Dealing with Design Options in Construction Drawings for Home Builders

Posted by Kuldeep Bwail on June 2nd, 2017

In the homebuilding industry, the demand for housing across the world is rapidly progressing because of the increases in population, smaller family units, disposable income, lower interest and access to credit. With the boom in the housing market, buyers are ever more demanding, seeking custom built homes and various home design options to suit their budgets whether large or small. Homebuilders must address these demands and provide several home design options to stay competitive in the housing market.

In order to meet the demand in the market, providing residential design drawings options has become an inevitable possibility. For designers, the key challenge is to create residential construction drawings for each design option variation to allow site teams to understand the variation that end customers have chosen. To understand how changes in home design options affect the development of construction drawing sets, it is essential to know what typically constitutes a set. A residential construction drawing set usually constitutes elevations and cross elevations, sections and section details, interior elevations, roof plans, structural and roof framing, electrical plans and other details required for construction. The typical components of a complete construction drawing set (CD set) for home design include:

  • Exterior Elevations - Floor and ceiling heights, dimensions of standard windows and roof overhangs and type of finishing and textures.
  • Building cross-section - Floor and ceiling heights, dimensions of trusses, details of overhand and roof pitch on truss sections.
  • Construction details – Sections of walls and porch with the connection to the wooden frame, roof sections, information of the foundation in the entrance of the garage and other components.
  • Wall sections – Type of beams used, exterior wall components with the connection between floor and window sections in a wall.
  • Roof plans – Location of required trusses, overcharge of roof compared to floor footprint, the location of valleys and ridges and slope application.

In this article, we will provide examples of home design options, the challenges of design option changes in construction drawings for houses and how to deal with them.

Types of Home Design Options

There could be several types of home design options required by home builders which require different construction drawing sets. Based on the requirement of clients, these could include:

  • Designing three garages instead of one or two
  • Creating an extra bedroom, study room or sunroom
  • Designing a study room or sunroom instead of a bedroom
  • Accommodating a bigger kitchen or bigger living area
  • Re-designing to make windows and doors bigger or smaller
  • Adding an outdoor kitchen space
  • Adding a feature fireplace
  • Changes in exterior or roof finish styles.

While these typically are some of the design option changes, there are unlimited possibilities of changes in design options that may be required. Other than design options, there could also be a change in construction material to make home designs energy efficient. While this change would not have an impact on the construction drawing set, it may have an impact on the design.

There are several challenges when developing home design options in construction drawings, from accommodating changes, dealing with issues of space, considering local building code requirements and new building requirements, changing drawing sets in 2D and the lack of skilled resources.

The Challenges of Design Option Changes in Construction Drawings

Changes in home design options pose several challenges for project stakeholders, from homebuilders, architects to designers. While homebuilders can be persistent about getting various design options, design teams must deal with incorporating changes in construction drawing sets. Here are some of the challenges that arise when accommodating design option changes:

  1. Variations of residential construction drawings – One of the biggest challenges in accommodating changes in home design options, is the variation of construction drawing sheets required. When incorporating an extra space or modifying an existing space, a separate drawing must be created to showcase the design option. This requires an additional number of sheet variations for one design and the rework is time-consuming.
  2. Open space issues – In a few cases, there is the lack of space to accommodate design options. This leads to a complete redesign of the home to provide space for this additional design option. To redesign a home to incorporate changes requires optimal utilisation of space. For instance, given the size of the home design within the site, adding a garage or porch may not be possible, which typically results in a complete redesign.

  3. Taking into consideration the building code requirements – There are basic building code requirements which must be considered when incorporating design options, such as standards for placement, structure, size, usage, floor assemblies, wall assemblies, location of rooms, roof structures and assemblies, stairs, railings, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, drainage, lighting, fixtures and energy efficiency standards. As there are other elements in the design which are impacted when redesigning a space, the building code requirements must be considered. For instance, increasing the living room space could reduce the width of a staircase which may not be within the building code requirement. Another instance could be a change in roof slope based on weather conditions which could translate to a complete redesign of the home to meet building code requirements.

  4. Difficulty in changing 2D drawing sets – Drawing sets are still produced in 2D, making it difficult to coordinate and detect flaws compared to when working on a 3D model. For the model to be accurate, the 2D drawing must be correct. To provide design options, changes must be made in 2D drawings with accuracy otherwise it could cost in terms of time and money invested.

  5. Lack of skilled resources – To incorporate design changes, experienced and skilled designers are required. A team of Revit technicians and designers that have the relevant knowledge in home design would be suitable for identifying the best possible method of dealing with changes in design and providing home design options in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

  6. Keeping up with new building trends and requirements – There are new building trends and requirements in the industry, from energy saving to home automation requirements. Several home design options require designs which include new building requirements such as designs built to accommodate home automation devices or designs which are low in energy consumption and high on efficiency. Accommodating such home design options requires a knowledgeable team of designers that would be able to design options based on new building requirements.

Given the challenges, some ways in which to deal with design option changes in construction drawings include managing libraries to incorporate changes, using database-driven applications to facilitate accuracy, utilising a skilled and experienced team and involving key project stakeholders.

How to Deal with Design Option Changes in Construction Drawings

Homebuilders may have several plans, and there could be changes or requirements to showcase several design options. Here are some of the ways in which design option changes in construction drawings for houses can be dealt with:

  1. Manage libraries to incorporate plan updates – One of the ways in which home design options can be accommodated is by managing libraries of residential construction drawings and creating revised design drawings to reflect changes in elevation plans, aesthetic design, design updates and changes in plans to meet local building code requirements.

  2. Use database-driven applications to facilitate accuracy – To facilitate greater accuracy and control when creating 3D models, floor plans, elevations, sections, schedules, and material and quantity take-off information, using database-driven applications such as Revit would help.

  3. Utilise skilled and experienced resources – To incorporate home design options effectively, using an experienced and skilled team that specialise for instance in traditional build homes, steel frame residential construction or wood/timber frame construction would be beneficial. A team that is aware of the latest building requirements will provide an added benefit when creating home design options.

  4. Employ a team that is knowledgeable about local building codes and standards – To ensure home designs and design options adhere to local building codes and standards, it is advisable to have a team that is updated and knowledgeable about local building codes and global standards such as American AIA, British RIBA, Canadian RAIC and Australian AIA.

  5. Involve all key project stakeholders - When working on design options, all key stakeholders of the project must be involved to facilitate better coordination, identify limitations, understand expectations and make the project management process efficient and effective.

As the demand for housing continues to increase and given the challenges to be dealt with when providing home design options, homebuilders must stay competitive. To increase operational efficiency, required support is necessary, in terms of utilising technology-based systems, using the latest software, employing a skilled and experienced design team and adopting innovative project management methods.

At XS CAD, we provide Revit BIM models & customised construction drawings for houses based on the design options selected by buyers. All design options are added to the base plans to provide a consolidated construction drawing set for the chosen design option. We also create 3D interactive plans allowing users to view different design options for a chosen house type. Our design team work seamlessly with local project teams to provide documentation and production drawing services for new home designs and new plan updates for timber-frame, traditional and steel-frame homes. To find out how you can cost effectively utilise a dedicated team of experienced designers to get customised designs and residential construction drawings for each design option variation, contact us.

Kuldeep Bwail

About the Author

Kuldeep Bwail
Joined: September 27th, 2016
Articles Posted: 23

The ONLY Vital Credit Card
Earn 5% Cash Back on all of your purchases plus additional cashback for sharing the offer with your friends and family! This is the ONLY credit card you need! Competitive APR's, No annual fee, Elegant Metal Card Design!
Claim 1 FREE Stock! No Purchase Necessary!
You have a 100% chance of receiving one free stock! Click to claim and have a chance to get one share of Facebook, Visa, Microsoft and others for free!
FREE App - Earn up to 25/gal cash back on gas!
Download this FREE app and earn cash-back when you buy gas, groceries and food! 100% FREE to join and FREE to earn cash back on your everyday purchases!
Quality Office Furniture USA Shipped Direct - Madison Liquidators
Nationwide vendor of quality office furnishings including Desks, Office Chairs, Conference Tables, Cubicles and more!
Earn HNT Tokens with a Helium Hotspot!
Pre-Order a Helium hotspot and earn HNT tokens that are redeemable for USD. Set it and forget it!
Lolli: Earn Free Bitcoin When You Shop Online!
Lolli is a rewards application that gives you bitcoin for shopping at your favorite online stores.