Most designers, architects and contractors are now equipped to draw home building and home remodeling plans in three dimensions. Highly sophisticated computer aided drawing “CAD” software is used to show cabinetry, roofs, wallpaper, paint colors, flooring and many other building elements so accurately, with such detail, and in such a realistic way, that the finished drawing is often interoperated by the novice as a fine sketch or even a photograph. Additionally, CAD drawing programs allow the user to rotate drawings 360 degrees on both their horizontal and vertical axis, thus allowing the novice to preview every nook and cranny of a project inside and out as if the project has already been built. CAD drawings were in their infancy less than two decades ago. Yet, today these programs are more sophisticated and easier to use than ever before.
It is important to know that CAD systems are readily available to builders, designers and architects. When you decide to choose one of these professionals, you should ask how long they have been doing CAD drawings and ask them if you will be able to review your project inside and out in 3D before you are asked to approve the final plans. Building departments prefer drawings in 2D, but will not turn away plans where details are amplified with the use of 3D views.
Some of the more sophisticated drawing systems will actually frame the project (build the skeletal structure) in 3D as well including: floor, wall, ceiling and roof framing — right down to the last fire block. Not every professional is a whiz at using 3D CAD software. So, tread lightly, get examples and choose wisely. Because if you find someone who really knows what they are doing, you will have more detail than you will know what to do with and you will end up with a less worrisome project.
The pros that are really into their 3D CAD systems can also produce estimates that are derived directly from the drawing components. Consider an interior wall for example. A good program can determine — to a high degree of accuracy — the amount of lumber, sheetrock, insulation, etc. that will be needed for each wall drawn — regardless of size. As the height and width of a given wall changes, so then do the elements which are needed to construct it. Once the computer knows the size and type of a given wall, ceiling or floor the program automatically spits out an accurate estimate of all the components needed to perform the actual construction.
Our grandfather never would have believed how accurate planning a project would become. Having said that, please remember that the most significant variable in construction is the human element. No matter how good the plan is, make sure that you select an experienced construction team with a top-drawer reputation.
For more home improvement tips and information, visit our web site at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474 (ext 59).
Q&A - Remodeling Book
Question: I will be attempting to remodel my bathroom myself since I am on a limited budget. Is there a book that you can recommend that will help?
Answer: There are a number of excellent books that we are familiar with that will serve as guides in the remodeling of your bathroom. One is “Designing & Remodeling Bathrooms,” Ortho Books, Chevron Chemical Company, San Ramon, California. Another is “Bathroom Remodeling Handbook,” Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, California.
Both of these books closely examine all facets of bathroom remodeling from design through completion.
Tip - Fix-it Books vs. Phone
You’re watching TV and you hear the garbage disposal acting up. Better call the repairman. Or maybe the faucet breaks or a toilet backs up. Time to call a plumber? The refrigerator quits, the lights go out and the thermostat isn’t working. Time to call in a professional?
Not so fast! Often, when minor problems occur, homeowners are quick to spend lots of money needlessly when they could easily correct the problem themselves by picking up a book —instead of a phone. Today there are hundreds of publications written to help homeowners do simple repairs and undertake routine maintenance themselves. A trip to the bookstore or library could save you hundreds of dollars in emergency service calls. Home centers offer free brochures and fix-it seminars, too. So the next time something breaks or goes out or you hear ker-plunk in the middle of the night, first try reaching for a book instead of a phone.