3D House Estimator

screenshots

brief

Our client requested a CAD application which presented their engineers with an intuitive graphical user interface for accurately modelling aspects of a house; foundations, walls, windows, roof and furniture. The objective was to model a building enabling the construction company to generate a bill of materials estimating project costs.

The application creates an accurate visual model of a house or building and then enables the user to navigate the structure for inspection. Up-to-date 3D technologies (such as OpenGL) were used to achieve photo-realistic visualization. Cost estimation was firmly connected to the construction method such as – “leave-in-place form method”.

process

This project was carried out using the classic Waterfall approach, i.e. systems analysis, design, coding, testing, release. Our systems analysis team worked closely with the client to ensure all design requirements were captured resulting in a detailed feature specification (FS). The FS was then discussed with the CAD developers to identify and resolve potential issues. On completion the project requirements were formally documented and then presented to the client for review. Once the requirements document was signed off the development process was initiated.

Throughout the development process we proactively invited the customer to review the functionality and provide their feedback. This enabled us to mould the final deliverable such that it met the customer’s exact requirements.

technologies/ tools used

Microsoft Visual Studio, C, C++, Computational Geometry, 3D Programming, Object-Oriented Programming, MVC, WinForms, MSSQL, Direct3D, OpenGL, IUP, LUA, toLua++.

result

This project introduced numerous technical challenges that had to be overcome to enable users to accurately model buildings. The development team worked very closely with the client to ensure the implemented user interface worked as they expected.

A sophisticated Roof Generator was implemented, it takes the structure of the house, allows the users to select roof type, shape and style, it then automatically generates the bracing and support locations. Details such as the roof joint type, e.g. convex double slope, appropriates angles, etc can be configured. The algorithms involved are very complex but our team created an intuitive user interface to step the user through the creation process.

The application’s part palette allows for a variety of household furniture to be added to the house. Furniture inserted into the house can be easily moved using a drag and drop facility. Furniture items can be created in standard third party CAD applications (such as 3D Studio Max) and then imported into House Estimator.

The application includes a comprehensive budgeting module enabling costings to be calculated at a very low level; each brick and pane of glass can be given a value and a detailed bill of materials can be created.

The client was very pleased with the quality and intuitiveness of the final deliverable. This project was completed on budget and to the specified schedule.

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