Identify Sales Weaknesses

Mark Richardson runs you through a proper fitness check-up—for you and your sales team, that is.

How to Communicate with Today's Cautious Remodeling Client

Amid economic skepticism, Americans continue to spend. Now, how can you get them to spend on remodeling?

7 Tips to Lower Remodeling Costs

As material and labor prices spiral out of control, many homeowners are putting the brakes on remodeling projects. Use these guidelines to bring down costs. 

boombox2 -
halfpage2 -
native1 -

More in Category

native2 -
halfpage1 -
leaderboard1 -