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The physical plant of the architectural office has begun to take on a new look. Rows and rows of drafting tables and cubicles are being replaced with mobile stations, giving an entirely new appearance to the work environment. Mobile stations can be reconfigured to the specific needs of a project. The stations can be positioned and repositioned by teams of CAD drafters and designers as the size of a project ebbs and flows. The center for this type of production room may be a conversation area similar to the living room area found in a residence. Here designers and drafters can discuss projects in a relaxed atmosphere. Rather than isolating drafters into small cubicles, as was the case from the 1960s through the 1980s, offices are now beginning to have an open look and feel. The use of low partitions enables the designers and CAD drafters to have eye contact while communicating across the room via computer. Computers are also being networked so that office managers can stay in touch and watch the progress on various projects. For example, if three or more drafters are working on a single project, the information on their individual computers can constantly be upgraded with the latest information as it becomes available. A change in the position of a window on a floor plan will be seen immediately on the different computerswhere the exterior elevation is being drawn.
Architecture is a small crafts industry in which most offices employ three to eight people. A home office may also be part of the office structure. A single drafter may be hired by two or more firms, and the office then becomes a docking station for the electronic information, such as for construction documents. Because digital images can be rapidly moved electronically, one does not need to live in a city or country to send documents across the world. A suggested office layout is illustrated in Figure 1.1.
* OFFICE PRACTICE AND HOW IT MAY BE STRUCTURED
How an architectural firm is structured and the office practices it employs depends on the magnitude and type of its projects, the number of personnel, and the philosophies the architects use in their approach to office practice procedures. Normally, the architect or architects are the owners and/or principals of the practice.
In general, an architectural office can be separated into three main departments: the administration department, the design department, and the production department.
The administration department handles all communications between the architectural firm and its clients on items such as contracts, fee schedules billing for services, and the like. This department includes all secretarial duties, such as all written correspondence, payment of operating costs, accounting procedures, paying salaries, and maintaining records for all the projects relative to their individual costs and procedures. The principal or principals oversee this department in addition to their other duties.
The design department is normally headed by either a principal architect and/or an associate architect. This person or persons meets with the client to determine the requirements of a project, the economics of the project, and the anticipated time frame for completing the construction documents. These initial concerns determine the program for the project. The head or heads of this department delegate various work phases of a project to other staff members. The number of staff members depends on the size of the practice and the magnitude of the projects. Staff members may be designated to teams or groups relative to their expertise for specific projects. A team takes a project from the initial design concept stage, through all the revisions and other stages, to the completed working drawings and specifications. These stages may include model building, renderings, coordination between all consulting engineers to meet their individual job requirements, job billing, and reproduction responsibilities. The leader of a project and of the design team staff is designated as the project architect. His or her responsibilities are to develop a game plan for a specific project that will include the following:
1. Design studies and philosophy
2. Initial structural considerations
3. Exterior and interior materials
4. Municipality and building code requirements
5. If applicable, architectural committee reviews
6. Building equipment requirements
7. Manufacturing resources
8. Selection of required engineering consultants such as; soils/geology, structural, mechanical, etc. 9. Planned man-hours, time sheets and billing dates
10. Office standards relative to the representation of items on the working drawings such as; symbols, wall delineations, and other graphic depictions
The production department, while supervised by a project architect, prepares all the phases for a set of completed working drawings. Working drawings may be produced by senior draftpersons, intermediate draftpersons, or junior draftpersons. These staff members and the project architect or job captain work as a team to make the transition from the approved preliminary drawings to the implementation and completion of the working drawings. The transition from the approved preliminary drawings to the development of the working drawings is elaborated in Chapter 6 of this book. Other chapters provide step-by-step procedures on how different sections of the working drawings are developed: the site and grading plan, foundation plan, floor plan, building sections, exterior elevations, roof and framing plans, interior elevations, architectural details and schedules. During the process and completion of the various sections, the project architect and/or job captain constantly review the drawings for clarity, accuracy, craftsmanship of detailing, and to see that the drawings reflect all current revisions. These drawings are either created with the use of a computer-aided drafting (CAD) system or are drawn manually using conventional instruments. A suggested organizational chart for the practice of architecture is depicted in Figure 1.2.
To accommodate all the equipment that is required for a structure, such as plumbing, hardware, finishes, and so forth, it is necessary to have access to the various manufacturing resources for specific products. The most widely used product information source is the Sweet's Catalog File. This file is provided in a set of volumes that allow architects and engineers to select the equipment necessary for the function of a building. Such equipment may be available from various manufacturers of conveying systems, window and doors, and the like. Information on the various products is now contained on CD-ROMs, which are easier to manipulate than the larger volumes. There are a number of electronic files that can be obtained. The CDs are based on the Uniform Construction Index, used widely in the construction industry. These particular systems use the following sixteen major divisions:
1. General data
2. Site work
6. Wood and plastics
7. Thermal and moisture protection
8. Doors and windows
13. Special construction
14. Conveying systems
Research via the Computer
Almost every large manufacturer has a web site that you can visit via the Internet. One can now research anything from hardware to framing anchors, engineered lumber products to composite building products. Research for building products is done in the same fashion as research for a term paper. The scope of such research can be worldwide. You are limited only by your ability to navigate through the sea of information and your ability to retrieve the necessary information that will satisfy and enhance the completion of the working drawings.
Most manufacturers also provide the architect with a video explaining a product, its specifications, and installation. Digital drawings can also be obtained, making it unnecessary to draw configurations for products such as window sections, stairs, and the like.
A wealth of product information is available directly from manufacturers in the form of brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, manuals, and hardbound books. Actual samples of their products may also be obtained. The information available can include the following:
1. Advantages of a particular product over others
2. How the system works or is assembled
3. Necessary engineering
4. Detailed drawings
5. Special design features
6. Colors, textures, and patterns
7. Safety tests
9. Installation procedures
Other Reference Sources
Retail sources such as major book publishers produce architectural reference books. Many art supply and drafting supply stores also carry reference materials. Public libraries contain a variety of professional reference materials -books, journals, and magazines. Colleges and universities offering architecture courses have architectural resource materials. These may include a broad general coverage of such areas as architectural drafting, graphics, engineering, and design principles. An example of a highly technical resource is the AIA Architectural Graphics Standards published by John Wiley & Sons. This book includes the maximum, minimum, and average sizes for a variety of items and contains such diverse information as the size of a baseball diamond or a bowling alley, the dimensions of most musical instruments, and the standard sizes for most major kitchen utensils and appliances. This book is found in almost all architectural offices.
Guides and Indexes
Two invaluable general book indexes are the Subject Guide to Books in Print (author and title volumes) and the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. All major bookstores carry these annual reference books. The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature is excellent for locating magazine articles on specific building types, new building techniques, and works of specific architects. Four additional sources of architectural information are the Art Index, Applied Science and Technology, The Humanities Index, and the Social Science Index. These are available in most college and university libraries and in major public libraries.
* PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Professional organizations can be an asset to the business performance and office functions of an architectural firm. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is an example of a professional organization that will provide members with recommended documents, including client and architect contractual agreements, client and contractor agreements, and many others. The institution also provides recommended guidelines relative to fee schedules and disbursements, construction document facets, building specifications, and construction observation procedures and documentation.
Ethical procedures and office practice methods are recommended and defined as part of the many documents that are available from the American Institute of Architects.
It is recommended that associate architects and employees at the various technical levels become involved with a professional organization for a number of reasons, including being made aware of current technical information and activities within the profession of architect. The AIA also offers programs and directions for those in an internship phase of their careers. Student associate member programs are available through the AIA which provide an overall view of the architectural profession.
Other professional organizations for students of architecture can be found in their respective colleges and universities.
* ARCHITECT/CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
The relationship between the architect and the client, and the procedures for building a project, will vary among architectural offices as different architectural philosophies may be practiced.
In general, the architect/client relationship for a specific building project and the necessary responsibilities and procedures to accomplish the goals of the project will be initiated with the selection of the architect. After the architect is selected, the architect and the client enter into a contract, which defines the services to be performed and the responsibilities of the architect and the client. In many states it is a requirement that the architect use a written contract when providing professional services.
After the contractual agreement is signed and a retainer fee is given, the architect reviews the building site and confers with the client to determine the goals of the building project. Upon establishing the project's goals, there will be meetings with the governing agencies, such as the planning department, the building department, and architectural committees. The primary goal of the architectural team will be to initiate the preliminary planning and design phases.
In most architectural contract agreements, there are provisions for the architect and the consulting engineers to observe construction of the project during the building stage.
When the construction firm has been selected and construction has commenced, the architect and consulting engineers, according to their agreement in the contract, observe the various phases of construction. These periodic observations generally correspond to the construction phases, such as during construction of the foundation, framing, and so forth. Following their observations, the architect and consulting engineers provide written reports to the client and contractor describing their observations, along with any recommendations or alterations they deem necessary for success of the project.
Preliminary Designs and Reviews
The next step in the architect/client relationship is the architect's presentation of the preliminary planning and design for the project. After the client's initial review of the project's planning and design, there may be some revisions and alterations to the design. In this case, the preliminary drawings are revised and presented again to the client for his or her approval.
Excerpted from The Professional Practice of Architectural Working Drawings by Osamu A. Wakita Richard M. Linde Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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|Pt. I||Professional Foundations||1|
|Ch. 1||The Office||3|
|Ch. 2||Basic Drafting Requirements, Standards, and Techniques||23|
|Ch. 3||Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)||67|
|Ch. 4||Environmental and Human Considerations||105|
|Ch. 5||Construction Methods and Materials||135|
|Ch. 6||Initial Preparation Phase for Construction Documents||163|
|Ch. 7||Game Plan for Materials Selected||207|
|Pt. II||Document Evolution||225|
|Ch. 8||Site and Grading Plan||227|
|Ch. 9||Foundation Plan||259|
|Ch. 10||Floor Plan||291|
|Ch. 11||Schedules: Door, Window, and Finish||323|
|Ch. 12||Building Sections||337|
|Ch. 13||Exterior Elevations||357|
|Ch. 14||Roof Plan and Framing Systems||385|
|Ch. 15||Interior Elevations||419|
|Ch. 16||Architectural Details and Vertical Links (Stairs/Elevators)||437|
|Pt. III||Case Studies||481|
|Ch. 17||Conceptual Design and Construction Documents for a Conventional Wood Residence||483|
|Ch. 18||Conceptual Design and Construction Documents for a Wood Building-Beach House||545|
|Ch. 19||Conceptual Design and Construction Documents for a Steel and Masonry Building-Theatre||591|
|Ch. 20||Madison Steel Building||645|
|Ch. 21||Tenant Improvements||687|