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Posted by Mary in PA on 4/12/2010

We did the final layout of the site based on the Chief Architect version we had worked out. Since we didn't have survey equipment, I put a reference point in the center of our driveway circle and then drew dimensioned lines to the corners of each building (shop, house, future barn). I printed the center circle of the site plan at a very large scale on 8/5x11 paper and taped them together on a large sheet of cardboard. We packed up our cardboard reference drawing, a level, 300-ft tape measure, plenty of stakes and flags... and lunch. I mentioned previously that we had tried this several times and found problems in our site plan after it was laid out. So by now we've gotten pretty quick at doing this. And we finally got a site plan transferred to the property that we are actually happy with. So it was time to finalize the plans for the shop.


We are on a pause from using the architect who had started our house design so I selected a local designer to produce a set of farm-shop drawings that I could use to obtain a building permit. I provided our fairly detailed Chief Architect drawings and tried to make it as clear and efficient as possible for him to review it. It seemed pretty straightforward to me, so I was surprised to see that the drawings he created had over a dozen errors on them. Some of the errors were really stupid typos as if he didn’t even check his work. Originally, I was thinking if this guy worked out, maybe we would do the house drawings with him rather than go back to the architect. Guess what…


With drawings in hand, I set out to get some initial quotes; site prep, foundation/concrete work, roof trusses, framing, siding and roofing and garage doors. Things are still a bit murky in my mind as to how to pull it all off. But talking with each trade about the proposed work is an education in itself. If I pay attention, every conversation has something to teach about the sequence of the work, the typical (or not) way it is done and so forth. And with all this conversation and quoting, I think it is likely we’ll want to make some tweaks in the plans. Not to the layout so much, but to the construction details, based on input from the trades I’ve talked with thus far. Lots to learn!


Our site plan done in Chief Architect, printed at 1"-200' and simply taped onto the topo map. Works for us.
Site plan with 'layout lines' used used to transfer plan to property. We might be off by 10' one way or the other, but we got the relative distances and orientation set.
Commend central for site layout. We oriented the large-scale drawing taped to cardboard, the put a stake directly under the table. Measurements were made from the stake, using lines on the drawing to 'sight down'. Hard to explain - but this low-tech approach worked for rough building locations.
Lunch in the truck, admiring the layout of the shop.

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