WE DON’T NEED PLANS, DO WE?


Part One

Drawings, or “plans”, serve two functions.  They are an invaluable tool to use in creating the Plan for the project, and they provide a means of communicating that Plan to all the involved parties.  Every project requires that many, many, questions be resolved.  There is a tendency to resolve these issues as we go, in real time, and with real materials.  I have actually had clients pay me to erect walls to “see” how the like them, only to tear them down and rebuild them.  It should be obvious that this is an extravagant method of design.  Sitting at a table with pencil and paper, one can draw dozens of wall arrangements and erase them until the optimal arrangement is achieved.  Scale drawings allow one to insure the appliance will fit in the space, and that there is enough room for the door to clear the cabinets etc.  Working out ALL these issues on paper in the beginning is the only way to insure the quality project everyone expects.  When you open a door and the swing covers the light switch, or the cabinet doors bang into one another, or the window trim needs to be ripped to fit between the window and the wall, you know they did not pay for drawings.  They decided that they would just work it out as they went along.  In the course of construction, the wall switch goes in long before the door is installed and the window and wall are framed long before the trim scheme is determined.  Few people will spend the money to rip out the wall switch and relocate it, or move the window after the walls are finished.  The client simply lives with these little glitches.  At the onset of a project, it may appear that it is cost-free to design as you go, but the cost to have everyone stand around while a decision is made, and then to have to make a decision when all the good options are precluded, is the most expensive way to build.  Every page of drawing produced will save many, many times what it costs to draw.  And figuring out every issue on paper is the ONLY way to insure the high quality project that everybody wants, and that all the pieces fit together correctly the first time.  You would not start an expedition up the Amazon without a map, and you should never remodel a house without a full set of plans, because the glitches will eat you alive.

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