Opoplan, the world’s first automated virtual architect system has arrived and is currently creating customised house plans for American self-build pioneers – the system generates a custom designed plan in response to a design brief from a customer. The new design that results is uniquely suited to them and their site.
Not only does Opoplan design a building, it also orients the new home on the customer’s site to maximise light and views, taking into account slope, access and nearest buildings. Opoplan’s unique technology combines a proprietary design decision system (invented by Opoplan’s architects), AI based analysis and automated design customization. It is completely 3D and underpinned by modern AEC software like BIM and 3D visualization tools, similar to a gaming environment. This last step allows the customer to walk around inside their new home online, exploring each room at eye level, with a separate 3D viewer that shows how the house is constructed.
The original technology for Opoplan was developed in the Dublin School of Architecture (Technological University Dublin) under the direction of Brian O’Brien, who taught design there as well as running noted Irish architecture practice Solearth for eighteen years. The research and development of the early technology was funded by Enterprise Ireland’s 3rd Level Commercialization Fund and the resultant technology has subsequently been licenced exclusively to Opoplan, who have developed it further and made it the commercial and scalable version Opoplan uses today.
Most surprisingly, Opoplan 3D designs are available free of charge. The company, (BFLM Ltd), has explored a number of business models and found that a freemium to subscription approach appeals most to US target consumers. Currently building a dashboard from where self-build pioneers can access and change their design brief, continue to look around and make automated changes to their house plan is the next item on Opoplan’s agenda.
Customers will ultimately purchase a full architect design set, with detailed information for their builder. Monthly subscription options give consumers time to understand their new home, tweak their design and explore how different layouts might suit their lifestyle.
“Opoplan is capable of designing any simple building, a school, warehouse, factory or house – anywhere”, explains CEO and founder Brian O’Brien, “Opoplan’s unique technology also appeals to some architect practices where the system speeds up the design process for simple buildings, allowing staff to focus on more complex projects”.
Focussing on the well established US house plan market was a decision driven by market research conducted by CMO and co-founder Gráinne Kennedy; “there is a long tradition in America of people building their own homes, just under 490,000 in 2019, and because of the different approach to planning and building standards, there is an equally strong tradition of ‘teardowns’ where consumers tear down an existing house to build something new on a site, instead of refurbishing like we do here”.
Picking up the story, O’Brien continues, “only 8% of single-family homes in the US are designed by an architect, leaving consumers to find a plan online or from another source. Popular online house plan websites boast of listing 40,000+ plans with consumers choosing from a couple of basic criteria and a picture”.
“Our research found that 9 out of 10 self-builders buy a house plan they can’t afford to build, and three quarters buy a plan that’s too big for their site. These people are buying the plan for their dream home only to find they can’t build it, and the cost and stress of getting plans changed often blows the budget, before they even start construction”, explains Gráinne Kennedy.
Demand for an Opoplan product suitable for Irish self-build pioneers has prompted the company to set up an Irish website that starts with a video view inside some Opoplan designed homes, specifically created to suit the Irish landscape and planning environment. From there the customer can buy their preferred plan at a fixed price with changes also selected from a fixed price menu.
While Opoplan can’t guarantee that any Irish house plan will achieve planning permission, it is proving to be a popular choice for people who know what they want, but up to now, have been unable to get a visual representation of their dream home.
“In some cases here, and in most cases in the US, consumers – who are the least qualified person involved in the project are having to make the most important decisions. Opoplan gives people the chance to design, visualise, explore and change their own house plan, using the most up-to-date technology, before they talk to a professional and instead of selecting from a picture on a website”, concludes O’Brien.
For further information contact: Gráinne Kennedy | 087 247 8520 |
This content was originally published here.