BD Living is the bedroom division of Barratt Developments plc, one of the UK’s best known and largest house builders.
Based just outside Leicester, BD Living is responsible for designing bedrooms for all the company’s homes, across all three brands. It employs about thirty people in the offices as well as operating a manufacturing facility where all the company’s wardrobes are made. About two hundred and fifty bedrooms are manufactured each week.
Neville Kirkham, a CAD technician for BD Living, is one of a team of six who use the ArtiCAD-Pro software to design all Barratt’s bedrooms. He previously worked for more than a decade at the UK’s largest bedroom manufacturer, Hammonds, where he got to know ArtiCAD-Pro when the software was rolled out across the organisation. Arriving at BD Living in 2008, he found ArtiCAD-Pro had also been chosen by Barratt Developments as its first CAD system for bedroom design, replacing the previous manual approach.
Each Barratt development has the option to choose fitted bedrooms, whilst all David Wilson homes are sold with a fully fitted master bedroom, the design of which is produced using ArtiCAD-Pro. The remaining bedrooms are left as blank canvases for the new owner to fit out themselves. However In many cases the owner asks BD Living to design and supply these rooms as well, either before they move in or shortly afterwards.
Neville Kirkham: “The overall design for the master bedroom in each different style of house comes from the interior design team with input from sales. These concepts are passed to the CAD team, together with a floor plan indicating where the furniture is to be placed. We then produce detailed floor plans, elevations and bird’s eye views using ArtiCAD-Pro, for all the show homes as well as for each individual plot once it has been sold.
“The length of time it takes to produce the designs obviously varies depending on the size of the room and its complexity but typically it is from just 20 minutes to an hour for one room.”
The CAD team produce PDF files of their work which are emailed to the sales team, together with full colour hard copies. If changes are required, these can be made very quickly and easily. Once approved, the designs are booked in for manufacture and fitting. A hard copy is passed to technician, Phil Deacon, who is responsible for producing the cutting list for the factory to manufacture the wardrobes. Phil is now also using ArtiCAD and finds it very ‘intuitive’.
For those customers who ask BD Living to fit out their other bedrooms, the sales team provide them with samples and colour choices, with the design then being produced in ArtiCAD. “Using ArtiCAD-Pro certainly helps our sales people to show customers exactly what they will be getting, enabling them to make any changes before it is too late and help along the sales process.”
Dealing with awkward shapes such as sloping ceilings or bulkheads is no obstacle for Neville and the CAD team. “We can make ArtiCAD-Pro do anything.
“Although recently the aim has been to standardise the designs as much as possible, we still do some bespoke work. It is important that we are able to show both the sales team and the customer the detail of the different finishes. ArtiCAD-Pro is used to show the interiors of wardrobes as storage options play an increasingly important part in bedroom design.
“The addition of support for Sketch Up has made a big difference to our work. We are able to show even more detail and it is very easy to use.”
The BD graphics catalogue was produced by ArtiCAD especially for Barratt Developments as all the company’s wardrobes are made specifically for their homes. It is updated as new finishes are introduced. According to Neville Kirkham “The graphics in the software are becoming more detailed all the time and look just like the real thing.”
BD Living has also used the ArtiCAD software to produce a fitting manual for the company’s fitters. Designs are produced in ArtiCAD-Pro and then included in the manual, together with text, to help fitters understand more quickly and easily how the wardrobes fit together and the look of the finished item.