How do I measure up an existing building?
MEASURING UP JOB CONDITIONS
We discuss the tools required for a site visit in a previous video. Now let's put those tools to use and get to work.
If you ask 10 different designers or engineers how they measure up sites, you'll get 10 different answers. While some are better than others, these are the key steps that I use to measure up existing job conditions to ensure the installation team has an accurate idea of what's required to perform efficiently.
The number one thing I do to prepare for measuring up a job is to ask if any existing site drawings are available. If a scaled, accurate floor plan is available, I typically put this into my iPad or computer for use on site. Typically, I will inform my customer that they will not overload me with information. If a complete set of architectural structural or mechanical CAD files are available, I'll archive them. You never know down the road how crucial a good drawing can be.
If existing floor plans are not provided or they're not accurate, they'll have to be generated from scratch. As much of a pain this may be, it does give you the confidence to know that the floor plan and your drawings will be accurate.
LEARN CONSTRUCTION TYPES
Having a general idea of building construction will help you with laying out floor plans if not provided ahead of time. Taking the time to learn about construction types can help you when it comes to understanding how thick to show walls.
This may not seem like a big deal for a small home or an office, but adding two inches of depth to an office space may put you out of a line. Knowing the distance offset an eight-inch cinder block or the four and a half inches for a standard non-load bearing wall when placing it on a floor plan will save time and issues when it comes to fabrication.
CREATING FLOOR PLAN
Once arriving onsite to create floor plans for myself, I follow the same process each time. First, I have a quick walk or drive around the outside of the building to give me an overall idea of the exterior projections or rooms that are only accessible from the outside. I open up my files and select a starting location. I typically pick a corner and start from there.
After selecting my starting point, I systematically move through the building room by room and create a floor plan. I lay out the building floor plan and structure prior to inserting the sprinkler system so I have a good idea of the network ahead of time. Using my laser or tape measure, I measure the length and the width of the rooms. As you move from room to room, make sure you maintain a consistent wall or piece of structure that you're measuring from.
In odd shape buildings, you may need to step outside to find the offset of interior walls. These walls are typically similar in width and depth so the offset of the interior walls should be the same as the interior walls.
CEILING TYPE & HEIGHT
Confirming the ceiling type and height is important when creating your own building drawings. You will wanna make sure that you note things that may affect the sprinkler layout, things like obstructions that affect the sprinkler spray pattern, lighting or HVAC elements that may affect the sprinkler placement.
Have a good look above the ceiling to determine the structural type of the building. Determining if the structure is precast or open web steel joist or wood joist can affect the overall design of the system.
If combustible construction is present above the ceiling, are interstitial sprinklers within the scope of work? Will an extra be required if wood construction was not originally noted in the tender documents? Have a look and document the space above the ceiling as well.
Is it full of duct work? Are all the structural members taken up by other mechanical components leaving you with no space to hang or support your sprinkler system?
Get measurements of the structure in a similar fashion as measuring the rooms. Depths of joists, depths of i-beams, distance between joists will all help when it comes to fabricating and installing the system.
If architectural or structural drawings are provided, I typically only do a few spot checks to confirm the accuracy. Measuring a few rooms dimensions, popping my head above the ceilings to ensure everything is accurate and the system can be installed as the drawings show can save a lot of design time and rework time.
Measuring up an existing building can seem like a daunting task when you first start with it but with these quick tips, you should be well on your way to creating accurate site plans and drawings to work off for years to come.
I'm Chris Logan, this is MeyerFire University.
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