Thursday, April 12, 2007

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Guy's new office is a pretty nice one. It's a new office that's part of a larger architectural corporation, so while he's waiting for his new job to start up, he's working on drawings that have come out of other offices for projects in Colorado. One of them is a renovation and addition to a birthing center, for which he's completing and detailing the drawings and taking them through construction documents. It's not the most exciting thing to do, but it's work, and it's a good way to get familiar with how a company's drawings tend to look.

Guy noticed something odd on these plans: all the interior wall were 5 inches (5") thick. Interior walls in a commercial building with metal framing are 4 7/8" thick. Each layer of drywall is 5/8" thick, and the metal stud in between is 3 5/8" deep. Guy was so frustrated by this that he emailed me over at DA to send him a CAD file of just a regular wall object to use. "I just need to replace these shitty walls with real ones," he said.

Now, I know, I know, 1/8" doesn't sound like a whole hell of a lot. But think about it: if you draw eight walls parallel to each other, like the walls of offices going down a hall, you're off by an inch at the end of that row of offices. Think about how many walls would be in a 200-foot-long patient tower: you could be off by over a foot at the end of it. And a foot is enough to make something suddenly not comply with code or not have enough space to make another patient room. So draw the walls right, people.

Sadly, I got a taste of this myself today. As Wheatlands winds down and the design team traipses off to Taterville for more Pomme de Terre meetings next week, I'm going to be helping the head of DA's interiors department with a tenant finish project. I don't know what Prudence (head of interiors) is teaching her girls, but it's not fuckin' right. This interior finish plan I was updating had 5" walls in it. Okay, it's a small space, less than 3,000 square feet, but wonder why no one respects interiors gals? Why they're often looked at as the retarded younger sibling in the design and construction family and everyone makes fun of them as paint-and-pillow-pickers? Here's why: because they don't draw things like they're gonna get built. Because they don't even know basic ADA clearances and don't show them in their plans. Because they haven't grasped basic aspects of the software they're using to draw their plans, and they have their interior walls at all different heights in the plan so only half the walls show up in the ceiling plans. If you want your staff to be taken seriously, you have to train them seriously. You have to train them to understand what they're designing and make it a priority to have them represent things accurately.

Also cool about Guy's new company is that they have an on-staff meteorologist that helps somehow with the design of large-scale civil and highway projects. I'm such a Weather Channel freakazoid that I wanna party with this dude, take him out for Jager shots and discussions of microbursts and virga. Guy's meteorologist says Denver's supposed to have up to 18" of snow by the end of tomorrow. Buckle up and bundle up, kids. Wait...isn't it April?


faded said...

People do the 5" wall thing because it is easy to keep track of the dimensions in your head. This was common practice in the days before cad systems. You would draw a row of rooms on a hall and keep track of the dimensions as you went. Not having fractions made life easy. There is no reason for it today with the cad system keeping track for you.

I used to have a a bamboo scale with ivory cladding. It was considered the most dimensionally stable scale you could get. This was important because what you put on the page was it. Before cad systems you lived and died by your scale. I don't think you can get a bamboo scale today.

I also had a feet and inches calculator It was a series of cogged wheels in a case. You would dial in the first dimension and then dial in the second second dimension. If you dialed the second dimension in clockwise it would add, counter clockwise it would subtract. It would carry fractions down to an 1/8 of an inch.

After cad came along I saved these because they would be collectors items. Somebody stole them out of the office where I was working. But I still have my electric eraser!

Sarge said...

The weather forecast was an April Fools, twelve days late. You do the math.

But, they pulled one over on the City plow drivers, and the airlines at DIA. All the de-icing rigs for Denver are idling, waiting for the snow to start falling, and polluting the atmosphere with diesel fumes at the same time. But, Frontier Airlines cancelled six flights today, out of DIA, and United cancelled fourty (40). Guess that will help save some of the ozone layer.

Happy belated April Fools, everyone!

Miss Kitty said...

Is Guy's company's meterologist cuter than Jim Cantore? Does he at least have the cojones to get out in the snow? You know how Ig'nant Jim is: he can handle rain, but he won't set foot in snow.

wilderness Gina said...

April? That's what my poor potatoe plants said here in Beautiful West Central Georgia last weekend. "Spring? Hey, Skippy-Jane, I wouldn't ta poked my leaves outa the ground if I'd a knowed I was gonna git FROZE! (ya stewpid git)" We had 20 degrees in downtown Glenn Sunday morning.

Mile High Pixie said...

Faded: I agree that even-dimensioned walls, like 5" or 6", are easier when hand drawing. But like you say, when the computer can draw it precisely and so easily, why use 5"? It's ridiculous.

Sarge: Miss Kitty called me and asked howmuch snow we got, and I said "Not a damn thing!" and she laughed in my face.

Kitty: I don't know if Guy's lying-ass meteorologist is cute or not. He won't be cute when I give him a black eye.

WG: I feel your pain. Guy tried to get me to put my plants outside a few weeks ago, and I refused even though it was nearly 70. Three days later we had snow.