Our architect prepared some nice, detailed, plans for our house and presented these to us on large (A3) sized paper.
There were over 30 separate drawings in the pack. We immediately rushed out and bought a glossy A3 folder with transparent display pockets and carefully inserted each of the drawings into its own display pocket. We sat back and leafed through our newly prepared oversized folder. This was our new house, on paper – exciting stuff!
That was about 3 months ago. We haven’t opened the folder since. It’s certainly not because we no longer look at the plans. We look at them almost every day.
But we found out about Autodesk’s online A360 Viewer. This is a wonderful piece of free online software that lets us average folk delve into the plans of our houses and check things in a little more detail than is available from the paper version. It’s really simple to use.
First, we asked our architect to send us the electronic versions of the drawings. Not just the PDF versions of the print outs, which he had already given us, but the actual working file from which our drawing had been created. This is usually called a DWG file and is the format of the file which is used by most design software. Peter emailed these across and we simply opened the files in the A30 Viewer using our browser at home.
In the image above, we used A360 Viewer’s really easy to use Measure tool to get the measurements of areas the room where the measurement had not been marked on the drawing by our architect. As you can see, the whole width of the room had already been marked by Peter as 5450mm but we wanted to know what the dimension was excluding the shelving on the left (for furniture planning purposes, if you must know!). A360 simply let’s you click the two points and then gives you an accurate measurement, in this case 5065mm. Brilliant.
It’s totally free to use and of course accordingly does not have as many functions as a full computer aided design piece of software. But for zooming in and panning around your proposed build to check detailed measurements, it’s absolutely ideal.
Of course we know that our final build will not match the drawings to millimetre perfect, but at this stage when we have checked the actual ground versus the drawings, our builder Zed has been incredibly accurate.