by Uwe B. Meding

In the fast moving world of residential and light commercial building design, CAD vendors face the persistent challenge of creating design tools and methodologies to keep pace with increasing complexity and detail demand in construction documents.

General-purpose drafting software has historically provided a cost-effective solution for the building industry; this technology is responsible for considerable growth and innovation. The popularity of these solutions has provided the driving force in the CAD industry and dictated the direction of software development. However, the advantages of model-based development in the CAD tools are moving beyond the reach of many mainstream designers due to high upfront non-recurring engineering (NRE) charges and a longer time-to-market. Structured flows and model-based approaches are filling this void and will become the dominant approach for designers and the new driving force in the CAD industry.

The model-based methodology has many advantages. You control the entire design and drafting process. Design cycle times are faster, elevation, section, and plan creation cost are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, the low content requirements of traditional design methodologies have historically relegated a model based design approach to niche markets.

Ameri-CAD is overcoming these market barriers by developing a flexible model-based methodology on a standard AutoDesk platform, which integrates intelligent content and highly automated process step such as roofing and detailing into the “The Language of Building”. These features provide you with the benefits of reduced construction document development times, improved throughput, increased volume, as well as the flexibility to make changes right up to the construction document handoff time. These dramatic technological breakthroughs, however, require new methodologies and process capabilities.

For designers to take full advantage of the model-based approach, the supporting software tools must be capable of solving designers’ toughest challenges, such as automated roofing. Ameri-CAD is developing VisionREZ platform to solve this new set of problems.
VisionREZ Concepts
Three major considerations drove the development of the VisionREZ platform architecture:

  1. Intuitive user interaction
  2. Excellent quality of results
  3. Advanced automation

Intuitive Use
When you interact with a CAD product, the tool should add speed and reliability to the development, changes, and debug of a design. Although the tool must drive the design process, it must also be capable of adapting to each builder’s design style. The VisionREZ platform was constructed with this in mind. It implements the industry standard “The Language of Building” process steps. These process steps allow you to concentrate on the task at hand and provide an intuitive approach to design creation. Models are drawn in an easy to use and easy to understand 2D environment. There is no need to ever draw anything in 3D. It is just another view of the design model that you switch to with a simple mouse click.

The VisionREZ platform also offers push-button design flows without compromising results or flexibility. These ease-of-use features were achieved by replacing user-configured design options with automated configurations.

Excellent Quality of Results
The VisionREZ platform includes a suite of unique tools, which automatically focuses specific optimization on those areas that are most likely to hinder over all performance, such as roofing, detailing, or labeling. Using the rigorous Language of Building process steps, we developed approaches to deliver faster designs without repetitious manual user intervention.

The VisionREZ platform design acceleration steps take full advantage of the Autodesk Architectural Desktop platform features by providing highly predictable construction documents that meet your customers’ needs. This saves you time by reducing design iterations, and money by helping you reduce errors.

Advanced Automation
Model-based construction documents are now being used to implement increasingly complex design requirements for the residential and light commercial building industry. The complexity can lead to excessive design iterations and even leave problems undetected until the actual construction.

To solve these issues and guarantee a reliable design, the VisionREZ platform includes Digital Data Engine. This provides a completely interactive single building model to generate take-offs and graphics from the CAD model. The digital data engine’s capabilities extend beyond the model creation to include:

  • Leveraging a trained labor market for the AutoDesk product set.
  • Leveraging industry standards, like AutoDesk’s DWG file format.
  • Providing customizable drawing standards.
  • Web-based publishing features that enable collaboration via VUDOX (Figure 2)
  • Powerful viewing capabilities

First-time success on your delivering your construction documents requires a fully and accurately constrained design during model creation. VisionREZ was designed to do just that.

Next generation model creation
The model creation domain is rapidly expanding beyond providing just construction documents. This expansion will produce significant gains for both designer productivity and builder performance. Designers will require automated process steps with powerful tools for automation at each level of the model requirement. They will benefit from a seamless methodology that allows easy migration throughout each phase of the design.

The VisionREZ product designation represents a design technology platform that encompasses a family of products created by Ameri-CAD to address complex design issues from different levels of abstraction. Built to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands in the building industry, the VisionREZ platform is a choice worth considering for the next generation model creation. By incorporating an intuitive user interface, excellent quality of results, and unparalleled accuracy, it can handle the toughest residential and light commercial design requirements.

Ameri-CAD is committed to provide you with the latest set of architectural design tools to enable innovative designs. For more information about the VisionREZ platform or Ameri-CAD’s complete residential and light commercial product family, visit or

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