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By John Biggs
March 19, 2018
In recent years, architectural presentations like blueprints have jumped off the page into fully computer-rendered 3D models that give designers the ability to create faster and allow architects and clients alike to visualize a finished project with great depth and detail before a single nail is hammered.
Using computers to create vibrant, detailed models of proposed structures or buildings in progress can provide a new level of understanding for clients who may not necessarily be able to imagine what a flat, 2D representation like a blueprint will look like in the real world. 3D modeling methods can even be animated to show how a certain feature or system will operate when the job is finished, which greatly enhances a layperson’s understanding of how a finished structure will look and function from multiple perspectives.
Virtual Walkthroughs Only a Click Away
“The client can visualize so much more about an upcoming project than a flat drawing could ever provide. Clients can literally have a virtual walkthrough of the proposed building. Just like a 3D movie, a 3D model enables the client to get a feel of how things will be laid out. They can walk through the entry of their future home, reach the lobby and even visualize guests having dinner at the dining area,” Shimonti Paul wrote in Geospatial World.
Contractors and builders can also realize efficiencies in the planning process by seeing a photorealistic 3D rendering of a building in process. Since 3D models can also be rendered by computers significantly faster and more accurately than 2D drawings made by humans, 3D modeling saves builders time in looking for miscalculations at the planning stage. Digitally rendered models can also be easily shared among stakeholders across disciplines, giving each an opportunity to weigh in on virtually any aspect of a proposed structure.
Digital design methods like 3D modeling also allows for greater experimentation with design elements, allowing builders and architects to view features or try out different ideas, limited only by their imaginations. Creating a true-to-life 3D model can even show potential design conflicts before they become problems during actual construction, saving the time and effort in making changes on the fly when faced with those conflicts during the actual construction phase. This applies to everything from room configuration to ceiling height, and even drainage or utility conflicts.
3D Models Boost Quality and Safety
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, merging 3D modeling technology with GPS allows highway projects to be completed with improved quality and safety. Using data extrapolated from 3D models and fed to GPS-enabled construction equipment, accurate grading can be made on the first pass, all but eliminating the chance for human error and reducing waste or misuse of resources.
The potential cost savings, efficiencies and productivity gains by smart use of the technology is significant, according to the U.S.D.O.T.
“The combined technologies of 3D modeling and GPS machine control can increase productivity by up to 50 percent for some operations and cut survey costs by up to 75 percent. Reduced idle time of equipment and rework cuts fuel consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent.”
Computer-generated 3D models can be repurposed and changed at will, adding a different layer of detail each time as needed.
Since the technology has existed for some time, 3D modeling has already been widely adopted by many construction companies to replace customary methods of pre-construction design. Computer-generated 3D models can be repurposed and changed at will, adding a different layer of detail each time as needed. Landscaping proposals can be added to an exterior model of a home or office building, and precise lighting conditions can be created to show how it will look in interior spaces depending on furniture layout and wall placement.
Blueprints will likely always have a place in construction, but the ability to quickly and accurately create high-resolution 3D models of structures is a technology that has quickly found a permanent home in the industry.
construction technology increase
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