you don’t need a drawing
21 January 2013
This one is inspired by real life events. It is proof that all of us need to educate the public more and more. Dear AIA are you listening?
You don’t need a drawing, trust me.
Actually you need a design service. Yes, the service will yield a set of drawings and specifications that record decisions and directions of what to build.
We all know that buildings, mostly houses, go up each day without architects. However, rarely does one walk into a building with the desire to renovate it and not have any type of written or graphic plan for all of these expensive changes. Remember the Bible parable of counting the cost? You can’t count the cost in your head; you must have something graphic.
Recently I had someone contact me stating someone with their local municipality told them they “needed a drawing” from an architect before they could get a permit to renovate a commercial building. They had no intention on hiring an architect and quite frankly thought they could do it on their own…without drawings.
Ok, that’s fine, they meant well. Everyone tries to save money however they can.
The municipality could have explained it differently; maybe this person didn’t listen well. Nevertheless, the reason I can’t drop this one is despite my effort to educate, this person couldn’t see value in the planning required to consider, think, design, edit, redesign and document the plethora of decisions required to plan a commercial renovation…for a restaurant no less. They stated they knew what they wanted, so this “requirement” to submit sealed drawings for a permit seemed to be just a hassle.
If you don’t think you need a service that will lead to a (good) set of construction documents for your construction project, consider these ten things:
- no drawing, no plan, no idea, no luck, no business, no money
- it’s not drawing what is there as much as what is not there – how do you document the intended changes?
- how can you demonstrate compliance to building codes? – this should probably be #1…it’s public safety folks
- how will you review, design and confirm the integration of many parts and systems? – all buildings are complex
- you avoid costly mistakes by figuring out design on paper when changes are far less costly
- you will see everything at the same time – look for conflicts, make adjustments…before it’s real
- how can you consider alternatives? – cost, function and appearance – better now than later
- how will you quantify all the aspects for cost estimating? – can you afford not to do this?
- you will ensure everyone is looking at the same thing – there is a team of people on every project that needs to work together
- fail to plan…plan to fail
Look, you don’t need a ‘drawing’ you need a design professional. Paper on its own is useless and drawings that merely show existing conditions and not what it takes to get to your end result is just…more paper. You need someone who can listen, review your needs, study your budget, consider alternatives, design solutions, integrate building components and systems, comply with building codes and document clearly and thoroughly so every team member knows their part. A little creativity in there couldn’t hurt either.
But for goodness sake, you don’t need a drawing. Save those for hanging in museums and posting on refrigerators.