Why You Need 3D Construction Design Software

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Every contractor needs 3D construction design software.

There are many benefits to using 3D construction design software, from saving time to effectively marketing a design to a client.  The purpose of any technical drawing is to communicate a design or an idea.  A 3D drawing does this very clearly.  Almost any type of project can benefit from a 3D design.  I use it mostly for cabinet and furniture designs in my work but it is equally effective in renovations or new construction.  3D construction design software is becoming more readily available and user-friendly. It is worth serious consideration if you don’t currently use it in your work.

Advantages to using 3D construction design software:

1.  Save Time & Money – Designing a project in 3D can save time both in the design phase and the construction phase.  During the design phase, a project can quickly be changed or modified as the design progresses.  Since a 3D rendering is easily understood, there is usually less time spent back and forth with the client.  Designing in 3D can save time and money during the construction phase as well since a 3D model will help in identifying conflicts or problems before construction even begins.  In many cases a 3D model can even take the place of a full-scale mock-up or model.

2.  A Marketing Tool – The renderings that are produced from a 3D model make an excellent marketing tool.  It is much easier for a client to visualize what the finished project will look like from a 3D rendering than from a set of 2D drawings.  I have had clients tell me “I can see myself working in that kitchen!” when I’ve presented the renderings of their proposed kitchen design.  A clear and detailed rendering will let the client  “fall in love” with the design, which makes them more likely to go ahead with the project.  Designing in 3D also aids in producing a better overall design since it can be viewed from any angle.

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My favorite 3D construction design software – SketchUp

There are a number of 3D design programs available but the one that I’ve found to be most effective is SketchUp.  You can download the basic version of SketchUp for free, and it contains all the tools that you’ll need for most building and woodworking purposes.  SketchUp has gained popularity in all aspects of the design community from architectural design to the average woodworker.  I worked in the architectural field for 6 years and used SketchUp frequently.  I’ve used it on multi-million dollar commercial projects or a simple piece of furniture.  It is a versatile program that is equally effective in either situation.

Construction Design Software - Media Center          Construction Design Software - Kitchen

Construction Design Software - Hallway Table          Construction Design Software - Care Facility

After you’ve installed SketchUp, it is a good idea to take a look at some of the video tutorials available online to become familiar with how the program works.  The tools are quite basic and straightforward even if you are new to the program.  It doesn’t take much practice before 3D construction design software becomes a valuable tool in whatever aspect of construction you work in.

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Dan Pattison is the owner and operator of Fox Hollow Fine Woodworking. He specializes in custom cabinets, furniture, and interior trim work. Dan has 13 years experience as a woodworker…Read more

6 comments on “Why You Need 3D Construction Design Software

  1. Dan Post author

    I would say somewhere between 4-8 hours would give you a good feel for the program and most of the basic tools. I’ve been using SketchUp for 9 years and you find better or faster ways of doing things as you go but being able to produce a normal drawing doesn’t take a lot of practice. As you become more experienced your drawings become more efficient and easier to edit with the use of layers, groups and components.

  2. KD

    I’m in South Florida looking to do Major remodeling for our home. Bathrooms, Sea Wall, Dock, Patio etc….
    Can you suggest how I can find a good Contractor who can incorporate all this on a 3D virtual software?

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