In today’s technology-driven era, we consume, look forward to and find inspiration in the latest tech advances that make our lives easier. Though the human touch is an unbeatable force when it comes to design, there is no doubt that technology is essential in propelling our society towards spectacular advances, new discoveries and achieving goals.
In spite of the great efforts custom home builders invest in showing home owners the desired design of their future home, builders sometimes face issues when it comes to communicating their vision to the client. This miscommunication can result in a client writing checks with only a slight sense of what their newly designed home will look like.
What if this type of mutual discomfort could be avoided?
Custom Builders’ Comfort Zone
While technology advances have slid into virtually every industry and improve the way the professionals in those industry perform their tasks, a vast number of professionals within the home building industry are lagging to follow suit. Instead of taking advantage of society’s newest technology, they are using outdated and inefficient methods when showcasing their solutions to clients. For instance, home building professionals will merely bring a client to a showroom to show them interior finish option samples, leaving it up to their imaginations of what this may look like in their custom home.
Relying on clients’ imaginations and their ability to visualize what their interior design finishes will look like can be tricky. Some builders provide clients with renderings built on tools such as SketchUp, Rhino or 3DS Max, showing them a fixed view of a room which is step forward, but still not ideal in offering a sense of the scale and a true “getting them there” sort of experience. These methods may have been viable in the past. However, today far more superior options propelled by technological advances in virtual and augmented reality are within reach, making those options seem passé and ineffective.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is an immersive experience that can seamlessly transport homeowners into their future living space, allowing them to walk around and see all the finishes exact to scale.
This experience creates a palpable emotional connection between the home buyer and their new home, before they even break ground. It takes the imagination factor out of the equation, as one can actually see, experience and even feel what is like to be their dream home. This process allows clients to make educated choices when it comes to design options.
What if Homeowners, Architects and Builders Could Walk Through a New House Before it’s Even Built?
Some custom home builders have grasped the immense value of virtual reality and the way it can facilitate the process of building and delivering their clients’ new dream home. The sheer prospect of a homeowner, an architect and builder walking into a future home and making design decisions in real time – before the first brick has actually been laid out – makes for an unbeatable experience, a cost and time saving solution and an overall winning option for all parties involved.
VR gives clients the ability to walk into their future home and make design decisions by changing finishes. Whether it’s the Marble countertop, paint, wood flooring options or even specific Crate and Barrel chairs, West Elm rugs or Pottery Barn tables.
The cost- and time-saving benefits of VR technologies is best exemplified in one of Radical Galaxy Studio’s earliest works: it began with a client who discovered us just before commencing construction on a custom home in Seattle area. Intrigued by our VR capabilities, the client asked for a virtual reality model of the architect’s 2D plans. Once we created the model, the client quickly realized that the scale of the home’s rooms did not match the vision for the project. Luckily, this issue was discovered pre-construction, allowing our client to ask the architect for modifications without sacrificing too much time or money. In addition, the client was able to use our model to see and compare a variety of custom-modeled interior design finishes, allowing them to fully experience the options before making informed, final decisions.
Virtual Reality Reducing Change Orders
Another essential benefit of introducing VR into the building process is the fact that the amount of change orders will be significantly reduced. Dealing with a vast number of change orders by clients puts a great amount of stress on the builder as such changes are often attached to serving the client with the uncomfortable news of having to increase their budget. In fact, this part of the process puts considerable strain on both parties, as it involves both time and cost increases. By using VR, the homeowner can review everything pertaining to their future house down to the interior design and finish selections, in unison and in scale.
The builders themselves, including architects, contractors and subcontractors can easily evaluate each other’s work, contribute to the project as a whole and identify problems before construction, regardless of their location. This brings immense value to everyone involved, as they will be able to mark potential issues by embedding notes in the virtual settings, as they would on paper: for example, “Please check the height of half wall,” or “Can we move the fireplace 3 feet to the left?”
The benefits of VR for custom home builders essentially boil down to providing their target audience – the homeowners – with an opportunity to truly simplify the process, while reducing the two most essential resources: time and money.