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Architects' "hacks"

  • 1.  Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-11-2017 18:12
    I'm writing a new blog on simple and easy tips or "hacks" that architects use every day. I have 5 of my own (a couple using an architect's scale) but was wondering if anyone else had any they would like to share with me to add in the blog. Thanks!
    http://www.aricgitomerarchitect.com/blog/


    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-12-2017 20:20
    Estimating room sizes by counting floor or ceiling tiles.
    Estimating distances by stretching out my arms and knowing they are as wide as I am tall - around 5'-6".
    Judith Wasserman AIA

    Bressack & Wasserman Architects
    751 Southampton Drive
    Palo Alto CA 94303 
    ph: 650 321-2871  
    fx:  650 321-1987 
    www.bressackandwasserman.com







  • 3.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-12-2017 21:30
    Judith, Thanks, that is exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for. I completely forgot those!
    Thanks again,
    Aric

    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-13-2017 18:02
    Our professor had us make a card with our dimensions: fingertip to fingertip spreadeagled, thumb tip to index fingertip, height, stride length. There were some others (elbow to middle finger tip) but those are the ones I found most useful. We printed them on a business card-sized card that we carried around. I should've laminated it. It was hugely helpful.

    Steven Schloss, AIA




  • 5.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 18:07
    Since I have not invested in the full-blown laser-imaging technology, when I need to measure up an existing house for additions or remodeling I sketch it to scale on graph paper as I go.  If I'm careful I almost always have a rough but perfectly scaled as-built drawing when I'm done, where the last measurement lines up with the first.


    Bruce Ward, Architect
    (315) 824-1094
    7122 Springhill Rd.
    Hamilton, NY 13346


                __o
             _ \ <, _                             
    O0---++
    ...... ( • ) /  ( • )











  • 6.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 21:58
    Modular concrete masonry dimensions: even numbered feet have 0" or 8", odd numbered feet always have 4"

    Sent from my Personal Intergalactic Communicator Device




  • 7.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 16:30

    I've really enjoyed thinking about this topic.  Here are a few that may or may not be in the vein of what you're looking for.

     

    I often count bricks or courses of bricks to get an idea for dimensions.  3 courses of modular brick equals 8".  The nominal size of a modular brick is 4x8x2 2/3.  This also works for CMU walls where the typical block size is even simpler.

    I pace off distances to get rough dimensions.  This is faster than going heel-to-toe, but is not as accurate.  Things like your speed, and even the shoes you wear, can affect the number of paces you take over a given distance.

    How about laying out buildings on a module?  I do this with unit masonry to reduce waste and improve the finished appearance.  I know some more experienced architects that have a system that's based around a modular unit (I think it's 3'-4").  I've never learned how to do this myself, but would love to learn it.

    This also makes me think of "rules of thumb".  A former boss had one for the preliminary size of a beam:  the depth of the beam will be 1" for every 1 foot of span.  Here's another one I've used:  preliminary size for a/c unit is 1 ton of cooling for every 400 sf of conditioned area. 

     

    I look forward to reading the blog to see how many others you come up with.

     

    Kendal W. Perkins

    Architect, AIA, MBA

     

    Apex Architectural Services, LLC

    177 Shamard Drive / Natchitoches, LA  71457

    Tel: (318) 581-3237

    kwperkins@apexofla.com

     

    Isn't GOD Good?

     






  • 8.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-18-2017 18:30
    Re: hacks

    The rule of thumb I learned was 1" of depth for every foot of span PLUS ONE! 1 ft span needs an 8" (7.5") beam.
    Judith

    Bressack & Wasserman Architects
    751 Southampton Drive
    Palo Alto CA 94303 
    ph: 650 321-2871  
    fx:  650 321-1987 
    www.bressackandwasserman.com







  • 9.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-19-2017 22:22
    Re: hacks...preliminary member sizes...1/2 the span in inches (12 ft span = 6 inches)
    --
    John Walters AIA
    John Walters, Architect PLLC
    70 Pacolet Street, Suite A
    Tryon, NC 28782
    Phone: 828.859.0329
    Fax: 828.859.0340
    www.jwaltersarch.com





  • 10.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-21-2017 09:23
    >>Re: hacks...preliminary member sizes...1/2 the span in inches (12 ft span = 6 inches)<<

    So a 2x6 for a joist spanning 12 ft? Please review your "hack", that is not something I'd be comfortable with.

    The IRC provides a wealth of tables for a quick look up of these things.



    ------------------------------
    Rudolph Beuc AIA, NCARB, CBO
    Architect
    R. Beuc Architects
    Saint Louis MO
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 17:43
    The slightly different span hack (and caveats) I was taught by a structural engineer in my youth .....

    Span in feet x .56 = member depth in inches.

    Caveats: This only for simple uniform loads and only for deflection. It may feel "bouncy". 

    So for the 12 foot example cited...12' x .56 = 6.72". In real world wood framing that means a 2x8. Going up a size to a 2x10 provides a good starting point.

    Works for reasonably long spans too. 60 foot clear gym turns into a 36" truss, again as a starting point (60' x .56 = 33.6").

    At least gives you a reasonable place to begin talking to the structural engineer.

    Thoughts?






  • 12.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 19:14
    I have used a variation on this theme for many years, and find it to be pretty accurate: 5/8" per foot of span. But it is in application to steel beams and joists, not wood. It is strictly an estimating tool to anticipate what my structural engineer is going to need for a reasonably efficient member; never to take the place of engineering.

    Bruce Rose, AIA
    Rose Design
    (214) 794-5166
    Sent from my phone






  • 13.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 20:45
    I'm familiar with the "1/2 the span in inches" guideline.   I learned "1/2 the span in inches plus 2 inches" and to only use the guideline for STEEL BEAMS with simple spans.   Using the guideline, I could always get a beam for the span, but would always opt for a deeper beam if space allowed.   Never learned a "hack" for wood design.

    ------------------------------
    John La Porte
    J. LaPorte and Associates PC
    Grand Rapids MI
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 15:52
    I have found very handy to measure with my out-stretched hand that from tip of little finger to tip of thumb is 9".

    You can use it by just walking your hand along short distances.









  • 15.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-18-2017 22:00
    Hello All ---
     
    This is more of a humorous aside than anything pertinent...
     
    In the late '70s / early '80s, I became friendly with a young couple renting a cottage next to us.  They were both taking Physics courses (at Cornell ??).  All kinetic solutions were reduced to furlongs per fortnight.  We tipped a couple, with stories about that and other gags.
     
    At MIT, maybe they have Smoots per car-wash cycle?
     
    Enjoy ---
    Bill
    william j. devlin aia, inc.,
    ARCHITECT
    Springfield, MA





  • 16.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 17:50

    I do this with unit masonry to reduce waste and improve the finished appearance. I know some more experienced architects that have a system that's based around a modular unit (I think it's 3'-4"). I've never learned how to do this myself, but would love to learn it.
    Kendal Perkins,  09-15-2017 16:29

    Kendal,

    Regarding block module for CMU, which is normally (full block) 8x8x16, the rule of thumb is simple.  If you are at an even number of feet, you can use the even number or the even number + 8".  If you are at an odd number of feet, you can ONLY use the odd number + 4".  If you are at anything other that those numbers then you are cutting block (or cheating at the joint width).

    Even numbers work like this:
    2'-0" or 2'-8"
    12'-0" or 12'-8"
    256'-0" or 256'-8"

    Odd numbers only work with 4".
    5'-4"
    7'-4"
    133'-4"

    So if you are ever working on a CMU building, make sure all you lengths, openings, etc. fall under those numbers and your mason will appreciate it.  BTW, this is the reason a hollow metal frame for a door in CMU wall has a 4" header.  Because for a 7 ft door, you would need to be at 7'-4".

    Hope this helps.



    ------------------------------
    Reynaldo Royo, AIA, CDT
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-25-2017 20:10
    My 6th Edition copy of Architectural Graphic Standards has 3 pages on "modular coordination", a 4" cube-based system (for inch-foot countries) or 10 cm for the metric world.

    It's been around since 1945-46.

    AGS shows (in simple form) how that planning based on 4" multiples could theoretically simplify the progression from schematic design to details.

    ------------------------------
    Joel Niemi AIA
    Joel Niemi Architect
    Snohomish, WA
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-13-2017 18:12
              For smaller measurements, remember, a standard sheet of paper is 8-1/2" x 11" and a dollar bill
    (or any American bill) is 2-1/2" x 6".
    Art Rogers, AIA

    The Architects Studio
    Dallas, Texas





  • 19.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-13-2017 19:52
    I count ceiling tiles all the time.

    I am most fortunate that each of my size 9 shoes is 12” long. Know your show size. pace it off when no other way works.



    John LaPorte
    Grand Rapids, Michigan




  • 20.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 17:37

    Yes, casual pace (mine) is 36".  When measuring large spaces by yourself, I always measure in 10' or 12' increments laying a pencil about 8" away from the tape. Easier to figure multiples of 10 than to try to add consecutive numbers in my head.  I also use my big toe as a pointer when looking at something overhead.  Amazing how accurate that hack is, consistently.






  • 21.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 23:48
    Peter hart, I don't understand a thing you just said...

    ------------------------------
    Douglas Julien AIA
    Principal
    Douglas F Julien, AIA
    Saint Louis MO
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-16-2017 21:24
    Peter hart translation!: he lays out 10' of tape measure on the ground, then places a pencil on the ground at 10' to mark the next zero point, then lays out ten more feet, and so on. And if he is under some overhead feature, he looks down at the tape and his big toe marks off the measurement on the tape of that overhead feature. 24 hours it took me to figure this out!

    Sent from my iPhone

    .




  • 23.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-18-2017 18:25
    I obviously spend too much time alone in the field!

    ------------------------------
    Peter Hart AIA
    Peter C. Hart & Associates, Ltd.
    Stamford CT
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-18-2017 20:12
    Yes Peter Hart is quite a character! Thanks for the interpretation!

    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 17:51
    Then there's the tricks for measuring height:

    1. Verifying the height of three or six bricks, and then counting bricks (in person, or from photos) to determine heights
    2.  The old Boy Scout trick of putting a person (or object) of known height next to a building, then standing back and with outstretched arm, using that person's height to act as a unit of measurement, counting how many "people-height" high an object is (good only for rough measurements!)

    I'm sure others have more tricks...

    ------------------------------
    Andrew Cronan AIA, LEED AP
    Senior Vice-president
    Guernsey Tingle Architects
    Williamsburg VA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 07:25
    I count block and brick to estimate room/building dimensions and heights.

    John A. Feick, AIA, CSI, LEED AP
    224 East Water Street
    Sandusky, Ohio 44870
    419-625-2554 (w)
    419-656-3017 (c)
     





  • 27.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 20:10
    For a hazing, around the late 70's at MIT, someone had the idea to 'field measure' the Mass. Ave. Bridge in Smoots (the 'victim's' last name).  I don't recall how many Smoots long the bridge was, but it was clearly marked with white paint markings across the entire span - for years.  He was immortalized, but not in a great way I'd add.


    ------------------------------
    William Figdor, AIA
    Art & Architecture, LLC
    Maplewood, NJ
    Figdor@mac.com
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 22:01
    William Figdor, I don't think smoots would be a common architect's hack but thanks for sharing:

    MIT - a salute to Smoot
    Mit remove preview
    MIT - a salute to Smoot
    Oliver Smoot, MIT class of 1962, is retiring from his chairmanship of the American National Standards Institute. He lent his name, and not coincidentally also his height, to a unit of measurement which is now part of history. As almost every MIT student knows, a smoot is a unit of length equal to five feet seven inches.
    View this on Mit >

    Ric

    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-22-2017 16:03
    It was not in the 1970s, it was in the 1960s or earlier.  I believe it was an MIT fraternity prank, and the lengths (5'-3", if I remember correctly), were marked in white paint across the bridge.  They were repainted for many years.  I don't know who "Smoot" was; I went to another institution, but there was a Smoot at the Smithsonian, or some other government agency who was a likely candidate.  I think Smoots make as much sense as the Anglo-Saxon "foot," based on a Plantgenet King's foot (they were tall), and more efficent besides.

    Joanthan Vincent, AIA

    ------------------------------
    Jonathan Vincent AIA
    Architect
    Norwich VT
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-25-2017 17:26

    Mr. Smoot was a MIT freshman, and according to Wikipedia, 5'-7" tall and was used to measure the Harvard Bridge by laying end to end as a pledge to Lambda Chi Alpha.

     

    Go Tech!

     

    Tara Brown, AIA
    Senior Project Manager

     

    Devenney Group Ltd., Architects

    Phoenix-Los Angeles-Oakland-Dallas

     

    201 West Indian School Road                                       

    Phoenix, AZ 85013

     

    T: 602.343.0049

    M: 602.316.2514
    tbrown@devenneygroup.com

     

    Leading the transformation of healthcare delivery through value-driven innovation

    www.devenneygroup.com

     

     

    This message may contain confidential and/or proprietary information, and it is intended for the person/entity to which it was originally addressed. Any use by others is strictly prohibited.

     

     






  • 31.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-14-2017 21:20
    Hopefully the formatting doesn't get messed up in translation. I think that some of the spaces that I've added to get the columns to line up may disappear once I post it.

    Just about everything I do is in CAD nowadays, so I don't need this nearly as often, but I came up with a way of adding feet, inches and fractions with a calculator. Essentially, feet go before the decimal point and inches come after the decimal point, except that things like 9" become .09. For instance, 8'-9" would become 8.09 and 8'-9 ¾" would become 8.0975. Here's an example.

    before       after
    8'-9 ¾"      8.0975
    4 ½"          .045
    17'-11"      17.11
    28'-2 ¼"    28.0225

    Of course, this all adds up to 53.275, or 53'-27 ½".

    To fix that you take the result…
    53.275
    -.24 (minus 24")
    +2.00 (plus 2'-0")
    55.035 or 55'-3 ½"

    I used to be able to do this pretty quickly on a calculator. I use this much less than I used to and I really do appreciate the accuracy of CAD.

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Lewis AIA
    Northborough MA
    www.DanielLewisArchitect.com
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 18:30

    Just about everything I do is in CAD nowadays, so I don't need this nearly as often, but I came up with a way of adding feet, inches and fractions with a calculator. Essentially, feet go before the decimal point and inches come after the decimal point, except that things like 9" become .09. For instance, 8'-9" would become 8.09 and 8'-9 ¾" would become 8.0975. Here's an example.

    before after
    8'-9 ¾" 8.0975
    4 ½" .045
    17'-11" 17.11
    28'-2 ¼" 28.0225

    Of course, this all adds up to 53.275, or 53'-27 ½".

    To fix that you take the result…
    53.275
    -.24 (minus 24")
    +2.00 (plus 2'-0")
    55.035 or 55'-3 ½"
    Daniel Lewis,  09-14-2017 21:20
    Fellow Architect used a verision of this, I think he called it the 88 Rule.   Whenever you get over .12, add .88, if when subtracting and get under .00 (i.e. .88)subtract .88.
    So about add .88 2x to 53.275+.88=54.155+.88=55.035
    Goes way back to how to change from a base 100 number system to a base 12 system, difference of 88. Do they even teach this math any more?

    ------------------------------
    Roger Donaldson AIA
    Roger L Donaldson, AIA P.L.C.
    AIA Mid Michigan
    ------------------------------



  • 33.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-15-2017 21:03
    Wow that is quite impressive! I have never seen that before, but maybe it's because I have had my Radio Shack foot and inch calculator for so many years! I think since 1985. You inspired me to use .083333 instead. Thanks!

    Ric

    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 34.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 09-18-2017 20:24
    Thanks for all the help! If you want to keep providing tips I will do a part deux. I will be posting the blog sometime tomorrow afternoon so give it a look see. If you like it please feel free to share it on your social media! You can find it here:
    Architect Blog New Jersey | Architect Who Blogs in NJ
    aricgitomerarchitect remove preview
    Architect Blog New Jersey | Architect Who Blogs in NJ
    View this on aricgitomerarchitect >


    Thanks again,

    Aric

    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 35.  RE: Architects' "hacks"

    Posted 10-01-2017 11:59
    Hack Blog Appears on ArchDaily! Non Americans Get Angry!
    11 Nifty Measuring Hacks for Architects
    ArchDaily remove preview
    11 Nifty Measuring Hacks for Architects
    Believe it or not, architects are just like everyone else! They love a shortcut in their tool belt to accomplish a task. Whether it's in the office or out in the field, all architects have a handful of tricks up their sleeves. The following are ten measuring hacks you can introduce to your daily routine.
    View this on ArchDaily >


    ------------------------------
    Aric Gitomer AIA
    Principal
    Aric Gitomer Architect LLC
    Morris Plains NJ
    ------------------------------