Published by Eleco Visualisation Software - who also produces the excellent Arcon 3D Architect - Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior is one of three 3D CAD packages bearing the name of the popular Channel 4 architectural TV series.

It comes as no surprise that Grand Designs has released these packages, and indeed, the Renovation & Interior version of Grand Designs 3D shows much promise especially for fans and viewers of the TV show.

The main selling points here are the multitude of templates, inclusive of actual built examples as featured on the show, and of course, the superb ease of use that characterised the more expensive Arcon 3D Architect (£199). In fact, the Grand Designs version of the software is even more intuitive by way of excellent interactive macros which simply and logically guide a novice through the basics and onto more complex works.

You can choose pre-set plans, window designs, and roofs which can be adapted, or develop new designs. There is a simple-to-use walk-through facility for 3D designs enabling clear, experiential vistas into and out of a building - which is a very important feature for those who find it difficult to visualise spaces on technical plans or section drawings without an actual model - and the ability to export 2D drawings as .DXF files onto other CAD software packages.

Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior is ideal for fans of the show. For a very reasonable £49 it provides much of what a novice to CAD will need, within the best no-nonsense packaging we have yet seen for such software. The instructions are easy to follow with good graphics and images, as is the more detailed PDF file included on the DVD-ROM.

With approximately 4,800 objects and 1,300 textures pre-loaded along with plentiful design templates, the beginner or Grand Designs aficionado alike can immerse themselves into visualisations and then into material detail analysis of their own, as well as actual houses featured on the programme.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict...

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks - plus sign up for our unique and FREE business IT newsletter

Grand Designs 3D Renovation & Interior: Specs

  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2/Vista
  • 1GB RAM
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2/Vista
  • 1GB RAM
  • DVD-ROM drive

OUR VERDICT

While not having the full complement of features that are expected on much costlier software like AutoCAD and Eleco’s own Arcon 3D Architect, this Grand Designs Renovations & Interior package with its super-slick user interface is CAD home designing without the pain.

Find the best price