September 17, 2020

How to Uncomplicate the Architectural Design Process

Snaptrude Editorial Desk

What's in this post?

What’s in this Blog?

  1. Current complexities of using multiple tools
  2. Why not think disruptively?
  3. Why not collaborate better?
  4. Tech-ing architectural design process up a notch

If you’re using more than one software for the design process in architecture, which is true for most architects, and these different tools don’t talk to each other, you have a problem. It delays your design process and makes your project a laborious and costly affair.
Based on our experience chatting with thousands of architects, we have understood that the #1 problem for architects during the design stage is the number of hours and effort spent in manual, redundant and repetitive work across multiple tools for design execution.

Current complexities of using multiple tools

As an architect or designer, during the design process, you first conceptualize the plan. The tools used at this stage could be simple pen and paper or digitised platforms like iPad and more. Once conceptualised, you rely on CAD tools for the creation of 2D drawings. After which, comes the 3D visualisation stage, where again, various kinds of tools like SketchUp, Rhino or other software are used. Then, for the final presentation to the client, rendering and visual tools like Lumion or Photoshop come into the picture!

This itself takes several weeks’ worth of manual efforts. To add to it, to and fro with the client leads to multiple design iterations at the sketch and the plan level, stretching to a period of a few weeks to several months, based on the scale of the project and design decisions. This leads to repeating the above processes for every iteration.

And, it doesn’t end there. Once the concept presentation is finalised, the building drawings are created in BIM in tools like Revit, because the current generation design development tools are powered by BIM (Building Information Modeling) engines, which help in developing construction documents and execution plans. These tools are incompatible with the older generation modelling tools, hence the design has to be remodeled again in these environments which delays the design process even further. So, you start from scratch on the BIM tool yet again.

Do the math. How many hours are being spent in manual tasks and remodeling the design, how many employees are being trained to learn archaic software and how much money is being spent in buying multiple software licences and Plug-ins?

The current architectural design process involves a minimum of 4 to 5 tools that do not speak to each other. These software are so often, not compatible in terms of importing/exporting files, design collaboration, backward integration and BIM compatibility.

Clearly, there is a lack of a comprehensive design tool which offers complex design capability and accuracy together on a single platform. And, architects have somehow learnt to live with the things the way they are.

There are two parts to the solution we propose:

1. Why not think disruptively?

How many concept design software tools that architects use are created only for architects? Most popular tools that architects currently use for concept design are also used for multiple purposes and industries – aeronautical design, engineering, fine art, animation and even greeting card designing. Perhaps, these tools do not take into consideration the architects’ pain points, as they are generic and not specific. Maybe, you don’t need over-engineered features that are inapplicable to your industry?

It’s a fact that current tools are quite complex and don’t automate simple tasks. For example, currently, there are architects who measure the dimensions physically in the drawing using a measure tool and calculate the areas in an excel sheet separately before uploading the areas in the software. The most popular tools in the industry do not even have options to extract information automatically out of the drawing or auto generate BoQ for that matter that can help in arriving at early stage budgeting in a project.

Why not automate?

The focus of the current generation tools should be to not just empower you with data but also to take away the burden of manual and mundane 3D modeling, which has been the most painstaking task in the entire design process and has been overlooked for the longest time.

What you need as an architect is a powerful program to present your first ideas to the clients, without unnecessary delays. One that automates your tasks and instantly (well, almost) converts your concepts into 3D models with BIM compatibility! One that can automatically detect area information from your drawing and intuitively present you a 2D and 3D model based on your rudimentary hand sketch or plan. Any iterations you make to the project, reflect in real time in the models. If no one has thought of this before, we ask why not?
Using a single, automated tool during the concept design stage that can accurately do this will help you dramatically cut down the time and cost taken to complete the project.

2. Why not collaborate better?

What happens to the example mentioned in the beginning of the blog, when the collaborators have no visibility of the concepts while they are being designed, and propose a minor change in the facade later? Imagine the time it will take to make all the iterations in the multiple tools involved and the scope for human errors.

How do you make sure that the client or the civil engineer is on the same page at all times? Imagine that your collaborator is sitting in a remote location away from you and looks at your design from their laptop at every point, giving approval and disapproval, online in real-time. This will mean a great reduction in iterations, lower project costs, faster delivery and more satisfied client, team members and you.

Online architectural design software lets you communicate and collaborate effortlessly with your clients and your teams, reducing any scope of miscommunication and errors. Unlike a legacy architectural design tool, a web-based tool also has a low learning curve and no licence costs, which means it is easy-to-use and easy on your pockets too.

Tech-ing architectural design process up a notch

Lately, the architectural community has been vocal about finding a new innovative tool that understands their design goals, makes it easy for them to use, is interoperable and comes at a stable cost and value.

With an all-in-one automated, data-driven concept design tool like Snaptrude that is also BIM compatible, architects and design teams can save weeks’ worth of manual efforts in the fragmented concept design process. Snaptrude helps you cut down on mundane manual processes by 80%.

Our Founder, Altaf Ganihar is going to discuss how the architectural design stage can be made more seamless with technology, at the upcoming event Shadow Summit 2020. Don’t miss his session on ‘India’s startup ecosystem: design tech’, along with an esteemed panel on 23rd September from 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM EST.

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