“Design software is a powerful productivity tool that combines several key benefits into one, says Scott Harris, vice president of sales and marketing for Chief Architect. “First, it can help designers communicate ideas to their clients. The software allows designers to create 3-D renderings and virtual tours that really let the client understand how the final product will look and feel. It can be hard to visualize the final product from looking at a 2-D plan set, which is what makes these 3-D tools such a great benefit to both designer and client. The software plays multiple roles; it handles all of the technical aspects of design and plan sets while still providing 3-D visuals for client presentation, marketing and sales.
“Second, Chief Architect also includes a materials list,” continues Harris. “As the designer works, the components of the design are automatically added to a spreadsheet which can be used to estimate the costs of any remodeling or building project.”
Chief Architect offers numerous 3-D views such as render view, glass house, dollhouse, cross-section/elevation, framing and more. Designers can also draw a line and record a Virtual Tour that can be played for the client. The product’s “Color Chooser” gives the designer a nearly unlimited choice of custom colors. The “Blend Color” tool allows colors to be added to textures. This gives a realistic effect of adding stain to cabinets, moldings and floors by allowing the texture of the wood to show with the color. Future releases of Chief Architect will continue to meet this rising need with the development of new design tools and continued improvement of existing tools.
“Ease of use is the key,” explains Brad Finck. “Professionals today have more and more demand on their time and no longer have the time to spend months learning design software. Having the ability to get up and running fast and start producing projects in a limited time frame is key to success.”
Visualizing the Future
“BIM software was quick to use and implementation with commercial organizations,” says Jay Moore. “However, the residential and light commercial construction industry has been slower to move to this technology. However, demand by builders for BIM data is rapidly increasing and it is the designers that are now beginning to feel the pressure to accommodate the demands of the builder.
“BIM is the evolution of Computer Aided Design (CAD),” says Moore. “It is no longer a question of when or even if you want to utilize BIM technology; it is a requirement that designers will have to meet sooner than later. The receding residential economy is requiring builders to generate more sustainable designs, build green and provide better management of resources to reduce waste.”
“With the addition of software to clearly communicate a vision, expectations are clarified prior to starting the work and less time is wasted at the end of a job having to redo work or make unnecessary changes,” says Steve Cork, SVP RenoWorks Software. “Showing homeowners visually what products will look like on their home speeds up the decision-making cycle and provides an interactive experience for the homeowner.”
To overcome initial apprehension to new technology, RenoWorks offers their base Revision Pro visualization application free. The visualizer easily attaches to any contractor Web site, providing a professional business image and encouraging visitor interaction. The company recommends using the RenoWorks Pro laptop software to close the sale in the home. Also, RenoWorks has partnered with major names in the building products industry to provide images of a wide range of actual manufacturers’ products in our software and web solutions. Users can zoom in to get an up close look at the specific manufacturer’s product and see product details.
“The cost of technology continues to come down and forward-thinking businesses find ways to leverage technology to their advantage,” says Cork. “Almost every company has a Web site, or at least they should if they want a chance of staying alive in this market. There is wide gaining acceptance that some type of software is necessary; its deciding which one fits the needs of the company and level of skill of each user that comes into question.” RenoWorks has designed photo rendering software for users of all levels of ability.
“Getting manufactures’ products into our catalogs is a key strategy,” says Brad Finck. “Professionals and homeowners alike want to see their most trusted manufactures’ products available to them to see exactly how their home is going to look. Having different options available at a click is vital to making decisions and this helps sell product in the long run.”