Building and Construction, Feature, Operations, V5I4

Sheds in a 3D World

(Photo courtesy of Harry Fodor/

Russ Whitney was never involved in 3D technology before he founded a company in 2012 specializing in just that, but the world of 3D design has always fascinated him. 

So, after a lengthy career in the computer software industry, he decided to fill what he saw as a niche in the shed-building industry: 3D design.

IdeaRoom, his Boise, Idaho-based entity, has since created computer software that allows a customer to create a visual of their shed design, enabling them to “experience” it before it is constructed, Whitney says.

“The typical customer doesn’t have the ability to visualize the design until they see a 3D image,” he says.

According to Whitney, the use of 3D technology is quickly gaining popularity in the manufacturing industry because it allows customers to design a shed personalized to their needs and budget. When that happens, customers also usually opt for customized accessories or finishes, contributing to a higher price for the shed.

Technology also led Joe Dumas to establish a 3D design start-up aimed at the shed building industry in 2014. Youngstown, Ohio-based 3D Fish has created an internet-based service that easily integrates with shed builders’ web sites, Dumas says. 

“Clients can go to the shed builder’s web site and design their own sheds. Once they finish designing, they can order it to their specifications,” he points out. 

That is, of course, if the shed builder has contracted with Dumas for his company’s technology.


In Dumas’s opinion, 3D technology is a game changer for the shed-building industry. 

“It makes shed-building planning more of an exact science,” he says. “It enables people to get a real idea of the building before ordering it. It allows the customer to order the shed from home and never leave their house or step foot in a retail location.”

After Whitney’s IdeaRoom delivers the 3D software customized to a shed builder’s business needs, they download it onto their company’s web site. Once customers start utilizing the technology, one of three things typically occur. They include:

  • The price of the structure increases as the client personalizes and customizes the shed.
  • The mere presence of the technology on a shed builder’s web site increases their geographic reach.
  • Consumers get their questions answered with the visuals before they even speak with the shed building company representative.

The availability of 3D technology is also a money saver for a lot owner, says Bradley Kimberlin, integrator with The Shed App. That’s because the need for inventory and the space to display or store it is lessened. 

The advanced technology “enhances the reliability of the design to the final build,” he says. 

Moreover, using 3D technology “takes sales to the next level because customers can create almost their entire order” online, he adds.


Not only does 3D technology allow customers to design sheds suitable for their own needs, the software ensures the accuracy of its business accounts.


For example, the software package offered by 3D Fish also creates invoices. Because the statements are computer-generated and based on the data and information provided by the client, they are more exact than hand-written invoices.

Offering 3D technology to customers meets their ever-growing fascination with shopping from home. 

“Our software makes it easier to complete a transaction through the entire process from idea to design” to having the shed actually built, says Kimberlin. 

“It’s not about how much you spend on the software but how much business the software will bring in,” he concludes.

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