By David Seccombe, Director at Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects Ltd
At Gráinne O’Keeffe Architects in the United Kingdom, we are responsible for realizing our clients’ dreams within certain budgetary, structural, and planning limitations. And as a business consistently growing 20 percent a year, we also need to work efficiently. This can be challenging as our clients, who are mainly inthe residential sector, are not always spatially aware or able to make design decisions, requiring the re-issue of complex architectural drawings.
For 12 years, we have sought to improve the quality of our drawings and our efficiency using Vectorworks software products, which has helped our business grow. We have learned to be patient and respect the tool, knowing that time spent preparing is time well spent. We began designing in 2D for several years, and our adventures in 3D were instigated by one of our recently graduated employees, who quickly realized you could build a 3D model and use it to create perfect sections, plans, and elevations if you took the time to get it right up-front. Our progress in 3D has largely been through self-taught modeling, detailing, hatching, and exploiting the many tools the software has to offer. We have created our own template and style—something any business can achieve.
In order to fully utilize the software, however, I knew we needed some outside support, so in 2012, I called Design Software Solutions, a Vectorworks reseller in the UK, for a consultation. In the space of a day, we saw everything we needed to see, tailored to our business needs and what we could afford. We have enjoyed both their encouragement and support, as well as help from the team at Computers Unlimited, the Vectorworks software distributor in the UK, through our Vectorworks Service Select contract. Together, they helped us continue to develop our unique style over the next several years.
As our business grew and we took on more staff, I wanted to invest in becoming more efficient. To that end, we met with Tamsin Slatter from Design Software Solutions in 2014, who helped us upgrade our licenses from Vectorworks Fundamentals to Vectorworks Architect with Renderworks.
The speed, advanced tools, and functionality of Architect solved many business struggles for us. For example, the time taken to calculate complex volumetric roof shapes for permitted development has decreased significantly, and the lightning-fast PDF creation pays for the upgrade itself! And the small but significant benefits, like advanced window and door features, make the program a dream to work with.
While I am still a novice with Renderworks, its ability to make our models look fantastic and create realistic shadows has helped us to win planning bids, as well as sell our design ideas to clients. The purchase of Renderworks has been a revelation. We have stopped using other rendering software programs entirely.
We continue to reap the benefits of increased efficiency and create work that our clients can both understand and appreciate. We value the Architect with Renderworks program and have learned that our investment has, and will continue to, help our business grow.