fstrohac

Model Completed. Now how do I proceed to a builder?

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I am a first time poster, have looked briefly for an answer to important question but see no one addressing this.

 

I have completed a decent design for an addition to a cabin. I have used it to flesh out what we want in the design, and communication with our co-owner. The program (Home Designer Architectural 2014) has worked nicely for this, but I don't trust the design to be built properly. I would think that a real architect or knowledgeable design/drafter will need to take my input and do a real set of drawings before I can get bids from builders. Right?? Please advise about this, is this necessary, and do I need a full blown architect, or can this be done by a drafter? Will the chief architect file be useful to them? I would hope so...

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That would probably depend on the City and need for a building permit (and possibly State licensed Engineering too) .....or not since it's a Cabin , but to get bids yes I'd think you need a set of Construction Documents , which a Drafter should be capable of doing , though they would need Chief X5 ,X6 or above to use your HDA'14 file as I don't think HDA can export .DXF AutoCAD files like Pro can. Check on the File>Export Menu.

 

There are a number of people who supply services online such as DJP (on this forum) , David is in Austin and uses GoToMeeting.

http://djpdesigns.com/

 

Tommy Blair is also in Texas and uses GTM too.

 

Tommy Blair tblair55@sbcglobal.net;
Remodeling Plans
Construction Drawings
713-467-0579
 

 I am not familiar with anyone in Salt Lake but if you use the Seeking Services link on the Forum front page you could ask over at ChiefTalk if you'd prefer someone local you . 

 

Mick.

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Thanks, Mick, for your quick response. I think you are assuming that my design is good enough to auto-generate drawings using a higher version of the tool set? That would be nice, but I think I need more intelligence than that to take my design to a practical set of build-to drawings. I would characterize my design as good design-to information, but not to be trusted as build-to data. There are too many assumptions I make that look good on paper but probably are not practical for a real build. A few examples: my dimensions have lots of fractions, and therefore may be difficult to build. Another example: I fool around with the roof dimensions manually to make it look good, but I really doubt that what I have on paper is the best design. So, given this, does this change your answer?

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What you need now is a State Licensed Structural Engineer (licensed in your state and perferably one who lives close to your construction site) so he or she can design your foundation (the foundation is the most important element and best left to those who are licensed by your State to design such constructs. Any competent Structural Engineer should be able to develop stamped, validated Construction documents that any competent builder could then build for you. You can export what you what done in Architectural into ".dfx" format which any Engineer should then be able to import into AutoCAD and use to make his or her drawings.

Depending upon the size of the addition an Architect might be subsituted but in my experience Engineers are quicker and cheaper and more senior to Architects.

 

DJP

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Someone like myself , Max or David could clean up the Drawings for you but in the End you probably need a local Engineer at least, for the Permit .You can always post your Plan file here so others can look at it and make comments and suggestions too.

 

As Max suggested ,he ,like me, or any other Good Builder could probably take your Drawings and do the build from your "vision" , no problem , however if you want a fixed price type contract you will need everything highly spec'd and decided up front --- with a possible budget , no point designing something that will cost $500K if you only have $200K to spend....a common scenario as most people don't have any idea how much Renovations cost .

 

M.

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Thanks, Mick, Max and David for your answers. It appears that my version of Home Designer Architectural does indeed have the capability to export .dfx files. I hope that comes in handy to whoever I send this design-to data. I agree that it makes sense to send this through a local structural engineer to get the design cleaned up and then documented with build-to drawings. They would know the local builders, codes, and be able to downscope the detail of the drawings to what is really needed for a privately owned cabin in the woods. I'm glad I don't need an architect. Since this cabin is located near Payson, Arizona, that is where I will look for the engineer.

I wonder, though, if I need an intermediate step mentioned by a few of you for someone to review my design before I take it to an engineer. Frankly I would feel more comfortable if one of you did do this for me. If someone is willing, what would you charge, and how do I get the file uploaded? I am an engineer myself (retired electrical) and I learned a long time ago that multiple eyes on a design results in a better product.

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One of the other Users here Solver (Eric) is in Overgaard , AZ , and is pretty fluent in HD , like me he also does Design-Build and will be familiar with AZ permits/codes and probably knows an AZ Engineer as well. I would suggest you PM (private message) him via the Member's listing as I have not seen him online here in about 2 weeks or so.

 

In the meantime Fred, you could PM me your email address so we can arrange to go over your drawings and see what maybe needed.

 

Mick

 

 

EDIT PM sent

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Fred -- I'm 50 miles east in Overgaard and do this type of work. No need for engineering for a simple foundation -- slab on grade or post on footings. Local builders will take your plans and produce construction drawings for permitting. No one here except me uses computer generated drawings for permitting, Payson may be different.

 

I'd look at your drawings more as a way to communicate with the builder than something someone will build from.

 

If you will attach your plan to a post, I'll be happy to take a look, and I know Mick will too.

 

I know the owner of the local lumber yard and could ask for recommendations on a builder if you would like.

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Hello all. Thanks to you for your advice on my problem of how to get to the build stage from what I will call the amateur design stage. I especially appreciate Mick and Eric's responses recently. Eric is apparently just 20 miles away (over the hill and through the woods) from my cabin. Eric and Mick have volunteered to take a look at my "design" to see if they have suggestions. I have tried emailing it, and apparently that wasn't successful. Next, I will try to post the file on this site. It meets the 25Mbyte maximum, barely, so hopefully this will work.

Baseline Cabin-with Addition-Re-Arranged Living Rm and Kitchen-Rev C.plan

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Specific problems include:

 - the extended roof from the porch toward the new addition, shading the front entry door, has no support to the invisible gabled wall I used to extend the roof line. I would think there would need to be a post holding up that gable.

 - Also the ceiling of that "room" beneath the same extended roofline doesn't have a closing end on the front. It's obvious when you look at a 3D shot from the front.

 

These are the only two obvious problems I can see. But, due to my inexperience with this, I have the general distrust in the design that might be resolved if someone like you looks it over.

 

Thanks very much

Fred Strohacker

 

 


 

You have about 50 trees placed but I see no Terrain built yet ? thus your deck stairs are not correctly built as they default to only 12” high with no terrain.

 

you don’t need that invisible wall/room divider actually, just make the roof over hang 6’4” ( approx) of the wall with the door in it. That fixes the ceiling and eliminates the Attic wall you don’t need though you may want it ?. You also “lost” two other invisible walls just off the deck there when placing the original, and one in the middle of the deck,so I deleted them. Make the railing there “Post to Beam” to support that Roof ,you will need to break the railing (wall) where you need the beam to finish.

 

I think you used room dividers to get the roof straight at the 45° wall, this cause attic walls in this situation to be built auto above them so delete them , it wont affect the roof.

 

Change the plan material , in defaults to the same for ridgecaps as the roof ie natural shingle.

 

you have some wall alignment issues at the back and at the roof too which is probably a room height issue.

 

Deleting the Trees and furniture didn't alter the file size much....

 

One issue both Eric and I have working on this plan is that once we save it , you wont be able to open it as 2014 can’t open 2015 plan files.

Do you plan to upgrade?

 

 

 

Mick.

post-25-0-85317200-1424751605_thumb.jpg

post-25-0-71413400-1424751623_thumb.jpg

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After looking at your plans, I'd just show them to a couple of contractors. Most of the good old boys around here are still using pencil and paper for this size project.

 

Project is simple, and like Mick said above, you will need a good idea of finishes and how you want things to look. You will find some good builders, but most shy away from design.

 

I've attached an image showing an alternate roof for the addition. Nothing at all wrong with your's, just an idea. 

 

 

post-171-0-87904700-1424751765_thumb.jpg

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After looking at your plans, I'd just show them to a couple of contractors. Most of the good old boys around here are still using pencil and paper for this size project.

 

Project is simple, and like Mick said above, you will need a good idea of finishes and how you want things to look. You will find some good builders, but most shy away from design.

 

I've attached an image showing an alternate roof for the addition. Nothing at all wrong with your's, just an idea.

Thank You! I prefer your roof design. I had no idea how to connect those two roofs. Did you have to raise or lower the addition's roof to mate with the porch extension? Can you send this file back to me? (I guess I will need to upgrade to the 2015 version to read your upgraded file...that's OK.)

So just to be clear, you think I can show some of the local builder's my design on the computer to get them to build what I want? Don't I need to print drawings of some kind? I have had discussions with one or two guys, and they said they needed drawings for them to do a bid for me. (Let alone build.)

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Specific problems include:

 - the extended roof from the porch toward the new addition, shading the front entry door, has no support to the invisible gabled wall I used to extend the roof line. I would think there would need to be a post holding up that gable.

 - Also the ceiling of that "room" beneath the same extended roofline doesn't have a closing end on the front. It's obvious when you look at a 3D shot from the front.

 

These are the only two obvious problems I can see. But, due to my inexperience with this, I have the general distrust in the design that might be resolved if someone like you looks it over.

 

Thanks very much

Fred Strohacker

 

 

 

You have about 50 trees placed but I see no Terrain built yet ? thus your deck stairs are not correctly built as they default to only 12” high with no terrain.

 

you don’t need that invisible wall/room divider actually, just make the roof over hang 6’4” ( approx) of the wall with the door in it. That fixes the ceiling and eliminates the Attic wall you don’t need though you may want it ?. You also “lost” two other invisible walls just off the deck there when placing the original, and one in the middle of the deck,so I deleted them. Make the railing there “Post to Beam” to support that Roof ,you will need to break the railing (wall) where you need the beam to finish.

 

I think you used room dividers to get the roof straight at the 45° wall, this cause attic walls in this situation to be built auto above them so delete them , it wont affect the roof.

 

Change the plan material , in defaults to the same for ridgecaps as the roof ie natural shingle.

 

you have some wall alignment issues at the back and at the roof too which is probably a room height issue.

 

Deleting the Trees and furniture didn't alter the file size much....

 

One issue both Eric and I have working on this plan is that once we save it , you wont be able to open it as 2014 can’t open 2015 plan files.

Do you plan to upgrade?

 

 

 

Mick.

Thank you for your response, Mick. Yep, no terrain. I didn't think this was necessary, since I was simply trying to clarify the design and then describe it to my wife and the co-owner. Again, my intention was not to create build-to documents. So, yes, the deck steps are hosed. I thought that would be no-brainer for any carpenter to figure out.

Not sure where you are looking for the 45 deg wall?

And yes, roof alignment was a bugger for me. I have something that looks ok but no one better try to build it to this exact design or they will be filing beams to keep the roof straight! I am willing to upgrade to 2015 version, so if you have fixed these things I will use your returned file if you send it. (Somehow, I will need to combine yours with Eric's improved roof design.)

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On the roof, I used the manual roof tools in Pro, but you should be able to do the same thing in Architectural by changing the roof pitch on the addition, and adding an invisible wall. You would need Pro 2015 to read my modified file.

 

In general, a builder does not expect a homeowner to supply drawings, especially construction drawings. I would print what you have, including Doll House views, just so you are both on the same page.

 

Are you doing this remotely, or will you be on site to meet with the builder? 

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Neither the terrain or trees are necessary , but the terrain controls the height of your stairs , and yes the Builder will figure it out onsite, but a 6 step stair costs twice what a 3 step stairs costs , so hopefully you see my point.

 

the 45° wall is on the front deck , the wall to it's left with the window needs rebuilding/align too.

 

You also have a number of wall alignment issues , the wall alignment tool should show you those when you select an exterior wall , start on the 2nd floor and go around and "align with wall below"  then move to level 1 and do the same , then check the basement level , and "align with wall above" if needed, this will clean up some of your other anomalies.

if you use Vector view instead of Standard view you can usually see the misalignment easier in 3D too. eg above the laundry door.

  

Roofs are one of the things that make Pro worthwhile , it is also able to do proper Elevations and Cross Sections etc , so you can show them to your Builder. So it maybe worth you getting Pro , depending on your time frame you may want to wait as Chief X7 is out next week , which means (usually) that 2016 HD Titles will be out around the End of May.

 

Mick.

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On the roof, I used the manual roof tools in Pro, but you should be able to do the same thing in Architectural by changing the roof pitch on the addition, and adding an invisible wall. You would need Pro 2015 to read my modified file.

 

In general, a builder does not expect a homeowner to supply drawings, especially construction drawings. I would print what you have, including Doll House views, just so you are both on the same page.

 

Are you doing this remotely, or will you be on site to meet with the builder?

I will get 2015, if no other reason than to capture what you and Mick are doing. When you say print what I have, what do you mean? I am not sure what to print (haven't thought about what is needed to build, other than thinking about a roll of construction drawings that I have casually seen before.)

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Here is how it usually works for me.

 

Call from homeowner (HO) to come look at a project.

 

At initial visit, sometimes the HO has a hand drawn plan, most times , they do not.

 

We discuss the project and after lots of pointing and gesturing, and questions, I have a rough plan drawn. I get an OK from the HO, usually ask them to decide on a few things, then leave to create a 3D model using home designer.

 

Second visit I display the model, and we continue the discussion. More back and fourth, more pointing and a few changes, and I have a complete model. Sometimes there are more meetings.

 

------

 

For most builders around here, there is no computer model, only a 2D floor plan on paper that the builder creates.

 

You will eliminate all the confusion and pointing and most questions, because you have built the model, providing a plan and 3D views, but the builder will still make his own construction drawings that conform to local codes and practices. He will take his own measurements etc, because it's up to him to do the building and make it all correct. 

 

You are providing the vision, the builder makes it reality. 

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Eric's post above is pretty much how I do it too , around here, once I have an agreement with the Owners and a deposit, I then do the ConDocs ( that Roll of Paper) and the Owner then takes them to the City/County for Permitting (this keeps their Costs down).

 

Here we don't need a plumbing plan as the floor plan indicates locations of fixtures , and it is up to the Plumber onsite to meet all the Code and permitting requirements.

 

I do electrical if needed, as Owners often want more lighting and outlets in certain places other than those required by code , but once again the Electrician ,does most of it Onsite in a custom Reno like this ,usually with a budget allowance to start , then giving the Final price after a walk thru with the Owner near the end of the Framing stage. Depending on current requirements and the Panel that is there you may need an upgrade to a larger panel with more circuit, which would be an additional cost.

 

Allow a fund for contingencies , as it is pretty normal to find unusual circumstances and things like Rot/Mold/Bad previous Structural work etc.  

 

You may find Builders/General contractors who will do there own drawings as suggested so you probably don't really need to upgrade unless you want too , or want to be your Own Contractor and hire Subs in which case you will need to do your Own ConDocs ,so Pro would be needed ,but perhaps the $300 upgrade is worth it to you anyway ? though like Eric said I think you have the "Vision" ok already and are at a point you could probably hand it over.

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Thanks to Eric and Mick for the latest answers to my questions. It's getting clearer to me now that I should be able to start talking to builders to get bids, and hopefully move forward post-haste. If they are able to take my "vision" drawings and generate their own construction drawings (whether using pencil and paper, or with a higher version of HD) that will be great. Otherwise, I need someone to take my file and create better drawings. That would either be me, using HD Pro, or a professional designer/engineer using their tool set. Preferably, I will find good builders that can work with my vision and generate their own documents.

 

One thing I will need to do is generate a fairly good set of drawings that I can show the local home-owner association to get their approval of the vision before I get too deep into this. For this, PDF outputs (floor plan with dimensions, elevation diagrams, doll house views, etc.) should work fine. I don't see this as an option on 2014 HD Architectural file output menu, but I do see this capability as part of the advertised improvements in the 2015 version. True? Or, must I upgrade to the PRO version for this?

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Your Architectural 2014 is fully capable of sharing in ".dxf" format right now with anyone who uses AutoCAD (Most Structural Engineers use AutoCAD). For plan views you just export that and for each elevation (North, South, East West) you create an elevation camera view and then export each of those (4 usually). and then anyone can then know what you want to do, it saves a lot of time and work thereby.

 

DJP

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Your Architectural 2014 is fully capable of sharing in ".dxf" format right now with anyone who uses AutoCAD (Most Structural Engineers use AutoCAD). For plan views you just export that and for each elevation (North, South, East West) you create an elevation camera view and then export each of those (4 usually). and then anyone can then know what you want to do, it saves a lot of time and work thereby.

 

DJP

As I understand it, most builders in the rural area where this cabin is will generate their own drawings, probably using pencil and paper. They don't know how to spell CAD, let alone ".dxf". So, I think I need to be able to print these views, or export PDF's, preferably the latter, since PDF's are so easy to send electronically and universally read. I think I will upgrade to the 2015 version of HD...I just haven't decided which level (architectural or pro.)

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I think all 2015 versions now save to PDF , and if you only want to show your "Vision" to Builders the HDA will get the job done , you could probably also print a scale drawing of your current elevations from HDA 2014 and then scan them to PDF on almost any MFP , which you might already own perhaps?  or simply "print" the current scale elevation view to a PDF Print Driver such as PDF995 that comes with HDA and get the same result. So no need to Upgrade at all unless you want to play with the Plan more and change Roof lines etc ( need Pro).

 

check out the KB articles on Printing here

http://www.homedesignersoftware.com/support/category/181/0/10/Home-Designer/Printing/

 

and this KB on Print to PDF in earlier Versions

 

http://www.homedesignersoftware.com/support/article/KB-00484/181/Home-Designer/Printing/Generating-a-PDF-File.html  

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When looking at your plan, I noticed that your ceiling heights were all over the place.  
The foundation  (24" crawlspace?)  didn't look healthy, either.

Anyway, (just for fun)  I set out trying to replicate the plan and fix some of the issues ( along with a few embellishments).
This plan was done in my HDA software version, so you should have no problem opening it.
I think most of the dimensions are close, but you can tweak things  (ceiling heights?).  Just remember to turn off 'auto build roof'.

I hope you find this plan   (or some of the things in it)  to be useful.  I changed the addition walls to a hatched pattern to distinquish them from the existing walls.

"LLAP"

fstrohac baseline cabin.zip

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Hi Jo , you have been busy :) ...nice Work as usual , looks like you got the issues I noticed too (above) and your new kitchen layout I like too, I could not figure out why there are two entrances under the Stairs myself, though if doing a Reno with a new kitchen and addition I'd be considering bumping that back wall out parallel with the Laundry , making the Laundry Room inside, and the Kitchen bigger.

 

guess you have been keeping the fact you are a Trekkie secret all these years :)

 

Mick.

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When looking at your plan, I noticed that your ceiling heights were all over the place.  

The foundation  (24" crawlspace?)  didn't look healthy, either.

Anyway, (just for fun)  I set out trying to replicate the plan and fix some of the issues ( along with a few embellishments).

This plan was done in my HDA software version, so you should have no problem opening it.

I think most of the dimensions are close, but you can tweak things  (ceiling heights?).  Just remember to turn off 'auto build roof'.

I hope you find this plan   (or some of the things in it)  to be useful.  I changed the addition walls to a hatched pattern to distinquish them from the existing walls.

"LLAP"

Thank you Jo Ann. In opening your file, I saw several complaints about missing files, but it did open to show your revised plan. I like the idea of showing the addition walls with hatched cross-section, but when I tried this, the tool cross-hatched ALL my walls, and I don't see how to make it apply to only the addition's walls. Shortcoming of 2014 HDA?

 

I also see that my two new rooms had two different ceiling heights. I changed them both to be the height you selected. 98 1/8". Is that a standard value I should have used?

 

I freely admit that my terrain definition is wrong as well as my crawlspace may also be wrong. I haven't delved into this part of HDA yet, thinking that was a detail that the builder would take on...eg the foundation definition of the existing building and then what is needed for the addition. The cabin area is mostly flat, but of course not perfectly. One the left side of the place, there is a hill starting about 10' from the wall, but, again, I didn't think that mattered.

 

In general, I think I can't use your model, since the measurements are slightly off the actual cabin, as you said, and I don't want to look at every single dimension to correct it. Of course all the furnishings and wall coverings are also missing, etc. But I do like the changes you show in your model and have adapted the following to my master file:

 1. We love the larger shower in the new bathroom. I have already added what you used to my model. I didn't move the commode and sink to the inside wall, however. We had them on the outside wall for privacy reasons (can't see someone in the bathroom from the back window, blocked by the cabinet we put there.) But now I am wondering if you moved them there for freeze protection? The outside wall would certainly be worse than the inside one. Maybe I should do  what you recommend and tweak that window or put in a short inside wall...

 2. As mentioned before, I used your ceiling heights in the 2 new rooms.

 3. I like the look of your roof line, running below the extended existing enclosed porch roof. I will futz with that to see if I can replicate yours.

 4. The kitchen changes are intriguing. I designed it with the sink wall cabinets, stove and frig location like they are now since that reflects the current existing kitchen arrangement. I then added the fancy cabinets (with the lazy susan, etc.) in the opposite wall. But in discussing this with my wife, she agrees with what you did, and now the barn door has been flung open to a complete re-layout of the kitchen. I will shamelessly take many of your ideas.

 

So, in addition to all this, I think it's probably time for me to do a little more careful work with terrain and the foundation. I have no knowledge of how to do this, but, HDA has documentation, and I can look at your file, then figure it out. I certainly need to get rid of the golf course in the background in my file. That must be a default. I like your deciduous trees, but prefer pines. We'll see what I can find.

 

Thanks again. I am deeply impressed by all the help I have gotten from the folks on this blog.

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