Read Program carefully. Jot down pertinent notes (i.e. deck spans, clerestory location and where columns can and cannot be located).
Be sure to drawn on two separate layers.
Measure distances to see how far spans are. This will help you determine where joists can run and where intermediate supports are required. Beams can span 40’+, joists 30’ and lintels 8’.
Start at the upper level and work down.
Determine whether to use bearing walls or beams and columns. An all steel solution (beams and columns) is highly recommended for several reasons. It is faster, there is no chance that you will forget lintels and while there are locations where bearing walls cannot be used there are no conditions in which beams and columns cannot be used.
Locate bearing walls or columns and beams for first roof plane in one direction only (N-S or E-W). Lateral bracing is not required.
Draw lintels/beams over all openings in bearing walls.
Draw joists running perpendicular to beams. Extend to center of walls in all directions.
Draw deck perpendicular to joists. Extend to center or walls in all directions.
Move to the lower level.
Repeat steps listed above.
Continue columns from above all the way to the ground.
Clerestories require beams above to support the roof above, and below to support the clerestory.
Try to stick to mostly bearing wall solution or mostly beam and column solution. Do not mix systems throughout.
Columns are not required to be symmetrical. Unless noted otherwise, columns must be within the walls. If the program states, columns can be located in window walls and clerestory window walls; however, if it can be avoided, do not place them within the windows.
If the program states that there is a full-height clerestory then bearing walls cannot be used.
Do not place bearing walls on top of beams. Bearing walls cannot span above beams or lintels greater than 8’ long.
Read the program carefully. There are very likely to be minor variations from the practice program.
If required, lay our vestibule or door and wall. Be sure to maintain total door egress width per total already shown exiting the building.
Measure width and depth of space and determine length of ramp necessary for level change.
Sketch 5’ deep landings and lengths of ramp in first most logical space for ramp. i.e. if the program calls for a spacious space to remain, then find the most compact space where the lengths of ramp plus landings appear to fit. If no spatial requirement, find longest and widest space available and block out runs and landings to try to fit in that location.
Be sure to include top landing for stair and ramp and if it abuts a corridor be sure to make the landing at least as wide as the corridor.
Try to locate stair and ramp exit in same general location.
Once ramp and stair blocked out, draw in landings and ramp.
Verify space requirements for handrail extensions, wheelchair turnaround, and door clearances.
Verify lengths and elevation changes. Set elevations.
Sketch circles for handrail extensions and distance off edges.
Draw handrails and guardrails. Be sure that all un-level sides are protected by guardrails. Handrails do not need to continue on landings that are against walls.
Draw lighting fixture at ideal intervals. Do not worry about centering yet, just get the distances correct. For example, if your lights are to be 4’ apart just start 2’ off the wall and place the fixtures at 4’ intervals. Stop when you are 4’ or less from the wall. Lights shall be no closer than 1’ from the wall and no further than 4’ from wall. Ideally, lights should be 3’ from walls due to bounced light from fixture combining with direct light on work surface at perimeter of room to meet desired illumination levels. (Assuming a 2’ spread of light).
Use the “move group” tool and shift the grid and lights so that they are centered on the room. If the layout does not appear acceptable, move the grid off to the side and either rotate it and try again or if another fixture is available to use try placing them in the same manner as above.
Continue for all rooms. Verify that spaces with different fixtures have the correct fixtures, and if rooms are NOT to have the grid then a grid is not provided. A grid can still be used to layout these spaces if the module is a 2 or 4’ module but make sure you delete it afterwards. If the spacing is other than a multiple of 2’ then draw sketch circles and place them side by side filling the room. Then place the fixtures in the center of the circles.
Click on the grid in the first room and read the square footage on the screen below. Determine the number of diffusers and returns based upon the program requirements.
Spread diffusers out for optimum air flow. Do not place in front of door or against walls. In front of windows is a good location.
Place returns at least 4’ away from diffusers at opposite sides of room. Do not place return against wall.
Support registers/diffusers on 3 sides.
Repeat for all rooms.
Place fire dampers at supply and return risers. Short leg points in the direction of airflow.
Draw short length of duct from center of return riser to outside edge of fire damper to plenum air space.
Determine where rigid duct can be run perpendicular to joists and draw rigid duct out of riser and, following the program rules, over to a point between two joists that is perpendicular to the center of a line drawn between the two outermost diffusers to be connected to this run of duct. If necessary, branch a second run of rigid duct to pick up another string of diffusers in the same manner.
Draw duct portion perpendicular to joists in allowable area maintaining half the allowable distance from the wall/beam/allowable zone. Ducts have a thickness and representative line indicates center of duct so if you draw your duct the specified distance the duct will actually be out of the allowable zone.
Draw rigid duct between joists to a point perpendicular to the furthest diffuser for that run of duct. Do not turn rigid duct back towards risers, use additional branch of duct parallel to first branch if necessary to pick up more diffusers.
Connect the diffuser to the rigid duct with flex duct no more than 10’, connected to the center of the diffuser. Flex duct can run perpendicular to joists and can run on top of lights.
Does this imply that rigid duct can not run over lights?
Repeat for all diffusers for that branch of duct.
Repeat with second branch of duct if necessary. Try to keep all diffusers from a room on the same main branch.
If rigid return duct is called for, provide in the manner described for the supply duct.
Verify all rooms are properly lit, adequately ventilated, and all ductwork is continuous.
Read Program carefully.
Here is where you will find the occupant load and number of exits. Divide occupant load by # of exits and multiply result by .3. The result is potential minimum width for each floor. Remember that stair flights cannot reduce in size along the path of egress, but they can increase in size.
The Program also indicates the depths of the landings and stringers.
Read the Code carefully. There are likely to be minor changes from the practice code and from codes you are used to in “the real world”.
Changes might include: rails need to extend at top and bottom of flights of stairs on only one side and an AOR might be required on certain levels. Remember when there is an AOR, required widths must be taken from inside the handrails despite whether the Code allows handrails to project within the allowable width.
Choose widest required width for top level stair.
Jot down landing and clearance requirements at doors. (i.e. latch side clearances, approach clearances, minimum width and it’s encroachment on the door swing)
Review section if given.
Determine critical heights above each door in plan.
Calculate widths of all stair flights and see if they fit side by side in stair. If not, you know either top flight will need to start in the middle with the other two flights on the outside, or stair will need to wrap around the space making 90 degree turns.
Visualize the most reasonable and economic placement for switchback stairs and measure to see if landings, risers and treads would fit within that schematic. If not, try rotating the scheme 90 degrees and check again. If this does not work you will need to use a wrap around stair.
Check headroom clearances.
Draw stairs and landings. Be sure to draw on the proper layers. Show either everything that can be see from the second layer on that drawing only, or show on the second layer everything down to the landing above the first layer and a cut stair down to the first level and on the first level show everything below and a cut stair up to the first intermediate landing.
Check elevations and clearances once more – it doesn’t hurt to be sure, and set elevations. Remember your drawing will show one tread less than there are risers.
Sketch circles for 1’ handrail extensions and 2” clearance off the walls.
Draw handrails/guardrails everywhere there is an open edge and on both sides of stairs. Extend handrails where they are not continuous on one or both sides of the stair (according to the program) at the top and bottom of the flight. Be sure that continuous rails are touching or overlapping.
Read the Program carefully. Jot down notes so you don’t have to flip back and forth between screens and you can use it as a checklist at the end.
Draw clerestory first if there is one. This will serve as a reminder for rules regarding clerestories.
Segment low roof in half so that you end up with the shortest width hips possible.
Draw roof plane in zoom to ensure you are on the line. If necessary, draw sketch lines before to show end points that are not at existing corners. Roof plane can be drawn over chimney.
Determine minimum roof height (ceiling height plus height of structure).
Set slope of roof away from peak and set low roof elevation. Always use lowest slope allowable. This results in the most economical solution and there are often height restrictions on the overall roof height which would make this a must.
Click on roof with set roof tool until you get to the elevation where the wall of the high roof intersects with the low roof on the clerestory wall (if there is one – if not use lowest point of intersection.) Take note of elevation.
Add to this elevation, clerestory height (if any), structure height, and any additional heights if required. This is the tentative elevation of your high roof at that intersection.
At high roof you can choose between hip or shed. If shed, determine elevation at intersection of high roof and low roof opposite clerestory would need to be (elevation of low roof at that point plus height of structure). This is your shed low elevation.
Draw roof plane and set roof slope and elevations. If high elevation within program limits (and higher than first tentative high roof elevation) roof is acceptable.
If you choose a hip roof, segment high roof in half preferable so that the shortest width hip is produced. Use first tentative high roof elevation to set low side of roof height. Set slope and check high elevation. If high elevation is within program limits, roof is acceptable.
It is often advisable to maintain the clerestory between two parallel roof planes. This helps to ensure a lower overall roof height and prevents mistakes when figuring the high roof height at the intersection of the two roofs.
It is also a MUST not to design hip and valley roofs on the exam. It is almost guaranteed that there will not be enough time to complete these roofs on the exam and as there are many elevations and calculations, there are many places for mistakes to be made. Stick with shed or gable roofs with only one or two planes.
After you have set your slopes and elevations, place gutters on the low sides of each of your roofs. Start at the top and work your way down so you don’t have overlapping gutters.
Next place downspouts. One downspout for 15’ length or less, two for most spans (one at each end), and add a third for long spans. Per the program, do not place in front of doors, windows or clerestories.
If downspouts are to be determined by square footage of roof, be sure to include the high roof when its downspout empties on the low roof.
Place flashing at all roof/wall intersections including chimneys. Not around the outer perimeter of the building.
Draw cricket on upper side of chimney if roof slopes toward chimney.
Next locate skylights. If program does not specifically exclude hallways and storage spaces, be sure to include these spaces. If oblong skylights are used, slope the long dimension down the roof. Try to center in each space and for larger spaces use additional skylights to adequately daylight the space.
Locate plumbing vents and exhaust fans. Vents can accommodate two back to back toilets and are always located within the wall. Don’t forget to vent ALL plumbing fixtures (kitchen/break room sinks). Exhaust fans are to be located over the space to be vented unless serving more than one space, then they are located over the wall between the rooms.
Locate HVAC per program – with proper clearance from vents, ridges, skylights, … Do not place in front of clerestory. Try to place in central location above low occupancy space.