What are the primary goals of creating a building model? Who are the key stakeholders?
- What do they need?
- What do they care about most?
Building models allow people to make important decisions in a timely manner without incurring huge costs (unless of course you overcharge). For clients, it allows them to see the design and provide key feedback on wants and likes, don't want and dislikes when it comes to the building design. For designers, it allows them to communicate their ideas in ways words could not quite express and to test their ideas in ways that are relatively fast and inexpensive. This frees their creativity and allows them to work efficiently. Models, especially physical models, also tell people a lot about how to build them. For example, the models made by Bernini or other renaissance builders greatly informed how they could build their buildings safely and efficiently. This of course is of utmost importance to the construction workers and team who want clear instructions on how much material is needed and where, as well as safe construction as opposed to highly risky construction phases.
How much detail should you include in your building model? How do you decide?
- As you develop your initial design?
- The general shape and orientation to the landscape are some key thoughts in the initial design. Broad ideas such as important features and placement of certain features are also important here. For example, in a multilevel building, would probably be good to put rooms that need piping and water access on top of each other. The general architectural concept should also start coming out at this stage. Key materials that one knows they will use should also be included here to ensure closer to accurate predictions on structural soundness, cost, etc.
- As you continue to iterate and develop on your design?
- At each stage, adding detail is a matter of testing certain features. For example the placement of the window here versus there will matter. Eventually after taking care of building logistics (wiring, pipes, etc) you'll think about aesthetics of key materials. Then you can try on things like different paints and other details that were not of importance in the early phase.
- What are the key stages? And how much detail should you include at each stage?
- Conceptual Design: this is the testing ground, the site analysis, and the arena for general concepts. This is where the design can be seen for its general look and feel.
- Preliminary design: this is where logical, efficient building design comes in. Where floor plans come together in concept but not to the detail of exact window or door placements or even exact material if thats not necessarily set in stone. Clients are consulted at this stage to get their reactions and feedback on these placements and room functions as they relate to one another.
- Design Development: Here the design is drawn out to much greater architectural detail. Exact placement of features like windows and doors, key fixtures are added. A structural analysis should be included at this stage to ensure details like the need for particular structural supports can be negotiated with architectural design. Materials are solidified, little details, colors, etc are also brought to full fruition at this stage.
- Construction design: Here you take the completed design and add in all the details that would be necessary to facilitate smooth and accurate construction. From the wiring plan to the exact measurements, how many steel rods you may need, etc.
How much detail should you include about the composition (layers, materials, thicknesses) of your wall, floor, and roof assemblies at different stages of your design process?
- Conceptual design
- Preliminary design
- Design development
- Construction documentation
Many door and window manufacturers provide Revit families for doors and windows that you can specify for your building design.
- What is the advantage to manufacturers for providing these families? (it's not free to create and provide them...)
- What is the benefit to you as the designer of using these manufacturer-provided families? Is there an advantage to using them versus the families provided in the Revit library?
Providing and using these families is a mutually beneficial strategy for both parties. For the manufacturers, this makes it more likely for designers to actually purchase their product for the construction phase of the design because they've already seen how it looks, been able to do analyses to see that they do the job, and thus by the point of construction would need something of close to the exact specification of the manufacturers product to more confidently ensure a successful project. Using the Revit library families is thus a risk in not being able to find a manufacturer that would reproduce such windows accurately and within budget. For architects/designers, you may lose freedom by having to stick to what a manufacturer creates but it's advantageous to use models of the products they intend to use so there are no surprises when it comes to cost, function, and aesthetics. Cost especially becomes a factor when one wants to avoid having to purchase custom windows or other such fixtures because no manufacturer mass produces what they designed for.