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4 benefits of 3D modeling for architects and engineers

June 23, 2014

Architects and engineers often rely on drawings and models of their projects to aid in their work. However, 2D computer-aided design (CAD) models don't always provide these professionals with the speed and accuracy they need to complete projects or find solutions to challenges. 3D modeling has been used by architects around the world for many years to improve the efficiency and aesthetic of their designs.

For instance, an architect in China was able to win an international competition to design a new theater in the country by showcasing his conceptual design through a 3D CAD model, according to an article by technology company 3D Connexion. In fact, Design World Online reported engineers in Chili were able to free 33 trapped miners a few years ago by using 3D technology to understand the as-is conditions of the site and construct 3D models to find a solution to the predicament.

3D modeling provides architects and engineers with the tools they need. Here are four of the biggest benefits 3D CAD models offer these professionals:

1. Speed
Being able to quickly determine the existing conditions of the mine was essential during the Chilean mine rescue, and 3D modeling was able to provide this critical speed element to the engineers involved in the mission, according to Design World Online. 3D modeling is able to virtually construct sites or structures faster than 2D drawings or models can. 3D Connexions suggested 2D CAD solutions are best used for ensuring aspects of a project agree. Professionals need to be able to correctly interpret data the first time, and 3D models leave little question about aspects of a site or structure because they provide a more accurate picture. This means architects and engineers don't have to spend time looking for issues in 2D drawings, allowing them to finish their projects faster.

2. Precision and control
3D laser scanning collects accurate as-is data on sites, and professionals can use data sets to create pin-point models of real spaces. This means architects and engineers don't have to spend time measuring and re-measuring parts of a structure or site to develop a precise model. This presents expensive mistakes from occurring by ensuring architects and engineers notice design issues or weaknesses in the structural integrity of a site before concrete is poured or a wall is constructed. 

3. Scenario visualization
Architects and engineers can also manipulate 3D models in a way they often can't with 2D CAD drawings. Professionals are able to test what-if scenarios with their designs in 3D, helping to validate their plans and identify any problems with design quality. 3D renderings of designs save architects time and money by confirming their project needs.

In addition, these types of models can also give architects and engineers an accurate picture of how they can change their designs if they need to. It is much easier and cheaper to alter a project in the design stage rather than after part of the work is already completed.

4. Reduced lead times
Because of the accuracy and flexibility of 3D models, architects and engineers are able to spend less time on the design stage of their projects and more time on the actual completion of each task. Professionals are able to identify any issues ahead of time by using 3D modeling, saving them from having to rework schedules and increase budgets. 

Models are essential to architects and engineers, but they don't have to remain content with using traditional 2D drawings and renderings of their projects. 3D modeling that uses data collected from laser scanners can give these professionals the advantages they need to finish projects quickly, efficiently and within budget.