HarvardX GSD1x Certificate 1I recently completed the course "The Architectural Imagination" created for online learning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.  The instructor is Michael Hays, who is the Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and Harvard.  

This course was excellent and really exceeded my expectations.  I did not go to architecture school.  I chose the builder path but always loved architecture and spent 7 years working for architects early in my career learning all that I could so I could incorporate the philosophy into my design-build business which I have run since 2004.  I focus mainly on residential projects where licensing is not an issue.  But I respect the structure that is set up to train and license architects in the our country.  I am a licensed general contractor and understand the value of education and continuous learning and training.

This course exposed me to some of the things I missed like the awesome history and philosophy associated with architecture.  We learned about architectural typology and evolution of architecture from the classical era to the modern.  There were great lectures by Michael Hayes and you really got a feel of what it might be like to sit with other students and learn about architecture.  I would recommend this course to anyone in the design-build industry.  Maybe if enough of we contractors did this, the great divide might be eliminated. 

TinyCabinLatest 640If you don't follow me on Instagram,  you may not know after a minor midlife crisis I moved to the woods and built a temporary tiny shack.  My ultimate plan is to build a tiny cabin and I have struggled with the design ever since moving into the temporary tiny shack a few months ago. I have built many and love the original log cabin but to build one for me is to give into the easy way out regarding design.  I want to challenge myself and see if I can build something that brings a different kind of melancholy.  

The plan is very simple and mainly consists of a shop (my whole purpose in life) a kitchen, bath and sleeping room. The bedroom is small as I see this as a room of necessity and not for living.  Like the bear sees the cave before he enters it for winter. It is an instinct but I am sure he dreads the long sleep.  The kitchen is really jut part of the office as this is where the magi happens. The design before the storm :)

The elevations are an attempt to pay homage to the modern architecture of the 50's  I often tell my customers that not contemporary humans are brave enough or have the budget to replicate or should even try because of the sacrilege but I digress, I am going to try it because I turn 60 this year and time is running out to create that great masterpiece :). I don't imagine I'll be remembered for much. I was kind of hoping the buildings I have built would stand for something but say la vie :)  TinyCabinPlan 1 450

TinyCabinLatest 2 640

I thought I would share theses drawigs as a sample of some of our construction drawings.  

 

TERMS OF SERVICE

Pre-Paid Services

As of August 1, 2021, I have had to go to pre-paid services due to a few customers paying a deposit and then taking the final drawings without paying for them, with no explanation or communication. I spend 30-40 hours (sometimes many more) on every project .  I make videos and consult with people helping them during the project as needed.  The service I provide goes beyond simple printed drawings and it is shame some have to devalue this service.  I apologize if this is an inconvenience but my rates are probably the lowest you will find and I cannot afford to do the work for free. If this is not acceptable to you, please do not contact me about helping you with your project. I have helped many people all over the world for a fee less than probably anyone would charge, I will be happy to help you with your project.  Refunds; based on the nature of this work and the low rates I provide, once I start work on your project, I cannot offer a refund.  Please assure you are ready for me to do the project before you pay the fee.  

License Information

 ATDrafting.com is a division of Artisan Construction LLC which is a licensed design-build general contractor in Chattanooga, TN.  ATDrafting.com provides affordable drafting services to customers who do not require the services of an architect or engineers.  ATDrafting.com is not licensed to, nor provides "stamped" drawings and it is the responsibility of the customer to verify this requirement with the local municipality where the project is being built. Most states do not require licensed professionals to stamp drawings for the construction of residential occupancies under 5,000 square feet and under three stories in height.  Other types that are typically exempt are occupancies not intended for human dwelling such as agricultural or storage.  Again, it is the responsibility of the customer to verify these requirements with the local municipality.  Call your local building official and/or zoning office to verify these requirements prior to hiring ATDrafting.com to perform services.

Types of Services

ATDrafting.com keeps our services affordable by keeping them simple.  If your project requires a lot of detail, that is the first indication that maybe you need a licensed professional to help you.  We are best suited for projects that do not require an abundance of detail.   A qualified contractor can build traditional projects from a simple set drawings and will generally give better pricing if not faced with page after page of details. Based on our experience, we have developed the following standard drawing list for typical projects.  Below this list, we have listed additional drawings an services that can be provided for additional fees.

Basic Services/Drawing List

  • 3D Model
  • Cover Sheet
  • Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plan w/Basic Door and Window Schedule*
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • One Sheet of Typical Details**

*Basic door and windows schedule only include call size and standard rough openings. Actual rough opening sizes will be determined and verified when the customer orders windows and doors.
**One sheet of details includes details such as typical wall section and typical foundation detail.

For additional fee the following can be provided

  • Site Plan*
  • Floor Framing Plan
  • Roof Framing Plan
  • Interior Elevations
  • Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) Drawings
  • Coordination of Additional Consultants**
  • Materials List and Estimating***
  • Construction Consulting****

*To produce a site plan, we will need either a .dwg file from the surveyor or the complete metes and bounds for the property.  Having the .dwg from the surveyor save us time and you money.  If we have to enter the metes and bounds, the site plan will cost more.
**Occasionally we run into projects that end up requiring additional consultants such as structural engineers to size beams or other load bearing items.  We can coordinate this information and incorporate it into the drawings we provide.
***See info below regarding Materials list.
****Construction consulting during the construction phase of your project can be provided on an hourly basis. 

Printable Drawings and Paper Copies

I draw projects for people all over the world so shipping paper drawings is not feasible.  The typical drawing sheet size is 24" x 36" for large projects and 11" x 17" for smaller projects.  I will email you a set of drawings in PDF format which you can then have printed at any local printing service. Just call them and verify they print the sheet size for your project.  The drawings are scaled and set up for a specific size of paper so if you change the paper size, the drawings will no longer be to the specified scale on the sheets.  If you insist :) that I provide you printed drawings because maybe you want my autograph or something :) I can do this for an additional fee.  After all,  I want to make the customer happy :)

Material List and Model Accuracy (materials lists are not being offered currently)

For projects where we are providing a materials list, we have to have a disclaimer for the accuracy of these lists.  There are many factors that affect the quantities of materials for any project and each project is different.  Factors that can affect the materials list are, but not limited to; 

1. Method of delivery and how materials are handled during stocking of project.  Materials can become damaged during delivery. Banding marks on lumber may cause you to cull a certain lumber if it will be exposed to view such as flooring for a deck or corner boards for your siding.  It is good to be present for material deliveries. Make sure materials are set up off the ground at least 3" using scrap wood or pallets.  Ask the delivery driver in advance how you can help protect your material from damage.

2. Weather and storage of materials.  Some materials such as treated pine can be damaged by being left in the sun to warp.  Bagged materials left uncovered can become unusable.  Bags of concrete become nice boat anchors when left in the rain :) Sheet goods such as OSB can swell around their perimeter when rained on.

3. Cutting mistakes on the job can cause waste.  People are human and make mistakes. Improper use of materials such as using pre-cut studs for plates or blocking will cause a shortage of material.  If building during cold weather, talk to your subcontractors about what they will make fires with. Hopefully it is not your Cyprus siding :)

4. Means and methods; The simple differences is the way some people do things will cause a shortage of material.  Cutting blocks for T's and Corners instead of using the blocks cut from door and window Jacks, can cause a shortage of material.  This is just one simple example of the way people do things differently.  The way you build can cause material shortages.  On our materials lists, we list the project use for that material, make sure everyone working on the job reads this prior to starting the  project.

5. Don't panic :) All of these things rarely happen on every job to cause major material shortages.  You just have to realize that if I estimate it will take a certain number of studs to frame a wall, that is in the perfect world.  So when you come up short or have extra material, you will have experienced the world we contractors live in on a day to day basis.  The reason I mention this is because I help a lot of people build their own projects and it is the first construction project they have built so the question of waste and accuracy can become an issue.  Understanding this will help you communicate better and avoid problems between you and the people who help you. 

Ownership of Drawings and Intellectual Property

ATDrafting.com maintains shared ownership of drawings that we produce.  This allows us to keep our cost to individual customers as low as possible. This is achieved by alterations of similar projects to be sold to others which spreads the cost over multiple customers.  We can change this policy for specific projects but it will affect the fee and the customer will need to inform us of this before we quote the fee for the project.   If you compare our fees to others with the same experience and abilities, you will find our rates are very fair and we can do this by sharing ownership of drawings and other intellectual property we produce.  This said, we will never "rubber stamp" drawings.  All drawings are reviewed and customized for each project based factors such as project use, codes, zoning, geography, etc. We provide this notice for informational purposes due to the number of requests that we receive to sell projects in our archive. 

Limits of Liability

Because of the nature of my services and the fact that I help people all over the world, and have no control over the actual work and who performed it, the customer agrees to hold ATdrafting.com harmless from liability and claim for damages because of bodily injury, death, property damage, sickness, disease or any expense arising from the use of any of ATDrafting.com's services. In my 40 years (knock on wood) I have not been involved with any undesirable situations mentioned above so this is just a required formality :)  The best thing you can do is learn about your local zoning issues, codes and any restrictions that might be on your property which would be listed on a certified survey or in your deed.  And researching and hiring the best contractor for the job is absolutely the most important thing you can do besides hiring ATDrafting.com to help you with your drawing work.