• Mark

PDD? What to know

MY list of important things to know for PDD:


Building code. Separations of occupancies. Construction types and height limitations. FIRE RATINGS / UL LISTINGS and detail sections based on those requirements.

ZONING CODE and all the limitations it can impose. Building size, FAR, Shadow studies, etc. Know a bit about WETLANDS and basically how you can not build within 100 feet of them (depending on zoning)


BUILDING SYSTEMS. Structure systems. which system, what it can span, and how much it costs. PLUMBING and septic. Invert elevations, minimum slopes for plumbing. Fire suppression systems. Understand how heating and cooling buildings work.


ELEVATORS. know the types and pros and cons of them. btw. Holeless hydraulic elevators and for mid-height buildings (mas 6 stories) in which the soil can not have a hole drilled into it.

Obviously, know whatever you can about PASSIVE HEATING and SOLAR ENERGY. Know what you can about GEOTHERMAL HEATING, and the types of geothermal coils.

You should be familiar with BUILDING SECTION DETAILS. Flashing, Vapor barriers, Roof systems, Have a more than a basic understanding of what you are looking at in a building section detail. KNOW WHERE FLASHING GOES.


CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS - you must know what makes a whole set of documents. You must know what details might need specific drawings. What consultant would be responsible for completing what drawing? You really have to call on your experience with construction documents here and understand what you are looking at. The CASE STUDIES will really rely on your ability to understand which sheet / which drawing you are looking for the correct information from.

There are plan drawings. There are detail drawings. General building sections, then DETAILED BUILDING SECTIONS. etc etc.


You will need to be able to understand the IMPACT OF BUILDING SYSTEMS according to drawings. For example, if you move an air handling unit and it requires a larger duct size, will that conflict with the ceiling height requirement, or the window requirements of a space.

AND you will need to know WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THINGS CHANGE. If a consultant makes a change to a certain room or system, what impact does that have on the room next to it, or the required roof height, or the required structural system to support the change?


CONSTRUCTION COSTS, value compared to system performance requirements, and impact of changes. This is where you will need to do the math based on the provided case study or specific question problem. You will definitely need to determine "the most economical" building system or material based on the given situation.


SPECIFICATIONS - this is where you need to know how the CSI masterformat divisions apply to drawings. What division is curtain wall systems in? How about the poured concrete foundation wall? and the stone veneer that is applied to it? Where would I find the specifics for the elevator that is to go in the building? And how about the windows or doors on varying wings of the building?


FOR ALL EXAMS - know minimum ADA clearance door width and how to determine the number of exits required, and the size they need to be (stairs and halls). Know ramp requirements, and stair requirements.


"and that's all I have to say about that"

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