Text Size
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Website started and updated by faculty and students of Cal Poly Pomona's College of Environmental Design: Department of Architecture.

"A sustainable online forum for students

and young professionals of design."

Blog Content
Software DesignBuilder
 

DesignBuilder Hot

Energy Simulation GUI (graphic user interface) for E+ (Energy Plus). This software trial is free for 30 days. 

User reviews

Average user rating from: 5 user(s)

To write a review please register or log in.
Overall rating 
 
6.6
Ease of Use  
 
5.6  (5)
Complexity of Results  
 
8.0  (5)
Clarity of Graphics  
 
7.6  (5)
Accuracy  
 
6.6  (5)
Cost 
 
5.0  (5)
 
DesignBuilder 2012-03-20 20:39:38 Brice Colton
Overall rating 
 
6.8
Ease of Use  
 
4.0
Complexity of Results  
 
9.0
Clarity of Graphics  
 
8.0
Accuracy  
 
8.0
Cost 
 
5.0
Brice Colton Reviewed by Brice Colton    March 20, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

DesignBuilder: Waiting for the Next Version

DesignBuilder is a building simulation software package that allows users to construct models of their buildings, and then run all sorts of environmental analyses on those models. In theory, the software is great. Many components of the models are parametric; materials, ventilation schedules, occupancies, windows shadings, etc. can easily and quickly be changed. Pre-loaded libraries are extensive. Simulation results are detailed, seem reasonably accurate, and can be exported to spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel.

That said, the current version of DesignBuilder suffers from issues that make it frustratingly difficult to use. When modeling, some commands (especially the "join" command) just refuse to work most of the time. There is no "mirror" command. Sometimes lines or objects will not snap to points that they really should. In order to complete a model, I have always needed to rely on work-arounds and extensive use of construction lines and construction blocks that I later deleted. Even then, there may be some small inaccuracies in the model.

Additionally, some of the materials seem broken, windows and glass-less openings are two completely different and non-interchangeable elements, and menus within the program feel clunky and poorly designed.

I think DesignBuilder can and should be a great program, but at this point, all of these little bugs and quirks make the program difficult enough to use that I cannot recommend it to anyone. Hopefully, the next release will correct these issues, and DesignBuilder will become the incredible tool that it should be.

Was this review helpful to you? 
10
Report this review
DesignBuilder 2012-03-15 01:06:22 gogreen
Overall rating 
 
5.8
Ease of Use  
 
5.0
Complexity of Results  
 
7.0
Clarity of Graphics  
 
7.0
Accuracy  
 
5.0
Cost 
 
5.0
gogreen Reviewed by gogreen    March 15, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Design Builder Review for P-Town

Begining of Design Builder, it was a bit intimidating since it's a program almost similar to Ecotect. After using it for a while for the first month, it came out to be okay and accurate for building performance since the program goes into detail of building materials to test for performance.

Few weeks past, as soon as the class goes into more details of building materials and building opening, fraustrations begin to build up. Number one reason why we (P-Town) are fraustrated is that Design Builder doesn't have the option (or a good technique) of mirroring objects. Mirror image is a very useful command that's missing with this program that would help a lot and show a "dramatic" comparison of re-arranging/relocating rooms for better building performance. Second reason why Design Builder is not that reliable for building performance with the use of designating different building materials is that, opening two different Design Builder files one at a time can copy and/or designates by default building materials based on the first file that was opened.

Was this review helpful to you? 
10
Report this review
DesignBuilder 2012-03-01 18:50:40 Marlene
Overall rating 
 
7.2
Ease of Use  
 
9.0
Complexity of Results  
 
8.0
Clarity of Graphics  
 
8.0
Accuracy  
 
6.0
Cost 
 
5.0
Marlene Reviewed by Marlene    March 01, 2012
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Design Builder

This software is better for analysis on a building. The modeling is the part that does not work well. It was too difficult to model a simple design into one block which is important for analysis. There were a few times during analysis that we received a fatal error and the program shut down so there are a few hiccups. If the modeling aspect was tweeked, then the program would function much better.

Was this review helpful to you? 
00
Report this review
DesignBuilder 2012-03-01 01:42:55 mlrodrigues
Overall rating 
 
6.6
Ease of Use  
 
7.0
Complexity of Results  
 
7.0
Clarity of Graphics  
 
8.0
Accuracy  
 
6.0
Cost 
 
5.0
mlrodrigues Reviewed by mlrodrigues    March 01, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Design Builder

Design builder is a useful tool to analyze the different properties of a building, however actually modeling your building is not very easy. We utilized a 30 day trial. The modeling process in theory is easy: create blocks for each building element. Attempting to do this however is not. Construction lines have to be used in order to get anything aligned or a certain distance away. Also, sometimes it is necessary to create a block and then delete this block in order to create another block. This makes for a confusing modeling process. The undo command is not useful for undoing construction lines or properties changed which, when attempted, can end up deleting work that was not meant to be deleted.

The analyses Design Builder gave seem accurate for the most part, yet certain changes made did not affect the results as one would think. This occurred mostly when adding materials and changing windows. It seemed to sometimes work, and sometimes not. This gave us some skepticism when analyzing our results as to what was actually happening.

Overall, Design Builder can analyze aspects in your building that might not otherwise be able to be analyzed. You are able to create and change your own materials and specific properties of those materials. This is not something easily done in other analysis tools which makes Design Builder useful in this regard.

Was this review helpful to you? 
00
Report this review
DesignBuilder 2012-03-20 23:11:06 rkhiga
Overall rating 
 
6.4
Ease of Use  
 
3.0
Complexity of Results  
 
9.0
Clarity of Graphics  
 
7.0
Accuracy  
 
8.0
Cost 
 
5.0
rkhiga Reviewed by rkhiga    March 20, 2012
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

DesignBuilder - Not the Easiest to use

Out of the software that has been used so far, designbuilder has been the most difficult one to use. It is a very thorough software that covers many aspects of environmental analysis but it doesn't make it very easy to use.

Interface

The interface for DesignBuilder can be a little overwhelming at times. There are so many menus within menus that you sometimes forget where a certain option was or how to change the material of something. When you're building the 3D model it does have a simple array of buttons along the top and a toolbox in the bottom left that allows you to change the shape, height, etc. This seperation of options between the top bar and this bottom box is something to get used to, but once you do you'll realize that if it isn't at the top its always in that bottom left toolbox.

Once you get into the analysis part of DesignBuilder it becomes difficult to navigate through the menus. If you have to change a material of a part of your building you have to go through multiple menus to be able to properly adjust the material properties and be able to use it. This part of DesignBuilder is really what made it the most difficult to use but it does make sense that to achieve a very thorough analysis you need a very thorough menu system but I think it could be smoothed out just a bit.

3D Modeling

To build a 3D model in DesignBuilder takes a bit of time depending on the shape and size of the building. For example, making sloped roofs requires an interesting method of slicing a block at an angle and removing the top half. If the shape of the building is relatively easy then it is not too difficult to build especially if you're familiar with sketchup. It uses the same idea of drawing shapes and extruding the shape to form a 3d shape. Adding additional things like windows or doors though can be a problem if you don't know where to look. It is again difficult to navigate through the interface to be able to adjust additional things to your 3D model.

Analysis

Now this is where things got a little more complicated and frustrating at times. The first thing that we had to do was adjust the building materials to match what was actually being built and this required to go through many menus and adjust multiple settings. It is very good that DesignBuilder allows you to adjust thicknesses and such, but it doesn't make it easy to find or know what you're doing. Then after adjusting these materials and you start to analyze the building, some problems might start to occur. There were issues with certain materials that were only allowed certain settings or certain materials like the 100mm Slab that would not give accurate results.

Overall DesignBuilder is a very thorough analysis software that has a learning curve as well as some bugs to work out but if you need something more than HEED or Vasari then currently this is the best choice.

Was this review helpful to you? 
00
Report this review
 
Powered by JReviews