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Architectural Drawings: How to Turn Great Ideas into a Buildable Plan

By Mindi Poston Gay, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Mindi is Principal Architectural Designer, Assoc. AIA (American Institute of Architects) and has been practicing architecture and interior design for over 25 years. She’s a graduate of the Boston Architectural College (BAC) with a degree in Architecture and has worked in renowned architectural firms including Payette Associates, EGA Architects, Carpenter & MacNeille Architects, Essex, MA, and TMS Architects. Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Design New England Magazine, New England Home Design Magazine, North Shore Magazine, Newburyport Magazine, The Boston Globe, USA Today Home Magazine, as well as Apartment Therapy, Discovery Channel and Planet Green Channel.
MPG Home Design
Architectural Drawings, Newburyport

Architectural drawings are the bridge between your vision and an actual plan that you can use for cost estimation, permitting and construction. Whether it’s a simple bathroom remodel, a kitchen renovation, or a more extensive home addition, design drawings are critical to success.

In technical terms, architectural drawings are a graphical representation using lines and symbols that follow specific protocols based on scale and proportion. In their most complex form, architectural drawings incorporate structural engineering details, electrical plans, framing plans, window & door schedules, and precise measurements for all aspects of construction.

What are the steps to create architectural drawings?

The first step in the design process is to capture the Existing Conditions, sometimes called “as-built” plans. Unless you purchased your home with drawings, the existing conditions need to be documented to create a baseline model. All relevant measurements are imported into a CAD software program. Computer Aided Design (CAD), has replaced hand drafting as an essential way to create, modify, analyze, and optimize the architectural design process.

Once the Existing Conditions have been established, it’s time for Schematic Design. This is a highly conceptual phase dedicated to exploring the overall use of the space, massing, circulation and functional relationships of the project components.

The architectural plans may start “sketchy” until multiple options are refined for comparison. A single design may emerge as the best solution. More often, components from several design options are pulled together to create a hybrid approach.

A complete Schematic Design set includes site plans, floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D renderings. What was once limited to your imagination is now brought to life both digitally and in print.

Do you really need architectural drawings?

Smaller projects may not require formal construction documentation, however, just about every home design project can benefit from a cursory design exercise. Drawings provide answers about space utilization, materials, flow, light, storage and the connection with new or existing systems.

What’s more, a thorough set of architectural plans gives you what’s needed for both pricing and permitting. By submitting drawings, general contractors know that you’re committed to the project and they’re empowered to provide more accurate estimates to help you determine financial viability.

In the long run, a well-crafted design set saves both time and money by helping you avoid specification “gotchas” and missed opportunities to improve your lifestyle. Almost every client who skips this step in the name of savings, ends up paying more in the end.

If you want to get the most from your construction investment, take the time to have thoughtful architectural drawings created for your project. Set yourself up for success by contacting MPG Home Design, 978-255-1515.

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