jmyers

The future of residential design/drafting?

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By reading posts on this forum, I have noticed that many of you have witnessed many changes in the residential drafting/design industry over the years. Many of you were in the business when drawings were created by hand. Your success speaks volumes for your ability to adapt and stay ahead of the game.  

 

Even though I am not an architect, designer, or draftsman, I have spent many years in residential construction and have an interest in residential design. 

 

Due to the experiences that many of you have had, I thought it would be very interesting to get your thoughts/predictions concerning the short term and long term future of residential drafting/design. 

Some of the topics that may be of interest to all are listed below. 

 

* Technology advancements
* Client demands 
* Regulatory changes (Building department/code changes)
* Housing market strength 
* Office model (small firms, large firms, design/build)
* Additional services offered
* Design trends

* Designer licensing/training/education requirements
* Other

 

What do you all envision for the future?

 

I look forward to the interesting discussion. 

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currently when a buyer closes on a house they get a "standard" survey

and the building depts may require that or a more detailed survey when doing additions etc

 

I see a day (probably far away) when most permit offices will require a 3D model of the as-built

and the proposed construction

 

thus, eventually they will be provided to buyers signed/stamped just as surveys are now at closing

 

Lew

 

 

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I envision use of drones to snap aerial views of properties when doing site location for a new house

or decks etc

 

I did a project where the home owner had extensive flower beds from the house all down her hillside

she wanted a large deck coming off the 2nd floor and wanted minimal impact to her gardening

 

I had my friend climb a ladder and shoot a vast set of photos across the entire back

 

then used Autostitch to create a panoramic view of the back yard

 

then scaled it into Chief and then placed the deck to her satisfaction for posts and stairs and shade etc

 

a drone would have been nicer to use

 

drones would also be handy for siting hillside houses etc

 

Lew

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In 2005 I scoped out buying a color 3D printer for $65,000

 

then I found a nearby vendor that would produce 3D printed house models starting at $300

 

I still see a market for high-end houses, especially historic houses for 3D printed models

for the homeowner to display on a fireplace mantel and to present to museums and historic societies

for their displays of historic homes in the area

 

Lew

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I believe most of the USA will experience more regulation in every aspect of plan check and construction ,like we have experienced here in California for 20 years, at least. Most of our country has been far behind, and a lot of people will need to catch up.  I'm amazed by the states that still require no framing plans or shear walls or energy calc's or engineering or anything about Green buildings , and some still need no plans whatsoever. What is good about all that is that people will need to hire you to do it, b/c it's just too much for a lot of people to handle.

 

 

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Perry -- I believe you are right. It seems to me that most areas eventually follows California's lead, but it takes a long time to get there. 

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3 hours ago, jmyers said:

By reading posts on this forum, I have noticed that many of you have witnessed many changes in the residential drafting/design industry over the years. Many of you were in the business when drawings were created by hand. Your success speaks volumes for your ability to adapt and stay ahead of the game.  

 

Even though I am not an architect, designer, or draftsman, I have spent many years in residential construction and have an interest in residential design. 

 

Due to the experiences that many of you have had, I thought it would be very interesting to get your thoughts/predictions concerning the short term and long term future of residential drafting/design. 

Some of the topics that may be of interest to all are listed below. 

 

* Technology advancements
* Client demands 
* Regulatory changes (Building department/code changes)
* Housing market strength 
* Office model (small firms, large firms, design/build)
* Additional services offered
* Design trends

* Designer licensing/training/education requirements
* Other

 

What do you all envision for the future?

 

I look forward to the interesting discussion. 

With over 62 years in the business much has changed. My top complaint is the quality of the product that is being produced. Here in AZ the market is dominated by the large national and regional builders that are producing, for better than a better word, crap and being successful at marketing and selling this product. It is a quanity over quality race to who can be number one. There are a few exceptions but alas they are far and few between. Technology, except for a few instances has taken a back seat to the quick dollar. Ok It is just my opinion.

 

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you don't show where you are which means a lot of what your state, county, of town might require

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I am from Indiana, but thought it would be interesting to hear from others as to what they think about the future of the residential design industry nationally.  Many CA users have navigated the changes in the industry over the years in a very successful way.  They must have done so by being able to adapt and by also having vision. 

 

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To me, one of the biggest changes has been 3D. I sometimes wonder how we (me) developed drawings of the things we did when we used a drafting table and an occasional napkin/pencil. I love the ability to frame a roof in 3D, as a good example, and go inside to check clearances for ceilings and the ever-present valley rafter that creates havoc sometimes on living spaces. Has eliminated many quick "cuts" on paper to try and determine those types of things. I, like most of you, have clients who just can't visualize a 2D plan; 3D brings the entire project to life. I, for one, don't want to go back to "the good old days."

 

3D is the direction and who knows how that will be improved! How about components-parts? How about true BIM from a 3D model? Wouldn't that be a good idea? ;)

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15 minutes ago, Ridge_Runner said:

To me, one of the biggest changes has been 3D. I sometimes wonder how we (me) developed drawings of the things we did when we used a drafting table and an occasional napkin/pencil. I love the ability to frame a roof in 3D, as a good example, and go inside to check clearances for ceilings and the ever-present valley rafter that creates havoc sometimes on living spaces. Has eliminated many quick "cuts" on paper to try and determine those types of things. I, like most of you, have clients who just can't visualize a 2D plan; 3D brings the entire project to life. I, for one, don't want to go back to "the good old days."

 

3D is the direction and who knows how that will be improved! How about components-parts? How about true BIM from a 3D model? Wouldn't that be a good idea? ;)

Very thought provoking!

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For me, in my business, there's seems to be a limited use for the most modern technologies. I still use a tape (both digital and tape measure) to measure my 'as builts' for the remodels I do despite all of the new apps that claim to do it better/faster with all of the digital blue tooth devices etc. I still sketch on a napkin when I can't quite visualize a concept and still rely on my building skills to help design an actual buildable structure with real world details.

 

I LOVE all the 3D tools and use them to dial in a lot of designs and structures but see a limit as to how far they need to go to become a LOT more useful. I even think we are very close to the edge of every day useful technology and over that edge would have to be a killer app that changes everything we currently know about computer design but even then if you don't know how pieces of wood and concrete go together in a real house, in the real world, it will do the designer no real good.

 

Chief Architect is a great example. What can they to dramatically improve their software? Lots of minor tweaks and usability stuff but any dramatic change will have to come from an entirely new look at computer modeling and even then the skills of a builder and that knowledge will always supersede any magic that the newest software might seemingly provide.

 

Great software will always be one of many great tools but must always be used along side great skills and tools in the field where the treated plate meets the stem wall.

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Reminds me a little bit about my current helper. He's young and sees a tech answer to every problem. "Let's get this app for this, it's so cool."

 

I'll respond, "Yes it's very cool but what problem does it really solve?" Sometimes there really is a benefit but many times it's just more technology that does no real good in my real world business. We examine it with an open mind and together we either incorporate the new tech in to our work flow or get on with business as we can't see any real benefit. I use a lot of tech in my day to day business but most of the new stuff I can't find a real use for.

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19 hours ago, chief58 said:

you don't show where you are which means a lot of what your state, county, of town might require

ARIZONA, "The Valley of the Sun"

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Living in the middle of Silicon Valley, I anticipate that clients will eventually insist on a VR experience of their remodel/new housing before they sign off on the design.  When I started giving my clients 3D panorama views of their projects last year such that they could stand in the middle of their old kitchen and spin around and view the new design on my tablet (I remember all the VR goggles were sold out at that time around Christmas!), or stand in their backyard and view the new deck, their expectations are permanently changed and 2D drawings or even still 3D views are no longer sufficient.  They want the immersive experience. 

 

In cities that are particularly picky on design and zoning requirements, I might well expect them to require submittal of a 3D view for planning that also includes 3D exterior models of neighboring houses so they can easily verify the daylight planes, setbacks, how it fits in with the neighborhood, etc.  Possibly they will have you put your new 3D model somehow in a Google Maps type 3D environment with the existing streets and other houses already there.  

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Thanks to all who responded. There were some very interesting thoughts about what may be in the future for the residential design/drafting industry!

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IMHO bim, 3D, VR and paperless plans are the way of the future, the possibilities really are limitless.

 

As Christina points out, more and more people are aware of the technologies out there and are after the full immersive experience. The tools are there now but maybe not upto to the task for the complexities and nuances of construction to become mainstream as of yet.

 

It will take a major shift in thinking for trades/contractors to adopt and utilise an ipad, surface pro or similar but masses of information could be conveyed in a lot simpler form. I think this will become a natural progression for younger generations as the momentum continues to shift towards technology in the classroom ie less and less pen and paper or chalkboards. Much in the same vein carpenters now rely on powertools rather than a hammer and nail or my generation using CAD to earn a living rather than pencil, rulers and drawing boards.

 

3D pdfs exist already so there is no reason why you could have 3D details so the contractor can orbit around to get the full picture rather than perhaps misinterpret a 2D representation.

 

Is there any reason why BIM couldn't be more widely adopted for residential, I know here our frame manufacturers have software to design and certifier their timber frames and trusses, energy consultants use a software to simulate the thermal performances of a design. Why cant these all be streamlined to utilise the one model? 

 

 

 

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What I am about to say may be very unpopular, but I feel there has been too many entering this business due to CAD/BIM applications that make someone think they can design/draft plans for people - kinda like in the 90's when everyone became a "graphic designer" because they knew how to use MS Publisher.  It used to be the technical know-how of preparing Condocs kept the standard relatively out of reach of wannabees.

 

We need greater restriction with mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing even for "designers".  I'm not saying people need to become architects - but there should be some level of competency required before designing buildings. 

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37 minutes ago, johnny said:

What I am about to say may be very unpopular, but I feel there has been too many entering this business due to applications that make someone think they can design/draft plans for people - kinda like in the 90's when everyone became a "graphic designer" because they knew how to use MS Publisher.  It used to be the technical know-how of preparing Condocs kept the standard relatively out of reach of wannabees.

 

We need greater restriction with mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing even for "designers".  I'm not saying people need to become architects - but there should be some level of competency required before designing buildings. 

I think I have to agree with this sentiment, I also believe there should be a practical component to training as you see all too often a solution that works in theory but in practice a very different story.

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We need greater restriction with mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing even for "designers". 

 

I would agree - IF they are to sign/submit the permits

 

our business model was to  work with the builders to create the design, model and permit set

 

the builder had to coordinate, review, sign and submit

 

they needed the necessary knowledge to meet code etc

 

we the "designers" needed to know what the builders wanted and how to draft it

 

Lew

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Any ideas involving 'greater restrictions' have to IMO be taken with a grain of salt. I had absolutely zero training before I became a home designer and that freedom allowed me to develop a thriving business without the restrictions that some claim are needed to create a more professional environment.

 

Professionalism does not come with restrictions or regulations or whatever term you choose. Professionalism comes from an internal ethic that drives the entrepreneur to excellence in his/her business relationships. I remember a genuine red flag when dealing with other businesses when I was a general contractor and that was a BBB rating that the company would boast about. We had the worst luck with those companies pretending to be good business people because of a BBB 'A' badge or label or whatever you choose. We had much better relationships with simple, honest people who didn't pretend to be anything but simple and honest people.

 

And then there were the 'architects' that we dealt with constantly. What a struggle that was. Details that couldn't b built; designs that didn't work, but they had all of the "mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing..." but...they had no sense of what the client really wanted, did not listen to those needs and designed homes that fit their training and the latest trends instead of what the client wanted, if it could be built at all.

 

My point - all the "mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing" will have zero effect on the performance of a person within their business. The skills that are needed really can't be taught or regulated but are inherent with a person's personality and their ethical view of the world so in my opinion more " mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing"  does nothing more than create more "mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing" without addressing what makes a business (any business) good, professional or whatever term you choose.

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...and whose going to do the regulating? To what standard? Endless pit of regulation just like what we see now - only worse. Not for me.

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11 hours ago, johnny said:

What I am about to say may be very unpopular, but I feel there has been too many entering this business due to applications that make someone think they can design/draft plans for people - kinda like in the 90's when everyone became a "graphic designer" because they knew how to use MS Publisher.  It used to be the technical know-how of preparing Condocs kept the standard relatively out of reach of wannabees.

 

We need greater restriction with mandatory schooling/internships/continuing education and licensing even for "designers".  I'm not saying people need to become architects - but there should be some level of competency required before designing buildings. 

Johnny, you have broken the rule about designers vs. Architecture, no one ever wins or loses this argument. this has been around this forum forever and believe me it's a lost cause. I have seen many many people without any formal education do just fine in this business.   Hell I remember when they gave away Architects licenses and all you had to do was sign your name.. I think they wanted more members.  Who knows what's right and wrong, I think there are enough projects to go around for everyone.

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Larry:

 

very well said

 

 

Perry:

 

I agree - a never ending discussion :)

 

 

Lew

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