You can stand outside a square house and have a relatively accurate mental image of what it looks like inside. This is because it is a standard building covering standard needs and accommodating certain must-have facilities.
However, have you ever stood outside of a building, particularly one of these modern creations that look as though they defy all the laws of physics that you would expect to accommodate a building, and wonder what it looks like inside, how it works, how the space is laid out. Or is it just me?
I've always had an interest in architecture and have whiled away many a happy hour looking at places and conjuring up a mental image of what it might look like inside, or how it would feel to live inside it. Would it be warm and inviting or clinical and minimalist? Would there be enough room in the bathroom to swing a cat or enough room in the lounge to build your own skating rink?
Very often, if you form a mental opinion of these types of places, once you get inside you will be proved wrong, sometimes for the better and sometimes not so. So, how do these buildings get from a seed of an idea in someone's mind to a physical building that meets all requested criteria as well as functioning for a multitude of needs and being aesthetically pleasing to the eye?
The seed of an idea forms in a designer's mind and then has to be communicated to an architect who can articulate the idea into proper, solid plans. But when you look at the finished creation, some of them with odd shapes and angles as far removed from the box type standard house as it is possible to get, how can you possibly visualise what is going on inside and how can it be assured along the way that the designer and architect are thinking along the same lines?
One method that helps the two communicate is the use of 3D floor plans. Of course, computer generated images are constructed along with paper plans but you can't always get the same sense of space that you would with a 3D floor plan. With these types of plans you have a tangible model, you can move walls, doors and windows and you can add in scaled furniture models to see exactly what will work and what won't.
This can save a lot of time in the whole process. Of course, once a building is under way it is virtually impossible to start changing the fundamental basics of it. All that is left to really change is the cosmetic look and if you are stuck with a building that doesn't really work on all levels, you are going to experience great difficulty when it comes to selling it. With the housing market being in the state that it is these days, people who do have the resources to buy have a lot more choice than before. This is why it is so important to get it right the first time and why so many people use 3D floor plans, from designers to architects, from builders through to interior designers, all will find this a useful tool.
Along with a few CGI images, 3D floor plans can also be a useful aid for estate agents. When it is difficult to shift properties, then initially the most important thing is to actually get the buyer into the property to look at it in the first place. With the persuasion of a 3D floor plan, agents can get the prospective purchasers interested enough to take a look and then simply let their sales patter do its thing.
Architectural expert Catherine Harvey looks at 3D floor plans as a tool for looking at unfinished buildings.