Owning a custom home is something most people dream of for a large part of their lives. Having a house built from the ground up to your exact specifications sounds like a wonderful idea, but can also be a scary proposition. Budgets, contractors, bylaws, building codes and unforeseen circumstances can lead to a stressful endeavor. Luckily, design professionals can reduce the vast amount of unknowns that can plague many custom builds. Most projects rely on construction documentation packages, at basic can be summed up as “blue prints.” [They aren’t actually blue] and are more commonly referred to as working drawings or construction drawings. These documents include detailed floor plans, exterior elevations, building sections, construction schedules, specifications and details. The working drawings are used not only to show what a contractor needs to build, but also to attain the necessary permits to build from the local authorities.
While these documents are often enough to convey the design of a custom home, not everyone can visualize how everything will come together and what the finished product will actually look like. Many years ago the only way to see a 3D interpretation of a custom home was through cardboard models that were both difficult and time consuming to construct.
Today computer generated 3D modeling can bring life to 2 dimensional black and white drawings in ways that designers and home builders could only imagine some years ago.
Once the 3D model is “constructed” both colours and materials can be experimented with and modified with a click of a button.
In a matter of hours 2D exterior elevations can be given a third dimension, colouring, textures and accurate shadow patterns. Actual on site photos can be added to the backgrounds of these models to create context. Human models, cars and landscaping can be added to give the 3D model a relatable scale.
Given the proper budget these 3D models can further be manipulated to look realistic enough to trick the human eye for purposes of marketing and promotional material.
Not only do these 3D models help the clients who wish to build a custom home but also the designers. 3D models help reduce human error. A designer who works exclusively with traditional 2D programs has to hold much of the information mentally and visualize how everything connects together. A 3D model is a more complete process and leaves much less room for mistakes. Roofs that don’t shed or drain water properly can be fixed or avoided. Windows that don’t line up with adjacent walls can be altered. Sun and shadow patterns can be properly documented and planned for. Material usage can be optimized and can lead to lower project costs.
Creating a 3D model can cost as little as a few hundred dollars but could potentially save thousands on the construction of a custom home, just by identifying design flaws and making sure the clients wishes are fully realized right from the preliminary design stage.