With material prices at an all-time high and a shortage of quality tradespeople, smaller builders are finding benefits in 3D construction software.
Many builders are implementing 3D CAD software that enables them to walk clients through their home and demonstrate what they’ll deliver and how much it will cost. Basically, they are building virtually before actually building. Makes sense, right?
Builders will enjoy efficiencies gained with 3D construction CAD software especially software that associates price with geometry. What’s that mean? When you make a change E.g. move a wall, or extend a roof, or add an item, the price reflects the change. This is a huge step forward over existing processes that requires a design to be created, then quoted, potentially altered and re-quoted. This saves days, even weeks of work, and enables builders to get quotes accepted and projects into construction faster.
The end result is more jobs in the bag, clients who understand what they’ll receive for their money and projects that are designed with buildability in mind.
Clients love the convenience of a one-stop-shop design-build firm because it removes the grey area. They know what they’ll get and how much it will cost with half the stress as the 3D builders make it easy to make a decision.
As a result, builders are taking advantage, cutting out the middle man and offering a one-stop Design-Build shop.
Delivering a project in 3D is the clearest communication a builder can deliver.
Today a new breed of construction-specific CAD Design Software exists. It not only delivers virtual buildings; it also delivers detailed estimates and a central source of truth. 3D Virtual Design & Build CAD software enables builders to build before building, enabling all involved to tweak a project, find errors and make improvements.
Builder’s CAD software: These days Construction CAD software is easier to use and delivers so much more. Builders can now deliver a set of drawings, associate price to materials and services, associate dates, allocate trades and suppliers, and synchronise with accounting programs such as Xero.
Traditional CAD software was primarily created to deliver 2D paper-based plans. Estimating was never a prime reason and therefore most builders avoid it.
When CAD was first introduced it was commonplace for a CAD operator to be trained in the use of software as the usability of such software was cumbersome. Products like Revit and ArchiCAD proceeded to improve CAD offerings, however, it’s generally accepted that an intermediate user should have 6 months to 12 months experience before becoming “efficient” which is far too long for a small builder.
BIM or Building Information Modelling: In the early days many mistakenly confused BIM as a direct relation to 3D modelling, yet after time and many disagreements it is agreed that BIM is a process and not software. A builder can buy software that helps with BIM but can’t buy BIM software.
In my personal opinion the acronym “BIM” is very broad and a term that causes great confusion. Many have created processes and adopted standards, yet for residential construction, BIM is like hitting a thumbtack with a sledgehammer.
Residential builders only need to understand the cost, buildability, price and selection in association with a design, no more and no less, so do we need an acronym?
This all depends on the person and the effort put in. Nothing is ever easy they say, yet some programs are a lot easier than others.
These days Builders & Estimators can punch out a detailed 3D drawing and estimate in hours as opposed to days, weeks and months. The key is in the set-up. A little known company (Atlast Software) created a 3D modelling software package called Sketchup which dramatically increased the uptake of 3D software. However, for builders, it fell short of the mark when it came to knowing what was being drawn, how it relates to construction and how we as builders consume and use such information on an actual construction project.. . . .and this is why Plusspec & PlusDesignBuild were created.
What’s the hardest thing to learn?
If you’ve been building for more than 2 years, you would be looking back and trying to see where you could improve over the next 2 years. Every builder has experienced the detriments of errors in 2D plans created outside of your immediate control. If your intention is to increase the efficiency of your construction business, reducing the likelihood of error in plans and estimating, learning a 3D CAD and estimating program combined will give you the biggest return on time and money invested. This is just a small part of the reason you’d want to learn how to use CAD software on every construction project.Learn More