Architectural Design Drafting & Rendering – an Overview

Architectural Design Drafting & Rendering – an Overview

Architectural design is at the heart of an efficient, liveable, man-made structure, the brain behind the brawn of building construction. One of the more important segments of architecture is the architectural design drafting process, when architectural drawings and renderings are created, which can later be developed into architectural models also. With expanding populations worldwide and growing housing and commercial requirements, there is an increased need for architectural design drafting and architectural rendering services. We take a broad look at the stages, software, concerns and profitable options.

Architectural design primarily follows a progression of stages, namely the Concept Stage, Schematic Design Stage, Design Development and Permissions Stage and the Construction Documents Stage. Here’s how they proceed:

Concept Stage

1. Parts of the design are assembled
2. Zoning and building codes are reviewed
3. Full code summaries and research design parameters are produced
4. Site research is conducted to decide solar angles and other site conditions
5. Client needs are understood in detail and sketched with proposed dimensions
6. Architects create and submit surveys, sketches, site plans, floor plans and elevations to the client

Schematic Design Stage

1. Decisions are taken on ideas for the location and to fit within budget
2. Several design options are sketched and loose drawings are made, regularly by hand.
3. Once approved, a schematic pricing set, which includes plans, sections, elevations is produced
4. Process is discussed, functions of the building are considered and diagrams are produced
5. Doors and windows are added schematically
6. Materials are discussed

Design Development and Permissions Stage

1. Schematic drawings are developed into permit or planning documents
2. Zone requirements are reviewed
3. Drawings are developed into 3D models
4. Coordination occurs with structural engineers to complete engineering work
5. Floor plans and elevations are assigned dimensions
6. Choices of wood, flooring, windows, locations of cabinets and appliances, assembly details and relevant code information is finalised
7. Trade, supplier and manufacturer recommendations are added to the drawing set and submitted to authorities for permits

Construction Documents

1. Once permits are obtained, documents for construction are finalised
2. MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) plans and foundation plans submitted by structural engineers are added
3. Increased coordination occurs
4. Drawings include extensive detail

A single software platform or a combination of platforms can be utilised for the design stages, namely:

Autodesk’s Revit BIM:
– 3D BIM models can be created from pre-construction concept stages to detailed construction stages

DIALux and Camel within the BIM format can be used for MEP engineering design, namely MEP design, MEP coordination, MEP drafting and MEP modelling.
– Mechanical, electrical, public health and fire protection building services design can be created for concept, schematic, design development, tender and construction stages.

Revit MEP and Navisworks for 3D building services coordination can be used to create:

– Coordinated Revit 3D models, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire services with other disciplines (steel, concrete, false ceilings, etc.)
– Coordinated MEP drawings of plant rooms, building risers, prefabricated corridors and ceiling modules

AutoCAD and AutoCAD MEP can help create:

– MEP CAD drawings, installation drawings and shop drawings

Revit Architecture and ArchiCAD for architectural CAD drafting services help produce:

– CAD design services, including construction drawing sets, CAD drawings
– Architectural CAD drafting, architectural CAD models, architectural photomontage creations and architectural rendering

SketchUp, 3ds Max, VRay, Lumion, Rhino 3D, Maxwell are user-friendly architectural rendering software tools that have a cache of 3D models of furniture, plants, trees, grass, etc.

-Helps develop final photo-realistic image that reflects design concepts and dimensions
– Includes shadows, shading, light sources, white model effect
– Shows depth of field, environment panel, sky setup – (sun, weather, clouds, fog, rainbow, atmosphere)
– Produces special effects, such as background panels, blend images, texture-mapping, bump-mapping, fogging/participating medium, reflection, transparency, opacity, translucency

Along with the appropriate software, certain key requisites vital for efficient architectural design are:

Right Resources

– Sufficient quantity of skilled human resources with recognised expertise using the above software tools, with the right technical qualifications, knowledge and experience
– Dedicated personnel for one project at a time

Expensive Software

– Updated software for all relevant personnel


– Each contributing project member must be extensively trained on possibly different software

Overseas Options

For either part of or the entire design process, the above-mentioned requisites can be sourced overseas, or outsourced. Outsourcing generates technically efficient architectural design at competitive rates. This is due to:
1. A large number of experienced and technically well-qualified teams
2. Budget-friendly overseas firms with 5-10 years’ architectural design and drafting experience
3. Revit BIM platform popularity overseas, leading to sound experience
4. Impressive certification, generally a minimum of ISO9001:2015

Architectural design drives successful project execution, and though several different software platforms can help deliver comprehensive design, other factors also contribute to project success. These factors are significantly impacted by outsourcing. Outsourcing delivers cost-effective, technically sound architectural drawings, models, computer-generated images and construction documents.


Key to Success in Implementing VDC

Key to Success in Implementing VDCThe virtual building design industry is seeing an upward trend worldwide and one of the key components driving this trend is the successful implementation of VDC. Virtual design and construction (VDC) is a process that provides a single platform for all project stakeholders to collaborate and make changes in a project, while working to budgets and deadlines. One of the main features of VDC is that it uses models and data to encourage regular communication between all stakeholders right till completion. What optimises success with VDC is the contribution of qualified professionals who deliver services quickly and at lower cost.

One of the benefits clients enjoy from the VDC process is that they are provided with building information modelling (BIM) capabilities and information that help in design, project planning and construction. Collaboration between clients and contractors at earlier stages are enabled by the use of VDC. Thus, the need for rework is reduced, and project time and costs are saved.

Changes are managed, workflow is collaborated, and documents are monitored in VDC. By identifying key goals, technical concerns are addressed early on. A cloud-based working environment helps collaboration in VDC. BIM in the construction industry facilitates the creation of a single model from design specifications, RFIs and equipment data sheets, helping clients monitor the progression of the project.

Thus, VDC helps firms to:

• Envision, modify and improve a project without wasting time or materials

• Collaborate between contractors or subcontractors and clients

• Establish sustainable elements into design

• Track labour, materials and schedules for project completion

• Provide digital delivery of plans for fabrication

Consultants and MEP professionals must work effectively for the overall success of the VDC process. Consultants manage design, but coordination and installation are usually handled by separate trades – mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc. Smooth implementation of VDC benefits all stakeholders concerned. By using BIM 360 Glue or Revit BIM software tools during design phase coordination, the model can be sent from design to construction. Also, coordination in VDC facilitates prefabrication. BIM modelling tools in VDC streamlines MEP coordination, identifying and resolving conflicts.

The results of successful and effective VDC implementation include:

• Complete fabrication of MEP elements

• Reduction of rework for mechanical subcontractors

• Less conflicts at field installations

• Fewer RFIs occur in MEP coordination

• Significant savings in cost and time

Usually, coordination and installation are carried out by separate trades in the VDC process. Each may not have enough skills or resources to fully implement effective VDC, so
profitable and timely delivery of projects could benefit from the right design partner.

Advantage of Overseas VDC Experts

General contractors usually have their own teams, but they do not always have enough modelling resources or the required skillset. VDC implementation requires expertise in handling precise data with the right tools.

It is, therefore, preferable to employ a VDC expert from the relevant disciplines, who brings technical knowhow and experience in BIM virtual construction to the table. Western firms increasingly find that such experts are being located overseas, especially with experienced partners who have a large pool of qualified technical professionals and extensive experience working in the US, UK and other Western markets, leading to accurate design services, greater profits and on-time deliveries.

The Importance of Architectural Experience for Scan to BIM Modeling

The Importance of Architectural Experience for Scan to BIM Modeling

The benefits of Scan to BIM are widely acknowledged in the construction industry for improving transparency, communication and reliability while developing a BIM model for an existing building. Though the process of Scan to BIM, especially with Revit 3D modelling, makes project alterations easier and contributes to faster decision making and cuts cost, architectural experience and expertise are important to make it effective.

To better understand the value of architectural experience, it is equally vital to understand what Scan to BIM is and how it works. So, what is Scan to BIM? Essentially, Scan to BIM refers to the process of using data collected through 3D lasers scanning a physical space, building or site to develop that data into a point cloud with millions of data points. This information is subsequently converted into a Building Information Model (BIM) in Revit, a digital representation that can be used to design, assess progress or consider options in the project.

Generally, existing buildings rarely have a pre-existing BIM model. Creating a BIM model, therefore, involves using as-built drawings and documents of operation and maintenance. These also may not be available. In such cases, a BIM model can be created by scanning the geometries of building elements with advanced laser scanners. The elements are equipped with information regarding their properties, and this information is used to create a BIM family object. The Scan to BIM workflow accurately and reliably automates this process, saving time and cost in creating the BIM model.

How does this happen?

The spatial details of a structure or space are scanned and point clouds are formed. Cameras and radio frequency identifications (RFID) can record the structure’s data, such as material and price. Point clouds are registered in a coordinate system and a single point cloud is created. This cloud is divided into sections and information is added to surfaces/volumes. More details are added, element attributes and relationships are endowed with increased detail and a BIM model is formed.

The process can be related briefly as follows:

o Revit is used to include point cloud data

o Scanned data is converted into effective file formats

o Scanned data is converted into point cloud files with Autodesk ReCap, during the indexing process

o Scanned data is converted into .rcp (Reality Capture Project files) and .rcs (Reality Capture Scan files) file formats

o After selecting point cloud files, relevant files are chosen to be linked

A variety of techniques capture different types of data. With an image-based technique, colours of objects are captured spatially. The range-based technique collects spatial information based on reflection. Though expensive equipment is required and difficulties exist in accurately capturing transparent and reflective objects, the range-based technique is a current favourite. Using this technique, extra effort is required to acquire information, recognise them as BIM objects and convert them to the BIM family.

The popularity of laser scanning led software providers to create software that recognises surfaces within the point cloud and converts them to BIM objects. Survey data and images use a range of software tools to create precise architectural models that portray the building’s current state. Information for a range of building elements, from wall surfaces, windows, pipes to HVAC equipment is captured by laser scanning. The LOD of captured data is improved to elevate the quality of the BIM model. Point cloud to BIM services create models with a high degree of accuracy for as-built purposes and retrofit, renovation and refurbishment projects. Alternate technology, such as radars, radiography, magnetic particle inspection, sonars or electromagnetic waves are being integrated to add data regarding invisible objects, such as structural elements, beams, columns, ceilings, internal walls and external landscape elements, to the BIM model.

Once the data is captured, it is then processed. Data is processed to prepare it for further use based on requirements, such as segmenting of building elements, defining meshes or recognising an object to export it to the BIM family.

What happens with the data:

Registration – Captured data from different scanning stations are incorporated into a single coordinate system, using Trimble Realworks or Autodesk ReCap.

Create Point Cloud – After registration, data is included in a single file, the point cloud.

Integration of Data – Two captured, registered data are linked by choosing 3 common points from each station. This process is repeated to integrate files with stations and all stations into a single file. This process, though slow and labour intensive, is significantly accurate.

Clean Point Cloud – Irrelevant captured data, called ‘noise’, is removed from the point cloud. Noise could involve people, passing or parked cars, reflections, etc.

The Scan to BIM procedure builds accuracy and detail. It follows a basic 5-step process, which can be looked at in further detail:

• Survey
• Laser Scanning
• Process
• Model
• Information

Survey: A project manager collates information, manages access to the site, considers health and safety requirements and assigns a site team with appropriate equipment. Surveyors select where to place survey control, and while using a total station, control points are surveyed into a closed traverse. 3D survey control markers are coordinated on site. This sets scan tolerances, and accuracies are constantly tracked.

Laser Scanning: Laser scanners can be attached to standard tripods. Most scanners, such as Trimble TX8 scanners, are lightweight and have conveniently portable cases. The scanners are integrated with 3D survey control markers and supported by robotic total station control networks to collect spatial data on site. Lasers rotate at high speeds, and as the laser beam falls on different objects, an individual position with relation to the scanner and other site elements is recorded as digital data, known as a ‘point’. Several points collected together begin to create an accurate 3D representation of the space scanned. Large collections of points are ‘point clouds’. Greater number of points collected lead to greater accuracy in the scan – or ‘resolution’ of the scan. Laser scans can collect data on a million separate points in one second, which means a 5-minute scan can create 300 million points. Thus, high volumes of data can be collected in short intervals of time. More scans can be conducted, and survey information can be delivered rapidly to project teams. Laser scanners pose no risk to people, animals or existing building materials, an important consideration while working on heritage sites. High-resolution cameras on scanners can take images of the site simultaneously with the laser scan. The images then enable the ‘colourising’ of scanned data, which allows realistic rendering.

Process: Spatial data is downloaded at regular intervals, processed, cleaned and then collated and compared to survey control, thus ensuring precision and the highlighting of any clashes. Importing, adjusting and preparing raw scanned data for use by a project team requires special skills, and it is necessary to commission qualified personnel to execute this process.

Model: After the data has been checked and confirmed, it is sent to the modelling team, where the models are reviewed. Parameters are set by the point data, which provides an accurate representation of the structure for the high-accuracy model to be created. A single unified point cloud is then converted to a compatible format for a 3D modelling software package, such as ArchiCAD and Autodesk Revit. Generally, the point cloud to Revit model conversion is more popular.

Information: The model is supplied with data required by the client, from basic dimensional information to detailed data. Embedded information includes construction materials, conditions and cost. Changes in architectural drawings are depicted in the models. For example, false ceilings and other elements have attached data that enhance the available information.

The Scan to BIM process thus caters to a physical 3D representation and generates meshed surfaces. These points can be a guide to model BIM components to replicate walls, doors and windows. The requisite training, experience and additional software tools are required to execute this process accurately.

Why Use Scan to BIM?

Mainly, the Scan to BIM process, with cloud point scan or 3D laser survey, is a boon to renovate or refurbish existing buildings. It is relatively easy to import cloud scan files to Revit or other BIM software, creating detailed BIM models. The dimensions are then imported directly, making the process of BIM modelling easier. Scan to BIM services have been significantly relevant in the renovation of old structures and have shown proven results in refurbished schools, colleges, hospitals, heritage sites and museums, among others. The Scan to BIM workflow remodels existing elements and enables the modelling of fresh elements along with existing ones. Several factors are taken into consideration, such as quantities, material use, time duration and manpower cost.

As energy-efficient buildings are in greater demand, documentation must be gathered on existing construction sites. Designs for renovation of buildings that no longer meet energy requirements for improved energy performance or living comfort require this documentation. In most cases, such documentation is outdated or missing. Advanced scanning methods, such as BIM laser scanning, are needed to register and analyse the documentation that has been created. Making a precise 3D digital model of an existing structure in a short time empowers the project team to be well informed in order to develop new designs, monitor work and verify progress.

Scan to BIM services are used by retailers, contractors and architects to analyse the differences between point cloud and Revit model geometry. As-built BIM models created through the process is also relevant for large-scale architectural projects, such as tunnels and bridges.

Dealing with architectural projects means that architectural knowhow and experience is of paramount importance for Scan to BIM projects. Some of the skills required for Scan to BIM for architectural services are:

o Expertise in creating Revit models

o Experience with point cloud data or laser scanning

o Experience with topographical surveys in Revit

o Expertise in creating 2D CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings from survey data

o Experience in the overall development of BIM protocols and systems

o Qualifications in construction-related disciplines, primarily architecture

o Sound understanding of construction techniques, survey systems and methods

Architectural professionals are responsible for working drawings, schedules and specifications, as well as working on site surveys, understanding and adhering to building codes for different regions, fire safety certification, planning applications, specification writing and CAD management. Architectural graphics and model-making are also areas of expertise that professionals in the architectural field specialise in and which are essential for the process of Scan to BIM.

Architectural work experience equips practitioners with the architectural aptitude, ability to think in three dimensions and the ability to work to tight deadlines as part of a team so that projects are completed via appropriate software and collaboration.

Architects, engineers and contractors need to work with effective planning, coordination and sharing of project information. Stakeholders in the project must have experience with architectural processes to use intelligent building models to perform simulations and assure compliance with energy requirements and other regulations. Although the Scan to BIM procedure allows significant flexibility, a constructive understanding of client expectations is also important.

Revit survey models illustrate various levels of maturity that can best be understood by those with architectural experience. The levels represented are as follows:

Level 1:
o Structural walls
o Partition walls
o Structural floors
o Structural soffits (undersides of architectural structures – arches, balconies, overhanging eaves)

Level 2:
o All of the Level 1 elements
o Curtain walling
o Ceilings
o Windows
o Doors
o Stairs/ramps
o Roofs

Level 3:
o Level 1 and 2 elements
o Sanitary fittings
o Sinks
o Skylights

Level 4:
o Level 1, 2 and 3 elements
o Surface finishes
o Construction materials
o Fixed furniture
o External ground model

The Revit environment for BIM models contains extensive data defined by the client. This information allows the quantification of any element, such as room areas or costs of materials. Architects provide full designs and specifications for a project, as well as acquire planning permissions and obtain statutory consents. A well-coordinated team of architects and certified scan technicians can effectively execute high-quality as-built surveys using Scan to BIM services by capturing and interpreting the 3D scan data.

Ultimately, the value of architectural experience for Scan to BIM modelling is significant to delivering high quality service to clients. An architectural understanding of the importance of individual building elements and how they integrate on a wider scale ensures relevant alterations, more informed decision-making, lower costs and faster project execution.

How 3D Software Has Changed Architectural Design

3D software for architectural design

In the past, architectural design plans and drawings were seen as something so artistic that, on occasion, watercolours were used as part of the finishing touches of the 2D design. Drawings were produced with the help of compasses, T-squares, and irregular curves. Architectural design services and processes gradually evolved into a more systemised engineering drafting technique, which saw collaborations resulting in the first CAD/CAM systems designed for the military, automotive, and aerospace industries in the 1960s. The age of 2D CAD dawned in the 1980s. Close on its heels, software rendered realistic 3D models, and Autodesk’s AutoCAD debuted in 1982, offering 3D architectural modelling, digital representation and system development, opening up a whole new world of accuracy, cost effectiveness and realistic visualisation. Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD, Autodesk’s 3D Studio and Revit Technology Corporation’s Revit joined the trend soon after, before becoming an Autodesk product itself.

Creating 2D drawings is fast and easy, but the result is still a 2D drawing, which may not be sufficient in some cases. Any change in one drawing had to be modified in other drawings to maintain accuracy and consistency. Increasingly, 3D files, with all the necessary data to develop 3D products, were preferred to 2D drawings. Many companies realise a 3D design is useful in the design stage and can save time and money. Software for 3D models in architecture include AutoCAD, Revit Architecture and Revit in conjunction with BIM.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process of construction that has a way of altering structures: their appearance, their way of functioning and the way they are built. BIM is a combination of digital, spatial and measurable collaboration. Elements in BIM are loaded with data detailing geometry, material, fire rating, cost, manufacturer, count and any other metadata imaginable. BIM ensures that all project disciplines share a single database: architecture, engineering and construction. Right at the design stage, energy analysis can be carried out and even construction expenses can be calculated.

Plans, sections, details, elevations and schedules are created as interactive 3D models with multiple views using BIM. One of the advantages of BIM models is that any change in one view will translate into all other views. Any element moved or removed from the plan will follow the action in elevation and section views, for example.

In architectural 3D modelling, Revit is widely recognized as one of the most technologically compatible BIM applications. BIM helps control calculations and element interactions in a faster, more accurate and easier way and provides a high volume of information about the building.

Clients benefit from 3D design, as it provides a variety of design options to the design team and client. They are able to view 3D models and change the colors of walls, the style of doors and other elements and also view the results.

Impact of 3D Software on Architectural Design

In architecture design, 3D software widens possibilities in a way 2D solutions are not able to do, such as:

1. Minimise costly mistakes

Software designed for 3D modelling enables the testing of building stress factors and tolerances before construction. This saves time, money and possibly disastrous consequences. Analysis tools can simulate the flow of fluids to measure vibrations in key structural components. Simulations help identify design flaws. Also, 3D printers can ‘print’ 3D CAD files as prototypes, saving the cost of creating prototypes conventionally. Each specific component of a structure can be isolated, tested, analysed or changed in 3D, and this can be done with the assurance that no other components are compromised.

2. Work faster and more efficiently

It takes time to make sure that the plans, sections and elevations concur in 2D CAD, whereas in 3D, a completed model can provide this information faster.

3. Increase accuracy and control

Design views of 3D models can be panned, zoomed and rotated. Detailed information for each project section helps improve calculations and communication, leading to more comprehensive decision-making processes.

4. Improve customer satisfaction and approvals

Clients and prospective clients can experience a virtual tour of buildings with 3D software. Clients can view a polished and interactive visual of the final construction. Firms with a 3D printer can proffer a physical representation of designs to clients rather than wait for factory moulding. Clients can enjoy customised building designs, as design elements can be altered easily in 3D rather than how costly it would have been with just 2D drawings.

5. Offer realistic design views

Rather than understanding horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines of 2D sketches, 3D software enables a combined image of architectural services. Viability of plans and design alterations can be viewed in one image.

6. Enable easy remodelling and corrections

As design changes are easy to view and material information is provided in detail, costs can be calculated to greater accuracy.

7. Positively affect project execution

3D technologies that significantly impact project execution:

  • Reduction of field interferences
  • Less rework
  • Increased productivity
  • Fewer requests for information
  • Fewer change orders
  • Better monitoring of cost growth
  • Decreased time from start of construction to facility turnover

8. View more of the interiors

Furniture, wall paints and designs, designer ceilings, etc. can be placed within interior views.

Other Widely Used 3D Software Tools:


Autocad is popular among students and professionals and produces representational drawings, which are often stepping stones to 3D modelling. The user interface can be adjusted to preferences and some experimentation with layers and line weights will produce a design with standard drawings and measurable construction details. AutoCAD Architecture is specifically created for architects. It allows architects to draft more efficiently and create a variety of designs and documents. AutoCAD has layers, such as stairs layer, windows layer, doors layer.


An architectural CAD software, this open BIM (Building Information Modelling) software is a complete tool for architects, enabling 3D modelling and visualisation, offering high quality and photorealistic rendering. ArchiCAD modelling allows the storage of large amounts of information in 3D models. It is useful for building design, interiors and urban area design.


When architects create the conceptual phase in 3D, SketchUp enables the quick creation of the design. It is popular for being user friendly, cost effective and having a varied component library. Each object, surface and material has a unique texture. Its rendering capabilities though are limited.


Revit helps create 3D models, renders and 2D construction documents. Building components such as actual walls, roofs, beams and columns and real-world elements such as windows and doors can be used instead of lines and circles. Compatible with AutoCAD, all alterations made are updated in all views, plans and elevations. Coordination and drawing time is reduced significantly. Revit 3D modelling produces tables that show the amount of materials required and exactly where they are needed. The material take-offs make for better planning and predictability.

Revit Architecture allows the automatic production of schedules of building components, thus improving cost and quantity calculations. As Revit is a 3D software for BIM (Building Information Modeling), it has a collaborative facet, which is a huge advantage. Any stakeholder can access centrally shared models on cloud-based locations, such as Collaboration for Revit and BIM 360, and can make changes and communicate these changes to others in the same project. This helps avoid rework and helps save time.

3D Studio Max

3D Studio Max tools have modelling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is used by architects for previsualisation.

AutoCAD Architecture

AutoCAD Architecture by Autodesk allows both 3D and 2D design. Apart from being a great tool for rendering, it can create realistic models with a combination of solid, surface and mesh modelling tools. It also enables easy communication with others on the same project.

Chief Architect

A CAD software for architects, it is useful for 3D rendering and is easy to use. With an intuitive interface, it offers smart tools. It can automatically generate building systems. Additionally, 360° panorama renderings can be exported.


Rhino 3D is a major player in 3D modelling. Used for industrial design and architecture, Rhino’s geometry creates accurate models. Grasshopper, a graphical algorithm editor designed for 3D geometry in conjunction with Rhino 3D, offers further architectural options.

One of the lasting effects that 3D software advances have had on architectural design is in altering the nature of business processes. As the architectural design services industry evolves and increasing options for 3D modelling software become available, there is greater demand for qualified technical personnel to provide efficient and accurate designs. This sought-after, technically adept human resource is now available overseas in large numbers and at an affordable cost. In an increasingly global business environment, more firms find the use of overseas 3D modelling services beneficial and this trend seems set to continue for some time.

Growing Your Home Design Team While Minimising Risks

Growing your home design team while minimising risks

Increasing Your Home Design Team with Minimal Risk

Growing new home markets in Western cities present a need for an increase in large residential design and drafting teams with the required experience and expertise. Effort, planning and vision can increase the size of the team and profits earned, while minimizing the risk factor for these large-scale residential projects. In the current global milieu, larger, efficient, cohesive home design teams can exist between multiple locations. Ideally, part of these teams can be based at an offshore location to produce the same results.

Some of the vital tasks a home design team performs are the creation of 2D drawings, 3D modeling, 3D rendering, building information modelling, construction documentation, CAD drawings, using Autodesk (AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max or Revit) or Graphisoft ArchiCAD. The end product involves a comprehensive set of residential design drawings in Revit or ArchiCAD, which are essential commodities for the completion of efficient residential design.

An ideal home design team must utilise updated design/drafting tools. Advantages of a larger offshore team include the following:

Productivity increases – As tools such as Revit facilitate the production of numerous integrated drawings within a small window of time, clients can direct their focus to other business activities.

3D modelling means fewer mistakes – The detail available in 3D modelling makes for a more accurate process and thus reduces errors.

More collaborative process – As design concepts, drawings and models are digitally stored in locations which enable common access, members of the design process enjoy collaborative input from start to finish.

Time saved – 3D modelling allows an in-depth view, so that revisions and changes can be carried out quickly and accurately.

An experienced outsourced design team provides all of this, and as an added perk, it becomes unnecessary to invest in expensive CAD software, expensive infrastructure or expensive skilled personnel. It really can be a holistic remedy.

Are there risks in outsourcing this part of the residential construction drawing process?
In the past, there were times when some of the concerns listed below would have raised eyebrows. That is no longer the case. Here’s why:

Loss of control over the process
The ability to retain control during outsourcing can sometimes be a concern. Limitations in communication and delays in response may affect the product. Improved communication with the outsourcing team and ensuring the in-house team understands what outsourcing entails takes care of ‘control issues’.

Collaborative working
Due to the existence of tools such as Collaboration For Revit (C4R) and BIM360, the production of an offshore team can be viewed and commented upon in real time if needed. At worst, the central design team can view the work completed by the offshore partner, and at best, they can directly work on the same files that the offshore partner is working with. This advantage requires a user that is experienced in the use of collaborative working, of course, and therefore selection of a vendor with the requisite collaboration experience is necessary.

Hidden costs
Even though the process has been outsourced, some costs remain, such as the costs in the transition process. Knowing the potential hidden costs of a new venture will help paint a clear picture as to exact cost reductions.

Inconvenient work hours
As close interaction and collaboration between the in-house team and the outsourced design team is required, the time difference may present problems. Outsourced teams can accommodate different working hours or shift them to guarantee an overlap.

Communication hurdles
Many CIOs, or chief information officers, think their communication will be affected by the design team’s English-speaking ability. To avoid that, project leaders can carefully select the country and their outsourced partner. A country that has a proven track record of teaching English practically guarantees that language no longer becomes an impediment.

Will the customer be put off by outsourcing?
Outsourcing has been tossed around in a not-so-complimentary manner, probably due to bad experiences which have been the result of misplaced or incomplete due diligence processes for partner selection in the first place. The resultant bad experience may have had a knock-on effect elsewhere, in other Western countries. When a supplier is selected and managed properly in real terms, outsourcing presents companies the opportunity to be more competitive in international markets. Customers value that.

Quality control
Sometimes, a working product develops issues after it is delivered, and if the quality produced from outsourcing is poor, the company’s reputation could be in tatters. For instance, if the ventilation system design harbors any error, human health is put at risk. Or there could be examples of noncompliance with company standards. A design team that follows the latest quality standards, as well as the presence of a certified quality assurance specialist ensures industry-standard quality.

Data security can be an issue, especially if dealing with highly sensitive information. The confidentiality of commercial secrets could be leaked. Selecting a reliable, certified team is important. Ensure that the team has worked with sensitive information before, with established security methods.

Reliable Partners
If the project becomes complicated, a reliable partner is a boon. Often, CIOs spend considerably on a transition process and introduce a new team to the project, just to discover that the technology specialist has been reassigned. Understand the design team’s outsourcing model and team structure. They should be flexible and act as a strong business partner.

When a partner, such as a dedicated offshore CAD resource team in India, for example, confidently fulfils all architectural design processes, concerns and requirements, how does the company benefit? Some of the advantages of bigger numbers involved in the entire design process are as follows:

Large, Experienced Production Department
For large projects, the required resources can be availed to fast-track work, with the additional perk of a large dedicated team. By outsourcing work, more people can work on one task with the result of faster production. Plus, the outsourced team will be technically sound in terms of using CAD or BIM software.

Dedicated Project Managers and Teams
An assigned project manager will oversee the outsourced production. The manager sends regular updates by email and phones whenever clarifications are needed or requests occur.

Saving Cost of Training
In many Western nations, there is a high demand for technical experts. However due to economic prosperity, demographic ageing and lesser students opting for technical education, a lack of technical human resource is expected in the coming years. CAD and BIM software ensures top quality, but it is complex. Frequent training of employees is necessary. This cost is borne by the outsourcing company, and there is a wealth of trained personnel at its disposal.

Accurate Work
The work generated is guaranteed to be accurate and of top quality, as more people are working on it and processes are in place for quality control.

Valuable Experience
A company with several years of experience in varied disciplines ensures the delivery of a better product.

Secure Data
Advanced data protection systems and processes ensure that confidential information is always safe and secure.

Extra Time for High-level Design and Engineering
When CAD design services are outsourced, associates will have more time to handle more challenging design and engineering tasks. They can focus on their main strengths and be involved in core functions.

Easier to Honor Tight Work Schedules
Skilled and experienced CAD professionals are available whenever needed – at a much lower cost, so there is a faster turn-around time. Whether there is a requirement to quickly ramp up CAD production for a specific project or there is a need to regularly handle workload overflows, outsourcing CAD design services is ideal to deliver quality work during tight deadlines.

Ultimately, employing an experienced vendor with a proven track record and by signing confidentiality agreements, outsourcing architectural design services presents a logical solution to alleviate workload and enjoy the benefits of a larger team. Added advantages are financial savings, faster production and reduction of labour. It is generally accepted that construction is becoming less of a local industry and that architectural outsourcing will become a common reality in the near future. The march of progress in the home design arena is going global, and a larger, multi-talented home design team is vital to success.

Utilise BIM 360 and C4R for AEC Projects – Collaborate, Communicate and Coordinate

Picture3In various stages of the construction project lifecycle, multiple project stakeholders and teams are involved, which involves teams of specific disciplines working on certain elements of the project from different locations on a MEP (M&E) BIM or architectural BIM modeling project. In a multiplatform, multi-device, co-working and co-sharing environment, two-way communication, synchronised coordination, seamless collaboration and clash-free solutions are some of the aspects which determine the successful completion of a project.In various stages of the construction project lifecycle, multiple project stakeholders and teams are involved, which involves teams of specific disciplines working on certain elements of the project from different locations on a MEP (M&E) BIM or architectural BIM modeling project. In a multiplatform, multi-device, co-working and co-sharing environment, two-way communication, synchronised coordination, seamless collaboration and clash-free solutions are some of the aspects which determine the successful completion of a project.

To facilitate collaboration and coordination, reduce costs, improve project management and deliver projects efficiently within the timeframe and budgetary requirement, there are cloud-based, collaboration tools such as BIM 360 and C4R for AEC projects which help in providing improvements to AEC projects.

Some of the ways in which collaboration and work sharing tools help you address project management challenges include:

1. They enable collaboration – To keep all project stakeholders updated with the latest information, collaboration and work-sharing tools provide access to BIM project data which is centralised and help in connecting multiple team members through various devices, platforms and locations. As a BIM manager, project head or architect, you can use C4R to upload your Revit model to the cloud, BIM 360 Team to link your projects and provide access to multiple team members to enable them to make changes, add markups and communicate using features such as the Communicator on C4R.

2. They facilitate two-way communication – When multiple team members are working on various elements in the same, centralised model, communication is important. The Communicator, an integrated, instant messenger type feature in C4R enables your team members to communicate easily in real-time on active projects.

3. They enhance the interference analysis and coordination process – In a construction project, you may have teams from various disciplines working on a model. To ensure the process of clash detection, coordination and resolution are efficient, using a combination of collaborative and clash detection tools is the best solution. You could use C4R along with BIM 360 Glue and BIM 360 Field to detect clashes, synchronise the coordination of changes and create coordinated, clash-free and construction ready architectural models.

4. They reduce costs – By addressing coordination issues in the initial stages of the construction project lifecycle, you can reduce time spent and costs that you could have incurred had you not resolved coordination issues. To decrease costs, deliver projects faster and reduce errors, using collaboration tools help in coordination and enhance project transparency.

5. They provide a holistic view – Typically individual team get an isolated view of specific elements of the project based on their role in the process. For you to enable better coordination, collaboration and communication, using cloud-based, collaboration tools help in providing a holistic view of the project, which is important in creating coordinated, construction ready models.

6. They facilitate remote project management – Using browser-based and cloud-based tools make work sharing and collaboration is easier. You can procure the best resources and cross-border teams by using cloud-based tools, therefore, reducing cost on IT infrastructure, enhancing project delivery time and maintaining budgetary requirements.

By facilitating two-way communication, cross-border coordination and seamless collaboration between multiple project stakeholders, work sharing and collaboration tools such as C4R and BIM 360 provide you with a solution to address project management challenges. To respond to the increasing demand for faster project delivery within budgets, collaboration tools provide you with the best possible solution by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, facilitating effective project management and enabling faster project delivery. While adoption of the latest technology in the AEC industry is gradual, being a first mover could provide you with an advantage. The sooner you utilise tools such as C4R and BIM 360, the easier it will be for you to efficiently deliver projects faster, reduce costs and ensure your teams can seamlessly collaborate, coordinate and communicate.

Why The Time-tested Practice of Architectural Drafting is Used in Architectural Design?

Why the time-tested practice of Architectural Drafting is used in Construction and Architectural DesignArchitectural drafting, a time-tested practice of drafting 2D architectural construction drawings has evolved from manual 2D drawing to using computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) software programs. 2D drawing sets have been used and will continue to be used by engineers, designers and architects as standard deliverables to contractors on construction sites.Architectural drafting, a time-tested practice of drafting 2D architectural construction drawings has evolved from manual 2D drawing to using computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) software programs. 2D drawing sets have been used and will continue to be used by engineers, designers and architects as standard deliverables to contractors on construction sites.

In most building projects today you may have noticed an increase in the use of architectural BIM modeling and 3D models. Architectural 3D modelling is useful because 3D architectural construction drawings and models allow for design changes in real-time, easier management and exchange of project data and it provides a 3D view of the conceptual plan. However, architectural drafting is preferred by several construction companies because it includes technical details of structural, architectural and electrical components required for installation and during construction of a building. A construction drawing set (CD set) of architectural CAD drawings typically includes sections, elevations, floor plans, detailed drawings for installation of MEP components and other documents required for construction.

Architectural CAD drawings help in construction and architectural design by specifically communicating the design intent and by providing high-performance detailing of construction elements. To understand why the time-tested practice of architectural drafting is commonly used in architectural design and construction projects, here are some of the reasons:

• While architectural design companies have technical resources and drafting teams qualified to deliver 2D technical drawings using basic software programs such as AutoCAD, not all companies have the availability of technical resources qualified to deliver 3D models using software programs such as Revit. Moreover, most of the resources employed in construction teams are qualified to interpret 2D architectural construction drawings required for construction while not all resources working in various disciplines are experienced to use 3D models.

• In the construction industry, the adoption of new practices and the latest software is a slow and gradual process. The software programs used in architectural design and building projects varies from country to country, with some using AutoCAD and ArchiCAD instead of Revit, invariably resulting in the incompatibility of project data. 2D architectural CAD drawings are widely adopted across the industry and are preferred over Revit 3D models for construction.

• While 3D models provide additional information, not all building projects require this data to complete construction. 2D architectural CAD drawings in a construction drawing set include symbols, technical codes, quantities, the type of material and other additional information included in the elevations, sections, floor plans and detailed drawings that are required for successfully completing a construction project.

• One of the underlying reasons why architectural drafting solutions are commonly used is the fact that 2D technical drawings are economically viable and provide sufficient project data to complete construction. Moreover, added to the cost of architectural 3D modelling solutions, there is an additional investment in technical resources qualifies to interpret architectural 3D models for construction on-site.

The practice of using 2D architectural construction drawings on-site will continue to be a preferred option because construction companies and teams need more than a 3D perspective of the conceptual plan, they need precise details and accurate drawings for construction and detailed technical drawings more than an aesthetical perspective. Moreover, in the construction industry, most of the resources can interpret 2D drawings clearly and not all manpower of various disciplines in a construction team have the capability to comprehend 3D models. Added to that, 2D drawings are compatible because basic software programs such as AutoCAD and ArchiCAD is required unlike when using 3D models where there are certain cases of software incompatibility. While architectural design and construction companies gradually adopt architectural 3D modelling and BIM modelling solutions, architectural drafting and drawing solutions will continue to be a commonly used practice because it meets the requirement of efficient and effective construction on time and within budget.