According to a report by Market and Markets, The Global BIM Market is projected to grow from €3.78 billion in 2020 to €7.39 billion by 2025, with year-on-year growth of 14.5%.
Introducing our expert guide to expected timeframes for 3D architectural services such as Architectural Visualisations, BRE Daylight and Sunlight Assessments and Virtual Tours.
3D architectural services have completely transformed from being a luxury to a necessity for planning applications, development launches and pitch meetings to investors/stake holders.
With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, we have witnessed first-hand the evolution that 3D architectural services play within the AEC sector. We have adapted and evolved to address the accelerating demands within the world of 3D.
Factors such as improved standards in quality of architectural visualisations and the complexity of technical reports have extended the time required to produce 3D deliverables.
Understanding the timeframes involved in these services has become key to ensuring tight deadlines are met. Through our experience, strong processes, and expert team we have identified the expected timeframes for each 3D architectural deliverable below. We have also included our top tips on how to speed up processes and to ensure that your project is delivered on time.
Note: Please use the below information as a guideline only. Exact timeframes will depend on the scope of work and complexity of a project.
Expected Timeframes for 3D Planning Solutions
Verified View Montages & Presentation Photomontages:
2 to 4 weeks | 4 to 6 weeks
Definition: Verified view montages (VVMs) are technical images that accurately demonstrate the visual impact of a proposed development in its surrounding environment. VVMs range in distance from close to medium to long range and can take in protected views. They are the basis for the writing of landscape and townscape visual impact assessment reports.
VVMs are created to a high level of verifiable accuracy using survey data, suggested viewpoints, precise photography, 3D modelling, visualisation, post-production, and a strict methodology according to the latest industry standard guidelines.
Timeframe: A VVM project will generally fall into one of two timeline categories – 2 to 4 weeks or 4 to 6 weeks depending on the scale of the development, requirements from the planning authorities and design consultants, and the sensitivity of the site. Timeframes are always heavily depending on the receipt of well advanced/frozen design information and feedback from draft imagery issued during the project.
Tip #1: Appointing a CGI consultant early in the process can be very beneficial. It allows for photography and surveying to take place even if the scheme is not fully designed. It also allows for massing VVMs to be produced to help inform the design process.
Tip #2: Consider the time of year when appointing CGI consultants. Planning authorities like to see wintertime and summertime versions of VVMs. Therefore depending on the time of year it is important to instruct the CGI consultant to capture the views with the seasons in mind.
Tip #3: Including a full set of architectural, engineering, landscaping and survey drawings will significantly speed up the process of producing VVMs.
BRE Daylight & Sunlight Assessments:
3 to 5 weeks | 6 to 8 weeks
Definition: A BRE Daylight & Sunlight Assessment is a detailed technical analysis and report that evaluates the potential environmental impact on daylight, sunlight and overshadowing by a proposed development.
BRE Daylight and sunlight assessments focus on two main categories
1: Impact analysis (the proposed development on surrounding properties and environment – impact to daylighting and sun lighting on neighbouring properties and sun lighting to neighbouring gardens and communal open spaces)
2: Internal analysis (the proposed development on itself – access to daylight within rooms of the development and sunlight to its open spaces).
Timeframes: BRE Daylight & Sunlight Assessments generally fall into one or two timeline categories – 3 to 5 weeks or 6 to 8 weeks to complete. With so much focus on these technical assessments, the scope of work has increased to ensure a comprehensive study is produced and presented at the various stages of the planning process, right up to full application submission.
Tip #1: Be prepared that a poor performing scheme will involve design interventions to ensure that required levels of daylight & sunlight are achieved. This can add time to a project.
Tip #2: Daylight & Sunlight Assessments are under the planning spotlight and it is important that a robust and thorough assessment is carried out to mitigate against potential planning and legal (Judicial Reviews) issues.
LVIA & Reports:
2 to 4 weeks | 3 to 5 weeks
Definition: Landscape and townscape visual impact assessment reports are a technical report to address the impact that a proposed development will have on its surrounding environment.
Verified view montages play a key role in the review and writing of such reports and form the basis of their findings.
Timeframes: Similar to VVMs, LVIA reports take between 2 to 5 weeks to produce depending on the scale of the development, requirements from the planning authorities and the findings and analysis of the VVMs.
Tip #1: The LVIA expert will feed into the suggested viewpoints for the VVMs. Appointing this consultant early in the process will allow for better planning of timelines.
Tip #2: If the LVIA consultant and CGI consultant are from different organisations, make sure to put them in touch with one another as soon as possible. They will work closely with one another throughout a project, and you should ensure there is good communication between them.
Expected Timeframes for 3D Marketing Solutions
2 to 4 weeks
Definition: Architectural CGIs are a type of 3D visualisation that refers to exterior 3D visuals of a property or development. They are used to provide stake holders, buyers, and design team consultants an accurate and photorealistic representation of the quality and exterior layout of a scheme.
Timeframes: Architectural CGIs generally take between 2 to 4 weeks to produce depending on the number of CGIs, the level of 3D modelling required and requirements from design consultants or the client’s marketing team.
Tip #1: Include architectural CGIs alongside planning imagery for large scale developments such as SHDs, BTRs, and PRS’. This will help sell the scheme to the planning authorities and demonstrate the high level of architectural quality and landscaping design that the proposed scheme will have. For this, timeframes would fall into the planning solutions above.
Tip #2: Including a full set of architectural, engineering, landscaping and material references will significantly speed up the process of producing architectural CGIs. It also ensures that the CGIs are designed to a high level of accuracy.
2 to 4 weeks
Definition: Interior CGIs give a photorealistic and accurate representation of any internal space. They are used as marketing tool to help secure pre-sales and pre-lets of schemes. They are also used to make informative design and staging decisions of interiors.
Timeframes: Interiors CGIs generally take between 2 to 4 weeks to produce depending on the number of CGIs, the level asset population of renders and the scope of the interior design. The more detailed an interior space is, the more time it will take to visualise it.
Tip #1: Ensure that a proper mood-board and material palette of finishes is provided as early as possible in the project to avoid delays. This is because the vast majority of time and work is within the visualisation process (texturing, lighting, asset population) and not the modelling.
Tip #2: Provide clear and precise feedback on draft images. Where something needs to change make sure to highlight what exactly that is. Avoid the cliché of ‘we don’t like that can you change it’.
Animated 3D Walkthroughs:
4 to 6 weeks | 6 to 8 weeks
Definition: A 3D Walkthrough is an animated 3D tour of a development using full CGI and are produced to a photo-realistic standard showcasing all the design elements of a property development and its spaces.
Timeframes: 3D walkthroughs take longer than still imagery due to animated cameras which require rendering. Workflows of 3D walkthroughs remain the same as still imagery up to the point of these camera setups. For 1 second of animation footage, 24 or 30 still frames require rendering (24fps /30fps). Consider that careful planning is required from the very outset of these type of projects.
Tip #1: For animation projects, please allow at least 1 to 1.5 weeks for rendering time at the tail-end of a project. Animation projects can vary in terms of timeframes depending on the length of the walkthrough required.
Tip #2: It is imperative to sign off on all draft imagery issued before any rendering of the walkthrough takes place. Making design changes after rendering has taken place will incur additional time and cost.
Tip #3: Including a full set of architectural drawings, mood boards, material palettes and a story board breaking down each scene will speed up the process of creating 3D Animated Walkthroughs.
3D Site & Floor Plans:
1 to 3 weeks
Definition: 3D floor and site plans give a complete overview of an entire floor or site layout of a proposed development in 3D. They are full CGI and created from digital 3D models.
Timeframes: 3D plans take between 1 to 3 weeks to produce depending on the scale of the scheme or the level of staging required within the 3D floor plans.
Tip #1: Including a full set of architectural, engineering and landscaping drawings for site plans will speed up the process of creating 3D site plans. Including 2D floor plans and an interior design scope will speed up the process of creating 3D floor plans.
Tip #2: If having a 3D site plan produced, consider having architectural CGIs created from within the site itself. The site will be fully modelled and therefore timeframes for producing architectural CGIs will be reduced. Likewise, consider interior CGIs for 3D floor plan deliverables.
Expected Timeframes for Virtual Tour Solutions
Off-Plans 360 Virtual Tours Timeframes:
4 to 6 weeks
Definition: An off plans 360 virtual tour is a rendered virtual environment that combines a series of exterior and interior 360-degree CGIs within a custom built app that is compatible on desktop, mobile, tablet and in VR. Off plans 360 virtual tours are fully interactive allowing users to tour a proposed development.
Timeframes: Off plans 360 virtual tours generally take between 4 to 6 weeks to produce depending on the number of 360-views required and the extent of in-tour integrations required. In-tour integrations can include integrated floor plans, information hotspots, aerial 360s of the development, and surrounding area and more.
Full 3D modelling and 3D visualisation is required of all areas that will be seen in the tour. Because the tour is full 360, full detail needs to be included. Workflows of these virtual tours remain the same as still imagery up to the point of camera setups and rendering of these views, which need to be in a HD 360 format.
Tip #1: Ensure that a proper mood-board and material palette of finishes is provided as early as possible in the project to avoid delays. This applies to external and internal areas of the development. This is because the vast majority of time and work is in the visualisation process (texturing, lighting, asset population) and not the modelling.
Tip #2: Provide clear and precise feedback on draft images as rendering of 360 views and updating of the tour takes longer than updating of standard still CGIs.
Tip #3: Plan 360 viewpoint locations in advance of any rendering to take place. For the most part we would choose the best locations, but if there are specific locations required (externally or internally) make sure to advise early in the project development.
Matterport 3D Virtual Tours:
Definition: Matterport 3D virtual tours allow viewers to remotely tour the ‘As Built’ environment —like street view on Google Maps, but for interiors of a property and with far more advanced functionality.
Timeframes: Matterport 3D Virtual Tours generally take 1-3 days scanning on site and then a further 1-2 days of processing. The exact length of time is directly related to the size of property that is being scanned and the number in-tour integrations required such as videos, images, and text hotspots.
Tip #1: Ensure good planning takes place between you (the client) and the operator. This is essential to ensure uninterrupted scanning on the days that are proposed.
Tip #2: Request a checklist from the Matterport tour operator to ensure everything is in order prior to the site visit.
Tip #3 Have all the in-tour content ready and issued as soon as possible. This will significantly reduce the delivery time of Matterport 3D virtual tours.