kieranc

house addition where to start DIY design

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I'm just getting started with this whole thing, but would like to try to design our house addition / remodel myself.  I'm a mechanical engineer so pretty adept at CAD (Solidworks and many others) and general DIY stuff, but have very little knowledge of contracting and architecture.  Our concepts for our addition are really pretty plain & simple so I thought we might safe several thousand $$ and at least give this a try. 

 

Worst case is that I get some decent plans and have to hand them over to an engineer or architect to finish out for permitting.  Best case is I can make finished plans myself that are ready for permitting review.  Is this possible?  Or do I have to have a licensed engineer (I'm not licensed) sign off on the designs?  I thought that if one stuck to standard building codes that engineering wasn't always necessary.  

 

A little background: 

 

 

We have a 4-bed, 3 bath, 2000 sf single story ranch house which was almost totally rebuilt from a fire 2 years ago; we bought it after the rebuild.  So ~80% of the construction is modern/new, but to a 1960's design as they kept the same overall design of the house.  I have all the paper plans for the house (no electronic versions) from the rebuild, including all electrical, hvac, etc. as well as some sheets showing the original pre-fire layout too. I've attached a photo of the house from Google streetview.

 

We'd like to add on a bedroom and family room for a total of 600-700sf of additional space, with a little bit of reconfiguring of two existing bedrooms, and maybe reconfigure the entryway as well.  No new plumbing in the addition, or in the remodeled area.  The addition would come off the front and right of the house as viewed in the image, kind of mirroring the garage more or less.

 

So, where to start?  Should I use HD and essentially digitize the existing plans, then work from that?  Is that more work than necessary? Do I only need to CAD up the parts of the house that will be changed?  If I were to splurge for Chief Architect instead of Home Designer, would anything be easier/better?  

 

To be clear I'm not planning to build this myself, just design it.  Thanks for any/all tips and advice!

ourhouse.JPG

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24 minutes ago, kieranc said:

So, where to start?  Should I use HD and essentially digitize the existing plans, then work from that?  Is that more work than necessary? Do I only need to CAD up the parts of the house that will be changed?  If I were to splurge for Chief Architect instead of Home Designer, would anything be easier/better?  

 

Start with your local planning/code enforcement office. They can tell you what you will need to submit and what if any engineering needs to be done.

 

Check with your HOA if there is one.

 

You can probably do everything you need with Home Designer. I'd start with Architectural and upgrade to Pro if needed.

 

Chief is nice, but lots of $ for a one time project, although you can buy a pre owned copy, and then resell when you are done.

 

You can rent Pro and Chief month to month too. There are free trials of both, but you cannot save your work. 

 

You can vet your design on Houzz https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/remodel/

 

Which is probably a good idea.

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12 minutes ago, solver said:

 

Start with your local planning/code enforcement office. They can tell you what you will need to submit and what if any engineering needs to be done.

 

Check with your HOA if there is one.

Thanks for the reply!

Yep, planning commission office is on my to-do list.  Have to take a vacation day to get there during office hours!

I have no HOA.

I was thinking of getting HD Arch first too.  Glad that's your suggestion.  

EDIT: Oops I had them mixed up: At half the cost, I was actually thinking of starting with Suite over Architectural.  What do you see as the big benefits of Arch over Suite?

What's the best way to start with the software?  Should I CAD up the existing house as is, then go from there, or is that not necessary?

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Hello kieranc,

 

There is nothing preventing you from designing the addition/remodel yourself. But, depending on the county/state in which you live, the requirements may vary. I would check with codes and permits department in your city/county.  As far as engineering goes, again that will be determined per above. Having an engineer scan your plans and make changes will require additional $ expenditure. 

 

Home Designer Pro has all the tools you need for a remodel, and better printing controls that the HD Archtectural, and the less capable versions. HDA of HDPro has the capability to design construction docs you would need for this. The HDpro and HDA free trials are a good place to start, but as Solver said, you cannot save your work. 

 

CA has even more design options and better print options than HDPro, but I wouldn't think CA would be necessary for this job. 

 

Here is a link to webinars where they were doing something similar in the first one.  https://www.homedesignersoftware.com/products/training.html

 

Choose the remodeling project dated today.  It lasts about an hour, but it might give you insight into the process. 

 

Since you have previous CAD experience, there is a learning curve, but you will pick it up rather quickly.  It's really amazing what these HD programs can do compared to their respective cost. Sure beats a pencil and paper!

 

Good luck on your project!

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You can CAD-up the existing house as is, or scan the drawing(s) you have and export in a PDF form. 

Import the PDF into HDPro, and then scale it, CAD over the scanned copy, and go from there.

Your CAD copy could probably be simplified to save time and effort, unless codes and permits requires more detail on the existing structure. 

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20 minutes ago, kieranc said:

What do you see as the big benefits of Arch over Suite?

 

Suite is essentially a toy compared to the others. But you can start with Suite and upgrade as/if you see a need. You only pay the difference in price.

 

There is a comparison chart on the website.

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