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3D Models sound expensive: Can’t you Just do some drawings for less?

June 19th 2019

The traditional image of an architect at work is very often sat at a drawing board, drafting out the latest masterplan or ground-breaking design. The reality is that this romantic notion of pen and ink has been surpassed by advances of technology within the industry. Perhaps 30 or even 40 years ago architects of the day were seeing the advantages of Computer Aided Drawing through the likes of computer programmes like AutoCAD. CAD programmes of the time offered the designer an unlimited plane on which to draw 2D drawings. Each floor plan, each elevation, each window or door detail was drawn individually, and was composed of individual lines that were drawn, moved and edited independently – the process of drawings line by line was still much like a computerised version of the drawing board. 

Drawings could be amended on a computer, sections deleted and redrawn, groups of lines or text copied and pasted, and of course printed making life much easier than before. Often repetitive tasks could be automated, and time consuming tasks of redrawing could be executed in a fraction of the time than by hand – true none of the drawings of plans and elevations and sections were linked in any way, and so if one changed the others needed to be manually redrawn, but it was still faster and more accurate than the drawing board, if somewhat prone to coordination errors. The computers and CAD drawing programmes were expensive, however the advantages in productivity and quality of the works over the traditional drawing board were obvious, and much of the industry took advantage of the efficiencies and invested bravely in the new technologies.

The change in step of the construction industry to adopt CAD did not stop there – the industry has been driving continual technological advances that reflect improvements in computing power, and since the mid-90s a core of visionary architects like Constructive Thinking Studio have been working in 3D in programmes like ArchiCAD. Working in 3D models and using floor slabs and walls as objects that can be edited in 3D in real time has been the birth of what we now call BIM or Building Information Modelling.

BIM offers a gigantic leap in performance over the advantages of the move from the drawing board to 2D drafting. A digital prototype of the building is produced, and when say a window or a wall position is changed in the model, all the corresponding drawings linked through to the model will also update. This is a huge step that offers greater fidelity of the drawings to the prototype model of the building, and the coordination between all of the drawing sets is now largely automated, plans match sections, windows and doors can be scheduled out with precision, even when those last minute amendments and changes are required – we know the information is right, and that it is consistently right.

Adding into our BIM workflow which delivers greater consistency and higher quality drawings, this results in higher quality spaces, and the building is delivered more predictably in terms of space, time and costs than possible with 2D drawing packages. We are able to walk you around a virtual tour of the inside and outside of your building, at various stages of design and development. Our 3D virtual tours truly convey our intent to you and is far more effective and accessible than perhaps trying to read technical 2D drawings than can seem daunting and complex to understand to the untrained eye.

We are also now developing our processes to include 3D laser scanning of your buildings so that we always have a reference model to check critical dimensions, or positions of sockets, radiators, windows or doors for example, that may have been missed during a traditional measuring tape and disto survey.

In summary, the reason why we work in a 3D BIM Workflow is that we are able to deliver consistently better-quality results, quicker, often with no additional expense and in a much more sophisticated and complete manner than our 2D competitors. Our proposals are more readily understood by you, and your feedback incorporated quickly to confirm your brief. We leverage the ability to collectively and remotely test the impact of changes in the designs, and we review these within the virtual 3D environment. This workflow of immediate feedback and design is invaluable in the creation of high-quality solutions to exceed your aspirations.

Our 3D workflow from existing building scan to technical 3D documents are provided in addition to traditional 2D Drawing outputs and gives us as a team a much better understanding of your building, revealing the true potential and opportunities that lie within.