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Maximising the benefits of architectural planning CGI.

January 16, 2024

An image really can paint a thousand words. Are you maximising the benefits of architectural planning CGI.

Author | Paul Skuse, Oakfield Design & Creation

Architectural CGI (computer-generated imagery) is still a relatively new innovation in property development and construction circles, but it offers vast potential.

Planning CGI – or architectural visualisation – is the process of creating photo-realistic 2D or 3D images based on architectural drawings or development plans. They give realistic shapes, colours and textures to key design elements to help planners and other stakeholders better understand the visual impact of a proposed scheme.

CGIs allow architects and designers to bring their concepts to life and provide tangible evidence of their appeal to planners, residents, community partners, funders and other third parties.

Architectural visualisation is playing an increasingly central role across the whole project development cycle, from discovery and design to planning, construction and marketing.

From a planning perspective, 3D architectural visualisations augment planning applications with persuasive visual evidence of how the proposed scheme will look to provide context, tell the right story and alleviate any concerns.

The old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words rings true. Architectural visualisation enables architects and developers to show – rather than explain – their concept to planners and provide compelling insight into the features of a proposed development plan. They leave little room for uncertainty, which helps speed up and streamline the planning process and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

CGIs can also help quantity surveyors and builders by modifying and calculating required materials to precise specifications, as well as being used as a valuable marketing tool to help drive sales and secure finance.

While traditional architect’s sketches and 2D technical drawings will always have their place in the planning process, CGI helps bring a proposed scheme into perspective like no other format can.

So, if you’re in the process of securing planning permission for a residential, industrial or commercial development project, here’s how architectural CGI can help.

Benefits of planning CGI
CGI is an extremely useful tool that allows planning consultants, their clients and local authority planning teams to understand how a building or development relates to, and interacts with, its environment.

It helps designers and architects to experiment and refine their ideas at the planning stage and identify and resolve any potential issues or pitfalls during the consultation stage. This can help save time and money by providing planners with the evidence they need to make better decisions.

Planning CGIs can be used to show how a building or extension will sit within its surroundings at street level or from multiple angles.

Different colours and lighting options can showcase how it will look at various times of the day or night.

CGI images can even be placed into aerial views of an area to show how an entire development will relate to its surroundings, amenities and access points. They can give planners a realistic sense of the potential visual impact of a proposed scheme. They also allow developers to experiment with different colours, textures and finishes to ensure the right choices are made when ordering materials and informing the construction process.

Planning CGIs are also helpful in land promotion. It allows developers to present how a site will look within a wider residential or commercial development, so planners and other stakeholders can visualise the land, its impact on its surroundings, and its infrastructure and services requirements.
Some of the other benefits architectural CGI offers include:

• Speeding up the acquisition of local authority planning consent
• Demonstrating the distinctive nature of development and the way it will enhance an area
• Overcoming planning objections and easing the concerns of residents and community stakeholders
• Clearly and accurately conveying the scheme’s design
• Providing clarity around the context of a proposed development and its relation to the surrounding area
• Creating professional, photo-realistic images for sales and marketing materials
• Enabling potential buyers to view specific details without visiting the site or even waiting for construction to start.

Why you need architectural CGI
Architectural CGI will help you to bring your proposed development to life and show its impact in ways that traditional 2D plans and drawings can’t.

It will help you weave a story that takes planners through the ideas, thought processes and creative thinking behind the scheme to help them better understand the vision.

The key to securing a successful planning outcome lies in your ability to convince planners of how your scheme with benefit a local area. It’s all about providing context and backing it up with compelling visual evidence to get people on board. That’s where Oakfield’s inhouse CGI studio can help.

With more than 30 years’ experience in the property development sector, we understand the planning process and how to navigate it successfully. We help property developers, architects and consultants obtain planning permission for residential and commercial developments with high-quality, persuasive yet affordable CGI visualisations that enhance planning applications and give them the best chance of success.

View our latest Planning CGI projects here, or call us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your next project.

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