Seaside Apartment Blocks in Belgium

Meet Wannes Malaise, a CAD/BIM designer from Belgium, tells us about his experiences on using ARCHLine.XP to design a seaside block of apartments.

About what I do

I am a draftsman. I do a wide range of projects – plants for large companies, family houses, halls, pipelines, etc. These could be 2D or 3D drawings, it’s pretty versatile. The hardest part of my job is that the regulations in Belgium, where I live and work, are pretty strict – there’s a lot of information I have to include in my documentation. So in a way, I not only have to do the drawing, but I am also responsible for adding the relevant info and systems to my drawings. That’s one of the reasons I was looking at ARCHLine.XP – because I wanted to do everything, CAD, 3D modeling, calculations, in one package.

My project

This building is an apartment block at the seaside. It was important to allow the tenants enough personal space outside to enjoy the beautiful scenery, so adding balconies and terraces to my design was very important. Also, I added a sufficient amount of skylights for the same reason, to keep the tenants in touch with nature. There’s parking space under the building, too, for their convenience.


This building is not built yet, I made the design for submission for building permit. The exterior design is finished, and I fully equipped one of the apartments for demonstration purposes. This was the second project I did with ARCHLine.XP (the first one was a family house). It took me 4,5 days to get to this point, and the project is almost finished. The most difficult thing about this building is actually the technical details, some of which I am still yet to add – insulation, for instance, is not there yet. In the sections it’s visible that there’s still some cleanup to do. Good thing that the sections always update when I modify something, so I always see what’s missing.

As a next step I will send this to my client for approval – I find it very important to keep my client involved. An involved client means less potential misunderstanding, and less redrawing and extra work for me. Some of the larger clients I have can read CAD files, so I could send this documentation out in .dwg, but it’s usually better to use a .pdf or an animation, because that gives a better look and feel of how the available space is used. This is what I did here, too, I made a fly-through animation on the property.

One difficulty I had learning the software was to learn to think in floors. It’s a bit mind-bending to realize that even though you are drawing what looks like a 2D plan, it’s actually a 3D model with floors you can navigate between. Once I learned it properly, I became able to apply its features: I can make inactive floors visible, I can see what’s underneath the floor I am working on, I can snap elements to floors below and above – this all makes it easier to prevent mistakes.

I would say that it would have been longer to draw this in a different platform – and not necessarily because of the learning curve. The reasons design takes long is usually because you have to use multiple software for your purposes, and throw your files back and forth between them. But here, everything, 2D plans, 3D model, calculations, animations, etc. was made on the same platform. This saved a lot of time.

Wannes Malaise
Ornata Design Ltd.
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