Monday 30 November 2009


Its been a while since I mentioned Autodesk’s Impression software, however that’s not to say that I haven’t been using it. In fact I use it almost as much as I use AutoCAD these days. It allows an AutoCAD user generate presentation drawings quiet quickly and with little hassle, once you use your layering system in AutoCAD correctly. A standard layering system through each project with good discipline, can allow one create render drawings in a matter of minutes, once you have your styles set up.

The current version is Impression 3, only available on subscription as have past releases, I think, which means in the short term anyway I don’t expect to see the next release, as our AutoCAD subscription wasn’t renewed, in a effort to keep overheads down for the coming 12 months.

I have to say Impression 3 has improved in terms of stability since Release 1, although, it can still be a little unpredictable when it comes to updating data following revisions in AutoCAD drawings. Fills too can pose problems if you move the drawing or elements of it following your original impression render. The importing of AutoCAD Blocks however seem to cause me most problems, in than I have to re-apply the styles on each occasion that I update the drawing.

For someone who just wants to jazz up their AutoCAD drawings (Like me) it is far simpler to use that say Adobe Photoshop, particularly if you aren’t familiar with photoshop. There aren’t a huge number of commands, yet there’s huge scope for a different presentation techniques. Be a maker style drawing with extended lines, a blueprint type finish to a drawing or whatever takes your fancy. Its just a matter of playing around with the style command.

Anyway the lads at Autodesk University are far better at explaining how to use the software than I, particularly in the two presentation I found.

Thursday 26 November 2009

An another extension

Extensions and renovations seem to be the run of the mill of late, I am currently working on another one comprising of a granny flat this time. The brief is to extend an existing bungalow with a reasonable sized granny flat with bedroom and living accommodation, which will offer independence to the occupants, yet allow for care and supervision in years to come. As part of the works the clients intend up grading the thermal performance of the building and making alterations to the existing fenestration.

The project is ready to be submitted to the planning authority for assessment. Hopefully it will run through without any problems.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Tender Prices

As noted in a previous blog, we recently tendered a small extension with 5 building contractors. At first glance there was a 24% difference in the lowest and highest tender price, with the 3 middle tenderers very closely matched. (which would indicate the actual tender price) These 3 were between 10-14% above the lowest tender price. The building contactor of the lowest tender has been back, to advise that there is an error in their price, and that the actual price should be 7.5% more than the one submitted in their tender, however under the Code of Practice for Tendering and Contractual Matters 2006 published by the Liaison Committee, the contractor is required to either stand over the tender price submitted or withdraw their tender. It is most probable that they will withdraw as they have advised that their tender price is suicidal or in any case we will be recommending to the client not to appoint the lowest tender as the tender price is insufficient to complete the project. The price is coming in at €135/sq foot, excluding PC Sums for sanitaryware / tiling and painting however it involves a lot of manual work due to restricted access and alteration works internally to the existing dwelling. We are currently waiting to see if the client will proceed with the project.

Monday 23 November 2009

CIAT ramblings

Recently I attended a CIAT committee meeting in Dublin, which was held to tie in with Plan Expo .Unfortunately I didn’t get to visit Plan Expo, things ran late in the office however I understand that there were more exhibitors than visitors (on that afternoon anyway), which is an indication of the poor state of the industry at present. Talking to some of the committee members afterwards, some don’t hold out much hope for their future in the industry, ( in the short term anyway) which is worrying, as people who engage on committees are generally the one’s who interested in progressing their career and practice.
There’s a practice meeting in early December, which should be interesting to see how others are coping and how they view the future.

Its 3 years, since I was admitted to CIAT as an Associate member. I had hoped to have had my pop record completed at this stage however things have been difficult for the last 18 months and its a case of survival and the pop record gets put on the back burner. However I’m now at the stage where I can of make my record submission, just have to update the CV at this stage and get the application fee. Watch this space.