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User Requirements

Needs -> Requirements -> Design -> Solution. First step is to understand the user's needs and workflow from their point of view; walk a mile in their shoes, that sort of thing. I am simply trying to start at the beginning, and then specific Blender feature needs will evolve and come out. Maybe simple things, like "line styles", maybe complicated things like "Schedule export to a CSV file" or "Plotter export via SVG" - I don't know at this point, but the Needs is the genesis of features. Also there needs to the translation of terms, from user to Blender. Terms like Plan View is Top View. And maybe requirements will come out for non-coding things, like a library of re-usable building components (windows, doors). --Roger 14:06, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

End-User Workflow

In order to define what Blender should do to better support an architect using Blender, it is necessary to understand what the user does (their job and workflow). Once we know what they do, we can say what they need. We can then examine how Blender currently works and can support them, either as-is or with new features. The following Use-Case requirements express what the architect does on a daily basis, from the users/functional perspective, to accomplish the goal of building design. They are presented hierarchically in more detail. Each use case attempts to use the Action-Object format in naming.

An Architect needs an automated package that supports the process of designing a building. This process is accomplished alone or with a team. An architecture firm may be organized vertically, where one architect does the visualization, another junior draftsman draws in the textures, and another one researches county and local building codes and restrictions, gains permits, and quality checks for regulation (e.g. OSHA lighting requirements) compliance. Alternatively, there are many "one-man" shops where an architect has complete responsibility.

Because of the large drawing sizes and the amount of information that needs to be represented in a building drawing, architects still (as of 2008) do much drawing by hand. Any rendering is regularly plotted on large format plotters, not rasterized 8x11 printers.

1. Conceive Space

1.1 Collect Client Requirements, Vision
Select Residential, Commercial, or Mixed use as the development to be designed. Collect client requirements and their needs analysis. Research local restrictions. Sketch/collect building samples to determine the style of architecture they want. Assign team to work on project. Establish project plan, budget, and schedule.
1.2 Enter Plat
Based on a survey, a plat is an area of land surrounding the area to be developed. A plat in this sense encomposses the whole area to be developed. For a football stadium or urban area, this may be many physical plats registered with the county. On the play, the first is the compass rose, or Orient North. Land lines and lot boundaries are entered as a vector from a starting place, direction (degres, minutes, seconds off an area) and distance. Establish Scale - Scale is printed unit of measure to physical real-world dimension. You have special scale rulers/legends that go on the drawing for caliper calibration. Outline plot boundaries - The plot is the area to be developed and is of special interest. Designate setbacks, easements, restrictions - Setbacks are restrictions on where a building or structure can be placed on the plot. A common side-setback is 3m or 10 ft. Established by county/jurisdiction, and by neighborhood covenants. These are drawn with different line styles.
1.3 Establish topography
A topo is a special form of survey that designates lines of topology for increments above/below sea level, where the topo lines follow the contour of the existing undisturbed land. A topo line is a special line style that has the height superimposed on the line, usually along the sides of the plot.
1.4 Annotate special features
Some codes/counties have legacy tree requirements, where large heritage trees cannot be cut down without special permit. Well heads, storm sewers, large boulders and outcroppings are also included. There are special symbols for many of these.

2. Model Building

2.1 Envision Profile

Based on the architecture style and building needs, this is a sketch of the outside of the building that defines its shape. This is usually independent of the terrain or surrounding area. Develop Walkout - this is how the building sits on the land, and indicates retaining walls, slope, drainage. Outline Building footprint - this sets up the main footers for the building, the facing of the building (and thus how sunlight and winter winds will affect the building), and ensures compliance with setbacks. Designate Parking Lots, ingress, egress points - traffic flow is considered. Outline landscape plan - sets up walks, outdoor spaces, Shrubbery!

2.2 Plan Floors
Establish Schedule - The schedule of materials and components is the main source of standardized components used, and is shown on each page. For example a standard window might be designated with a marker A, and the schedule specifies exactly what an A window is - dimensions, materials, and total quantity needed. Estimate Cost - Based on the schedule, estimate the quantities needed of each item, current delivered cost each, labor to create, in spreadsheet export/style, to ballpark the cost to complete. (note to self-Blender keeps track of the number of users of an object). Establish Areas - a rough plan for the main use areas. For residential, areas include bedroom, kitchen, foyer, stairwells. Commercial areas include lobby, conference room, elevator, stairwell, office, cubicle area.
2.3 Draft Floors
Create Load-bearing walls, Place Exterior wall, Place Interior Wall - create an instance of a wall, specifying the length. Walls may be framed or sheathed in drywall. Place window - from the schedule, place an instance of a window, at height. Example windows include a double-hung 3-0 aluminum clad double-pane with interior 6-panel batting with latch hardware. Place doorway (with doorswing) - another schedule item, doors are left or right-handed, and have a style and material including casing.
2.3 Plan Lighting and Electrical
2.4 Plan Plumbing
2.5 Plan Floorcovering
carpet, hardwood, tile
2.6 Plan HVAC
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. Furnaces, ducts, plenum, blowers (including condensation line), compressors and coolant lines (high and low pressure).
2.7 Plan Exterior Spaces
patios, walkways, garage and carport
2.8 Plan Specialty
Examples: low-voltage CAT-6 wiring, steam room and sauna, custom closets
2.9 Plan Kitchen & Specialty Areas
Counters, Cabinets, work triangle measurement/restrictions, sink, refrigerator, etc.

3. Texture Plan

3.1 Interior Design
what the building will look like inside. Place Furniture - put sample furniture in place to fill up the space.

3.2 Exterior Design

4. Render and Print Plan

4.1 Establish plan views
The plan has a few views, plan view is a horizontal orthographic projection of the building facade. Top view is a vertical looking downward view. Perspective is a two-point architectural rendering
4.2 Render Plan
Based on time of day, time of year, weather conditions, render an image of what the building will look like. Time of year, together with plat location (lat-long) establishes travel path of the sun.
4.3 Print Plan View
Print to a plotter, or multi-page output to a sheet (8x11) printer with connector markers.
4.4 Render "to-be"

Using pictures of existing surrounding architecture, show how the building will look in-situ.

4.5 Render fly-through

Take a camera on a virtual tour of the building. Establish cameo shots that highlight a great view.

5. Export Plan

6. Revise Plan

Plan revisions require either a) annotations and markups to original blueprints, not just a new plan, to show the change (and not just the net effect), or b) the net effect and a change order legend.