The rendering tools integral to the software may also be a useful marketing tool for building owners. Creating good quality renderings for a multitude of unit plans could go a long way in “selling” the space to a perspective buyer. According to Matt Elley with AMLI Residential this is particularly true for condos, where it is important to get sales 1–2 plus years ahead of delivery and it is a big investment decision. He says “Selling the space with multiple renderings and a moving rendering has proven to be effective in bridging the gap”. Below you can view a non-rendered video (time to render once viewpoints set up : 5–10min = 1 min long) and compare it to a rendered video (render time : 4 consecutive days = 15 seconds long).



In the apartment world, leasing doesn’t begin until 3-5 months before delivery, and at that point several units are becoming complete and can be viewed via hard hat tours. For Elley, it really doesn’t make sense to spend the resources to render many of the unit plans for apartments, but one interior unit render and an amenity space render can be a very useful tool for the owner of an apartment building. While the Autodesk renderer is decent, other free software may also be used to achieve the same effect. To create the unit rendering below, we used Sketchup Make with a free renderer plug in (Kerkythea 2008), and then did post-processing on the render using Photoshop (approx. $500-700 for the software).

Depending on which programs you have, you may prefer to ask the architect for a particular file type. Design Review will only open .dwf, .dwfx of .fbx files. Sketchup will open .dwg or .dxf files. If you would like to perform higher level analysis on the project, you may ask the architect to export a .nwc file for use exclusively in Navisworks. You may also ask for all three!

As a side note, it may be a good idea to share the model and model links with everyone involved on the project via dropbox or similar so that the project file can be updated by the relevant parties and continually stay up to date. At the end of the project life cycle, you may provide the owner with an ‘as-built’ 3D model that they can easily view in Design Review.

**Benefits for Building Owners **

The BIM process, as well as the final outcome of a 3D as-built model provides building owners with several benefits:

  • It allows for information streamlining and integrated workflow such that all digital information is transparent, shareable and downloadable by involved parties, keeping everyone on the same page.
  • It can result in cost savings by identifying and correcting issues before they show up on the jobsite (clash detection and constructability, to name a few!).
  • And finally, it can help with building maintenance and operation:
    • Links to all relevant facility information are embedded in the model (serial codes, warranties, operation and maintenance history of components within a building, etc). This can also be very helpful when the space needs to be renovated in the future.
    • Maintenance schedules can help keep track of replacement needs for various project elements.
    • Ability to track actual building performance against design predictions.
    • Allocate, manage and track spaces and related resources within a facility.

As architecture firms continue to transition into Revit for project models, it makes sense to take advantage of the knowledge and power embedded in Architect’s models for construction purposes! Even using a free program such as Design Review can increase efficiency by allowing for the project to be understood with greater ease. Because construction purposes require BIM models to be accurate, it may be possible to encourage good modeling practices in architects by generating a list of modeling practices for architects to follow in order to make their models more accessible for construction needs.