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Valuable Tool.

BRIAN ENNIS KNOWS TEAT COMPUTER-ASSISTED design (CAD) can save you time and money and give you more control over the design process. Ennis has change orders down to a science. With a flick of his wrist, he can increase the size of a bedroom or add a game room to a house as the amazed buyer watches. Alterations are made to the floor plan on a computer screen, and the customer gets a new price in a day, rather than weeks. "It's a win-win because the buyer feels as though he is getting a custom house on a production budget," says the president of Ennis Homes in Porterville, Calif. "For us, it's just making some

changes here and there."

CAD adds a new dimension to California builder's business.

CAD offers more control over the design process of the 240 production houses Ennis Homes builds annually "You can get a new or revised plan into production sooner because only the builder and buyer are involved," Ennis says.

Ennis swears by SoftPlan, a CAD program from Tennessee-based SoftPlan Systems. "We chose this program because it's designed [specifically] for houses, not a space shuttle, cell phone, or car," says Ennis, referring to rival CAD vendors. Ennis has spent $5,000 on the hardware, $5,000 for software, and points to only two drawbacks: The learning curve--it takes roughly six to 12 months to learn; and the potential for plans to develop a cookiecutter look (Ennis is tapping architectural firms for fresh design ideas).

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Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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