Envisioning Your Home with 3D Modeling: Software allows homeowners to visualize finished product before work begins
A new tool has entered builders’ and remodelers’ tool boxes in the past few years. It is used during the design/plan phase of a project to facilitate communication, to express ideas and to compare possibilities. It allows the contractor to help the homeowner visualize the finished project even before the first shovel breaks the soil.
What is this wonder tool, used by building design professionals from architects to contractors to interior designers, even paint contractors? It is 3D modeling software that helps skilled design professionals communicate their ideas about a project. Instead of sketching on paper, the designer draws the plan with a computer, working first on a floor plan, then on details including roof lines, wall locations, surface finishes, cabinet layouts, even moldings. When the plan is a remodel, the existing house is often drawn first, and then the plan is modified to reflect the proposed changes to the home.
When the designer has developed a workable plan, it is shown to the homeowner. Because the plan was modeled in 3D on a computer, this often doesn’t happen with the familiar rolled blueprint format.
Sometimes a layout — a smaller version of a blueprint — might be emailed to a client in a printable PDF format. The layout could include traditional floor plans and elevations, interior and exterior, but adds colorful 3D images (like photographs) of the proposed plan, showing views from various angles as well as surface finishes of walls, floors, cabinets, etc. The owner then contacts the designer with their evaluation of the plan—usually by phone or email.
Computer-savvy homeowners may also visit from home with the design professional in an online meeting. They view the plan online, looking at 3D images of interior and exterior views from many angles, and checking out the overall footprint. Some designers even make changes to the plan “on the fly.”
Sometimes the designer and client meet in person at the designer’s place of business. Like the online meeting, the client is presented with “bird’s-eye” and other 3D perspectives of the plan; however, these are viewed on a big screen TV connected to the computer. The demonstration is “up close and personal” with many modifications made and approved or rejected right on the spot. This interactive process speeds up the design process and makes the homeowner feel much more involved in the project.
Regardless of the type of plan review, once changes are made and the plan is complete, the builder/remodeler now has an accurate model for preparing the estimate. When the job is approved, blueprints for permitting and construction purposes are created using the same software.
When a designer models a project in 3D, the benefit to the client is clear, because ideas are communicated clearly and effectively. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true when to using a 3D model to visualize a new home or a revitalized older home.
Katy Fernandez, CAPS, Designer
My Design Team Inc.