In light of the scary financial news that greeted us all at the start of 2009 our annual goals were very modest. We felt that if we could still be alive as a company by 2010 then that was a success. Personally I wanted to see growth and to do at least one 3d as-built project. Looking back now over 2009 it can be considered an unmitigated success. Our main focuses as an as-built company have started to prove our faith in them. The total station’s ability to allow us to measure with a new level of accuracy has taken us to levels we could only dream of in years gone by. Our 3D BIM commitment has likewise taken us into areas of the industry we didn’t even know to dream of.
The main highlights for me were producing as-built drawings for a national heritage home in Calistoga, two separate 3d topo’s, a 3d model of a big apartment block for a color presentation and lastly, our first on site start to finish 3d as-built.
The Calistoga as-built was special for a few reasons. Firstly, it made a beautiful set of elevations which were always destined for the portfolio from the moment we pulled up outside the old mansion by the river. With the aid of the total station we made light work of a very challenging building that had subsided and warped over its 200 year existence. We were able to provide the client with two sets of elevations, one was the “pretty” set that he wanted for his wall, the other accurately reflected the 3”-8” deflection in the eaves, giving him spot elevations throughout the building that even tied in the river bank over 30’ below the finished floor line.
Our first 3d topo was a huge learning experience. It was really a site plan with about 400 separate spot elevations of a dirt road in a forested property in (Marin) that was awaiting planning permission for grading. We had never tried to gather such a large database of elevation data before but it came together very well. It was produced in CAD with the data points floating in 3d space. A very cool drawing that led us directly to a real 3d topo that took advantage of Revits awesome topo tools in conjunction with the data file from the Total Station to effortlessly produce our first 3d topo as-built of sloped back yard in San Anselmo.
The Apartment block in San Francisco was a surprise because we had not anticipated moving in this direction. We remain heavily focused on the as-built industry but Shannon Del Vecchio, a designer client that we provide measuring and drafting services for, spotted the potential of providing building associations with a 3d paint presentation so that they could easily grasp her paint concepts for the building. It was a fun project. I was able to measure it all from the exterior of the building and once the model was together it was a simple matter of surrendering to Shannon’s creative needs as we put together the color schemes she wanted to present. It was exciting for both of us because it was a outstanding success and Shannon claimed she had never had an easier time persuading (presenting) 200 association members of her ideas.
The final highlight of 2009 was producing three separate on site 3d as-builts. A years worth of intense studying had finally got me ready to attempt one. When we got the chance to do a full set of as-builts on an unoccupied 4,000 square foot Pacific Heights home over the Thanksgiving break I knew it was the perfect chance. No pressure from a homeowner to get out the house and plenty of time to work out the kinks in a new style of measuring. The project was a total success. The client had requested floor plans and elevations and after the 3d model was built it was a simple matter of generating these views. The system really showed its strength a few weeks later when the client came back to us needing sections and we were able to generate them without another site visit. It was such a success that we wrapped the year up by producing another two 3d models with the associated as-built plans that had been requested.
All in all 2009 was a great success. Survival achieved, exciting projects completed and a new market of potential is awakening before our eyes. We look forward to 2010 with genuine excitement and say bye bye to 2009 with no small amount of glee.