Saturday, 16 April 2011

Bad Design

Today I met my neighbor, A well aged and experienced builder who built most of the loft extensions in the surrounding houses. Upon finding out I was a designer and my father being fairly well experienced in DIY he told us a tale of woe where a design sometimes doesnt work.

He was working on a nearby Loft conversion for a client whom had hired an Architect he had previously worked with. The technical drawings where in 1:50 scale Plan and bulding sectional showing the new room, Three section stairs and new shower room the builder had been constructed to build. Well seasoned in the field he followed the plans to the letter including the use of steel beams and the exact number of treads needed, much of which was prepared offsite. However by this point several issue became prominent.
For a start the shower room was too shallow by 500 mil so the client eventually had to loose bedroom space to compensate but the architect blamed the builders in making the mistake.. Uh oh. However the architect when contacted simply claimed 'Follow the plans and it wont go wrong'
Secondly and most importantly, The three section stair way which crossed over the stairs and main bedroom joists was too low, you had to almost crawl to get up the main stairwell. Upon measuring he found that the stair tread should have been 2000 mil. The architect alarmed by this information came down to the site and inspected it before long she raged at my neighbor that the entire build was 400 mil lower than the plans designated. Quickly 'John' for we shall call him John poured over the plans and saw no measurements for the space apart from a line. the architect then decalred they should have scaled the line spacing up. Oh very dear...
Six thousand pounds later and an independant architect whom pointed out the issues and helped fix them later and the original architect still claims she did nothing wrong. the client also didnt get compensation from the architects company for the mistake made.

Now the moral of this story is two fold. A: Its always good practise to pay more money for well experienced, confident builders who know how building works, can control a site, and offer solutions when the design just doesnt work.
B: Is to sometimes accept that we are not always right and that line weights only make sense to designers.
Co-incidently the architect who designed the plans also had poor eyesight but refused to wear glasses....


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