Design Methods

 
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:59 AM   #1
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Design Methods


Hi everyone, I've been reading posts for a while but haven't ever posted before. Always good to read so many perspectives here.

I've been a remodeling GC for over 6 years, been in the trade around 20 years. I'm just starting to focus seriously on additions and other larger projects that require more extensive structural design.

How do you guys address this need? Work with architects? If in-house what training did you pursue to become competent? Or do you hire designers, etc? What would you recommend for a small GC?

Secondly, what design software do you recommend? I purchased Softplan a few years ago and I'm ready to move on from it. Too much to learn to use it efficiently and the 3D rendering isn't helpful. I've used the trial of SketchUp Pro and really liked it.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Design Methods


Sketchup is a solid program. Even Sketchup Make the free version. Pro sounds like a better option for you given the layout features associate with it.

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Old 12-06-2016, 12:40 PM   #3
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Re: Design Methods


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Old 12-06-2016, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: Design Methods


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Originally Posted by Hackattack View Post
I'm just starting to focus seriously on additions and other larger projects that require more extensive structural design.

How do you guys address this need? Work with architects? If in-house what training did you pursue to become competent? Or do you hire designers, etc? What would you recommend for a small GC?

Secondly, what design software do you recommend?
Structural design or general 'architectural' design?

Sketchup works for you .... Use it, Great all around application.
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Old 12-06-2016, 01:09 PM   #5
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Re: Design Methods


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Structural design or general 'architectural' design?

Sketchup works for you .... Use it, Great all around application.
By structural design I mean construction drawings- floors, walls, roof systems, etc. More than throwing up interior walls in basements.

I've only used SketchUp for interior renderings, not construction drawings. Does it have that capability?
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Old 12-06-2016, 02:32 PM   #6
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Re: Design Methods


I would hire a local architect for any plan that involves major modifications to a structure. I've only done a few projects that are on that large of a scale but it protects me and gives the homeowner a clear picture of what they're getting ahead of time and helps everyone involved be on the same page.

It's a minor expense for what you get out of it. I explain the arch fees up front and we proceed from there. Everyone goes in with their eyes open.
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Old 12-06-2016, 03:49 PM   #7
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Re: Design Methods


You might want to think about a designer for some smaller projects rather than an Architect. I have nothing against Architects but they might be too expensive for some projects.

As a designer, I can do projects of up to three stories in wood and metal framing, depending upon the seismic zones and wind loads etc.

Just saying.

Andy.
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:19 PM   #8
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Re: Design Methods


We design all of our own projects (nearly 30 years of experience), then send the plans to an engineer for the stamp of approval (literal stamp).

I often draw by hand but we do have Chief Architect, 20/20 and SketchUp that we use.
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: Design Methods


Andy,

Never knew that about designers that is a good piece of information.

I only do one maybe two big projects that require it in a year but having a designer instead sounds like a good option.

Thanks.

and I clicked on your link but it is all in chinese, or Japanese.
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:46 PM   #10
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Re: Design Methods


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Andy,

Never knew that about designers that is a good piece of information.

I only do one maybe two big projects that require it in a year but having a designer instead sounds like a good option.

Thanks.

and I clicked on your link but it is all in chinese, or Japanese.
Yup.

The people who own the site wanted too much for it so I am in the process of changing over to another name.

Andy.
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:59 PM   #11
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Re: Design Methods


When you work with architects, how do you arrange it in the estimating phase?
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:28 PM   #12
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Re: Design Methods


Not sure what you are asking. We find out what the customer wants to spend (budget) and design to that. Not the other way around. A lot of architects base their fees on a percentage of the construction cost.

Often in a traditional customer, designer, builder triangle (not design/build) this gets tricky. There is often a lot of finger-pointing going on. The designer blames the builder for being overpriced… or the builder blames the designer for over designing. They both blame the customer for over wanting.

To keep terminology simple, recognize that an architect is a designer. Lots of architects send their plans out for engineering.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:04 PM   #13
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Re: Design Methods


A design build agreement.

Customer pays an amount that covers the cost of the plans as well as the cost of creating the final quote.
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:29 PM   #14
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Re: Design Methods


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A design build agreement.

Customer pays an amount that covers the cost of the plans as well as the cost of creating the final quote.
Good, that's what I was planning to do.

I've heard some nightmare stories about contractors bringing designers/architects into the equation, only to have them suggest additional builders.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #15
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Re: Design Methods


Choose your architect well!
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:16 PM   #16
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Re: Design Methods


Quote:
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A design build agreement.

Customer pays an amount that covers the cost of the plans as well as the cost of creating the final quote.
How does other folks' contracts work exactly? Like how do you bid something when the design isn't spec'd out yet? I've struggled with this to some degree. I like the idea of actually having a written build contract with a client before we spend a lot of time on design work, but I've had a hard time figuring out the right way to structure a contract for that. Stand alone design work (without a build) is not really the business I want to be in, but we can design nice stuff for folks if we can build it.
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:58 PM   #17
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Re: Design Methods


Your post is confusing.

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Like how do you bid something when the design isn't spec'd out yet?
You can’t. Bidding without plans and specs is a fool’s game.

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I like the idea of actually having a written build contract with a client before we spend a lot of time on design work,
How can you have a contract to build something that has no plans or specs?

Quote:
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but I've had a hard time figuring out the right way to structure a contract for that. Stand alone design work (without a build) is not really the business I want to be in, but we can design nice stuff for folks if we can build it.
We’re a design/build remodeling company. There are two separate agreements with the homeowner – one for design and one for build. We rarely design something that we don’t build.

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