Perfect Field Measuring Setup


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Most of us have to do as-built drawings for almost any kind of remodel project and only recently has this program become easy enough to use in the field for drawing on the computer as you take measurements with your laser device.

Dan Baumann has shared his tools where he shows a portable table and his laptop as his preferred method of measuring and drafting in the field.  I followed that path and have successfully drafted my as-builts in the field too. BUT. It is not perfect by any means.  Dragging the table around has its own limitations in small spaces.  I prefer to use a mouse so the table needs to be big enough, creating another set of issues.  Since we are creating a 3d model as we go, we have to spend more time on the computer tweaking the spacial information as we draft, than the actual measuring and writing down the dimensions.  I think Dan even does both.


Well, today I saw a more superior method.  A commercial company came by my office today to measure up my space and the whole building, and I was so impressed by the tools they had developed I asked questions and asked if I could take a picture.  The company is Pace Compumetrics, Inc. and the president, Jody Resnick was the one doing the measuring and her 30 year career with her company and as a BOMA official boils down to a sleek professional and expedient way to do as-builts.


The pack she wears with a Surface Tablet is the key.  It is made by Tablet EX Gear and is perfect for quickly moving through a space.   Her software is a 3d Autocad addon more specific for what they do, but watching her input data with the tablet pen and child icons is very similar to CA.  Plus her Lazer measuring device is bluetooth linked to the program like CA.

That is the final piece I need to integrate to make the field work faster and more effective!!


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Wouldn't work for me I take a table or use something in the clients house. When we do additions I measure every inch of the existing. Windows , doors everything and make a complete accurate model it usually takes me a full day or more. I also crawl under the house and get the piers etc. We  sell these completed plans back to the owner in addition to the design work. We put them in a PVC Tube with a bracket and it goes in a closet for the next homeowner if they ever sell. We list all the mechanical systems and warranty house  as well. The backpack looks interesting though but I use a laptop with a large screen.






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On 8/3/2018 at 10:30 AM, jtcapa1 said:

Most of us have to do as-built drawings for almost any kind of remodel project and only recently has this program become easy enough to use in the field for drawing on the


I appreciate the post and the idea of a streamlined as-built process but I think some of my preferences for doing as-builts would make me stay away from her setup.

My main issue is having to use an on-screen keyboard. Windows keyboard in tablet mode leaves much to be desired and I take notes about site observations as I go. The more info I can record with less time I spend on site is the goal. Sometimes a laser measuring device doesn't cut it and you have to break out a tape measure and then input via keyboard.


I think the biggest difference in As-builts is a combination of great, great ,GREAT annotation sets, hot keys programmed to a mouse for say auto-exterior and interior dimensions, and common library items programmed to your toolbar.... having a few tricks up your sleave to tackle common problems helps as well.


Take this screenshot:


You can see in my toolbar I have one button clicks for common windows, meters, panels, switches, fans, as well as materials, tile, countertops, color tints, layer hiders, various cabinets, d/w, fridge etc.

In this same screenshot is an ugly lil As-built I did yesterday...I was on site for 2 hours. I noted elevations from grade, setbacks from center of road using the assessors parcel map, elevation data from google earth, foundation and framing specs from California Residential Code. This is a split level house with an underground addition and some funny roof details. 

I think all things considered 2 hours is a reasonable amount of time and all I had was a huge and heavy 17" laptop, a 12-button mouse, a laser measuring device(non-bluetooth, an old Hilti PD-32) and a 16' tape.


I use up to 3 "takeoff" annotation sets. 1 where dimensions are a very light grey with dimensions snapped to sides of openings, and another duplicate where cimensions snap to center. The third is for site measurements. Notice the dimensions are barely visible until I click on an item, and then everything that the item can be dimensioned from is highlighted in bright pink. Very easy to see. Every new architectural element that is added, I simply hit a key on my mouse and it updates the exterior and interior dimensions. Dimensions are truncated to whole inches even though the program will calc in fractions. This is so its simpler to see all dimensions


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