AutoCAD, DataCAD, Microstation, Revit?

Making the correct determination of which drafting platform works for your firm can be a difficult decision. Each platform has its own history of development. AutoCAD was developed in 1982 with 30 releases to date. Utilized by Architects, Engineers, and many other professions, it quickly became the industry standard. Microstation was developed in 1988 as an easier way to draw on the computer. Unfortunately, it only comprises 5-10% of the Architectural community. Originally developed in 1981, DataCAD wasn’t released until 1985; it was designed by two Architects and intended for use specifically by Architects. Released in 2000, Revit was designed to address issues of continuity through drawing sets.  Once a floor plan is drawn, the sections, elevations, and even window legends are all produced automatically. The powerful nature of this program relies heavily on the initial input of the design phase data; the benefits of the program aren’t felt if a project never makes it out of the design phase.

In addition to the history of each program, our own histories influence our decisions. During college, our class learned AutoCAD, Form-Z, photoshop, and a little 3d Studio Max. The first architectural firm I worked at used AutoCAD; thankfully I had taken enough classes to be confident using it. Subsequent offices used MicroStation and DataCAD. After working for these three very different firms, it was time to go out on my own – and the decision needed to be made as to which platform I would use.

When looking at all the options 15 years ago, we decided on DataCAD. The two biggest factors that swayed our decision were price and familiarity. We had been designing homes with DataCAD for many years and felt it was a natural transition to use the software. It was also the least expensive option. Now that we have transitioned from residential design to As-Built surveys, our drafting platform has transitioned as well. Our drawings are sent to Architects, Engineers, Interior Designers, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical vendors. 95% of consultants use AutoCAD, and file translations can slow the sharing process to a crawl. Having revised our platform, we are able to quickly and efficiently communicate with all professionals and vendors. For the As-Built market, AutoCAD remains the industry standard.

Lasers, Tape Measures, and Bluetooth

From the age of ten to sixteen, I would help my father by holding one side of a very long tape measure. He would hold a clipboard in one hand, tape measure in the other, and always seemed to have a pen in his mouth (probably because his hands were full). He was a real estate appraiser and would take me into the field on weekends and during the summer when I was off school. I learned a lot about measuring and drawing houses; I was even allowed to hold the business end of the tape measure occasionally. When we got back home, he would pay me 25 cents to turn his sketch into a floor plan on graph paper using an architectural scale and door template.

During my first job at an Architectural firm, I found myself again back out in the field measuring and drawing in the same manner I was taught as a boy, wondering if there was a better way. By this time, I was drafting in CAD which sped up the process tremendously, but I still needed another person to hold that tape measure while I had the clipboard in hand and pen in mouth. My first digital measuring device was an ultrasonic tool that worked without a second field surveyor, but was not known for its accuracy.

Six years ago, my measuring world was turned upside down when I was introduced to Laser technology. Not only was I able to eliminate the extra field surveyor whose only job was to hold the other end of a tape measure, I was now able to know with certainty that my measurements were accurate. An amazing feature that was added to this specific laser was the Bluetooth capability. Platt360 can measure and draw faster and more accurately than was ever possible before with this technology. Learn more by visiting our website and whiteboard animation videos.

Why As-Builts?

Why do retail stores remodel? With an average cost of $3.7million and extended periods of closure or disrupted sales, one would think that this equation doesn’t add up. Behind the surface numbers however, corporations have found the 5-7 year remodel cycle to be very much worth the hassle.

Successful businesses look at their Return on Investment, or ROI. Within the first year of it’s remodel, an updated, refreshed store can expect to generate an average sales increase of 43% due to new customers; existing customers will also increase their purchases by 7%. Balanced against the current revenue stream for that store, this could quickly add up to an excellent Return on Investment. Within the ROI equation is the factor of time: time of business disruption, time of closure, etc. Anything that can speed up the process is worth exploring.

Platt360 provides a unique service in regards to nationwide remodel programs. Rather than spending time to locate existing (potentially inaccurate) information for specific locations around the country, our clients give us a list of locations requiring a remodel. We then schedule site visits and obtain all existing architectural information (plans, elevations, etc.) needed for each re-design. Platt360’s existing condition drawings are then used to facilitate relevant and accurate design and production documents. This process of documenting existing conditions saves time during both the design and construction process, allowing our clients to achieve a greater Return on their Investment.

Here are a few articles about why Companies remodel:

Report points to the ROI of store remodels

The Power Of Renovations

How Much Is A Facelift Worth?

To Demolish or Not to Demolish




Platt360 WBE Pending Approval

Platt 360 has submitted its application for WBE certification! WBE (Women Business Enterprise) certification is reserved for businesses that are women owned and controlled. This certification was created to promote women owned businesses in all sectors including architecture and engineering. WBE certification takes approximately 90 days and involves extensive paperwork to verify and determine the validity of an applicant’s role in the business. The many advantages of obtaining WBE certification extends not only to Platt360, but also to our many clients.

Established 15 years ago, our company has been run and operated by Lisa Platt and managed by Bob Platt for the last 6 years. Lisa’s background in architecture and integral role in Platt360 made it clear that obtaining the WBE certification would be a huge advantage for our growing company. Lisa Platt graduated at the top of her class from Cal Poly Pomona’s school of Architecture with a 5-year accredited degree in Architecture. Her experience at Bassenian Lagoni Architects in California and multiple firms in upstate New York have given her the ability to successfully run the logistics of Platt360.

Platt360’s WBE certification has many advantages. The largest advantage is in the municipal sector of our industry. Clients such as Synthesis Architects (known for excellent school design and remodels) will benefit greatly from our pending WBE approval. Most government projects require 10% of all vendors or contractors to be WBE. With Platt360’s pending certification, we can help Architectural firms obtain those contracts. If you are interested in more information regarding WBE certification, please read this article or check out the NYS M/WBE program.

New York Times Daily 360

360 photography interest growing

Platt 360 is exited to share that The New York Times has launched the Daily 360! The Daily 360 is a daily 360 video of various locations and events. This program will expand the public’s awareness of 360 technology. Platt360 has been utilizing this technology for the last 6 years but not until recently have the prices on cameras become affordable enough for non-professional photographers to justify the purchase. You may have noticed an increase in these types of photos on Facebook and other social media. We are excited that The New York Times is kicking off this program not only to explore the daily 360 photos, but also to generate more interest in Google Street View photographs.

Platt360 has been publishing daily 360 projects for 1 week on Facebook and has noticed an increasing interest in interactive photos. Our Google Street View 360 panoramic photographs have reached over 15,000 views in only 3 weeks. As our portfolio of Google Street View photographs increases, the view count exponentially increases. We have noticed an immediate interest in the business we promote on Google and those interests turn into not only visits but customer conversions as well.

We expect to see more programs like the New York Times Daily 360 in the near future due to the affordable camera technology and the growing Virtual Reality market. The ability of smart phones to give the customer a VR experience will also increase the demand for Platt360 services. Shoot us an email to schedule your Google Trusted Photographer on site visit to boost customer visits and conversions!

Check out this article from Business Wire.