Incorporating Dry Erase Walls into Architectural Design Projects
Dry erase walls have become indispensable tools in the arsenal of modern architects. Architects design and develop ideas for structures and turn these concepts into graphic images and plans, ultimately becoming homes, schools, office buildings, and other facilities. The jobs of architects involve more than just a building’s appearance, and almost all parts of their work are visual by nature. Architects consult with clients to ascertain their needs and prepare drawings and specifications of the concepts that the clients want to see realized. Periodic meetings are held with clients and other professionals, such as engineers, to discuss and develop design proposals and move them toward completion.
For this reason, architects need a surface to work on in developing designs and presenting their design ideas without worrying about running short on drawing space. Standard writing and drawing surfaces like framed whiteboards and flip charts need to be bigger to meet the needs of most architects for creating building designs and displaying them at meetings. With access to a dry erase painted wall, however, an architect can draw large sketches of one or more buildings without being concerned about lack of room.
This article discusses how architects can make efficient use of dry erase walls in the building design process and in displaying their ideas at meetings with clients and other professionals working alongside them on projects.
Designing Buildings with Event Planning in Mind
In the past 20 years, architectural design has attained new levels of sophistication and has left a mark on the event planning industry. Architectural projects can transform community sections into social and meeting hubs, making event planning easier. In designing an environmentally and pedestrian-friendly multi-building complex, architects can create vibrant centers for holding large events such as banquets, dinners, conferences, and concerts.
Dry erase painted walls are invaluable tools in creating designs for such projects. With their huge surfaces, dry erase walls offer the chance to generate rough ideas for many buildings and other structures in a complex all at once. In this way, event planning can be more easily included as a key factor to be considered in an overall project design. The “big picture” of a complex of buildings can be seen in a larger format than would be possible on the limited surface of a computer screen or traditional whiteboard. This way, visualizing a wide range of options for designing buildings conducive to planning and holding events becomes a trouble-free task.
Doing Collaborative Project Management Activities
Besides architects, many types of professionals, such as civil and mechanical engineers and quantity surveyors, play vital roles in executing construction projects on schedule. Architects are often chosen to be project managers (PMs) among these individuals. The role of a PM is to ensure that a project is implemented within a specific budget and time frame. An architectural project manager, known as an ArPM, manages all of the steps involved in the design and construction of a building.
These steps range from developing and assessing building design plans to ensuring that a project adheres to local and national environmental and safety guidelines. A large, easy-to-use dry erase wall can be a vital tool in this process, as it allows for quick and easy writing of text such as lists of government guidelines and drawing of graphics such as architectural design plans.
Facilitation and Improvement of the Planning Process
A recent study showed that among the many hurdles an ArPM faces in executing a construction project are inadequate planning and improper scheduling.
Dealing with these difficulties can be made much simpler by using a large user-friendly dry erase painted wall. For instance, adequate planning of projects is facilitated when the vast canvas of a dry erase wall is available for posting planning ideas and giving them a quick swipe of a microfiber cloth to make changes. In this way, project planning can become a free-flowing process with endless possibilities for the creative assignment of duties and flexibility in adjusting priorities when needed.
Improved Collaboration with Other Professionals and Clients
What’s more, during the process of project development, a quantity surveyor, who makes sure that the construction work is completed within budget, is also needed. For this reason, ArPMs need to meet regularly with quantity surveyors to discuss the progress of a building project and its costs. For clients, a clear understanding of the development process is essential, so architects and quantity surveyors need to work together to guide clients through the intricacies and issues related to their project. This is another place where dry erase walls can come in handy, as they allow for easy-to-understand presentations to clients of design progress by architects, along with details on budget and time factors by a quantity surveyor.
Easy Production and Modification of Building Layouts or Floor Plans
Typically drawn to scale, a building layout or floor plan can be a simple two-dimensional diagram or a graph drawing showing the basic arrangement of the rooms in a building from an aerial perspective, including the dimension lines, room measurements, and spatial relationships among objects and fixtures. A floor plan provides a builder or designer with a physical scenario to look at and evaluate and acts as the preliminary representation for an architectural design project.
Floor plans may also reveal possible flaws in a design, eventually serving as the starting point for drafting definitive final blueprints for the building.
The process of drawing floor plans may be smoothed along by using a dry erase painted wall. The wall’s colossal surface area can provide more than enough space to generate large-sized preliminary layouts easily altered by erasing and redrawing. The large drawings will be easy for clients to view and comment on during meetings. Then, once a plan is reached that meets the clients’ needs, pictures can be taken of the images to serve as the basis for more detailed designs to be drawn up later.
Schedules for the Completion of Construction Projects
Besides providing dates for construction activities, project scheduling is designed to match equipment, labor, and material resources with work tasks that occur over time. Careful scheduling can avoid issues related to production holdups, assist in the prompt acquisition of materials, and otherwise guarantee that a project is completed on time and within budget.
The Critical Path Method Helps to Facilitate Project Completion
Using a dry erase painted wall, an ARPM can easily carry out project scheduling and make changes as often as needed. The most commonly used construction project scheduling technique is the critical path method (CPM). In this approach, the shortest completion time for a project is calculated beforehand, along with likely starting and finishing times for various project-related activities.
Computer representations of a project schedule typically comprise a list of activities along with their durations, requisite resources, and antecedent activities. However, rather than lists, graphic representations are more beneficial for visualizing a construction plan and ensuring its mathematical constraints are met. This is another area where dry erase painted walls come into play.
In the critical path approach, data from the project’s list of activities along with identifiers for the various types of activities to be performed may be entered onto a large schematic diagram or flow chart on the wall. The diagram should consist of nodes (circles, squares, or ovals) tied together by lines or arrows representing the sequence between the activities. This technique is referred to as the activity-on-node (AON) or precedence method and is widely used worldwide. Architects working as ArPMs can more easily complete their construction projects on time and within their budgets using the AON critical path approach on a dry erase wall.