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I'm thinking of something that acts as a catalog of pre-designed parts, that you can import into autocad, CATIA or even blender or maya. You could probably even put together a web-based interface to the geometry. It would act to some extent as a translator between different formats (.dwg,.stl,.vrml97, etc.) but the main purpose would be to act as a marketplace for designers and production bureaus. The ideal use case would be a construction project manager who's been tasked with remodeling a space on a tight time budget and shops for custom fitted design elements purchasing several designs from different sources and ordering production from one or more production bureaus within a 1-day delivery radius.

The real chicken and egg problem with this idea is that you won't have enough designers and qualified production bureaus to form enough of a critical mass of purchasers until you have a critical mass of purchasers to make the service attractive to designers and production shops. It would probably work best if you start off with a small regional network of production houses that employed their own designers.

Ah I see, yes this is also part of the 'BIM grand vision'. It's in the final stages of implementing an industry-wide system though. This would be hard to do without a solid toolchain in the beginning of the process, with a client to visualize how those parts look/work together. I don't see this as a replacement for 'traditional' tools, more like an add-on.

Big manufacturers already provide construction blocks, in standardized formats, for importing into design tools. From ICF forms to wallpapers. The 'marketplace' part is missing though, that's true. I don't even think it's a matter of technology, it's just that the industry isn't ready for it IMO. Construction is a very conservative industry.

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