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Using Virtual Reality in Design/Build Architecture

A dream custom home begins with an idea and ends with a house made up of thousands of small details. The journey from start to finish requires a homeowner to visualize and decide on all of these details. Left purely to the imagination, the process could be intimidating. At AV Architects & Builders, we incorporate virtual renderings at every phase to give homeowners the information they need to have confidence that the end result will be a perfect match with their dream.

The Value of Virtual

An expert in homeownership, Casey Margenau, a realtor with Casey Margenau Fine Homes has been introducing buyers to his listings using virtual media since 2006. He finds that people use his 3D scans and watch his video tours multiple times before visiting the property. According to Margenau, “If someone is out there looking to buy a house, they are hungry for information about a property.” Having that information available to study and consider makes a huge difference to the homeowner. Margenau notes, “When they see a home on the computer, they can pay attention to the details and absorb them in a way that is harder to do during the visit.”

For over 10 years, AV Architects & Builders has been using ArchiCAD to create three dimensional models of the home design from the outset. This approach is a vast improvement over the more traditional AutoCAD software, which is based on 2D drawing that architects then use to create 3D renderings using SketchUp. Using animation, ArchiCAD also lets the homeowner put on VR (virtual reality) goggles and do a “walk-thru” of the model. The ArchiCAD options are invaluable for the custom home building process. Homeowners can see the progression from idea to construction, and the design builder can proceed with the confidence that they are delivering exactly what the client wants.

Using Virtual in the Five Phases of Design/Build

Phase 1: Vision

It begins with a Google Earth image of the property, which reveals the grading and other important details. We derive a 3D model that takes advantage of the existing topography by proposing patios, retaining walls, decks and other foundational and indoor-outdoor elements that will blend seamlessly with the property. This allows the homeowner to visualize the proposed design on the actual location.

Phase 2: Design Development

During this phase, we flesh out the homeowner’s vision with the details. This includes decisions about layout, room size, and wall location. Together, we choose all of the materials for the home – from windows and siding to tile and flooring. Making the selections at this phase is an incredible cost savings to the client because the client is able to use the renderings and the VR walk-thru to see how the selections will look in the finished home, which cuts down on change orders mid-construction. The 3D virtual walk-thru model also helps the engineers to provide accurate design input.

Phase 3: Construction Cost

Once the details have been selected, we do “take-offs” where we come up with counts on everything we need in terms of materials to build the home. 3D assures that we are accurate in our take-offs, which means we can give the homeowner accurate pricing for the build. The last thing a homeowner wants is a change order and delay because we didn’t order enough tile for the bathrooms.

Phase 4: Permitting

Obtaining permits requires presenting designs to the local authority for approval. That authority is a person who needs to be able to visualize the finished product to determine if the design complies with regulations.

Phase 5: Construction Phase

Where the virtual 3D model is useful to other eyes during the first four phases, it becomes particularly helpful to the design/builder during the construction phase. Using a tablet, the architect-builder can open the BIMx application, pull up the model of the house at the construction site and get detailed clarity on every aspect of the build. This includes critical trim out information that the architect-builder needs to convey to the trades (electrical, plumbing, drywall, flooring, etc.). Questions can be answered immediately, with the confidence that we are keeping with the approved vision of the homeowner.

Using virtual technology, by the time the construction is complete, the homeowner will receive exactly what they want. Instead of hoping that imagination will meet reality, the 3D design process eliminates the guesswork. At AV Architects & Builders, we specialize in building homes that match with your dreams. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Smart Home Automation: Featuring Sight and Sound Systems

Together, our experts covered everything you need to know about home automation, including:

- What is home automation?
- The benefits of home automation
- The cost of setting up and maintaining your smart home
- The most popular home automation solutions
- Smart home trends for 2021

To view this webinar, please fill our the form below.

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