Drawing plans for a project can be one of the most exciting preludes to a good job.
A good set of plans is a necessity for a great project outcome.
I have been using Chief Architect design and CAD software since 1990. It has been a challenge to learn but I have discovered that it is a great tool to convey my designs, and to solidify and translate the owners ideas into a format that everyone can understand. ChiefArchitectCADSoftware.
The planning should start with a site meeting with the owners. Their needs, wants, style and taste need to be discussed and vetted. What is the budget? Budget discussions should occur up front so that the design can proceed without going overboard. Most of the time, the owners have a good idea of what they want to achieve, and about what they would like to spend. This meeting is where the reality check comes into play. Which is most important? Budget or your wish list? You decide. Once a project direction is agreed upon, it's time to start building the plan set.
I take full measurements inside and out of every architectural element I can see. I also take 50 to 100 photographs of every angle. The lot and the buildings relation to the lot line need to be accounted for.
I then consult with a city planner and explain the project. A planner will then provide the city requirements for setbacks, zoning, fire sprinklers, demolition, and historical appropriateness for our project.
The first sheet should be the site plan, with the location of the building, or buildings, the lot line, and any accessory buildings, fences, large trees, and or elevation spots for the entire site. I also include the Scope of Work and the Project data Sheet. Building and planning departments will need this information.
Next you will need an existing and new floor plan, side by side. I show walls to be built, including all rooms and room sizes, walls to be removed, windows and doors and locations, stairways, and flooring.
Next I draw all elevations, existing and new. It is important to show all changes to windows, doors, siding, trims, roofing, etc.
The remainder of the drawings show sections through the building in both directions. Construction details, window & door schedules and details, Electrical plan, Mechanical plan all follow,
The structural plans also need to be created after architectural plans are approved. I always use a structural engineer to create and certify the structural work. The city building department will have a list of their city's requirements for a complete submittal. Plans must conform to their requirements in order to be reviewed and approved.
During the course of plan development I will devote several plan sheets to 3-D views of the major rooms. This is a very dramatic view of what we have designed, and the owner, and designer can see immediately what works and what doesn't.
The process can flow fairly quickly, but may hit planning or decision/budget snags. My experience is that drawings and plans take from 3 months to 9 months from first meeting to permit issuance.
I work for a fee to create these drawings and to secure the project permits and will also provide budgeting advice and project direction. I then build the project to the owner's satisfaction and delight.
Finally, plan creation is a necessity and it should flow successfully with owners, designers, and contractors on board. It's always easier to draw and erase, than to end up with an unsatisfactory project. !