One of the interesting things about being an architect is that it is not only our responsibility to design beautiful and functional buildings, but we have to make sure these structures can be built. This involves coordination of many expert consultants: structural engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. It is critical that all these different systems work together in the building. Unfortunately, there are often conflicts between these systems that are not discovered until actual construction where they are costly to fix. An example would be a mechanical duct (for heating) running into a structural beam.
In an effort to reduce the number of construction conflicts, we utilize our architectural software (we use ArchiCAD) to model these various systems in the virtual building. This three dimensional analysis allows us to see these conflicts during the construction document phase, where they are easy, and much cheaper to solve.
Below is an example of this process. This is an in-progress virtual model of the Venice Boulevard Urban Dwellings project showing some of the primary structural members (columns and beams) as designed by our structural engineer, John Labib, S.E.