ChiefUserBigRob

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Guys, i'd like to get some feedback on what you consider acceptable and how you provide plans to your clients. I am not a licensed engineer or architect but more of a designer and know home construction. Most of my plans need engineering and most of the clients know that going into it and are fine with it at their cost. My question is what really constitutes a complete set of plans before it goes out for engineering or architect stamps. What all do you guys include? I have found that my customers are content with what i provide which are:

isometric renderings, floorplans with dims, electrical, doors, windows cabinets and fixture plan, schedules, elevations exterior and interior, wall section, foundation plan, floor, ceiling and roof framing plans. I call out all material as well. I will measure for plumbing if asked. I have never included hvac details other than air handler and condenser location. Is their anything else you guys feel i should be adding to be considered a full set of plans? How about you guys and your plans? Im just trying to continually get better because there is always room to improve and i have been slammed with business this year. In the years prior i'd maybe get one or two jobs a year, now i'm booking like three at a time every month or so, mostly additions to homes and a few new constructions. CA has really upped my game. Thanks

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Let me also add, when i say "stamped" the engineer will add multiple sheets into my package with their calcs and such. It kind of confuses me because if i call out certain material sizes on my drawings who is to say they will agree with and accept it? So far nothing has been sent back to me to match their calcs. My posts can get confusing, sorry!

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Pretty sure I understand what you are asking and its a question I personally posed on the old forum close to 9 years ago.  If I'm understanding correctly, I think the question in it's most basic form is this...

 

What should a good designer provide, and what should be provided by the engineer?

 

In my experience the general workflow varies quite a bit; not only from region to region, but even from office to office.  Some designers draw up everything and only submit to engineer for review.  The engineer responds with any requested changes to the plans and the designer incorporates those changes.  On the flip-side, other offices provide basically what you spelled out above and the engineer will provide a few pages of their own to supplement/clarify whatever is missing. 

 

Around here, most people fall into the first category, and I personally feel like that particular method most clearly delineates responsibility and results in the cleanest and most seamless set of plans.  My thoughts are that things will be a lot more coherent if only one party is drawing things up.  There will always be little gray areas I think...We might insert an engineer's page from time to time, maybe we re-draw it so it better matches the style of your drawing, maybe we copy/paste notes, or maybe we simply insert a PDF with some generic drawings or notes, but for the most part, we draw the plans and the engineer reviews and approves. 

 

At the end of the day, we just have to find what works best for our individual localities and workflows, and around here, most engineers who deal with residential work don't actually have the time, inclination, or even ability to draw anything so that kinda sets the tone.  It really makes sense to me though. 

 

Now once you get into mechanical plans and commercial work, I think the conversation starts to change a bit. 

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Good feedback. In my neighborhood i have been in the homes and glanced at the plans an engineer has done themselves. To be honest, it seems like the only thing they do that i dont is add a crap ton of notes, call out nail sizes, qty and dimension the nails, add simpson strap details etc. Now that i am familiar with strap details and have had one of my drawings rejected from the county i now add them to everything i do.

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Here in the county i live in in alabama, the engineers always ask for the drawing file too. Long as im paid first by the customer i have no problem sending them.

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Certainly the list of provided drawings varies greatly. For myself, in my main market, no MEP, HVAC drawings are required and none are provided. It's also rare for typical residential projects in my region to include interior elevation drawings. That's not to say our plans aren't detailed or thorough, just a different requirement of included drawings.

That being said, I adjust my provided drawing list based on the jurisdiction and client needs. My fee schedule has been developed accordingly.

As far as engineering, that varies based on project needs and your established relationship with the engineer. I prefer to provide the drawings for the engineer based on collaboration and communication with them. If the engineer wants to provide their own drawings, then my drawings are setup to be much less specific to avoid conflicting or redundant information.

 

I had one project where the engineer provided their own drawings, yet mine needed to be very specific to communicate the structure to them. We ended up in a circle of constantly revising and updating drawings to match each others. It was an inefficient process to say the least! 

 

When calling out info that is subject to review by an engineer or would also be on a supplier's drawing, it's fairly straightforward to include notes indicating who the information is for and whose information will take precedence. Example; if I include a beam schedule where LVL beams will come from a supplier using engineering software, the schedule would include a note that the supplier's layout would take precedence.

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Most of the time, as seems to be the norm in Michael's neck of the woods, I personally design around prescriptive code requirements for architectural features...I won't put in a window that will cause me problems with wall bracing as I do not want hold downs in my building if I can help it.(I'm in earthquake territory).  I calc my own bracing, spec my own envelope from foundation to ridge. My own nailing, strapping at reentrant corners, etc....its all right there for the learning in your building code book.

If I need an engineer it usually means my county building engineer has a problem with my understanding and application of the prescriptive building code...which is totally fine. Else if I have an east facing wall I want to be all windows I'm most $efinately going to be at the mercy of an engineer.

Rob's local counties/municipalities seem to be far more stringent from conversations I've had with him. Seems like it varies a lot . Damn Canadians ;)

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Have you thought about having a base set needed to get a permit for a set price, then giving your customer the option of requesting additional sheets, ie, interiors, landscaping, etc, for an additional fee?

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Good feedback guys. What i listed above in my plans comes standard at $1 a sq foot. I have done this on the side since 04 and would like to go full time one day. My neighbor is a business man and he said not to think like he used too and price things too low. People view that as inferior. Raise the price and they see quality. Makes sense except when you go too high per sq ft it would be logical for people to go straight to an architect or engineer.

 

Parkwest, i will throw landscaping on the renderings but very generic. I am still learning how to manipulate terrian dips and hills so if it's too hard i will make it flat and just note the dwg. Most clients have a site plan too so i just scan it to a pdf, manipulate it with the addition and add it to one of my sheets. It will show the surveyor company on there.

If you look at CA sample plans they can be over 20 sheets. The most i ever got to is 14 which is why the reason im asking if i should be adding more detail by the way.

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You might be interested in seeing what Dan Baumann at Chief expert academy has.  He has some good stuff on how, what and why to get you going.

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8 minutes ago, parkwest said:

You might be interested in seeing what Dan Baumann at Chief expert academy has.  He has some good stuff on how, what and why to get you going.

How would i go about doing that?

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