Verandas in a flash
Want to add a porch to your house? Imagine if you could create a 3D mock-up in minutes to show you exactly what it would look like. Actually, you can already do it.
The Delta Services department of Hydro's building systems business was set up in 2006 to create computer solutions for the visualization of Wicona, Technal and Sapa branded products. In 2010 it began looking at how it could help the brand’s customers sell verandas more easily to end users, and the solution was a series of 3D software programs – Tech 3D, Wic3D and Sapa3D for the Technal, Wicona and Sapa brands, respectively. These programs are easy to learn and easy to use, and they can produce a stylish 3D mock-up of a proposed build in a matter of seconds, to help end users make up their minds in a flash.
“It’s very important to work in close cooperation with our customers on projects such as this, when the need comes directly from them,” explains Bertrand Assemat, Delta Services director. “We subcontracted the software development to a Hungarian firm that specializes in these kinds of solutions, and they worked from our very specific requirements to enable us to release a first version in 2010. From the feedback from our customers, we were able to release an update in 2014. The whole experience has been very positive.
“One of our main targets for these products is architects,” Assemat says. “With software such as this they can save a whole lot of time in the creation of complex 3D construction like façades, and soon will be able to generate BIM (Building Information Modeling) data within their digital models.”
BIM (Building Information Modeling)
A key element to these 3D tools for architects is the future inclusion of technology for creating Building Information Modeling (BIM) files within the models. BIM files include specific physical and functional characteristics of places, such as mathematical measurements and information on utility supplies. Several European countries are seeing a push for the adoption of BIM standards to improve software interoperability and ensure better cooperation among industry players.
A useful sale tool
For aluminium metal builders, the software provides a useful sales tool. “Our aim was to provide these users with a highly portable software solution that is very quick to learn how to use, so they can take it to the end user to show them what their design project will look like in situ,” Assemat explains. “The builder can take a quick photograph of the end user’s house and within a matter of minutes can show them how it will look with a beautiful new veranda on it. We believe this is a great way to seal the deal.”
Before Such 3D software existed, architects and metal builders had to take many measurements and show different examples to potential clients before coming up with a mock-up that could take hours to create. Now they can do it in a snap, right in the client’s home. The software uses a process of simple geometrical blocks that are assembled to create the final simulation. Expert training takes about a day, but many people just learn on the job.
In parallel, Delta Services has also created a web-based version of the software for end users to experiment with and to create their own simulations.
“Our aim here was to make something as simple and as appealing as Ikea’s kitchen planner but for verandas,” Assemat says. “Information from the end user’s online simulation is sent directly to us, and then we can put them in contact with our nearest partner metal builder for a quote.
“Our aim is to produce tools that are simple and efficient so that people enjoy using them, and we will continually develop them, creating upgrades and adding modules that make life ever easier for architects and metal builders,” says Assemat, who hopes to launch modules for the 3D simulation of windows, gates and shutter systems in due course. “That way, they are more likely to use or recommend our solutions – which is, naturally, the ultimate goal.