How Design-Build Contractors Can Benefit From 3D Illustration


Design-build contracting is growing for a reason. As you know, it’s less expensive than working with a separate architect and general contractor, the contractor has more accountability and the process is faster because construction can start before design is complete. 

The design-build method has only been around since the 1980s, but Engineering News Record predicts that 55 percent of projects will be design-build by 2015, compared to 35 percent design-bid-build. It’s not just homeowners who are contributing to the increase: Governments and private businesses are turning to design-build to save money and speed up projects. 

The one drawback to running a design-build company is that the task of pleasing a client falls solely on your shoulders. You can’t blame the architect if the kitchen doesn’t flow into the living room the way the client expected, and you can’t blame the builder if the wrong crown molding was installed. That makes contractor-client communication that much more important. 

Communicating With A 3D Illustration

Realistic interior renderings can greatly aid that couple choosing the appropriate color or materials for their living spaces.

Traditional floor plans, CAD designs and sketches have long been used to show customers what a finished home or building will look like. These 2D images will always serve a purpose, but they may not be the best way to help customers understand what they’re getting. Often, buyers don’t fully grasp how the drawings translate to real life. They might think the flooring they selected looks great until they actually see it on the floor. Or they may think the siding and trim match perfectly until they actually go up. 

A 3D illustration, on the other hand, is the closest thing to “seeing” a home or building in real life before construction begins. These are computer-generated images that allow the client to picture the finished product, not imagine it. They improve communication between your design-build team and the client by making sure you’re on the same page. If the house appears too close to the road, the client will see that before the foundation is laid. 

A 3D illustration can be full color or black-and-white. It can show the home or building, inside or out, from multiple angles. A 3D illustration can be more literal with a photo-like depiction of the property; the better term is actually an architectural rendering. But you can also choose to go more artistic, particularly if the image is intended for general marketing. 

Increasingly, architectural rendering firms are also offering interactive products such as virtual video tours. These take clients around and inside the property as if they were walking around with a head-cam. If they wood flooring makes the room look to dark, that will be obvious to the client. If the crown molding is too large, that will pop out. 

Village Features, LLC offers all of the above: 3D illustrationsarchitectural renderings and virtual video tours

Saving/Making Money With 3D Illustrations

Sometimes, spending a little money upfront helps you save in the long run. The less time you have to spend planning, designing and revising a project, the lower total costs will be. A 3D illustration reduces design time by making it more likely that a client will sign off on the design early on in the process. It also prevents costly change orders after construction is underway. And when you use 3D illustrations to present the project to local boards and officials, the planning process is likely to go faster. 

Design-build contractors also like to use 3D illustrations for marketing. A 3D illustration of a past project is fodder for websites, brochures, advertisements and more. 

Joshua Hale

Joshua Hale is the founder of Village Features. He enjoys writing about the effects of computer visualization on a business's bottom line as well as it's branding.