Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ArchCalc Construction Calculator

This is a great piece of FREEware for your computer.  We've been using handheld versions of these calculators in our office for a long time.   They are simply a "must" for doing quick dimension string checking, and for estimating materials.
This one from Stefan Hampden gives you all of the main functions of a construction calculator. It works in feet and inches, converts to metric, converts between fractions and decimal, solves trig functions and has a tape display.

It is available for:
Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98
Windows XP / Vista and MAC!

Its free, but if you like it and use it, please pay Stefan $20 for his hard work on this...  I did!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Use an Architect?

Architects save money. An architect's services are a wise investment because a well-conceived and designed project can be built more efficiently and economically. As ideas evolve, changes can be made on a computer screen or paper much less expensively than when construction is under way. Other ways architect-designed projects save money include:
• Designs that take full advantage of solar heat and natural lighting to save on energy needs.
• Space-efficient plans use less floor area, which can result in 5% to 15% cost savings on a home.
• Flexible design solutions accommodate future growth and usage needs.
• Accurate construction costs based on detailed drawings and specifications that result in quality materials and workmanship at a fair market price.
• Materials, finishes, and design solutions that reduce maintenance and replacement costs.
• Architect-designed homes sell faster and hold higher resale values.
    Architects solve problems. The architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide the design and construction process. This broad knowledge helps architects focus individual home owners' needs to maximize their investment in livable square footage on time and within budget. Architects stay abreast of advances in roofing, brickwork, floor tile, paint finishes, and other building materials to ensure a smooth and cost-effective building process
    Architects see the big picture. Few people realize how complicated it is to build until they find themselves lost in a maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, and contractors. Architects don't just design four walls and a roof; they create total environments, interiors and exteriors that satisfy specific needs and functions. If a project requires engineering or other construction services, an architect can coordinate the team of experts. An architect sorts out complex building codes and zoning laws and can locate qualified contractors, visiting the construction site to ensure that the project is built according to plans and specifications.
    Architects know aesthetics.  Your architect will design a home for your personal tastes that works within the context of the local vernacular style and the community.  Architects design homes to be timeless, with long-lasting appeal.
    Architects give you peace of mind.  Architects hold the health and life safety of building occupants as their highest calling.

    For more information:  AIA, How Design Works