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Doors & Windows Modeling

Doors and windows are the gateways to perceive any building designs being usually on the outer walls of the building. Better the designs, better is the installation and better is the final construction design. Better designs not only mean actual architectural and/or geometrical modeling, but also appropriate manufacturing, assembly and installation which include material selection, form, and finish of the product.

Gaps in design communication

In spite of 3D CAD modeling with SolidWorks or Inventor, there remain gaps in design communication between the door design engineers, architect of the building and the manufacturer. Usually, these gaps are a result of failing to mention material used for walls, frames, and doors/windows, tolerances in geometrical dimensioning and other.

Without these technical details, it is difficult for manufacturers to fabricate the parts exactly as the designer wanted. Ultimately it leads to misfits on site, assembly issues, and installation difficulties. In fact, sometimes, the final door design may not even make out of the manufacturing shop floor as a final product. Manufacturing drafts of the doors/windows design are returned back to the CAD shop with Engineering Change Orders [ECOs] asking for design revisions.

So why do such design communication gaps occur? Ideally, there are several factors, one of which is the major concern.

Why are design gaps prevalent?

Although CAD systems have replaced hand sketches, the design intent gaps from an architect’s perspective and a door design engineer’s perspective varies. When the architect has designed a wall that isn’t suitable for more than a certain number of holes for doors and windows of heavy material like metal, design changes happen.

Additionally, if the material selected for the door and windows frame doesn’t suit the building designs, changes are initiated from architect’s end. Likewise, engineering perspective might not permit certain material usage at a certain height or in collaboration with certain walls to fix the fame and take the load.

Above all, dimensioning systems adopted may differ and lead to misfits. Owing to such reasons, there should be a synchronized between architect and design engineer for seamless manufacturing and installation.

Meeting the ends of architectural and mechanical designing

A good practice to eliminate such gaps is to keep the doors/windows models closer to Revit BIM models of the building. Technically speaking, CAD models prepared in Inventor/SolidWorks need to be converted to BIM content for using them in Autodesk Revit or any other BIM platform.

Alternatively, door design engineers should prepare manufacturing drawings by importing BIM models to CAD software by fetching relevant information for corresponding 3D CAD models and 2D & 3D manufacturing CAD drafts. When building contractor chooses the latter option from the above two, it goes a step further and gives room to alter the designs and specifications without worrying about manufacturing drafts.

A case in point

Let us consider a case where building design in Revit is complete from the architect’s end, all walls, doors, windows, MEPF fit-outs, etc. are in place and the building model is approved by all the stakeholders. When a contractor is handed over the model an RFI is initiated to manufacture the building products along with doors and windows.

Now in order to manufacture the precisely needed doors and windows, a team of mechanical design engineer intervenes to provide building product manufacturer with concerned 3D CAD models for design approval, material from the client as well as architects and other project stakeholders. Once these specifications are finalized 2D CAD drafts are prepared for manufacturing based on the material selected be it steel doors, aluminum frames, and doors, glass doors, wooden doors with carving, etc.

Now, the catch here is to create parametric CAD models which will allow changing 3D models and reflect all those changes in manufacturing drafts. It essentially eliminates any design gaps between manufacturer, design engineer, and architect. In fact, when the foremen are installing these building products on site would not face any major reworks or discrepancies in the drawings and actual construction. Subcontractors too can communicate well with contractors and appropriately take the decision.

Final thoughts

This case would hold true in case of any building product, doors and windows are just an example, and most widely used and inevitable building product. All in all, reworks are almost, costs are reduced, designs do not have to flow to and fro all the time, design gaps are eliminated; every stakeholder associated with the construction project is updated with the latest information all the time. Collectively, if all building product designs are made in accordance with the entire building model and both the modeling software are kept abreast to each other throughout the project; it leads to an overall success of construction project.

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