Calculating ROI for Computational Design

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Computational design is a problem-solving methodology that can be applied to design processes. It uses a combination of algorithms and parameters set by the user to help solve design problems.

The four basic steps of computational design are:

  1. decomposition into smaller parts;
  2. pattern recognition;
  3. abstraction on what is important for solving the problem and what is not;
  4. creating algorithms/step-by-step instructions for solving the problem.

In the August Applied Software webinar with Donnell Grantham, “Quick Power Tips for Computational Design,” he demonstrated how Dynamo can automate the repetitious task of room layouts of a building on plan views and sheets.


If you are ready to reimagine and redesign your existing workflows, you can partner with Applied Software on a Computational Design Roadmap Workshop. Contact Applied Software today to talk to the Computational Design Team of experts.


To determine return on investment (ROI) of an automated process, you need to calculate:

  • How much time does it save you?
  • How much money does it save you?

In his webinar, after a demonstration of using automation in design, Donnell provided an example of a tool that the Computational Design Team built for an existing Applied Software customer for laying out rooms for plan views and sheets.

He explained how to calculate the ROI of an automation tool for this example:

  1. Calculate the time needed to do the process manually. This might typically be five minutes per room.
  2. Calculate the time needed for the automation tool to perform this process. It was determined that the automation enabled the customer to accomplish the task in 15 seconds for 30 rooms.   
  3. Determine how long it took to build the script for the automated process. This “build” time was approximately 40 hours.
  4. Add up the number of rooms per project you would use the automation tool on. Perhaps your typical building has 30 rooms.
  5. Add up the number of projects you build per year. Donnell used 100 projects per year for this example.

Summary for the manual process, each year:

Summary for the automated process in the first year:

Successive years would require far less time for the automated process, because the script would have already been developed.

Compared to a manual process, the automation time savings the first year is 209.6 hours x $145/hour = $30,392.

The automation time savings each year for subsequent years is 249.6 hours x $145/hour = $36,192.

This is just one example of computational design used for one task on one type of project. Multiple tools would result in multiple instances of savings on your project designs.


Learn all about Computational Design, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the Applied Software “Ultimate Guide to Computational Design.” You can downloadit for free today.


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