* (noun, not the verb!)
How many times have you been at a garage sale, or such, and been asked by your significant other, “How long do you think that [object] is? Will it fit in our [object-needing location]?” You both throw out your WAGs (Wild Ass Guess) – maybe even start one of those fun ‘discussions’ about why you were dragged on this outing to begin with? Hey maybe there’s an App for that? Maybe you ask the seller for a tape measure, who grumpily rolls his eyes, mumbles and wanders off to look for a tape measure, to never return.
You manage to get a response finally, and for all the time and effort, someone else has snatched up the prize!
As a college student in Architectural Drafting, some 40+ years ago, one of the very first things my professor taught us was to learn the measurement of the length of the spread between your thumb and little finger. Mine has been 7-1/2 inches for all these years now, and I’m never caught without my built-in measuring tool!
[finger span.jpg] here
Take a minute to check out what yours is – I’ll wait! Got it? Now commit it to memory, take it out for a spin. Now you’ll also have to start thinking in multiples of that hand size. The key is, now you have a unique standard of measurement – “Jane’s (or Joe’s) 8.25 inch pocket ruler”! From now on you’ll never be without! Now you’ll know that lovely antique vitrine your partner HAS to have is four “Jane’s” wide, or rather, 33 inches.
The other thing we learned in the Architecture program, was that we in the industry had a “bible”. The Architectural Graphics Standard, that is. I still have my copy! In this book, you can find the dimensions of just about anything that an architect or designer might have to include in their design; or the draftsperson might need to draw on the plans. Granted, the Internet can now help us find the measurements of just about anything in particular, but these are standard measurements. The book is still in print and also available online.
I bring this book up because it was one way to learn what the standard or typical size was of something we needed to draw or design around. In drafting architectural plans, you’re producing drawings for something that has not yet been bought, ordered or bid on, so you need to use these standards in most cases.
Unless you have a completely unique, custom kitchen cabinet design, we’ll always draw them as 24 inches deep. Typical door widths are 30 or 32 inches, and so on.
My business now is no longer creating drawings for new construction, but for “as-built” purposes – specifically for real estate marketing. Exact dimensions are not as critical, but it’s much easier to draw something properly with known measurements. I use a Bosch GLM 100 Laser Distance and Angle Measurer to capture my measurements. It might give me a wall measurement of 21.1752 feet; however, my notation on my sketch will be 21 feet.
The main purpose of my floor plans now is to check whether your California King bed will fit in the Master bedroom or if the 12 and 14 yr old siblings’ rooms are going to be far enough apart from each other and the Master! Maybe your teen’s room is too close to the exit? All of the things prospective buys might need to know!
After being contacted, I make a site visit to the property to be sold; measure and sketch and photograph. I then go back and convert my sketches to beautiful manually-drawn floor plans and site plans. Because of the “standards” I’ve learned and gleaned, I don’t have to spend my Client’s or the homeowner’s time measuring every minute detail in order to produce an accurate drawing. I’m sometimes heard boasting that I could produce a rough floor plan from photographs if there are enough clues from which to extrapolate dimensions.
For example, I recently had documented a wall’s measurement that just didn’t make sense once I started drawing out. I always take supporting photographs for just these occurrences. Well, in this case (bad day, I guess!) I’d also forgotten to take a shot of the wall in question. Thankfully, the agent’s listing already had professional photographs online. What saved me from having to ask for a second access to the property was the exterior view of this same wall; thankfully it had a brick facade! Saved! Of course I knew the standard length of an old red brick (8 inches), so all I had to do was zoom in on this photo and count bricks! I was able to validate my measurement with a couple of inches. As it turns out, the error was elsewhere in my notations.
So for you lay persons, weekend warrior DIYers, garage sale fiends…remember, get to know your own hand spread size! Let me know how it saved your day!