Toronto-based, Discovery Dream Homes, creates custom log and timber frame homes using ARCHICAD. At any given time, some 40 projects are in progress – all managed and built in ARCHICAD.
A model home just outside the city shows potential clients what Discovery Dream Homes can create – but the team relies heavily on creating 3D presentations in ARCHICAD and shares them via the award-winning presentation app, BIMx.
“We use BIMx for every project we do. It had a profound impact on our presentation style from the moment it was introduced to us,” explained Shawn Hunter. “When people are trying to decide whether to hire us or not, BIMx tips the scales in our favor every time.”
Before BIMx Discovery Dream Homes used 3D renderings and different applications to cobble together a unified overview of each home. Now BIMx and ARCHICAD are a big part of their selling process. Clearly, ARCHICAD software plays a key role in designing and building the home as well. Hunter says the virtual walkthroughs they build in ARCHICAD sets them apart from competitors too.
“Implementing high tech in our workflow shows that we’ve adopted forward thinking. Our factory where we manufacture all the homes we build is completely automated. ARCHICAD models and the information they contain about each and every home we design – feed the data the machines need to operate and seamlessly translates it via an IFC file.”
Timber elements from the model – exported from ARCHICAD through IFC – supply the saw cutter with accurate measurements. The house actually gets produced because of the 3D model, from the conceptual plan all the way to the final product.
“To call it an efficient process would be a major understatement,” adds Hunter.
Efficiency helps Discovery Dream homes to generate a home’s first concept for presentation to a potential home owner within two weeks or less. Though many of the properties serve as vacation homes, the clients are on tight deadlines, needing to get permits and foundations in place ahead of changes in weather.
ARCHICAD facilitates the editing and evolution of the design from there as well.
“Some presentations are done online – others right in our board room. We go through the model room by room, allowing the client to change window size, move walls, change kitchen layouts. They are involved in the design process. A one-and-a-half-hour meeting can result in an approved design and get us to the blueprint and engineering phase right away.”
Client interaction at this phase of the design process helps Discovery Dream Homes keep to a tight production schedule. ARCHICAD generates some material quantities and produces construction documents for their engineer – who uses the BIMx to figure out what he needs to do.
In cases where the home is situated on remote mountainous or steep and rocky terrain, Discovery Dream Homes uses topical site plans and elevations in ARCHICAD to get a realistic view of the home, adding Google Earth to provide an even clearer picture.
Each model has all interiors included – as well as furnishings – down to pictures on the walls. Sun Studies help clients see how the changes in light impact the home’s look as well.
The detail in our ARCHICAD models is just not possible to achieve in any other program – certainly not 2D – so this aspect of the software is extremely valuable.