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House Plans And Blueprints

Blueprints & Plans
Door, Window & Room Finish Schedules

Many past customers of mine were intimidated by blueprints.  They didn't quite understand them and, in many instances, had a great deal of trouble visualizing what the new home or room addition was going to look like.  My guess is that this dilemma is prevalent among people who don't deal with blueprints on a regular basis.  I also found out that a very large majority of people felt that the quality of blueprints was very similar.  When you think about it, it makes sense.  Here are several large pieces of white paper with a bunch of lines, arrows, word, and numbers.  What really differentiates one set of prints from another, besides design?  The answer is very simple.  Detail!

A BIG Difference

Blueprints, just like anything else, are available in varying levels of quality.  This quality is a function of many things.  Several are as follows:  Accuracy of dimensions, experience level of architect / draftsperson, practical field experience of architect / draftsperson, knowledge of current building codes, presence or lack of explanatory notes, presence or lack of details of specific architectural details, presence of a separate electrical drawing or layout, presence or lack of written specifications,  and presence or lack of appliance, plumbing fixture, electric fixture, allowance, window, door, & room finish schedules.

Key Communications Tool

Blueprints are the heart and soul of a project.  They are the plans.  Poor quality plans in anything generally lead to failures, arguments, delays, etc.  This is especially true in building and remodeling.  The old saying, 'A picture is worth a thousand words.' is so true.  A clear, concise, detailed set of blueprints allows you to easily communicate what you want to your contractor.  They can and should become a part of the contract between you and your contractor.  In the event of a problem or a dispute you can quickly refer to the drawings for a crisp refresher of what exactly was supposed to be done.  However, blueprints can only settle disputes if, in fact, they have the necessary detail.

Plan Schedules

Poor quality blueprints are often cluttered.  They have too much information in a small area.  Dimensions and other details are awash in a sea of words and notes.  This is not only confusing, it becomes the breeding ground for honest mistakes on the contractor's part.  Some information which is common to each room can be put in one place on the drawings.  These are often referred to as schedules.  Schedules organize information and make it readily available.

Common schedules found on high quality blueprints are as follows:  window & door, room finish, plumbing fixture, electrical fixture, appliance, and miscellaneous allowance schedules.  These schedules are merely tables (a box of columns and rows) that list information about specific items.  Schedules allow you to quickly refer to a specific item.  

Information about that item which can be of interest to many people can be assembled in one location.  Take for example a simple window.  The following people need to know certain things about the window: window supplier needs to know type, size, glazing, screens, etc., rough carpenter needs to know how big to make the rough opening and the size of the structural header over the window, bricklayer may need to know the size of the masonry lintel over the window, finish carpenter needs to know any special trim requirements, and the painter needs to know how to finish the exterior and interior of the window.

The same can be said for an entire room.  The workmen and women need to know what is going to happen to the floors, walls, ceiling, baseboards, window and door casings, wall  and window treatments, etc.  Think of the advantage if all of this information was gathered in one place instead of bits and pieces throughout the drawings.

The creation of a schedule is very simple.  If you don't have drafting equipment, don't worry.  A beginner can easily use 1/4" graph paper.  The task is to simply create a table  which lists the items and the notes explaining each item in an organized fashion.  An example of a door and window schedule can be found in the following sample schedule.

Sample Door And  Window Schedule

The only thing that may be confusing in the schedule is the first column "Mark".  This refers to the window or door location on the blueprint.  In other words, on the floor plan of each level of the house, windows and doors are drawn within the wall layout.  The architect assigns a number to each window and door beginning with #1.  So, if you count up all of your windows, exterior doors, interior doors, and garage doors and it totals 47, you better have 47 items listed in the schedule and numbers 1 - 47 assigned to the various doors and windows. It is a very easy system.

Mark Mfr. &
Model #
Struc.
Header
Rough
Opening
Ext.
Finish
Int.
Finish
Glazing Remarks
#1 Marvin
WDH2450
Dbl 2x8's 2'1"
x
4' 3"
Aluminum
Clad
Stain &
2 coats
Urethane
Soft coat
Low-E
Match existing
casings
#2 Stanley
DSD6068
Dbl 2x10's 6'2"
x
6'11"
Stain &
3 coats
Urethane
Stain &
2 coats
Urethane
None Use
adjustable
threshold
#3 Awsco
OCT24
Dbl 2x6's 2'1"
x
2'1"
Prime &
2 coats
acrylic paint
Stain &
2 coats
Urethane
Insulated
Glass
Include
stained glass
option M-360

Sample Room Finish Schedule

The room finish schedule should have an entry for every room and hallway in the house or room addition. You can hopefully see how simple they are to produce.

Appliance and plumbing fixture schedules are similar. For example, the appliance schedule would list each appliance from top to bottom in the first column. Other columns would list manufacturer & model #, color, special features, options, etc. The plumbing fixture schedule would list the room, fixtures for that room, manufacturer & model #, color, finish, handle options, etc.

The point of this exercise is simple. List as much information as possible about each thing in an organized fashion. These decisions eventually must be made by you. By doing it ahead of time and putting it in writing in the plan, you shift the ownership of all problems directly to the builder and contractor. If you create accurate schedules, I can assure you that your problems will be few and far between. Good Luck!

Room Flooring Walls Ceiling Baseboard Casings Remarks
Basement Concrete Concrete Unfinished None None Clean floors
and walls and
seal floor
Living
Room
Hardwood
Random Oak
Plank
1/2" Drywall
with Chair
Rail
Oak beams
and drywall
per plans
5" high profile
#276 poplar
stained
3" wide
Profile #415
stained
Floors to
have Walnut
pegs
Kitchen Cork with 3
coats of
Urethane
1/2" Drywall
with Wallpaper
Border
Trayed
drywall
ceiling
5" high profile
#276 pine
painted
3" wide
Profile #415
painted
Trim paint to
high gloss
Master
Bedroom
3" Wide
hardwood
border,
Carpet infill
1/2" Drywall
with
wallpaper
Drywall
with
stucco
finish
4" high profile
#355
painted
3" wide
Profile #415
painted
Carpet infill
to be
Berber
Hall "A" Hardwood
with Carpet
Runner
1/2" Drywall
with paint
Smooth
drywall
4" high profile
#355
painted
3" wide
Profile #415
painted
None

Column B106

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