The best way to understand what a good design solution requires is NOT to start designing.
The master deliverables checklist and its many uses.
That one thing that is common to all public clients...
Just about every project needs to address zoning and building codes.
OVERVIEW OF “BRIDGING” CONSTRUCTION
A Method Of Project Delivery
Our design of coffee bars / kitchenettes improved
immensely after we designed one for ourselves.
The accuracy of estimating costs
relies on just five concepts.
If you do a good job of Construction Administration,
you, the architect, will lose money.
A Site Analysis is a tool for maximizing the opportunity that your project represents by telling you up front which paths of site development will lead to achieving your goals.
A while back I posted an article about Additional Services. There are a lot of circumstances that arise where additional compensation for Additional Services is called for. In that first post I offered a simple way to get the issue on the table and approved. The second part of the issue is recognizing Additional Services.
Most of us don't give a thought to a Janitor's Closet. We put a sink in a small room of 5'x5' and move on.
Well there's a little more to it if you want the space to serve the building owner. We learned what is really needed when we designed a supply warehouse for Banana Republic / The Gap. The owner's project manager, who was in charge of supplying the whole company with stuff for operating the individual stores, was basically an executive janitor.
We received very specific requirements for the janitor's closet. I am passing on his wisdom to you.
Zoning is an odd duck. Zoning is unique among codes because you might not be able to build. Period.
Every other code will allow you to proceed if you can show compliance, which is generally just a matter of money - more of it.
With zoning, no amount of money can buy permission to proceed if you don't meet the requirements. Sometimes you have to wait a year before re-applying!
A year after I started my own firm, I was invited to design a hangar for my Dad's golfing buddy, who happened to have started an airline that was growing by leaps and bounds. We designed projects for his airline for about twenty years until they were bought out by one of the major airlines. One of the main skills that allowed us to keep up with their growth was my knowledge of project delivery methods - mostly book-learning, driven by interest.
There are a number of things about a truck dock that add up to truck docks needing to be more than an afterthought.
I am not thinking of a distribution center when I say that. The docks are the central focus of that kind of building and will get plenty of attention. I am thinking here of the incidental truck dock that may be a convenience or an efficiency measure. In that case safety is a paramount concern, but every truck dock that isn't part of a professional trucking operation should have a safety focus because people will sometimes use the dock who haven't been trained.
The first design step is to contact a local manufacturer's rep for dock levelers. They can look at your situation and give you great advice about the best way to set up the dock.
Here are a few things to consider about the dock, the building and the equipment:
As designers we aren't always comfortable on the site, observing what’s going on.
But there are good reasons to do it anyway.
Specification Notes should have a role in every project. By Specification Notes [SpecNotes] I mean a section by section listing of the key requirements of every type of work, arranged by CSI Division and Section Number. The SpecNotes are placed on the drawings. We usually place the General Requirements on a G-series sheet right behind the Cover Sheet. The Architectural Technical Specs are placed on sheet A001, A002 (if needed) per the National CAD Standards. Take a look at the embedded document to download our 30+ page master SpecNotes to start your own.
The economics of design do not allow for the time it takes to write a specification and assemble a project manual.
You have to be extraordinarily well-organized to spend less than one hour on each spec section. There are usually about 50-70 architectural spec sections. Say 60 hours to produce the spec. If the specification represents 5% of the architect's fee (which I think is about right), then the math tells us that at somewhere above a $3,000,000 project, it might be feasible. This quickly rises to $4,000.000 or more if you aren't as efficient as my example. Or if your spec writer is better compensated. See my math below. You can quarrel with my numbers, but the point is that bound specs aren't affordable on a lot of projects, even public ones.
I like to select colors. I think I'm pretty good at it. I don't do it often enough to be great, but I think my results are pretty darn good.
Maybe if I selected colors all the time, I would know more about the politics of selecting colors and get good at that aspect, too. Because politics is the problem with selecting colors.
After an interiors person returned from a color-review meeting in tears, I developed the following process to head off more unpleasant experiences. Honestly we haven’t gotten to use it often enough to know if it can be improved; so feel free to contribute your experience/advice in the comments. The world -needs- a solution to the “color problem”!
This Schematic Design Process has been developed over many projects. But the nature of design is that there are many ways to get to the end result. The benefits of this Seven Step Process is that each step builds upon the last to avoid re-work, which is the killer of efficiency. Use the process to explain to your client why you need information from them now rather than later (to avoid additional design costs for them). Whether you use this process or one of your own making, I highly recommend that you standardize on a methodology that your team can use to anticipate what to do. Even with a standard like this, no two projects will follow it exactly. I think Eisenhower is supposed to have said something along the lines of "The plan is rarely very helpful, but the planning is indispensable." Also, remember to review each step with your client to make sure your interpretations and understandings are on target with their needs. Yes, pesky, but necessary.
Curtain walls have certain advantages. The main one is appearance, followed closely by maximized glass for daylighting. Another advantage is that erection can be done as fast as any other system.
In my experience stages fall into two broad categories. Traditional Theater Stage (proscenium, arena, thrust) includes stages that are used for plays, musicals, and dance; and Platforms include stages that are devoted to only speaking, town meetings, video and presenting.
Stages can be designed for a specific purpose, e.g. drama, musical theater, dance, or musical performance; or they can be multi-purpose. Once you pass the limits in the building code for a Platform, there are several 'triggers' for specific requirements. Take a look at Chapter 410 of the International Building Code.
The type, size, flexibility and sophistication of the venue (whether Stage or Platform) is dependent on the function and end user: Amateur/Professional, Primary/Secondary School, University/Professional Theater, Broadway Touring House or Regional Theater. All of these considerations will affect the design criteria much more.
I have always liked checklists. Putting a checkmark in the box is (almost) better than completing the task itself. If you can relate to that statement, even a little, this may interest you. I have a checklist of all the tasks required by the typical Construction Documents Phase of architectural design services.
Inspiration came from Glenn Wiggins' book, A Manual of Construction Documentation, that Fred Stitt uses in the curriculum of the San Francisco Institute of Architecture. Mr. Wiggins breaks the Construction Documents [CDs] down into four phases and shows what should be tackled in each phase in order to minimize re-work and changes. This book is a real gem. However, the 1989 book applies to hand-drafting, so there are tasks that a CAD-user would not encounter, and also tasks that are a bit out of sequence for CAD use.
My idea was to move this checklist system from paper format to digital format, and to update it from a hand drafting guide to a CAD guide. The goal was to extend it the Design Development [DD] phase and the Schematic Design [SD] phase with the end result being a customizable series of checklists that would aid in delegating tasks all through the design process. At the same time omissions and rework/changes would be reduced to a minimum.
Every time I have used this technique for understanding cut and fill, an engineer has told me "You can't do it that way" or even "That doesn't work". And yet I always get useful information that engineering can't provide. Well, it can provide it but there are impediments. First you need an engineer on board. Second you need a proposed topo to give him to work from. And third you have to convince him to do this several times. Of course all this takes a week to get the engineer on board, a day to create and send the proposed topo, and an indeterminate amount of time to get the revisions. I can use this technique to get a 'good-enough' answer in a couple of hours.
Why do I want to know about cut and fill? Basically I want to know because I don't want everyone to get excited about my fabulous site plan only to learn later that earthwork will cost more than the building. So I want to know that my idea will be defendable. Plus I love this site planning stuff.