By Stewart Green, Associate Director at DP Architects
My firm, DP Architects, has specialized in high-quality residential and commercial design for over two decades. Our team used the same software platform for many years, but the upcoming Building Information Modeling (BIM) requirements in the UK, and its growth as an industry standard in general, prompted us to conduct an in-house review process to find software that better incorporates BIM into our workflow. Highlighted below are three major reasons why we chose Vectorworks Architect as our solution.
Rendering and 3D Design Capabilities
Before we started working with Vectorworks Architect and its add-on rendering application Renderworks, we designed primarily in 2D, using Photoshop for semi-realistic visuals. At the onset of our switch, we didn’t know whether we’d use Vectorworks software’s full 3D capabilities for most projects. However, as soon as we started producing drawings, we saw how easy it was to create 3D models and generate 2D plans, elevations, sections, and details. These drawings were rich in information and visually appealing. Utilizing color, fills, shading, hatching, and different rendering modes, especially hand-sketching effects, we can now craft design renderings that help us bring our clients’ projects to life—right before their eyes.
Intuitive Design Workflow
One of the biggest issues we had with our previous software was that it didn’t fit with our workflow. Overly complex drafting techniques and a lack of architectural drafting aids, particularly the absence of parametric symbols, made the need for change obvious. Vectorworks Architect is a very intuitive system with loads of built-in architectural tools and symbols. Though we started off only beginning new projects in Vectorworks and continuing current ones with our old software, we quickly realized the benefits of the speed and revision efficiency within the Vectorworks platform, especially when producing working drawings. We are now in the process of converting all of our existing designs into Vectorworks projects.
The BIM features of Vectorworks software were the most important things we looked for during our review process. We examined two other major software programs, but they were either extremely expensive or overly complex and lacked the architectural content we needed. Vectorworks not only had the features I mentioned previously, but it made incorporating BIM into our workflows so easy that we began using it even though we aren’t currently involved in any projects that specifically require BIM. We’ve begun to train our whole staff in Vectorworks software using a BIM workflow, and everyone has quickly been gaining confidence with it.
My practice has only just scratched the surface of Vectorworks software’s capabilities. We are already moving toward creating realistic renderings and solar animations, as well as interior modeling, with 3D site modeling as our next goal.
My advice to any firm thinking of adopting a BIM workflow is to do your homework, plan ahead, and allocate time for training and support like we did with Design Software Solutions. Ultimately, you’ve just got to go for it! You won’t regret it, and soon you’ll be reaping the rewards of 3D modeling and wondering why you waited so long to start.