2D and 3D Drawings for House Extensions

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Architectural drawings are unquestionably a crucial element in the planning process and for building regulation details but it is equally important that they provide the means for a home owner to envisage proposed design ideas. We believe the drawings we produce not only have to be technically correct but also must be easy to understand so our clients – even those not used to looking at architectural drawings – understand the ideas that the drawings represent.

Architectural elements have various properties such as colour, texture, material or size and the challenge for professionals and home owners alike is how to assess those qualities whilst viewing drawings. This information either must be readily visible in the drawings or the person looking needs to have the imagination to envisage what the finished result will look like. Traditionally, the challenge in creating easily-readable drawings is that the more details are added, the more cluttered the drawings get so essential aspects cannot be easily seen.

Ecclesall Design addresses the limitations of the traditional drawing style by offering not only 2D line drawings but also 3D modelling drawings. While both of these drawing types are completely suitable for planning and building regulations purposes there are significant differences between them. In this page we are going to look at these two types in more detail so you can make the right choice for your project.

2D Architectural Drawings

2D drawings are the more traditional of the two. Although these days they’re drawn using computer software, the principal of making these drawings is not so dissimilar from the historical method of producing drawings by hand. Individual drawings such as plans and elevations are created manually and separately from each other. This means that each drawing is performed as a stand-alone task and with every change to the project all relevant drawings will be individually manually amended.

The outcome of this drawing type is a range of 2D drawings covering the requirements of the planning, building control and water authorities as well as being appropriate for construction purposes. The production of each additional drawing such as cross-sections is a separate task that requires a particular amount of time to make.

2D architectural drawings are just an arrangement of lines on paper or a computer screen that represent physical architectural elements of a building. When dealing with small scale projects, 2D drawings can be sufficient to envisage the outcome of the design proposals. However, when projects are more complex or larger in scale, using imagination alone can often be difficult.

The ability to imagine and understand the architectural ideas is essential to being able to fully engage in your project design process and to making the right decisions. The limitations of this drawing type is the reason why we only recommend it for smaller house extensions and minor alteration projects.

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3D Architectural Drawings

The 3D drawing type is more advanced and provides features that make the drawings easy to read and enable you to envisage what your house extension will really look like. It provides not only plans and elevations but 3D views and realistic visualisations that bring the project to life for everyone to see, evaluate and make the right judgement. This not only benefits our clients but planning authorities too – a 3D modelling drawing helps to address concerns possibly arising due to a fragile surrounding context (such as a conservation area), prominence of the site or a specific landscape setting.

This ability to see the project design in 3D views and visualisations provides opportunities to highlight details that are otherwise not clearly visible in 2D drawings. This results in a more holistic approach towards the design of your house extension and helps to ensure that the finished building will meet your expectations.

Another more technical difference is that instead of each drawing being a separate item to be drawn and amended independently, 3D drawings are based on building a single 3D model and all the various associated drawings are generated from the same model. Any subsequent alterations are made to the model to produce revised drawing sets. This leads to a reduced risk of any error in the process.

3D drawings are undoubtably superior to the 2D drawing type and do take more time to be prepared initially. Therefore, there is a cost difference between the 2D and 3D drawings. While the difference can seem significant at a first glance, we always encourage considering the broader picture of your project expenses (including building costs, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, light fittings, furnishings etc.) before making your decision. The difference between 2D and 3D is only a small fraction of your overall project cost but the right design decisions that 3D drawings help to achieve are highly likely to increase the value and saleability of the property.

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Which architectural drawing type to choose?

There are a few things to consider before deciding which drawing type to go with.

Firstly, it’s about the potential size and complexity of your house extension. The 2D drawing type is perfectly sufficient for small house extensions or minor alteration projects including loft or attic conversions and garage conversions. However, medium and large house extensions and those involving substantial remodelling of the existing house would benefit from 3D visualisation drawings.

Secondly, the style of the house extension you are aiming for. Traditional house extensions intended merely to imitate the features of the existing house and blend in with its appearance would be suitable for the 2D drawing service. However, if your intention is to reimagine your home with modern design elements such as extensive glazing, innovative materials and a contemporary layout then 3D drawings would suit you best. Seeing the proposed design in 3D views and visualisations ensures you make informed decisions about your proposed design features and we will work together until you have the result that fulfils your expectations.

Lastly, complexity of the site. If your property lies in relatively flat terrain and is unremarkable in its setting in relation to any nearby properties, then 2D drawings may well be suitable for your job. Often this is not the case. Changes in landscape topography, the close proximity of surrounding buildings and a prominent position in your local street scene can create challenges on the route to being granted planning permission. In this case 3D modelling drawings allow for the accurate assessment of the impact of the proposed development on its surroundings.

We are always happy to advise you on which drawing type would be more suitable for your project. So, please feel to get in touch.

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