The images, above and below, are renderings. They are 3-dimensional computer drawings of a space. And in this case, they were drawn long before construction began. We and a few other architectural designers use them to help clients really understand what a space will look like before long before we start construction. In our case, the very first time a client sees floor plans of changes they come with renderings of the “built” result.
This is the same room as the first image but from a different perspective in the room. With good rendering tools, a designer or architect can work with clients, sometimes in real-time at the computer, to understand how different configurations, and finishes will affect the “feel” of the room. With a bit more work, we can even create a walk-through so the client can virtually walk through the remodeled home — All before construction starts. It’s a great tool to take the uncertainty out of remodeling and, for individual features, help a client decide whether the additional cost of a particular change is worth the incremental cost.
We find that using renderings during the conceptual design phase saves money both during design and construction. At the design phase, it saves money on revising time-consuming construction drawings. At the construction phase, they save money on very costly change orders. Let’s look at the above images, the homeowner changed 2 things based on the renderings: the number of lights hanging over the table and the length of the banquette. If these changes had been change orders — because the client couldn’t properly visualize the result from construction drawings — it would have added at least $5,000 to the job. We have a friend living in a different part of the country who worked with an architect using only the traditional floor plans and elevations. They spent an at least $25,000 during construction on change orders that could have been avoided if they had seen renderings. Then about 6 months after the remodel was complete, they spent an additional $15,000 on to the kitchen because they failed to understand they you would see a frequently messy part of the kitchen when you entered through the front door. If they had used renderings, they could have fixed this before construction began for no additional cost.
So let’s look at the floor plan and elevations of the space depicted in the renderings. These are only 2 of dozens of plans, elevations, and sections contained in the construction drawings.
These are the traditional tools used to communicate what a remodeled home will look like. The floor plan and elevations (as well as details and sections) are critical to communicate with building professionals and permitting authorities — they have to be done. But most of us have trouble translating these traditional tools into the 3-dimensional reality of what the space will look like and will feel like to live in.