In the last couple of years, we have seen the rapid development of 3D computer software and its adoption by large London practices and the push by government for the construction industry to adopt BIM – Building Information Modelling. Having seen the step change it offers us and our clients to visualise our designs in a way that was impossible with conventional plans and elevations, we have decided to upgrade our working strategies and methods of design. On top of some of the big changes in our office in the past few months, one of our fundamental improvements involved moving onto 3D computer modelling.

After rigorous training and research, we have invested in an Architectural 3D BIM software called ArchiCAD, which allows us to speed up and improve the design processes, as well as enhance the communication with our clients and co-ordination with other consultants. Conventional 2D Computer Aided Design Packages somewhat imitates pen and paper or a ‘virtual drawing board’, 3D BIM modelling imitates a real construction process. Rather than single lines, models in ArchiCAD consist of virtually constructed elements such as walls, windows, doors, roofs, stairs, slabs and many more. Designing in 3d allows us to simultaneously produce two-dimensional plans, sections and elevations, as well as construction details and schedules. All views are integrated with the three-dimensional model, thus every change in the design is updated within the corresponding drawings automatically. It also enables us to locate and solve potential construction issues early in the project.

The software’s intuitive settings as well as portability allows us to rapidly make changes to the models, even during client meetings. When our clients are able to visualise their desired spaces three-dimensionally, the design process transitions swiftly and enjoyably. ArchiCAD understands and manages the properties of building elements, as well as helping to design complete systems it is minimising the risks of human error. We have already received some great feedback from our clients, who were pleased with the outcomes of the 3D software and enjoyed getting involved with the design process.

Designing in 3D