Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
An architectural field survey can show the general location of the pool, include an outline of the pool and show its relation to buildings on the property.
Monday, September 13, 2010
|Do-it-Yourself Deck Project Tips|
If you are planning a deck addition to your home here are some things to consider:
- Will you deck be attached to your home? If yes, an Architectural designer is probably needed.
- If your deck will not be attached to your home, you don't need an Architect but you will most likely need a licensed Engineer to provide calculations and structural drawings.
- Some things to watch for with decks:
- Leakage between the deck and the house.
- Crowded decks at parties have been known to fail and kill people.
- Check with your building department and find out what is required for your building permit before you start deck construction. We have heard horror stories of people starting what they thought was a simple deck project and being shut down by the city while in the middle of illegal construction.
- Prepare to provide as-built plans, at minimum a site plan for a free standing deck and an architectural drawing of your deck design if you work with an engineer.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Trying to decide if you should use Revit for your as-built plans?
- Will your project be in 2D? If your project is not going to be developed in 3D or BIM, then there is no reason to use Revit.
- Will the project be developed with AutoCAD? Revit files can be converted to DWG files by using a SaveAS command. AutoCAD DWG standards then have to be setup. These additional steps can be costly if you can draft your as-builts in AutoCAD to begin with.
- Is speed an issue? Revit asks for the additional Z coordinate and this takes time.
- Revit data is parametric, if you move one wall or remove a door, the building is redrawn to adjust to the changes. As-Builts are drawings of the building as it was built and an inert drawing may be more practical for data integrity.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Your office rent is, in most cases, determined by the sq. footage of your office space. If you suspect that you are being charged for space that you're not using, it's possible to hire a field architectural drafter to measure your office and clarify your actual sq. footage.
Determining office area is not as simple as it looks. We recommend that you, employ an architectural drafter with commercial experience. He should be able to explain why measuring your office correctly is a fairly complex procedure. Since this is a layman's blog, we leave that for the experts. Trust us; you don't want to hire someone to determine your actual sq.footage if they have never heard of BOMA guidelines!
There are several kinds of office surveys you might want to consider:
1. If you own the building then the best way to determine the square footage of a specific office is to survey the entire building in order to calculate the % of space that the office takes up. This can be a fairly expensive procedure.
2. If you don't own the building, it's not practical to survey the entire building. Hire someone to measure your office space only.
3. If you are trying to save on costs, your architectural drafter does not have to draw up floor plans. A simple schematic diagram + an explanation of your area calcs will suffice. This should not be an expensive process and depending on the size of your office can be done quickly.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Before you hire a General Contractor, Engineer, Architect or Drafter to assist you with planning your remodel, take time to organize your project. This will save you time and money.
Define: What is existing construction?
Do you have as-built plans of the building? If so, get them scanned so they can be easily reviewed by professionals who want to provide you with estimates. Do they accurately depict your property as it is now? If not, you will probably require an as-built field survey.
Define: What is new construction?
If possible draw up some sketches of your projected design changes. If you can draft, great, but even rough drawings are helpful to consultants who really can't read your mind. Scan these too. Design professionals these days prefer to review drawings in PDF format.
Now you are ready to send out your material for estimates
Saturday, April 10, 2010
If your as-built plans resemble this example we recommend that you hire an experienced local architectural drafter, field architect, architect or engineer to convert them to CAD drawings.
The drafter will have to know local building codes. Preferably, they will have local construction or field survey experience.
This type of as-built sketch can be misleading. Missing details such as wall thickness and dimensions of appliances can make the plans problematic. It’s quite possible that the dimensions may not line up. Re-measuring the building may be required for accuracy.
Plans can be drafted to look good from a home owner’s untrained perspective but they may actually be unbuildable.
If you have questions about your as-built plans or would like a free estimate on plans to CAD conversion, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The recent quake in Haiti has raised public awareness about the dangers of building structures without taking safety into consideration.
Ironically, though the SF Bay Area is located on more than one major fault line, we still encounter many situations where ignorance contributes to irresponsible building practices.
As a drafting service we get plenty of inquiries from potential customers who are hoping to find a cheap and easy way to renovate their property by avoiding the costs of hiring a licensed engineer or architect. We can attest that this is often the best way to end up paying more in the long run!
Here are a few reasons why we recommend asking a civil or structural engineer to review your renovation project at the start. You can save time, money and aggravation by getting a professional’s input before you even draft proposal plans.
1. Existing structures may not be up to date in terms of compliance with current codes. Building codes are constantly evolving based on experiences of building failure, accidents or hazards. Making a change to an old building may result in the need to comply with today's regulations. This makes your property safer and a better investment for future owners, too. The local building department can advise you about applicable codes and let you know if they require a signed set of plans to approve the changes you envision. Though we’ve seen many attempts, we can tell you that it is counterproductive to try to get around the building department. You’ll just have to pay extra for your project to be corrected or rebuilt, later.
2. Design changes that look great on paper may involve moving walls, doors, windows, beams that are part of the structural integrity of the building. It’s much easier to consult an engineer early in your project with a rough sketch than later after you have drafted a full set of detailed plans. Your structural engineer may decide that additional modifications to the roof and foundation will be required because you want to add some rooms, another story or a garage. An unlicensed designer may or may not be able to advise you of same. Don’t count on a drafter to know all the risks you are taking by altering your existing structure.
3. The soil of your property may be too unstable to support the type of remodel you envision. Consult an engineer to find out if a soils test is recommended for your property. Conceptual plans might look inspiring but find out before you draw them up if the drainage or solidity of the ground will be an issue.
4. If you are contemplating the purchase of a property for remodel it's not wise to rely on the advice of your real estate broker regarding its suitability. Get an appraisal and estimate from a licensed Structural Engineer before you decide to purchase and remodel. A good engineer can let you know in advance what kind of structural changes are recommended for the building. They can even advise as to the style of architecture that is safe for the property.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
If you have 6 or more adults living on one property, then you may have to comply with City regulations regarding the design of your parking lot and provide one parking space per tenant.
The city requires plans submittal as proof of compliance. The parking lot area must be correctly laid out according to San Diego Permit Specifications. We recommend that you hire a field architect or architectural drafter for this task.
You will need to submit the following plans along with your permit application:
• Vicinity Plan
• Site Plan.
• Parking lot layout - an experienced drafter can create the plans and parking lot layout. The skill level does not call for a licensed engineer or architect. Plans do have to be accurate and cannot be fudged.
Permit Application for Residential High Occupancy Permit
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Q. We are working on a residential remodel in Virginia. Our structural engineer recommended adding a steel post in the basement under a steel beam. We drilled down to 6 or 7' and the soil is soft. The engineer is now recommending that we consult a geotechnical engineer before proceeding with more drilling.
A. You need to hire a Soils Engineer to take a soil sample at the location where you are drilling. This sample will be analyzed in a lab. The hole may need to be widened to generate more friction to support the beam. The Structural Engineer will determine how deep and wide the hole must be based on the Soils Report.
Your local Geotechnical Firm can probably recommended a good Soils Engineer who will take residential projects. Many larger firms don't deal with homeowners but they maintain a list of quality professionals for referrals. Some Civil Engineers can also provide this service.