The attached photos were taken in a new house that was just recently built and is for sale.

Builders often find that it is cheaper for them to get a drafting service to draw their plans and have an engineer stamp the foundation drawing.  By not hiring an architect to design the building this is the result.

Most permitting offices have a minimal drawing requirement for issuing a permit.  The required drawings are a foundation plan, a site plan, all floor plans, all four building elevations, a door and window schedule, a wall section, and a stair section.  The foundation plan and details are either prepared by the consulting engineer, or are prepared by the draftsman and is reviewed, and marked up by the engineer.  The site plan shows that the house complies with the zoning set back requirements.  The floor plans show building layout and room dimensions and has all the window and door references shown.  The exterior elevations shows exterior materials.  The stair detail is to show that the tread and riser heights, and railing and guardrail heights are all compliant with the building codes.  A typical wall section shows how the building is put together.  Basically, the minimum set of drawings is all that is necessary to convey to the plan reviewers that the building complies with the building and zoning codes; it is not enough to completely show how the building is to be built.

The minimal drawing set that many builders build from consisting of the following:

1.       Sheet No. 1.       Site Plan, Foundation Plan and Foundation Details

2.       Sheet No. 2.       First Floor Plan, Kitchen Cabinet Elevations (drawn at a miniscule 1/4” = 1’-0” scale)

3.       Sheet No. 3.       Second Floor Plan, Window and Door Schedule, and Finish Schedule.

4.       Sheet No. 4.       Exterior Building Elevations and a Typical Wall Section and Stair Section.

One photo is a detail of the window trim.  The drawings likely didn’t indicate what the window trim details were suppose to look like, so this is what the carpenter came up with:  The casing profile is an off-the-shelf profile, probably selected by the builder or the carpenter, and it’s probably what he uses on all of his houses.  The carpenter couldn’t decide whether to picture frame the casing (i.e miter the casing at all four corners), or create a traditional stool and apron at the sill detail with the casing mitered at the heads and jambs only, so he did something that like a combination of both.  The problem is the fat back band of the casing is at the bottom and the narrower upper part of the casing is used to support the window stool.

The other photo is a detail showing how a baseboard, a simulated wainscot, and a stair come together.  The wainscot is created by adding a wainscot cap about 30 inches above the floor, adding panel moldings to simulate panels, and by painting the wainscot and everything below the same paint color and sheen as the wood trim.  The baseboard is 5/8 inch thick and the stringer is 3/4 inch thick, which is visible in the photo.  It is hard to tell whether the base cap used for the stringer matches the profile used for the base, but either way, the marriage of the stringer at the base and the stringer at the end of the wall has not been resolved.  On top of that, the wainscot dies into the underside of the stair stringer.  I am guessing that this was also not drawn. 

The attached drawings are the same detail conditions corrected. 

The first drawing shows a window stool and apron.  The apron profile is a flat piece that has an ogee profile at the bottom and returns at the wall.  (Some carpenters are too lazy to create the apron return and instead will cut the apron at a 30 degree angle.)  The casing profile has a simplified profile, rather than the intricately profiled stock piece shown in the photo.

The second drawing shows the stair.  The most significant revision here is that the wall supporting the stair is offset from the adjacent wall.  This offset gives a small surface for the stair stringers and treads to abut to.  The wainscot cap is able to return into the stair supporting wall.  The wainscot is shown as a true paneled wainscot, which requires that the electrician locate outlets in the baseboard, not in the middle of panels.  The wall supporting the stair is also detailed with panels similar to the wainscot.  The base and stringer profiles match and therefore can cleanly miter into each other adjacent to a projecting starter step.   



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