Those who have trouble visualising plans for their soon-to-be new home, commercial premises or project, can walk through a full-scale projection of the design, add or subtract furniture and elements, and determine if it works for them at Lifesize Plans at North Lakes.
Franchisees Chris Woodland and Gillian Strong opened Australia’s first Lifesize Plans franchise in March.
The business was founded in Sydney by Chris Ghaleb after his wife had difficulty visualising the size and shape of the home they were planning to build.
Gillian says he was fined by his local council for marking out the design in chalk at a carpark, and his wife made the comment that it would be great to have projectors in the sky to project the image on the ground.
Chris developed the concept and presented it to judges on the Shark Tank program who loved it but decided the cost was prohibitive. He worked to bring costs down and launched Lifesize Plans in 2017.
Chris Woodland, who is a building architectural designer and draftsman, heard about the concept after one of his clients flew to Lifesize Plans in Sydney to walk through the plan for his home.
“He came in and made a couple of minor changes and showed us a video of what they did … I thought ‘oh my god, how good is that’,” Chris recalls.
“When he left, we both said, ‘what an amazing idea for clients’. I see that all the time with clients not understanding size and space.”
Chris and Gillian did some searching online, learnt more and opened on March 1, 2023.
They are now trying to spread the word in the construction and real estate industries.
“We’ve had clients ourselves who have had months of design time and the reason is, they are just so unsure. They’re about to invest a lot of money into their home or commercial project and seeing it on computer … it makes them procrastinate – go backwards and forwards with design changes,” Gillian says.
She says they had a client recently who had spent two years trying to finalise a design, which they were able to do after spending two hours at Lifesize Plans walking through it.
How it works
Ideally, a builder or architect will accompany the client but if they can’t be there, Chris has the expertise to help them by explaining the impact changes to the design will have on the way a room looks and can be used, and the cost.
“When a client comes in, I’m not here to redesign a house. I’m not here to offend builders, designers, architects or anything like that. I want to work with them,” Chris explains.
“I’m just here to make sure they’re happy with that they’ve got designed.”
He’s happy to provide informed suggestions on how a design can be improved to work better for a client, if requested.
“Our motto is: designers come and showcase your home to your client. It’s not, let your client walk through your house to see what’s wrong with it. Come and explain it to them and showcase it in full size, so they can walk around it,” Chris says.
|“It really works. It’s basically for anything that’s drawn on a plan. It’s not just homes, it’s landscape design, pool designs, cabinetry and shop fitouts … anything.”|
They can even project plans for different levels of government, so they can walk through facilities they wish to build before they are finalised.
Gillian says they recently did this for Moreton Bay City Council with a hall it is building and an accessible playground.
Chris says it is a great tool for people with disabilities to ensure wheelchairs and other mobility aids can be used safely in the home.
“This is where it really shows the space. You can wheel and wheelchair through and you can actually see that it’s working,” he explains.
A Lifesize Plans walk-through is also handy for smaller builders who may not have display homes to show clients.
Confidence in design
Chris and Gillian aim to make it a good experience for clients, so they can be excited about what will be their new home, commercial premises or project.
“I get excited because it gives people like me a voice because I know for a fact that in a design consult, even when we’re doing our own home, I said nothing because I could not visualise anything,” Gillian says.
|“I see people who come here, who are like me and all of a sudden all of their ideas, their opinions … it gives them a voice. It puts them on the same page as a building designer and an architect and a builder.”|
It gives clients confidence in the design.
“What I love about it is how people can really see that their design is going to work and make those little changes,” Chris says.
“I don’t care if I don’t make changes, but we haven’t done one job without changes.”
A one-hour walk-through is $880 per hour, but Chris says they can save thousands of dollars that may have been spend on variations after a build has started.
“It’s a very cheap insurance policy – getting it right before you start. That’s what we loved about it,” Chris says.
He says it is a more practical experience than a 3D render or walk-through on a computer screen, or virtual reality.
To find out more, head to the website or phone 07 3180 3399.
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