Picked up a drafting job for a commercial building remodel


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I recently picked up a gig redesigning a “metal building”.  The building isn’t and hasn’t been rented for some time and the realtor wants to build out for another possible client.  All good...  So, I’ve done a few home designs using wood and only one story. This building is metal and has multiple stories.  If anyone has tips or resources dealing with Chief and light commercial that would be beneficial.  I’d like to not screw this up and build good rapport with the customer and contractor.  TIA






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All you need is Chief Premier and carefully set all Default Settings (take the time to accurately set these so they match the existing building) based on your on-site measurements, then carefully create your 3D model (.plan file) using your annotation sets for Electrical, Site Plan, Plan View, Framing and roof plan pages. It is the same as a residence only different construction methods and materials are used. Make sure you understand the plan and planning standards for this property and zoning setbacks, easements and other restrictions for this specific property to set design limitations. Depending on the scope of work your client wants you may need to engage a State LIcensed Structural Engineer to decide structural matters as a consultant once your plans are complete.



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For CA, it is not an issue. This is a big box and drafting it is all the same as a small box but only bigger. For code issues, that is a different story. What state are you in? Is this getting a permit? Do you know what the exit requirements are for commercial? Fire codes, ADA codes, stair codes (different for commercial than residential). Commercial can be a beast of new information to learn.


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I have personally used Chief Architect Premier X8, X9 and X10 to draw up plans in Michigan for post-framed buildings.  Some of these projects were light commercial.  Our engineer we often deal with has reviewed plans I drew up in Chief Architect and sealed them on more than one occasion.  In Michigan we use the Michigan Building Code for our commercial building code, which is derived from the International Building Code.  That document has become my new best friend along with the "A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings" when it comes to building codes that regulate commercial buildings.  Commercial projects can be a whole another ball game.   It's probably a good idea to have a copy of your jurisdictions commercial building code to reference.

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