Where do you start when designing a custom home?
It's a question many homeowners ask and the answer is usually "with a loose vision and a few lines on sketch paper".
The dream truly comes alive when the right building designer or architect is appointed.
The client conveys their needs, the designer interprets these objectives and guides the design journey to conceptual plans.
It's a process of information sharing between client and designer that has relied on interpretation and plan reading ... until now.
This client experience has been transformed by building designers B&H Homes, who are now using state-of-the-art 3D video technology.
B&H Homes architectural designer Andrew Ward said the technology had been a game changer.
"Custom design is deeply rooted in the visual mind, a part of the brain not easily accessed by everyone," Andrew said.
"We've invested significantly in 3D video software so that our clients no longer need to visualise.
"Far surpassing 3D images and perspective, it borders on virtual reality by way of a high resolution interactive user experience."
It has been the biggest leap in customer design experience in 40 years of designing custom homes.B&H Homes architectural designer Andrew Ward
In the past it was not uncommon for designers to wait eight hours for one single 3D image to render.
"We now amend plans in front of our clients and demonstrate the changes in that moment with 3D video from every angle," Andrew said.
"Using gaming technology that is highly responsive and provides 100 per cent realism, clients can walk through their home, viewing from any angle, any room, inside or outside, any time of day.
"It can also tracks the solar path to understand how deep direct sunlight will enter your home in winter and how effective external shade structures are in summer. It is as simple as changing the month, day and time."
Use of the technology eliminates client uncertainty and has reduced decision-making stress.
Andrew said clients are put at ease by knowing exactly how their custom design will look and feel.
"We don't want our clients saying 'next time I'd change this' or 'I wish I did that'," he said. "Now you walk through your virtual design and 'feel' the space; feeling if the floor plan is working, 'is that space too large or small?', 'do we need more natural light'.
"We'll compare options A and B from every angle and the decision virtually determines itself. We've really noticed the sense of ease it provides our clients."
Realism in textures, colours and lighting in the 3D rendering makes decision making so much easier.
"We import the patented images of brick type, roof, fascia and gutter, or any material for that matter and play with combinations," Andrew said. "There's almost a relief from the client in their certainty.
"It has been the biggest leap in customer design experience in our 40 years of designing custom homes. It has enabled deeper design conversations with our clients and more rewarding engagement."