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Architects going 3D for clients, builders

  • A three-dimensional rendering of One West Park, created by building information modeling. The building, which will be located just south of Forsyth Park, will house the law firm of Bouhan Falligant LLP. (Photo courtesy of Felder & Associates)

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In architecture and building projects, visualization is one of the most important aspects of the project.

One Savannah firm is taking it to the next level by using building information modeling (BIM) to create three-dimensional renderings of building projects.

“It’s really truly all about communication and technology. Throughout the years technology has developed very well and has made communication more powerful, more clear, easier to use and more available,” said Ryan Claus, project manager at Felder & Associates.

Claus said the technology is readily available to firms but not everyone utilizes the programs. Felder & Associates has been onboard with BIM since opening its doors in 2012.

“It’s been a process for us to transition into it, because it was new at that point for us and in terms of how we use it efficiently and to be productive with it, there’s been little things you have to get used to and learn to work in a different way from two dimensional drawings,” Claus said of the learning process.

“We’re literally modeling every part of our building, so anything that we need to tell the builder or client we can show them with the visual aid,” Claus said.

“And that’s why it’s very powerful, it doesn’t stop at a sketch. You can produce a sketch, but that only goes so far and with this, you really see what we’re producing before it’s built.”

The technology allows users to pull different angles and views of a project rather than just looking at a two-dimensional sketch because the 3D model makes size, scale and proportions easier to sense. The outcome often saves clients money, time and headaches once construction begins.

“If a roof is going to need to connect in a certain way or certain area we can decide that now,” he said.

“Before when you were drawing 2D you’d catch those mistakes in the field and we’d find out that things wouldn’t work the way we thought, but now we can see that in the model and correct the issue before we send it out to be built.”

The use of the technology depends on the size and budget of individual projects, while it doesn’t make sense to use it for a standard kitchen remodel it’s beneficial for larger projects like One West Park, the newly designed office building for the law firm of Bouhan Falligant LLP that will sit at the corner of Bull Street and Park Avenue, just south of Forsyth Park.

“We’re extremely excited about that project. It’s one of the few projects we get that’s for an exceptional client, exceptional location and a client that wants an exceptional building,” Claus said of the new three-story, 18,000-square-foot building. A groundbreaking will be held next week and Claus said construction should take about a year to complete.

“The technology might seem mind-blowing to some, but in our world it’s fun. It’s exciting to see the building come to life... When you see that creation take shape before it’s actually being built, it only adds to the excitement of the project you’re working on,” he said.

“And once you see it finished and it matches that model, it’s just cool to see the end product and how you were able to work through the moving parts and put them together before it was ever constructed and have a grasp of it before it went to the building stage.”

 

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On the web

To watch a video of 3D animation created by claus, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=83sOvu3EQN4.

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