Category Archives: General office

Architectural Technologist – More on google Docs

Following on from my articles on google docs, I found this nice little video for accessing and using google docs away from you main laptop or desk top machine, and on your iPad.

Unfortunatly Google presentations are available to view but not to generate them, bit of a bummer for me, but the doc and spreadsheet, options are, and they are great.

I use google docs on a lot so having access via my iPad is a huge bonus, I am writing a couple of books at present, and they are all on google docs. For straight text there is no better, adding pictures and formatting I find fiddlley, but then I use Apple Pages for that, ,,,,,, google can't have it all !!!.

You might want to add this to your general CPD file on office and development,


Architectural Technologist – Did I over Blog and my Office duties

Home OfficeAt the CIAT AGM meet in London on Saturday, I was pleased to meet up with a lot of od friends, and was particularly pleased to see Karl Grace take over the presidency for the next two years During al the speeches and presentations I blogged quite heavily, not direct to twitter, but via Facebook, although my Facebook pages are auto posted on twitter. I got one comment that I was being a little to open, I thought about this over the weekend and decided that I was not being to open, but perhaps I should have gone direct to Twitter to post comments, after all Facebook, I have always used just to stay in touch with family. I was using my iPad to post, so the small keyboard argument of the iPhone was not a problem, I usually only post to twitter from my phone and my fingers do not always match the key size.

So I move on, and look to the week ahead and what vI want to achieve, I try so hard to keep Sunday as a family day and limit my online time, so Monday is always my reflection day, who do I need to talk to, and what do I need to send out and when, the list is always long, and so often these days contain things rolling over from last week,

I have the usual Evernote archive of items to complete, including the CIAT nots sent to me, I so wish they would give the option to receive in digital format, but paper it was, so my notes in the side and the blogs I posted need putting into Evernote, and tagging,

Next comes the inevitable list of contacts I want to make, those phone calls and emails, that keep my business running, and talking about business, I need to take a little time at some place in the week to invoice, you know, some one once said to me, that running a home office business, is all about paperwork, the  hidden amount of work that you need to do, just to remain in business, bank statements, invoices, collection of money, when I worked for some one, this was all hidden, as an almost sole trader, I have to do this, and it takes time,,, a lot of time. This excellent UK oriented site is a good start.

So there it is, my start to the week, and no CPD in sight yet, although as soon as I get round to my class notes to this week, it will start, it has been a long time since I used a total station, and I need to revise, plus a small project in Wales will need some research for piles and timber frame. My plan to get a CPD event in this month is being tried by other commitments, and a date I had set for the 28th Nov now need to be moved, so top priority is to make contact with the company to move it, if we can. The West Midlands CIAT region 5 want to hold a planning meeting and this, in my view is really important, so change I will.

So there it is, my week, and its not even started.

Architectural Technologist – Folded Architectural Drawings

A3 folded drawing to A4This interesting little article on Folded Architectural Drawings has appeared on the “Life of an Architect” site, ok it might not apply to much to us these days when we  send out our work on electronic pdf and very little paper, but when we do, then there is a way to fold paper drawings so the title block is in the right place, and it appies not just to large paper A0 or A1 drawings, it applies to A3, which in my practice ids the predominant size.

The picture today is of an A3 drawing folded back on its self to A4 size, with the top leaf folded back on its self, so that the title block is visible and not trapped in the binder, and can be opened without having to take it out. My title block is just the right width so as  always to be visible.

The CPD is not obvious, but its the presentation of work, badly folded drawings only frustrate the recipient, but correctly folded drawings title block can easily be seen, and when unfolded, can easily be folded back.

architectural Technologist – Things to do

I have tried almost every different system going, but I always seem to come back to two basic ways of creating and using my todo lists. first and foremost, I always keep a simple yellow post it note on my work table, I scribble to do list down as the day goes on, it's a work in progress, as I update and change it constantly, next and for anything long term, I use Evernote, I create a note, add a date to it and use it to keep links, aid memory items and what not.

I have tried to use the Apple reminders todo list, it works well, but it's just not me, my yellow post it nits just, well work.

I list almost everything, including things I want to research, as soon as I have sufficient notes, usually at the end of the day, I transfer it to Evernote, and expand the notes, I also add if required a date to complete by.


Architectural Technologist – Archoncad news letter

Once a week, Jon Pickup of Archoncad, sends out a rather good review of things he's done or taught over the week, this week I was reading through, and thought what a great week he had, the list is a throwback to some pretty basic stuff, but that so often is the best CPD, his back to basic series offers some dam good advice vi the Archoncad learn site! the videos are part of his Learn club and you have to be a member to read it, and watch the videos.

If your in Birmingham this week, there are several exhibitions on, I will be attending the timber expo at the NEC, on Tuesday, it's the industry major bash, with a lot of great products. I shall be there most of the morning into lunch, so if you see me, say hello.

I want to make more use of timber in my work, I think ash with all it's problems offers a great opportunity for us! as a cladding of detail material.

The photo today is of a small clump of mushrooms I saw whilst walking, absolutely nothing to do with CPD, other than observation, not walking blindly past something interesting, and not recording it for later use.

The real question is how do mushrooms manage to grow here on the side of the road.

Blogsy, my favourite blogging app, has a problem with the new OS for the iPad, it's not a big one, I seem to be getting a crash when I try to add a link to a work, hence the lack o links today, I send a note to the owner on Sunday, and got an immediate reply, asking for more detail, I sent this together with a couple of screen grabs, and got a nice thank you email, now that's dedication to your product.

As there are several ways to add links, I have just used the other, but Sunday and working,,,,,,,,

As for the new OS for my iPad, it took several hours to download last Thursday, and so far all is fine, I like the way it looks and works, and apart from blogsy, all my apps seems to behaving. It has forced on me the front screen login, something I was meaning to do, but never managed to get sorted, and I now get a lot of tweets and other notification on the opening screen, I have these down to what want now so overall I like the new OS, and as far as battery is consented, no change as far as I can see.


Architectural Technologist – Smart Architects email with Mac Mail

If your like me, I used to have a lot of specific folders to store project email in, but some times I wanted to see all mail on a specific subject, that not part of my folder system, enter Mac Mail smart folders.

I could make a rule but this would want to do something with the actual mail, the smart folder leaves the mail where it is but shows me the email in a special folder.

I like this so much, I have started to experiment with different rules to show say all emails connected to say CIAT, but only for POP meets. My personal and business mail hold 1000’s of emails, some locked away in a folder called “old”, so the use of the smart folder unlocks all these old emails.

The video below is an excellent tutorial for the concept, and one you might want to study and apply to your Mac mail.

Today's photo is a classic picture of a weeping willow ((Salix babylonica), situated next to a river, or large water source.



Architectural Technologist – Communication

I have a new job in, it's not a massive project, more it's a simple planning problem, the client erected a reasonable sized portacabin in their grounds on a more or less permanent basis, not realising that planning would be required. The planners now know about it and have sent their usual enforcement notice.

The client, is understandably is a little worried, so called my practice in to sort it out, a simple look at the letter and a chat with the planner concerned, was all it needed to calm the situation down and gain the time I need to get the required drawings done and into the planners for approval.

Had the client just left the situation, and sat on the letter hoping it would go away, things would have got really ugly, but communication was all that was required.

Same goes for me, as soon as I got the project, I began to fire of emails confirming appointment, and action taken, all the client had to do was read and acknowledge, communication again.

My first action before talking, was to check the site on Google maps, locate the site and the area, second, once the client had agreed, I purchased the local OS map and imported this into Vectorworks, traced the outline of the site and existing buildings, created a swift plan set of 1:500 & 1:1250 block plans and printed it of to PDF and sent this of the to planner to identify the site before we went any further, the communication was clear, we are in no way confused as to the building and the problem, communication.

Where is the CPD here, well not all CPD is about construction and detailing, so often it is about running a practice, the methods of business, for me communication is all important, I might be accused of sending to much information, but my client is now well aware of the progress I made is less than a couple of hours, and that what was a major problem is now diffused to a simple application and some time on my behalf prep airing the required plans and paperwork, all be it electronic.

Before I go, once again google street view helped in this little project, I still have not been to site, yet I was able to talk to the planners quite happily because street view showed the site from all angles, just excellent.

Today's picture is one I found on Zite, I show it just because I like the tree set used, and saved it, so I could reproduce the trees.