Some people are visual learners.
Homeowners and business owners may have the opportunity to look at blueprints, but translating the flat lines of a drawing into reality may be difficult for some.
VirtuActive is a 3D drafting and design company with multiple locations and has answered the challenge by offering 3D representations of homes and businesses.
Co-founder David Lakin points out the benefits.
“3D almost works as a translator,” he said. “People can actually understand it. They don’t know how high the ceilings are or where the windows really are, how the room is laid out. I can partake and communicate more in a world in which I can visualize and understand.”
Lakin said it’s like flipping through camera views.
“They are able to use that during the design of a plan,” he said. “We can have them virtually walk through their house and can make live changes. What you’re seeing happen is they may not notice the line of sight when it’s being built, that’s when they can visualize it.”
He said they either must compromise or do change orders.
“Doing this during the design phase leads to a better client/designer relationship and it saves a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve had multiple new construction loan officers say that when they have clients that design in 3D rather than not, they’re saving up to 50% in reduction of change orders.”
Lakin said it saves time, money and client experience. They have done multiple remodels and designed hundreds of homes a year.
There are misconceptions in Lakin’s business.
“One thing we have struggled with is because if you look at our advertising the fun stuff to look at is 3D, people don’t understand we do the construction documents and floorplans,” he said. “It happens simultaneously. That applies in the residential world. Residents, we do everything.”
He said they might do some light commercial or just a 3D drawing for commercial, conceptual plans.
Lakin said there has been a lot of growth in the company since it began. The company has moved twice in two years, with a 50% square footage increase.
He anticipates 30 to 40 people will be employed by the end of the year.
“We have been putting a lot of infrastructure in place and systems in place to do that,” he said. “It’s been intentional growth and coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are very blessed and fortunate because I know there were a lot of businesses on the wrong side of that.”
VirtuActive works to give back to the community through philanthropic activities.
“Probably the biggest thing we are involved in is Angels Among Us. We were introduced a few years ago,” he said. “Two years ago we had a grand opening at our building with music and angels. For each family you are trying to raise around $3,000 to $4,000.”
Lakin said the event raised around $26,000.
“It helped even more families,” he said. “We have another one coming up on June 9 at our new office.”
Lakin said the industry saw an increase when there was a drop in interest rates and a lot of people were working from home.
“We saw an uptick in remodels and additions — a lot of people were investing in their own homes,” he said. “We saw a big push for existing residences and because of the interest rates, a lot of people moved from the coast. We designed more houses for people from out of state in the last year than the last few years combined.”
Lakin said there was a lot of influence from people moving into Nebraska.
“There was a lot of movement of folks with interest rates, the pandemic and people renovating or wanting to get a bigger house,” he said. “Some of our growth is our doing but a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time.”
Lakin said in regards to drafting design, it’s heading more into the 3D and virtual world.
“You’re going to see 2D become archaic,” he said. “With residential, a lot of people have opinions on when the next bubble is or inflation. We have built the least amount of homes in the country since the 1940s.”
However, Lakin said people are still building and the demand is there, though the supply is not.
“The cost of building materials are up 50% over the last three years,” he said. “There’s got to be some sort of correction on price. It’s almost like it’s non-existent to have first time homebuyers now with the costs.”
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