We’re seeing a groundbreaking shift from 2D to 3D in engineering and design, revolutionising the way businesses operate. It’s a shift that is gaining momentum as 3D CAD systems become more powerful, user-friendly, and substantially more affordable.

For those new to this technology, 3D CAD rendering creates realistic digital models of architectural designs, allowing architects and construction professionals to visualise and explore their projects in detail. These 3D project models address many questions that may arise during construction, enhancing the decision-making process.



Bridging the BIM gap

While relatively new, 3D is already embedded in engineering design. Indeed, engineering contractors have matured over the past twenty years to follow a Building Information Modelling (BIM) process. A process which enables the creation and management of 3D digital representations of physical and functional characteristics. Unsurprisingly, facility owners, operators and occupants are now waking up to the benefits of BIM and 3D as a result. According to a survey conducted by Manufacturing Global, 60% of manufacturing enterprises already have, or intend to, implement 3D visualisation as a digital innovation related to their operational excellence initiatives. IDC also found that 84% of organisations are beginning or are already engaged in executing their digital-first strategy.

Today, according to a McGraw Hill report, more than 80% of engineering and construction organisations use 3D BIM models. However, that figure drops to less than 20% when looking at uptake with owner-operators. It has created a BIM gap that is fuelling missing and incomplete information in the handover and closeout - a problem that is valued at 5% of the total investment cost to build a new facility.

One that can be addressed if owner-operators embrace the benefits of moving from 2D to 3D.


Six benefits of 3D in engineering and design

It is understandable that moving from traditional tried and trusted technologies can come with reticence, but there are several considerable benefits that can be realised from embracing 3D in engineering and design. Here’s six of the best:

  1. Enhanced visualisation - It offers a realistic and immersive representation of facilities. This not only means the layout, structure and spatial relationships of various elements within the facility can be more easily understood, but also that decision-making is improved as a result.
  2. Improved planning - As a result of the above, businesses can plan and design spaces more effectively, simulating different scenarios in the process. Space allocation, interior design, and asset positioning can all be modeled to optimise space utilisation and identify potential issues.
  3. Effective maintenance - With 3D is it possible to visualise and analyse an entire infrastructure - everything from facilities, assets, HVAC systems, electrical layouts and plumbing networks. It means maintenance schedules can be optimised and potential issues or problem areas can be identified before they occur.
  4. Streamlined communication - 3D visualisation simplifies communication between facility managers, stakeholders, and service providers. By having a visual representation of the facility, managers can convey their requirements, expectations, and ideas more clearly to architects, contractors, and maintenance teams, all of which helps reduce misunderstandings and improves collaboration.
  5. Cost and time savings - It also helps in optimising resource allocation and reducing costs. By visualising and analysing the facility in advance, managers can identify inefficiencies, plan for optimal layouts, and avoid costly mistakes during construction, renovation, or remodeling projects.
  6. Stakeholder engagement - Visualising facility designs and plans in 3D can greatly enhance stakeholder engagement. Whether it's presenting to investors, executives, or occupants, 3D models provide a compelling and immersive experience, which can help generate interest, gain buy-in, and create a shared vision among stakeholders.


Unlocking opportunities with Meridian

It’s only a matter of time before it is the universal norm in engineering and design. Engineering Contractors are already required to deliver BIM information at handover, while Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) is established as the standard for open, BIM data-exchange, which is helping to facilitate vendor-neutral and usable capabilities across a wide range of hardware devices, software platforms, and interfaces for many different use cases.

This is where our Meridian solution can be a game changer for organisations. It provides a collaboration portal to handover the 3D model from engineering contractors to owner-operators ensuring nothing is lost in the handover process. Using Meridian, owner-operators will have fully interactive 3D models of a facility and the capacity to view from different angles and do virtual walkthroughs.


Superior project outcomes

The transition from 2D to 3D opens a world of possibilities. From virtual walkthroughs to advanced simulations, this technology unlocks unprecedented levels of creativity and problem-solving. As companies incorporate these capabilities into their workflows, they can expect increased efficiency, enhanced communication, and ultimately, superior project outcomes.

Meridian unlocks all the benefits while negating many of the issues faced by using 2D. For your business this means faster time-to-market and higher quality products, which translates into increased revenue, while reducing design costs will provide larger profit margins.