How Crucial is Interior Design for Supermarkets?

Shopping for groceries may constitute retail therapy sometimes, for some people, but generally, it’s a chore. It’s a chore that involves spending valuable time at supermarkets that know how to work on human psychology to induce people to buy items they don’t really need. Interior design in supermarkets is geared towards optimising this social reality. Retailers understand that the layout of supermarkets and the placement of different items can impact consumer spending considerably. For store design & planning team, outsourcing technical services, such as architectural CAD drafting services and BIM consulting services to offshore partners has proven to be an efficient and cost-effective solution to developing supermarket interior design that can set the supermarket’s tone and increase profits.

The designing of a supermarket’s layout requires insight into basic human psychology. Designers spend time and effort to create a supermarket layout that will influence customer spending. The flow, merchandise placement and ambience of the store layout will affect the behaviour of customers. Retailers can assess their proposed revenue by looking at these layouts, resulting in informed decisions regarding the pros and cons of their mix of merchandise and where to place them.

Some of the proven features of customer behaviour and how they can be used to determine layout plans are as follows:

  • Longer stay in a store results in a higher chance that something will be bought. So, retailers try to delay the customer’s exit.
  • Store traffic will be affected by the placement of escalators, fixtures and department placement.
  • Necessities, such as milk and eggs, are frequently located in the back of the supermarket, so that customers must pass the maximum number of other merchandises to get to them, thus potentially enticing an impulse buy.

Other interior design features retailers use to provoke additional sales include the following:

  • Grouping

Merchandise is grouped in categories, so that when customers are looking to buy a specific product, they will discover other related products, which they may or may not require. Salsa and chips, breads and sandwich spreads and detergents and rubber gloves are placed adjacent to each other.

This also involves placing similar brands close together to ensure that customers who are loyal to a brand are able to find the one they want, resulting in additional cross-category or cross-brand sales.

  • Layouts for Theft Prevention

Displays or sections with small items that can be easily stolen are typically placed near security support, such as near the exit, before the check-out counter – somewhere that has extra security personnel or that involves a barrier for an extra physical movement, so that it is not easy to flee from the premises.

  • Displays that Encourage Positive Vibes

When customers are feeling good and comfortable, they feel good about their purchases. Layout design can set the mood through merchandise placement, aisle space and colours of fixtures and walls.

  • Shelf Height

Fixtures that are so tall that they block visibility has been known to cause anxiety, since shoppers must travel through every aisle. When the layout is open, anxiety is reduced, inducing shoppers to linger and make more purchases.

Why is shelf positioning so important to retail interior design?

Supermarket sales are dictated by positioning, the importance of which determines ‘shelf rent’ (cost of certain shelf positions for each product) in many cases. This is because customers need to easily view a product to buy it. A product which is hidden behind other products or on lower/higher shelves than the range of space that is easy on the eye may not sell as much.

Factors that influence where products sit on the shelf include the following:

  • Increasing Profits

A product’s ‘selling’ potential influences its shelf position. Eye-level on a shelf is considered prime real estate in a supermarket.  High-demand items, such as food staples, with high sales potential will be placed at eye level to ensure that as many units as possible are sold. Branded products are often placed on lower shelves to make way for in-store brands and special offers on eye-level shelves.

  • Targeting Customers

Understanding the target customers of different products is important. The maximum focus is on products at eye level, but some target consumers are of a different height. Children will notice, crave and insist on buying products at their eye and hand level, which means that toys, stuffed animals, most junk food and fizzy drinks may sell better from lower shelves. Products that appeal to adults will find space on higher shelves.

The supermarket has slowly evolved into the market square of old. Open plans, open ceilings and clear store graphics contribute to an open market feel.

How does a supermarket’s floor layout affect sales?

  • When customers are directed by a layout plan to walk to the back of the supermarket, they will inevitably see many other items on the way. At some point on their walk, they will be enticed to pick up certain products they had not planned for or were not aware of, increasing sales for the supermarket.
  • Clever supermarket owners will consciously position high-volume products, such as milk and bread, at opposite sides of the supermarket floor, so as to maximise the consumer’s exposure to merchandise placed between them. In-store bakeries will be placed in a central position, since the aroma of freshly baked items will encourage impulse buying by hungry customers.
  • Putting fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, near entrances gives rise to a few simple benefits. During the day, the natural light that falls on fruits and vegetables makes them look better and naturally fresh. As they are seen first, this produce will be picked up quickly and by a larger percentage of visitors, ensuring that most of such perishable items are not left behind. Since supermarket owners are cognisant of how people want healthy food, a spacious produce area will encourage customers to linger and spend more on fruits and vegetables.
  • Flowers also brighten up and beautify the entrance. Seeing something beautiful and smelling the floral aromas enhances the feeling of freshness. Placing them close to the fruit and vegetable section increases the freshness quotient of both.
  • Cooking ingredients and canned goods along with other general merchandise are usually placed in the central aisles to lure customers deeper inside the supermarket, so that they are exposed to nonessential goods while getting there.
  • Eggs, meat and dairy products are ideally lined up on the back wall of the supermarket space to make sure people see a variety of products that may facilitate ‘impulse buys’. Traditional ‘impulse buys’, such as magazines, mints and chocolate bars are placed at the checkout counter, which makes waiting in line a perfect opportunity for that ‘final sell’.
  • Sampling stations, special live display counters and cooking demonstrations typically line one of the outside walls to slow customers down while they are exposed to other products.

Increasingly, supermarkets are contributing to initiating and sustaining social connections. Parisian supermarkets are introducing areas where patrons can enjoy wine and warm food with friends. American supermarkets are trying to incorporate sections where customers can sip cocktails. Delicatessens and cafés should ideally be located at one of the front corners, so that people have the option of eating first, relaxing and then shopping, making it more likely that they will buy more items.

Enabling the development of 3D design in décor manufacturing, lighting and interior design involves the use of 3D modelling software, lighting test labs and a design resource library. Lighting tests can help predict the effects of bright, fluorescent lights or soft mood lighting on triggering a need to buy in customers. Such 3D previews help visualise the supermarket and its effect on the shoppers inside.

Many firms in Western countries are moving towards outsourcing architectural drafting services, including the delivery of retail construction drawings. High-quality retail design drawings and architectural BIM services can help develop designs with detailed dimensional accuracy, that can be digitised and modelled, so that revisions and changes can be made quickly and easily. Offshore companies provide architectural CAD drafting services that are precise, cost-effective and that enable the 3D visualisation of a supermarket space, plan, layout or strategy, which ultimately helps supermarkets increase their profits.

Why CFD is a key factor for Fire protection design

Fires are scary, a chemical reaction that can strangely assume lifelike qualities and can easily get out of control. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way to predict or calculate potential high-risk areas in building spaces where fires may start and how they would spread? Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is an analytical tool to calculate fluid flows, with or without solid interaction. It is vital that fire design service providers use CFD and CAD modelling services to help design an effective fire protection system.

Understanding how CFD analysis works may seem a little bit like a physics lesson, but it’s actually worth considering.

Fluids flow according to their physical properties, such as pressure, velocity, temperature, density and viscosity. This is what happens in a CFD analysis in simple terms:

  • To analyse fluid flow, a model of the physical case and a numerical method is created digitally.
  • The model can vary according to changes in the values of heat transfer, mass transfer, phase change, chemical reaction, etc.
  • Depending on the software (typically Autodesk CFD, AnsysCFD, OpenFOAM, etc.), the amount of physical prototypes can be reduced and a product development process can be generated for fire protection design.

What does fire protection design for a building entail?

Buildings may have different fire protection needs, eg, the fire protection needs for warehouses or storage facilities differ from those of office buildings. The design for any building involves an integrated approach, such as follows:

  • System designers analyse building components.
  • Building function, occupancy, installed systems and footprint are considered.
  • Building owners, management, architects, engineers, consultants and contractors and their input are inherent in the design process and design data.
  • Fire protection design must adhere to the fire codes of the concerned region.

The main goals of fire protection systems are:

  • To save lives
  • To save property
  • To preserve business continuity

How does it fulfil those goals? The basic strategy for fire protection systems involve:

  • Detection
  • Alarms and notification
  • Suppression

Fire protection engineers can design systems to detect, contain, control or extinguish a fire, in its early stages, as follows:

Detection Systems

  • Smoke detectors sense smoke and trigger alarms.
  • Smart detectors can sense different alarm thresholds.
  • Heat detectors can trigger alarms before smoke detectors.

Alarms and Notification Systems

  • Two types of alarms – 1. To alert building occupants, 2. To alert emergency responders
  • Fire alarms can direct fire responders to where the alarm is. Through AutoCAD floor plan integration, an AutoCAD screen with building management or building security can show which floor the alarm was activated on and can print a floor plan of that spot, which is then handed to emergency responders.
  • Speakers provide alerts in addition to bell alarms, instructing occupants where to go or whether to stay in their space.
  • Alert systems may be designed to close designated doors, turn off elevators and interface with suppression systems, such as sprinklers.
  • Alert systems may connect to ventilation components, smoke-management systems or stairwell pressure systems.

Suppression Systems

  • Sprinklers, which can reduce the chances of death and property loss due to fire by 50-65 percent compared to occupied spaces without sprinklers
  • Sprinkler heads activated individually by fire, each one with a heat-sensitive element within which activates the sprinkler head during high temperatures
  • Gaseous or chemical suppression used where water may damage equipment

With all these systems in place, how does CFD help?

The CFD software works by creating a separate model, although a replica, of the original project, created from building plans, that can graphically and numerically represent and follow the spread of fire, including its heat and smoke. Then, this data is used to create a fire strategy that is efficient, integrates the fire detection, alarms and suppression systems and follows the fire safety regulations of the region.

As CFD calculates fluid flows, using mathematical formulae and analysis, it can be successfully applied in HVAC, hydraulic systems and water systems. A 3D model is created, from CFD data and the data from building plans, with an imaginary fire inside. The building and the fire inside it are separated, or broken down, into extremely small blocks (running into millions) or simple shapes where the mathematical formulae used in CFD can be applied on individual blocks and combinations of blocks.

One of the several results of the calculations that are part of CFD is that it can help create a fire suppression model, which works something like this:

  • The ratio between fluid mixing time scale and the flame chemical time scale is used to create a suppression model.
  • When the fluid mixing time scale is short compared to the chemical time scale for combustion, the fire can be extinguished.
  • Suppressants are introduced to increase the chemical time required for combustion.
  • The effectiveness of suppression models in stressed and obstructed flows are analysed by using validation data.
  • CFD analyses how changes in geometry can change the distribution of suppression.
  • Design can determine the most ideal fire protection with minimal suppressant system mass and cost.

Other benefits of using CFD include the following:

  • Cloud-based CFD simulation can help optimise HVAC systems for fire safety and smoke management.
  • CFD simulations can monitor CO levels under normal conditions.
  • CFD simulation results can help plot the magnitude, velocity and direction of air flows, helping to predict how fires can spread from any given space.
  • CFD simulations can help decide how to lower CO concentration levels in enclosed spaces, such as underground parking lots. This can help plan where to place jet fans to generate air flow. The CFD simulation can be run again with the fans to plot the new air flow velocity and check the effect on CO concentration levels.
  • CFD simulations can calculate the quantities of required supply and exhaust air to provide a smoke control system that is code compliant.
  • CFD modelling helps design public spaces with easy and safe egress, in case of fire or other emergencies.
  • CFD simulations can show the effects of sprinklers on fires.

Computational fluid dynamics makes predictive models of fire protection applications more accurate, making it a key factor in fire protection design. The capacity and means of egress have requirements imposed by building codes, which can be accurately calculated using CFD. The CFD simulations can also help fire design service providers view the performance of smoke management and general visibility in case of fire. These providers depend on the high quality and accuracy of their CAD modelling services and 2D CAD services, which is increasingly being sourced from offshore firms with CFD project experience.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing CFD modelling and CFD simulations, 2D CAD drawings, BIM modelling services, MEP engineering design and drafting services for global building engineering firms.  Our range of services for fire protection design engineers across the world include fire protection design, HVAC design services, MEP drafting, public health system drafting and building services coordination using various tools such as Revit, Navisworks, AutoCAD, BIM 360 Design, etc.

Shop Drawings – What Are They & Why Do We Need Them?

They have different names. Some people call them fabrication drawings, but they are generally known as shop drawings. Simply put, they are a group or set of drawings for prefabricated components or units. They typically include more details than construction documents and discuss the fabrication/installation of items in detail. In the construction industry, shop drawings fulfil different functions for different stakeholders. They fill gaps between contractors and contract documents, they help determine the type and amount of materials needed to produce components and they can help determine the dimensions of installations and their deadlines. Shop drawing services include shop fitting drawings and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) or M&E shop drawing services, to name a few.

Crucial to the design process, construction drawings, with building design and its many revisions, are prepared before construction begins. So are shop drawings, only they show how buildings are designed internally, including MEP components and their dimensions. Shop drawings function as add-ons to construction working drawings and develop them in more detail. Some of the most important information included in shop drawings are fabrication and installation details, structural steel detailing, windows and door installations and details of MEP components.

Shop drawings include fabrication and installation details of a range of components, such as:

  • Fitting connectors
  • Flanges
  • Hangers
  • Elevators
  • Steel trusses
  • Pre-cast concrete
  • Windows
  • Appliances
  • Cabinets
  • Air handling units
  • Millwork
  • Sheet metal ductwork
  • Piping
  • Fire protection devices

Shop drawings can be produced by the contractor, supplier, manufacturer, subcontractor, or fabricator and can include electrical drawings, coordinated single service drawings, spool drawings, module drawings, duct work fabrication drawings, etc. Contractors and suppliers produce shop drawings when contracted to do so by the owner, and these drawings are visual versions of information included in construction documents.

Some of the essential project details that shop drawings must include are:

  • Original issue date
  • Dates of all revisions
  • Project title
  • Project number
  • Contractor, subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier and separate detailer names
  • Sequence order and sequence number for each drawing
  • All material and product identification and their dimensions
  • Relation of components to adjacent materials and structures
  • Applicable building standards

For the architect and engineer, shop drawings:

  • include information that the architect and engineer can compare to the specifications and other drawings
  • show how the product will look and perform in detail, as described in construction drawings

Shop drawings enable the architect and engineer to review the fabricator’s version of the product before product fabrication, with the use of references, drawings and specifications.

Some of the reasons why they are invaluable in the design process are as follows:

  • Note changes from construction documents

Shop drawings have notes on any changes from the original documents, so they can be approved by the architect and engineer. The fabricator, the architect and engineer discuss these changes and then collaborate with the contractor before installations begin.

Following corrections by the architect and engineer, shop drawings are checked by the supplier. So, shop drawings are required, in various forms, by:

  1. Owner – file or inspection copy
  2. Architect – file copy, field copy or inspection copy
  3. Consulting engineer – file copy, inspection copy
  4. Contractor – file copy, field copy
  5. Supplier – original copy

  • Provide information for fabrication

Shop drawings include dimensions, manufacturing conventions and special fabrication instructions, so that the fabrication personnel fully understand the component by referring only to these drawings. Fabricators rely heavily, if not solely, on shop drawings for all the relevant information and rarely refer to the construction documents.

  • Notes on dimensions that need verification

At times, surfaces, materials, parts or components may be shown with one set of dimensions on construction drawings, but the actual dimensions may vary. Fabricated items, such as structural steel or precast concrete, must arrive ready for installation without on-site modification, so it is imperative to verify these dimensions beforehand.

As providing accurate information is vital for shop drawings, computer-aided MEP design coordination becomes useful. Contractors have the responsibility to take care of conflict correction on site, which may increase the potential for errors. Using Building Information Modelling (BIM) for coordination and clash detection processes reduces on-site problems. Automatic clash detection capabilities of BIM technology can identify clashes that could be missed by the subcontractors, helping to improve the accuracy of shop drawings.

If the designer and supplier have compatible CAD software or if IFC, PDF or DWG files are used, reviews can occur over email or through FTP transfers. Popular CAD platforms used for generating shop drawings are Advance Steel, AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor and SolidWorks.

If we look at the homebuilding industry, where every interior detail is critically important in custom-built homes, shop drawings can ensure that every detail is almost always correct. Shop drawings can include information on each dimension, reveal, curve and finish of elements that require decisions before production begins, such as:

  • Unique countertop edge profiles
  • Stone mouldings
  • Custom fireplace mantels and surrounds

Engineering these details can be a complex affair and all of the information must be accurate. Effective fabrication can be ensured by working through all the details out in the shop drawing process, helping avoid costly errors.

One of the key advantages to developing shop drawings is that they ease the work of different stakeholders in a building project.

For architects/engineers, shop drawings help:

  • Design prototypes – determine space arrangements, materials, assemblies
  • Building systems coordination – identify clashes, calculate space reservation
  • Analysis – accurately present lighting, energy, space details for calculations
  • Engineering accuracy – represent precise measurements, context
  • Drawing production quality – present large amounts of minute and precise details

For contractors, shop drawings help:

  • Risk reduction, with transparency and greater understanding of complexities
  • Building systems coordination, with clash detection and layout details
  • Construction schedule optimisation, by including fabrication and manufacturing details
  • Cost estimation and quantity take-offs, with accurate lists of required materials
  • Improved design quality for better-performing buildings, with analysis of energy consumption

As far as MEP or M&E design services are concerned, if construction firms can find the right design partner, especially MEP design consultants from India, to deliver high-quality MEP BIM services, M&E shop drawing services and shopfitting drawings to fulfil their M&E design engineering needs, several of the project stakeholders will be at ease and able to improve their productivity. Ultimately, accurate, detailed and cost-effective shop drawing services could pave the way for increased profitability.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing 3D BIM, CAD and visualisation services for MEP engineers, general contractors, homebuilders, architects and retailers. Our range of services for structural, architectural and building engineering firms, such as consultants and contractors across the world, include MEP coordination, MEP BIM services, modular construction drawings, prefabricated construction drawings and shop drawing services for manufacturers and MEP contractors.  We create these models and drawings by using Revit, AutoCAD, Inventor and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration. 

Maintaining As-built Drawings & Models for Large Retail Chains

Large retail chains with a global presence strive for consistency across their outlets and using as-built drawings can help them achieve that goal. Using retail design drawings and 3D architectural visualisation services along with the as-built drawings can help retailers represent their brand convincingly and consistently.

Just what are as-built drawings?

A vital part of construction projects, as-built drawings are the final revised set of drawings submitted by a contractor when the project is concluded. These set of drawings show great detail, including dimensions, geometry and the placements of all structural, architectural and MEP (M&E) components, such as walls, doors, windows and building engineering components, in the project.

As-built drawings typically consist of the following features:

  • Modifications and their explanations (why and how they were made)
  • Dates in the corner of all as-built drawing sheets
  • If hand-written, the handwriting must be clear and brief
  • Using the same scale as the original drawings or recreating them on different sheets
  • Using primary colours to code items that are added, deleted or modified

Why do we need as-built drawings?

As-built drawings are used to replicate the project the way the contractor built it, identifying any and every change or modification made during construction. The final sets generally include shop drawing changes, field changes, design changes, approved and impromptu changes made. While recording as-built drawings, the changes made can be visualised and may even affect the rest of the project.

It is vital that every project site has a minimum of one set of completed as-built drawings. While recording changes, the following must be ensured:

  • Changes recorded should have the exact details or additions, along with the original information, such as sizes, dimensions, materials, installation details, etc.
  • If changes are changed, they should also be included in the as-built drawings or as-built documentation and clearly demarcated.

Every project has its complications, as they involve the orchestration of a range of components, processes and functions. Each part must align according to the design, and this may not be possible in every instance due to external factors, human error, unavailability or shortage of specific components, etc. Skilled contractors will adapt, adjust and modify to any deviations from the original design that may crop up.  

As-built drawings, also known as record drawings, are part of the concluding process of construction management. This is useful for the future, as they can be used to ensure a successful project lifecycle, following the initial construction phase.

Each project stakeholder benefits from as-built drawings in a different way.

  • Contractors are able to clearly visualise the future steps, when as-built drawings record modifications made during the initial construction stages, making it easier to be aware of complications created by the modifications and solve any challenges that may arise.
  • Clients and retail building owners benefit when the owner decided to make any changes to the building or if any damages or issues arise sometime in the future, as records of all installations and components are clearly recorded.
  • Future buyers of the property can have a detailed record of what they are buying and can use it for future development, reconstruction, renovation or modification.

In the current scenario, software does not only take care of the modifications previously noted by hand, but it can perform project management functions, such as version tracking, document monitoring and the validation of permissions.

So, why do large retail chains need as-built drawings and models?

The one-word answer would be ‘consistency’. Retail chains need to maintain consistency in brand design, including the general floor layout, wherever possible. Regardless of the country, certain global brands (for example, a well-known burger or coffee retail chain comes to mind) present a uniform look and feel in terms of colours, layouts and general ambience. This consistency can be maintained, improved or modified by using as-built drawings from the first country-specific project, so that all further outlets in the country can learn from and adjust their design accordingly. It can also be used as a basis for design in other countries.

Consistent branding, with images, messages, in-store shelving and layouts, etc., can be maintained with the right software tools used to create retail layout designs. Using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology has proved to be useful in this regard, especially with the Revit platform. Retail chains can benefit significantly from the use of 3D BIM modelling with Revit BIM to visualise, design and modify their retail layout designs. During construction, any changes to the original design can be updated easily. 

To communicate a retail chain’s experience online, high definition imagery and videos can be created. Any changes to design in the future can be reflected using up-to-date as-built drawings and models.

As-built drawings for large retail chains typically include:

  • Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Roof Plans
  • MEP Systems
  • Electrical Plans
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans (RCP)
  • Interior Elevations
  • Sections
  • Inventory and Merchandise Mapping
  • Furniture, Fixture & Equipment (FF&E)
  • 360 Degree Photos
  • Virtual Walk-throughs

Ultimately, using as-built drawings is a win-win situation for all concerned. It only remains for retail chains to find the right BIM services partner to provide reliable retail building design services that can easily be updated to include changes and then be maintained as as-built drawings. When BIM modelling services become unaffordable and difficult to find locally, many Western firms look overseas for their BIM outsourcing needs.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing retail store building design services, BIM modelling services and 3D architectural visualisation services for global firms. Our range of services for retail store planners or mixed-use building planners include architectural BIM, generating construction drawings, as-built drawings, MEP BIM, 3D rendering services (CGIs) and walk-throughs. 

For further details, contact

BIM May Cost More to Plan, but Saves Construction Costs

It’s a question of sound strategy in the construction industry. Using BIM (Building Information Modelling) helps prevent construction firms from being ‘penny wise and pound foolish’. Traditional CAD (computer-aided design) technology has served the industry well, but the emergence of BIM technology and 3D BIM services on the construction scene has transformed project planning to a new high. The advantages of 3D BIM modelling services and BIM coordination services are many, including overall construction cost savings, and these advantages far outweigh the initial expense involved in incorporating a BIM workflow.

BSME 1 - BL171 - BIM May Cost More to Plan, but Saves Construction Costs

So, how did CAD technology help provide design services and how does BIM differ?

Both the features and working methods are different. To represent design details in CAD, designers needed to draw many lines, polylines and geometrical shapes to represent doors, windows, walls, columns, etc. in floor plans, elevation views, cross-sections, etc. With BIM technology, the same details can be represented using 3D graphical objects with a host of properties and functions. Detailed working drawings and construction documents can thus be developed automatically with these intelligent objects.

Using CAD software packages, novices can use its tools to create 2D drawings and basic 3D models. Experienced users can develop them into complex models, and CAD software can even help find errors. Some CAD packages also create documentation, but the advantages of BIM, though, are far more extensive.

They include the following:

  • Saving Time

Using BIM software, lines and related features can be updated throughout the project, leaving designers with time to devote to the project’s creativity. Objects from a BIM menu have predefined data that can be used to calculate project costs, thermal performance, maintenance costs and structural costs, leading to considerable savings in construction time and costs, rather than discovering these costs on an ad-hoc basis for each project.

  • Reducing Errors

When there are changes in a project’s floor plans, elevations or section views, those changes are incorporated into all related project features automatically. For example, if a building façade’s finish is altered, changes are implemented automatically for the wall’s transmittance value, its cost and its structural load. Using BIM technology, mistakes can be avoided, and most importantly, all the drawings will be updated immediately with any revisions, saving overall construction costs.

  • Integrating with Design Aspects

Once a BIM model is created, data can be added that enables complete integration with :

  1. structural calculations
  2. energy performance calculations
  3. construction estimating
  4. technical installations
  5. maintenance and facility management

This feature of BIM technology saves significant effort and time, which translates into cost savings.

  • Representing Completely

A building’s design is completely represented using BIM methods. In addition to the building’s core components, BIM technology enables the design of MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) systems, helping the project team use space and resources to their best advantage. Ultimately, this results in saving construction expenses.

  • Working Simultaneously

A single database can host all the documents in a BIM environment, so that several project stakeholders can access, modify and work on the same model and save their work to the cloud. This facilitates instant updates, and there is no need to spend time searching for documents that require changes.

  • Prefabricating Components

Components can be prefabricated early in the construction process, using BIM models. In case the building design changes, the components can still be used, saving both time and money.

  • Updating Constantly

Constantly and automatically updating documents and models allows clients the freedom to check the design at any time, which can lead to quick approvals and implementation.

  • Tracking Resources

Using BIM models, it becomes easy to track the required quantity of resources during any of the design stages, improving the efficiency of the construction workflow and saving costs.

These advantages come with a cost, especially during the initial stage of establishing a BIM methodology. The BIM-enabled software options can be expensive. The new work methodology using BIM technology necessitates investment in new technology and training to use it. For smaller firms, this may seem to be an excessive and avoidable expense.

However, choosing to go the BIM way can be critical to profitable gains, and the selection of BIM software is a key factor. The current popular choice, Revit, can be used in combination with rendering and virtual reality packages to create detailed and complex models.

All aspects of a project’s workflow are affected by the BIM methodology. Therefore, training is important for everyone involved. In some cases, it may take up to 3 months to develop an understanding of BIM.

So, how can the cost of BIM be calculated?

In addition to depicting different trades in a coordinated model, BIM technology can provide much more. It can be confusing to decide how to best calculate the cost of BIM technology and services. The following factors are key considerations:

  • Services Wanted

Firms must decide what services they want, such as:

  1. BIM Modelling Services
  2. BIM Consulting Services
  3. BIM Project Management Services
  4. BIM Preconstruction Services
  5. BIM Facility Management


  • To Outsource or Not

Certain basic costs must be met for any project, such as employing a project BIM manager and coordinator, and these costs may not be easily affordable for some firms. Many consider outsourcing the required services to offshore destinations, where they can be delivered at a more affordable rate and still maintain high standards of quality.

  • Charges for BIM Methods

It’s important to understand how BIM services providers charge for their services. Two methods that are more commonly used are:

  • BIM Price per Sq.m – charges are for the built-up area of the project, based on the requested Level of Development (LOD) and the required trades.
  • BIM Price per Hour – charges are based on an estimation of the expected hours for the service for a specific scope

How does BIM save project costs in the long run? Well, these are some of the ways:

  • Effective specification of the building plan using BIM means that the right choice of building materials will be used. They will have the right thermal performance, be of the right quantity and of the right price.
  • Identifying errors at the design stage in a BIM format will cost less than rectifying them during the construction process.
  • Proper planning in a BIM process ensures that a detailed schedule of materials is generated. Suppliers can be provided a complete schedule, which means that deals can be negotiated early on and reordering can be avoided due to supplies running short.
  • Projects can be delivered within specified time schedules, using the BIM process, so that costs are saved on labour and any penalties for overshooting the delivery date.
  • Designing, detailing and estimating at the same time helps save time, which always saves money.
  • Costs associated with re-drawing, re-scheduling and re-estimating are saved using the BIM methodology.
  • Errors and data loss are minimised or even eliminated, since details and costs are updated automatically for any changes in the drawing while using BIM technology.

The advantages of using BIM are too many and too far-reaching to discount. With the right BIM service providers, a range of residential design drawings, residential construction drawings, architectural BIM services, 3D BIM modelling services and BIM coordination services can be availed at a reasonable cost, without compromising on quality. Global options for 3D BIM services offer partnerships with experienced, technically well-qualified and cost-efficient partners who will deliver on time and within budget. So, even if the initial costs for implementing a BIM methodology may be slightly expensive, it is bound to save certain construction costs in the long run.

Why Changes in Gas-Petrol Stations Impact their Architectural Design

Change is everywhere, even at gas, or petrol, or filling stations. As people and lifestyles changed with advances in technology, so did gas stations. No longer a quaint station to fill gas or petrol, these fuel retailers slowly evolved to include the several conveniences consumers expect to be available almost everywhere today. This meant that the architectural design of gas stations has had to adapt. Along with qualified and certified designers, these designs need high-quality 3D architectural visualisation services to deliver accurate retail design drawings.

There was a time when gas stations across the world used to feature a generic design, when rural petrol stations had cosy waiting rooms or featured Art Deco designs and consisted of simple layouts. Then, a series of changes, such as the transfer of large populations to dense urban conclaves, resulted in extensive and efficient public transport systems. Another change had to do with what humans were doing to the planet in terms of the rampant and irresponsible use of fossil fuels, resulting in the development of electric alternatives. Both these changes meant that there would be a difference in the number of people using gas stations to fill fuel in their cars. As the services offered by gas stations changed, the design of gas stations was bound to follow suit.

BL152- Why Changes in Gas-Petrol Stations Impact their Architectural Design

Electric cars are appearing in cities with regular frequency and are finding charging points at gas stations, where the idea is to charge the electric vehicle in 30 minutes. In addition, cafes, supermarkets, lounges with high-speed internet and information hubs for electric vehicle maintenance can also be featured at modern gas stations.

As the population of electric cars increase, they may have their own charging stations and thus become a new kind of gas station. This will lead to decreased traffic at downtown gas stations, due to more people charging their cars at offices and homes. It has even been proposed that retro drive-in restaurant cinemas can be attached to vehicle charging points.

Architectural design will have to consider new plot sizes, infrastructure, aesthetics and locations that straddle both urban and rural areas. The possibilities for design to incorporate retail and improve user experience are almost endless.

Changes in Fuel Retail

Trends that have caused an upheaval in fuel retail stations are as follows:

  • Increasing popularity of alternative fuels, such as electricity
  • New kinds of transport
  • Increased expectations by consumers, who want the availability of modern conveniences
  • Arrival of new digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics to the Internet of Things (IoT).

These trends must be catered to in architectural design, and digital tools can be used to alter layouts of the new gas stations. The gas station business model now has to adopt a customer-centric plan rather than the vehicle-centric one. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and automation can all help further the cause.

Alternative fuels are also being developed with the assistance of established car manufacturers, such as:

  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
  • Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
  • Compressed natural gas (CNG)

These fuel options may still require a traditional fuel retailer, unlike electric vehicles, which means there is yet another factor to be considered in architectural design.

Major car manufacturers, taxi services and even IT giants are keen on developing driverless, fully automated cars. Such cars can be refueled or recharged when the vehicles do not have passengers and are outside urban areas. These cars will need refueling stations with a specific kind of architectural design.

As it may take longer to manufacture electric trucks and other heavy-duty electric vehicles, they will continue to need gas stations on highways and other locations for some time. Also, those using electric cars may stop on highways for other necessities, such as food, toiletries, etc. Unstaffed service stations offering conveniences and discounts are also becoming popular, driving architectural design to adapt so that they can offer these services.

Today’s gas stations offer:

  • Fuel and services for vehicles
  • Products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, vehicle products, vehicle maintenance services, car wash
  • Coffee, snacks, consumer products

Customers are beginning to expect more though.

Consumer Expectations

The customer is king, and while designing gas stations, the king must be provided for. Today’s kings seek:

  • Fresh, healthy food options
  • Attractive store formats
  • Personalised products and services
  • Self-service checkouts

To facilitate these requirements, fuel retailers collect customer data to understand their preferences. The challenge will lie in other, more advanced retailers, who will offer purchases in a faster and easier manner. Some of these methods include:

  • Voice-activated shopping, facilitated by IoT and AI
  • Unstaffed retail outlets
  • Walk-in vending machines
  • Integration of online and offline shopping
  • Automated checkouts

To compete, fuel retailers must match these conveniences by creating space for them in their architectural designs. It is important to create a shopping experience for customers that is digitally enabled, making check-outs a seamless experience.

What can gas stations do to adapt to these changing scenarios?

  • Focus on existing conveniences and offer new services
  • Transform networks and assets
  • Develop new skills and expertise
  • Build new asset base by developing a series of partnerships

To improve the customer experience, digital technology can be utilised to enhance loyalty programmes and payment gateways, providing information on promotions and how they can be paid for on mobiles. Gas stations have several services to offer customers, including:

  • Monitor cars for tune-ups, repairs, cleaning, etc. with predictive maintenance solutions.
  • Connect car owners with firms that service vehicles and companies that offer financial products, mobility services, entertainment and e-commerce.
  • In urban locations, gas station stores need to offer a higher variety of consumer goods than was previously offered.
  • On highways, traditional stores will suffice, with food that can be packed, and rest areas should be available.
  • Fuel trucks that can deliver fuel to stranded motorists
  • Warehouses for last-mile deliveries
  • Drones, AVs, robots and digital counters to help deliver customised products and digital solutions to consumers

Gas stations, or fuel retailers, need to innovate with digital technology and other measures to remain relevant in the changing environment of today’s world and possibly the future. The architectural design of these fuel retailers requires intelligent and informed thought. Architectural firms employed by fuel retailers must have access to accurate 3D architectural visualisation services by experienced firms with expertise in Building Information Modelling, or BIM modelling services. Using Revit software, architectural design firms and fuel retailers can choose BIM outsourcing as a cost-effective and reliable option for retail design drawings in Revit BIM or 3D BIM modelling to help plan their strategy in adapting to the changing nature of gas/petrol stations.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing 3D BIM modelling services and 3D architectural visualisation services for global firms.  Our range of services for building designers and contractors include retail design drawings, 3D BIM modelling and 3D rendering services for large global retail chains.

How Contractors Design Portion (CDP) Fills in the Gap

Contractors have many roles to play and many services to take care of during building construction, and one of the seldom acknowledged services they provide is that of the contractor’s design portion, or CDP. The CDP is critically important to the smooth functioning of the building’s services, as it fills in the gap between the functionality of installation drawings and as-built drawings. It provides additional design drawings for AV, security and sound masking in a building. In short, it mops up the work of the remaining design services.

AR145- How CDP Fills in the Gap

Just what are installation and as-built drawings?

Installation drawings typically include the data required by trades to install most parts of the MEP systems, such as plant rooms, data centres, ventilation systems, underfloor heating, etc. These drawings are created by consultants, contractors or subcontractors from coordinated drawings and are then submitted for approvals. They generally consist of:

  • Detailed plans
  • Sections
  • Elevations
  • 3D BIM models with components, installation information

Data in installation drawings includes: 

  • Precise positioning
  • Supports and fixings
  • Manufacturers’ shop drawing data
  • Space allowances for installation
  • Builders work in connection, eg. cutting and sealing holes, chasing block and brickwork for conduits or pipes, lifting and replacing floors, constructing plinths, etc.
  • Plant or equipment requirements
  • Service connection requirements
  • Access space for operation/maintenance requirements
  • Access requirements for access panels, decking, platforms, ladders, handrails

As-built Drawings

Changes, both minor or significant, are inevitable during construction, due to changing circumstances on site. Clients may ask for updated drawings, created from as-built surveys. Thus, as-built drawings (also known as record or ‘as constructed’ drawings) are developed, during or after construction, to record what has actually been built. As-built drawings are also required for the Health and Safety file and the operations/maintenance file presented to clients.

Contractor use red ink to mark-up changes to the ‘final construction issue’ drawings on-site, which can be used to create record drawings for the completed project. One of the specific details that MEP contractors record is under-floor cabling. Tenants tend to cut off and leave in earlier cables and then add their own cabling. In the absence of cabling records, later tenants will find the situation quite challenging.

Record drawings must be updated by facilities management teams regularly, including any modifications made to the building. If a BIM (Building Information Modelling) model was developed, it must be appropriately updated with changes before handing it over to clients.

What is CDP and how does it fill the gap?

Contractor’s design portion, or CDP, is a contract, assurance or agreement by the main contractor to take responsibility to design certain parts, or portions, of the building. Either using in-house talent or outsourcing design work to trade subcontractors, the main contractor must ensure that all the designs are coordinated.

Typically, the CDP is required when consultants cannot or have agreed not to provide BIM models for audiovisual (AV) systems, security, sound masking, etc. Main contractors need to fill the gap themselves or have specialist consultants proved electrical design services or other services and then coordinate them with existing MEP systems design.

General CDP Process 

  • Main contractor acquires building regulations approval for subcontractor designs
  • Design consultants decide when and how much of their design is entrusted to subcontractors for completion
  • Clear communication of requirements from subcontractors, including function, form and quality
  • Main contractors to include trade contractor design (scope, program, cost) as part of tender bid
  • Subcontractors provide BIM models of audiovisual (AV) systems, security, sound masking, etc.

What Main Contractors Need from Subcontractors

Different subcontractors need to provide different services to the main contractor, who then incorporates these services into the final as-built drawings. The common services are:

AV (audio-visual) Design Services 

  • Develop AV functional capabilities, designs and budgets
  • Define project requirements, with written specifications and bid form
  • Coordinate AV system design with the project team
  • Develop complete system design package, with system drawings, specifications, equipment lists, etc.
  • Create AV room layout and elevation drawings with dimensions
  • Create connection-level drawings for video, audio, control, LAN
  • Configure sound reinforcement systems
  • Design cabinet layouts, equipment rack elevations, jack field layouts
  • Test and commission AV systems for system functionality
  • Prepare and follow up on punch list documents
  • Provide and record client/user training assistance
  • Coordinate networked AV devices with the client’s IT team
  • Identify electrical circuiting, conduit and architectural work requirements as part of the final design

Details of equipment, engineering, project management and AV Integrator installation services must be given to the main contractor.

Using BIM technology can enhance the feedback of security system functioning. The BIM models can be used to locate specific system devices and coordinate them with other devices, so that every system device is properly placed, connected and can be analysed for performance. Security systems can be integrated with the building’s other operating systems for the main contractor to analyse how the security system functions in its space and with relation to the people in that space.

Security (CCTV/Access Control) Design Services 

  • Provide bid documents, supporting drawings, a bid form
  • Develop proposals evaluations, with comparative bid analysis, recommendations
  • Create shop drawing submission reviews

Sound Masking Design Services 

  • Determine sound masking system requirements with the project team
  • Develop sound masking floor plans and drawings
  • Create bid documents, supporting drawings, with bid form
  • Create shop drawing submission reviews

In addition to coordinating with each subcontractor individually, the main contractor must ensure that the subcontractors coordinate with each other. For example, the MEP subcontractor must be aware of the grid system and a suspended ceiling’s fixings positions, while the ceiling subcontractor must be aware of the plant details above the ceiling for access purposes.

To conclude, the contractor’s design portion ties up all possible loose ends nice and tight. Technically certified and experienced electrical design services providers can enhance and ease the work of main contractors by providing accurate and timely design and drafting services. From moving seamlessly to fill the gap between installation drawings and as-built drawings to providing AV, security and sound masking services design, CDP makes a crucial contribution to the longevity and effectiveness of a building and its services.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing BIM MEP services, mechanical CAD drafting services and electrical design and drafting services for global firms.  Our range of services for building services contractors across the world include MEP drafting, electrical drafting and public health system drafting.


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Retail Store Design Leading to an Increase in Browsing, then Ordering Online

Touching it, holding it, trying it on – there are some unique store experiences that digital shopping cannot replace. Retail stores are still highly relevant, and the store’s design layout plays an important role in converting walk-ins to sales. In the digital age, the end point of sales has shifted, sometimes almost imperceptibly, to the process of ordering items online. A growing shopping trend is for consumers to search and view items online, visit stores to see and handle the actual product in its actual size and then order the item online, or visit what are known as brick-and-mortar houses first and go home to order the goods online. There are valid reasons why this process is becoming increasingly popular, and with the help of new technology and high-quality 3D architectural modelling and architectural rendering services, the decision-making process for consumers becomes easier.

AR136 - Retail Store Design Leading to an Increase in Browsing, then Ordering Online

Retail store layouts are well researched and well planned to maximise sales for different products. There are a few typical retail store layouts that are repeatedly used, depending on the shape and size of the store and the products sold there. In general, grocery stores use grid layouts for easy navigation and the predictability factor. When businesses want to highlight different products, such as in boutiques, more creative layouts are used.

Retail Floor Plans



Also called a straight layout, grid floor plans feature:

  • efficient utilisation of floor space and walls
  • displays parallel to walls, maximising floor space and corners
  • easy navigation, easy to organise
  • maximum wall space for promotional and seasonal items
  • best for shelf-stocked goods, eg. books, toys, food, hardware, homeware

Used mainly in grocery and convenience stores, the grid plan layout creates a feeling of familiarity.



Also called a racetrack layout, the loop floor plan guides shoppers around the floor. Its features consist of:

  • leading shoppers on a set pathway, exposing them to all display items
  • visible perimeter walls with multiple wall and shelf displays.
  • product displays on outer walls, creative display variations in the store centre

This plan works well for apparel, accessories, toys, homeware, kitchenware, personal care products and specialty products.

Free Plan


This store layout caters for maximum creativity and can be easily modified. Its main advantages are:

  • encourages browsing
  • angled displays make shoppers slow down and examine product groupings
  • open lines of view through the floor space makes specialty displays and power walls visible and easy to guide customers to specific zones with bright accent colours and product groupings

This plan is ideal for boutiques, upscale stores, specialty stores with small inventories, highlighting special products, such as apparel, accessories, personal care, specialty brands, rather than store goods of large quantity



A diagonal store layout encourages shoppers to test or sample merchandise. Its features include:

  • easy movement between aisles while store employees can easily view shoppers
  • ideal for letting shoppers browse sample products by themselves
  • can point shoppers to a central sampling/demonstration area

This plan is preferred in electronic or technology stores, beauty and cosmetic retailers and specialty food stores.

Along with determining the most suitable floor plan for the merchandise being sold, there are a few other factors that retailers might consider.

Tips for Retail Floor Plans

  • Appropriate product quantities

More products on the sales floor has led to increased sales. However, having an excessive amount of product on the sales floor could lead to negative brand perception, especially for boutique or high-end retailers. Discount retailers can pack the shop with merchandise as part of a successful strategy. High-end stores put up only a few selected items for display to emphasise exclusivity.

  • Sufficient space between products and fixtures

Customer personal space is important, but shelves can still be packed with merchandise.

Several factors encourage online shopping today. Besides being convenient, frequently cheaper and enabling the luxury of staying at home without venturing into uncomfortable weather or traffic conditions, consumers prefer to browse at traditional outlets, or brick-and-mortar shops, to get a more realistic look and feel of the product and then make their actual purchases online. Interestingly, some digital stores are launching traditional stores in addition to their digital presence, especially apparel stores, while traditional retailers are moving to the digital arena to stay relevant. There are a host of reasons why this works well for both sellers and buyers.

  • Digitally native brands opening traditional stores

Though they started online, digital brands are expanding their reach by launching traditional stores and are predicted to continue doing so. Buyers benefit from physically handling the merchandise they see online and can make purchases at their convenience from home.

  • AR aids

Augmented reality technology is helping to bridge the digital and physical divides. Large brands, especially in furniture, have begun to include AR features to help shoppers picture furniture in their homes. An app called Shopify helps make AR technology available to smaller brands through Shopify AR. This enables shoppers to browse for furniture in a real store and then go home and view (on their phone cameras) how merchandise, such as tables, beds, etc., will look in their homes, whether the furniture matches their home décor and then they can order online rather than revisit the store.

  • Customisation

Both e-commerce and traditional stores are increasingly providing options to customise purchases, so that consumers can buy products personalised to their needs, from personalised embroidery on jeans and jackets and even customised shoes. While visiting a retail store, shoppers can better understand how these products look and feel.

  • Searching visually

A retail trend that allows shoppers to take a photo and then search multiple sites, locate and purchase an item with just a click is powered by AI (artificial intelligence). The Lens feature of Pinterest uses this technology and the Pinterest App camera to look for visually similar pins. Retailers use high quality and current visual assets to represent their wares. Consumers can see the actual merchandise, click a picture and later locate the item online for the best possible deal.

  • Omnichannel approach

When both online and offline channels can be used for marketing and shopping, the buying experience needs to be consistent across all channels. Integrating all offline and online channels for a seamless shopping experience is something the omnichannel approach endeavours to deliver, enabling the availability of multiple channels, such as phone, desktop, laptop, tablet or a retail outlet, to make a purchase.

  • Pop-up stores

New products can be marketed by temporary online and offline storefronts, which encourage shoppers to sample and buy these products, generate a social presence and help collect consumer data.

  • Same-day delivery

Using drones, delivery robot startups or by other means, some brands deliver orders within a day, making shopping online as prompt as offline shopping. When shoppers are faced with retail stores not having the merchandise of choice in store, they can browse other stores and then go home to order online and still expect to have the item delivered on the same day.

  • Google hopping

Shoppers can browse, compare and buy items from different retailers without visiting individual websites by using Google Shopping.

In today’s world, consumers are able to conduct in-depth product research before they decide what to buy and from where. The layout design of a retail store can directly affect store traffic, staying time and ultimately sales. In the age of digital stores, retail store design still holds significant relevance, and it is important to devote time and resources to maximise profits. Layouts, displays and merchandise must adapt to new trends and concepts. As new technological advances and software tools, such as Revit BIM, become increasingly used, it may be wise for retail stores and chains to find reliable BIM service providers who can deliver accurate Revit Architecture services and 3D CAD modelling services that will assist their profitable offline and online presence.


Benefits of Using CAD/Revit Design Studios for Retail Rendering

Rendering images in the retail sector has evolved to a significant degree of detail. With technological advances that regularly offer new elements of detail, it becomes increasingly necessary for retail establishments to depend on CAD/Revit design studios to provide architectural 3D rendering services quickly and at an affordable cost.

In the CAD (computer-aided design) environment, rendering involves creating a lifelike 3D image with shading, colouring, etc. Rendered 3D retail images can then be used for animation that practically depicts the design characteristics of a specific space. This is useful for both clients and designers. A range of techniques, software and tools (such as 3ds Max, V-Ray, SketchUp, Mental Ray, etc.) can be used to create 3D rendered images.

To what end do rendered images benefit clients and designers?

  • Presentations are improved with greater detail.
  • Marketing initiatives can be visually supported with accurate images.
  • Different design views can be analysed and ultimately improved to adhere to client briefs.
  • Required for approvals on design and overall presentation of façade, internal and external perspective

As architectural drawings can be difficult to understand and rendered 3D retail images are easier to comprehend for clients, rendered images have an edge in communicating design intent. Spatial constraints, mood developments and ambience can be effectively represented by rendered images or computer-generated images.

When Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology made an appearance in the industry, it paved the way for greater accuracy in rendered images. Details of cabinet fixtures, lighting fixtures, countertops, table and chair legs, door handles, grommets, drawers, etc. and their exact specifications and numbers can be specified in BIM models using Revit BIM services. Using Revit 3D modelling, highly detailed BIM models can be used to develop highly detailed rendered images, showing how different elements can fit into a space and what they will look like in relation to the surroundings.

For retail spaces, BIM models are useful for space analysis in supermarkets, department stores and malls. The models can show area, lists of elements in display areas, with size and shape specifications, showing how fixtures and furniture relate to each other in a space. Spaces shown in rendered 3D retail images can include paint types, effects, colours, laminates or other wall coverings, creating a 3D visual that looks almost real. So, retail firms can benefit from 3D renderings in the following ways:

  • Realism in spatial depiction
  • Enabling the viewing and approval of new sites
  • Creating images easily and quickly
  • Used for marketing approvals
  • Minimising language constraints

Most retailers agree that using space effectively is important for potential customers and can help promote sales. Whether it’s renovating the store window, the storefront or changing the store layout, a 3D image is useful to view options and help decide which option can be most profitable. Spaces and the creativity they represent can be brought to life through rendered images.

Advanced 3D architectural rendering services can be provided by architects, artists and designers with experience in global developments in the retail sector. Walkthroughs can be created with rendered images to bring design spaces to life and convey an impression of how easy or difficult it would be to manoeuvre through a space. Designs can be modified and improved, while identifying and eliminating any flaws, resulting in the best possible retail space layout that also delivers value-added elements.

Using a rendered image for marketing purposes enhances the professional image of the retailer. Potential customers who see rendered images will be impressed with the tools and skills displayed in their creation and be more inclined to believe that they have found a firm that can deliver a complex large-scale project.

Benefits for Retailers

  • An attractive and strategic display helps retailers. Well-planned spaces help customers touch or try products in comfort, and detailed rendered images can facilitate this.
  • In an interactive virtual environment, retailers can try out new ideas through walkthroughs, which are developed from high quality rendered 3D retail images.

Why do CAD/Revit software play an important role in retail rendering?

Widely used 3D CAD software helps create precise virtual models of internal components, lighting fixtures, furniture and counters, with realistic wall and floor finishes. This software helps generate photorealistic product images, which can be studied for flaws and improvement before production and can be used in promotional material or as part of manuals.

Using Revit and other CAD software ensures that product or retail space 3D data is precise, complete and follows industry standards. Sometimes, design studio services include converting 2D CAD drawings into 3D models, Revit family creation services, Revit drafting services and Revit modelling services, which will result in great benefits and understanding of the initial design.

How can retailers benefit using 3D CAD models?

Well, a 3D model can help improve design in the following ways:

  • Analyse shapes, proportions, depth and ambience
  • Help create 3D printed models
  • Help develop photorealistic images
  • Help comprehend the fit and placement of products, furniture, counters, etc.
  • Create walkthroughs and animations
  • Help determine costing for manufacture

A CAD/Revit design studio provides design services using CAD and Revit for retailers. Representing lines, shapes, curves, scaling, and measurements of engineering drawings accurately is no easy process. Using CAD/Revit software to enable this process requires having the right resources, the right infrastructure, the right talent and the right licenses. Employing a CAD/Revit design studio becomes an effective solution to these potential challenges. A few of the advantages of such a design services provider are as follows:


Specialised CAD/Revit software enables the development of accurate renderings. It takes experienced and well-qualified professionals to create rendered 3D retail images. These professionals have unique methods and have become experts in their work. Thus, they will provide high-quality images.


Costs can be saved on investing in space, infrastructure, hiring and training qualified personnel, getting licenses and upgrading software.

On-time Delivery

A CAD/Revit design studio ensures it fulfils its contractual obligations and delivers services on time.

Improved Productivity

Retailers can concentrate on other business activities while CAD/Revit design studios deliver architectural 3D rendering services for marketing and approval purposes, improving their own productivity.

Ultimately, a CAD/Revit design studio that delivers reliable and high-quality 3D architectural rendering services on time offers a host of benefits for retailers, including saving time, costs and improve profits.

Why Is Power Factor Correction So Important for Green Buildings?

Going ‘green’ is an ideal concept that is fast becoming a necessity, rather than a preferred option. In the global construction industry, there is an increasing drive to find means to integrate ‘green’ practices into building services. One of the prime areas where this can occur is in the field of building power consumption. In addition to using various alternative power sources, the efficient functioning of electronic appliances is critical. The extent of efficiency in electronic appliance functioning is further dependent on power quality, which is improved by power factor correction. With precise electrical design services, specifically electrical drafting services, and the use of active harmonic filters, smart MEP (M&E) engineering design for building services can contribute to the longevity of electronic equipment, resulting in decreased power consumption and reduced costs.

BL122 - Why Is Power Factor Correction So Important for Green Buildings

So, what is power factor correction?

Typically using capacitors to offset inductive loads, such as those produced by motors, power factor correction (PFC) tries to improve power factor and thus power quality. Ideally, a system should use all the power drawn from its source to perform useful work. This can happen if the current is in phase with the voltage. If a variation exists between the two, some of the energy from the AC mains is lost and does not perform work.

A measure of the effectiveness of using incoming power in electrical or electronic equipment is known as power factor. The technique of PFC attempts to achieve a power factor of 1 for any system, although most appliances will function effectively at a power factor of 0.95 also. Power factor is also known as the ratio of Real to Apparent power, terms which can be defined as follows:

  • Real power – power used to actually run equipment, perform work
  • Reactive power – power required by certain equipment, such as motors, relays, transformers, to create a magnetic field for the operation of the equipment, but does not perform work
  • Apparent power – vector sum of Real and Reactive power, total power needed to run the equipment

The efficient functioning of the power supply is increased with the use of PFC systems, resulting in cost savings on electrical consumption and supporting green architecture.

There are a number of reasons why the process of PFC may be needed, such as:

  • Failure of motors
  • Failure of electrical or electronic equipment or appliances
  • Continuous overheating of transformers, switchgear and cabling
  • Continuous and random tripping of fuses/circuit breakers
  • Equipment operation that is unstable
  • Increasing and undetermined high energy use and costs

Electrical equipment can become unstable and fail to work when the power factor is deemed poor. A system with a power factor of less than 90 percent will need power factor correction. Systems with poor power factors incur heavy energy costs, as an increased amount of current is needed to execute the same amount of work. Thus, improving power quality reduces power distribution system loads, reduces load on switching gear and cables, reduces costs.

To maintain systems that require power factor correction, the following levels should be regularly monitored, ideally every 6 months:

  • Power load reduction
  • Voltage levels
  • Harmonic content
  • Equipment condition
  • Functional operation

Now, traditionally, PFC equipment used a bank of capacitors to help reduce the total amount of electrical demand. The capacitors would offset an inductive load, or it would offset reactors in case of capacitive loads.

Enter the harmonic filter. A harmonic filter eliminates unwanted harmonics in electrical systems produced by non-linear loads, thus improving the performance of the equipment and reducing energy costs. Harmonic filtering is useful when the following situations occur:

  • Transformers, motors and conductors overheat
  • Generators show instability
  • Capacitors fail
  • Fuses and circuit breakers keep tripping
  • Drive failure/damage of sensitive electronic equipment
  • Increase in energy costs

Non-linear loads, such as uninterrupted power supplies (UPS), low-energy lighting and switched mode power supplies in personal computers, cause unwanted harmonic voltages and currents. By drawing current in short pulses, rather than a smooth wave-like manner, non-linear loads generate electrical harmonics, which create currents of varying frequencies that are reflected into the system, thus twisting the AC waveform.

It is in this way, by reducing the system’s efficiency, that harmonics reduce the power quality, leading to a lower power factor and ultimately higher energy costs. Harmonic filters sieve out a system’s electrical harmonics, reducing equipment overheating, tripping of fuses and breakers, improving power quality and thus reducing energy costs. By installing resonant circuits in series or in parallel, the harmonic currents are blocked or minimised, reducing harmonic voltage distortion.

The three main types of harmonic filters are:


  • Used in industrial sites with non-linear loads more than 500kVA
  • Used in sites needing power factor correction, reduced voltage and current distortion
  • An LC circuit is installed in parallel with the non-linear load. The circuit absorbs the harmonics, eliminating it flowing into the network.


  • Used in industrial sites with non-linear loads less than 500kVA
  • Installed at sites that need reduced current distortion
  • Systems with power electronics are installed in series or parallel with non-linear loads, compensating harmonic voltage or current drawn by the load.


  • Combine the performance of active and passive filters

Harmonic filters thus contribute to ‘green’ buildings by improving power quality, improving power factors, reducing power consumption and, thus, helping leave a small carbon footprint and enabling low acquisition and life cycle costs. To enable construction to achieve a green building star rating, construction firms need to employ trusted engineering design services who are able to provide technically accurate electrical CAD drafting services. Rather than train and use in-house personnel, Western companies tend to seek cost-effective M&E services overseas. India, with its vast bank of qualified electrical engineers, is quickly becoming a preferred destination to seek expertise in power factor correction and other cutting-edge electrical design services that support green buildings.