How To Use Architectural Renders For Approvals

Short of something illegal or unethical, there’s really no way to guarantee your project will be approved. But there are steps you can take to help the process along. Incorporating realistic, photo-quality architectural renders into your presentation is one of them. 

The approval process can be long and daunting. You might have to make your case in front of several local boards, including planning, zoning, design review and conservation. You could wait months for the first meeting and then have to come back several times. In many cases, the boards will send you back to the proverbial drawing board more than once to make changes.

Architectural renders can speed up the approval process by clearly communicating your ideas and plans. Board members and members of the public who attend will be introduced to the project with realistic, photo-quality images of the design. There will be little confusion about your project’s look and scope, and whether it meets local specifications. 

Presenting To Local Boards With Architectural Renders

The approval process might be a pain, but we all know why it exists. Cities and towns want to make sure development occurs responsibly and thoughtfully. They want to be sure that homes and buildings are safe, attractive and within proper boundaries, among other things. 

By placing the rendered building on the existing site, this image helped the various design review boards see the building as if it was already built.  This in turn made it much easier for them to evaluate and eventually approve it.

By placing the rendered building on the existing site, this image helped the various design review boards see the building as if it was already built.  This in turn made it much easier for them to evaluate and eventually approve it.

As you know, developers and architects need to show up to these meetings with their A-game. They need to show that local regulations have been met, and the presentations need to be sleek and professional. It’s possible to accomplish that with 2D images and sketches, but 3D architectural renders are a more powerful tool because board members don’t have to waste time using their imaginations. They can “see” the project as if it existed. 

Architectural renders confirm that the project’s architectural details meet city specifications. They give board members a realistic view, not a pie-in-the-sky image that looks beautiful and takes liberties with the actual design. They also allow board members to start imagining that home or building in their town, which can speed up the process. Approval decisions are not supposed to be subjective, of course, but we all know that they can be. 

If (or when) one of the local boards requires changes to the design, architectural renders make that fairly easy to do. It’s much easier to have your architectural rendering firm make changes on a computer than to have an artist redraw or revise the plans by hand. The revisions can be done quickly so you can return to the board as quickly as possible.

Shaping Public Opinion With Architectural Renders

Sometimes it’s public opinion, not local boards, that slows down the approval process. Development projects face opposition all the time from people who live nearby. Resident X may not want to live close to a shopping center or resident Y may have hoped the vacant field behind his house would never be developed. Local boards have to take these concerns into account, and in some cases they have to put the project to a public vote.

When you present with architectural renders, you’re giving the public an opportunity to see exactly how the finished product will look. You can show them that the home, building or development will be attractive and well designed, and you can demonstrate how landscaping will create a buffer between your property and theirs. Essentially, you’re providing peace of mind that the project will not impact their quality of life. It’s one thing to make that promise to neighbors, but if you can convince them with images, that’s more powerful. 

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