residential construction drawings, architectural drafting, residential design drawings

Can Home Designers Benefit from Global Design Outsourcing?

Designing a home is a deeply personal and conceptually technical exercise – personal for the home owner and technical for the home designer and homebuilders. As in any design process, aesthetics marries technical processes for a lasting union. Specifically, in the home designing field, a creation of art and science is born that is built to both please and last. Where artistic viewpoints can vary, technical design must necessarily and accurately conform to accepted design standards and local building codes. It is this niche area of expertise where home designers can benefit from global design outsourcing, reducing costs while maintaining, and in some cases, bettering quality.

Design outsourcing comes in several phases, based on the specific requirements of the home designer. They can involve architectural design drafting, residential construction drawings and homebuilders’ 3D rendered images, among others in the pre-construction stage, and with a bank of technically adept manpower in places like India and other nations, the outsourcing option becomes more and more viable. Indian skilled manpower excels in using Revit, ArchiCAD and AutoCAD and other such resources.

To understand how design outsourcing can serve your needs better, a quick review of the design process comes in handy. So, what are the stages and ideally what software is used during those stages?

Design Process

Concept Design Stage
• Preliminary concepts based on budget, aesthetics, location and type of community are generated.
• Information involves sizes, number of rooms, construction material, sustainability concerns.
• The resulting product includes plans and layouts.
• Software generally used is AutoCAD, as it is primarily a 2D tool.

Design Development Stage
• Compliance with the relevant codes and zoning is followed.
• Engineering systems, namely civil, structural, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, electrical, fire protection, and security is defined.
• Further detailing is added to the concept design and construction systems are introduced.
• Increased or decreased amounts of material for thermal protection, solar panels, rain water harvesting technology is discussed.
• Finishing is considered, both inside and on the outside of the structure.
• The resulting product includes detailed room layouts, 3D models, the flow of the building and description of the design approach.
• Software used generally is AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Graphisoft ArchiCAD.

Construction Documentation Stage
• At this point, detailed foundation plans, roofing, room layouts, window/door size openings, flooring, cabinets, bedroom and kitchen detailing are brought into the picture.
• Major elements portrayed include building services, piping, plumbing, wiring, AC systems.
• Further detailing of roofs, internal and external walls, ceiling, flooring and tiling are added.
• Even more detailed dimensions are presented along with design options and façade options.
• Relevant information regarding building codes and regulations are finalised.
• The resulting product presents construction documentation (or CD) sets, which include elevations, detailed room, floor layouts and roof plans.
• Software used generally is AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Graphisoft ArchiCAD.

How can outsourcing benefit home designers/homebuilders?
The design process in its several stages consists of a slew of technical services that demand time, expertise, resources and accurate technical knowhow. Specifically, the Indian outsourcing market is well placed to deliver on all fronts.

Outsourcing product design services signals rapid progress and ultimately generates a greater profit. Here’s why:

Benefit from others’ expertise
• With larger countries, there is a larger pool of expertise and experience to dip into.
• Dedicated teams cater to specific tasks and specific clients. It’s like having your own design team, so this ‘retained team’ involves a group of people who perform the work every month, leading to continuous improvement in quality, consistency and efficiency.
• Payment is only for services rendered, so costs are affordable.
• Professional, efficient and dedicated outsourced firms provide top quality drawings with assured technical accuracy.
• Even labour-intensive stages, such as the design development stage, can be handled independently.

Benefit from others’ resources
• Using the resources of the outsourced company means less expenditure on infrastructure, equipment and personnel, as residential design drawings and software development require highly specialised design tools, equipment and trained personnel. Architectural drafting services need expensive architectural CAD software and technical and administrative staff. With outsourced architectural drafting services, the need to buy this software and employ well-qualified technical and administrative staff is eliminated.
• In many instances, the domestic workforce may not offer enough people with the right skill set. Also, there may be difficulty retaining staff, so the costs of recruitment and training begin to add up, and this has a direct impact on production coming up short. If staff leave, new staff need to be recruited and trained, but with an outsourced partner, a team size is specified and the recruitment and training responsibility remains with the outsourced partner. Outsourcing design services alleviates the situation, as in countries such as India, skilled manpower resources using Revit, ArchiCAD and AutoCAD are available.

Benefit from others’ experience
• In an outsourced company that is well-versed with design processes and has years of experience, experts can provide valuable feedback. This is especially true for India-based companies working in US, UK and Australian markets.
• The design team has experience with a broad range of relevant services.

Benefit from time saved
• Overall productivity is enhanced, since time is saved on creating architectural drawings.
• Procedures between the design process and on-site implementation become less. When outsourced companies use software, such as ArchiCAD residential drafting, models are of premium quality and do not necessitate extra quality checks.

Benefit from reduced errors
• With concepts modelled in 3D, quick revisions and changes are easier to make. This leads to reduced errors.
• As renders are isolated stages of the concept or production/pre-sales material, they can be outsourced with near-perfect execution or minimum possible errors.

Benefit with greater profits
• Using others’ experience, expertise, resources, saving time and reducing errors will naturally result in greater profits.
• Generally, expenses are 50% or less compared to domestic costs, and a well-managed process for a team of more than 5 works for greater efficiency.

A growing number of firms have started to favour outsourcing these services as a preferable option to procure design support resources. Ideally, thorough investigation is required to identify teams that perform at optimal levels, but they do exist, and what’s more – they streamline the process and increase profits too. The benefits are too attractive to ignore.