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Conscious Living and Design by Amy Kunkle / Renovation  / Measure Your Own Home and Reduce the Cost of Your Renovation

Measure Your Own Home and Reduce the Cost of Your Renovation

I am doing a renovation on my own home right now, and along the way I’ll be adding tips and tricks to help you in your renovation. One of my biggest tips to reduce upfront costs is something the homeowner can do themselves (that you’d normally pay an architect for). That is doing As-Built Drawings. In this post I’ll be talking about doing those drawings, what to include and what not to do.

  • As-Built drawings are the drawings that have to be produced of your existing home.
  • Your architect will need them to get a building permit,
  • As-Built drawings show existing walls, stairs and windows and what is being demolished for your renovation

Take Your Own Measurements

When you are creating your own as-built drawings, I recommend starting with a single room or group of rooms – like the kitchen and family room that is adjacent. Focus on the area being renovated, but often times your entire house will be required to be shown. Here’s a sample of my quick family room measurements:

amy kunkle architect as-built drawings

With a piece of graph paper, measure each room within one-quarter of an inch (or as accurately as you can). This means for many of your rooms that they will be odd dimensions like 15′- 7 1/2″ or similar. The more precise your measurements are here, the better your whole floor plan will come together and will leave less room for guessing.

Go room by room, measure each room individually and then do some overall measurements if you have a long hallway or open floor plan. Where rooms can be measured from the east wall to the west wall, or the north wall to the south wall, take long overall measurements. This helps greatly when your architect is piecing your floor plan together electronically.

Do your best to measure your entire home. This will help with floors aligning from basement to the second story. The entire house plan is not often required for a building permit, however it is information that helps to inform the design process and could potentially reduce your schedule if this information is required at a later time.

Tip: A great addition to your as-built drawings is recording a video.  This will allow your architect to double-check or verify any questions that come up along the way.


Doing Exterior As-Builts

If your remodel is going to include any exterior changes, even just changing a window to a door, you will have to create an exterior elevation. This means a making a drawing or “picture” of the wall.

Note the location of the windows (height and width), doors and roof type. Label location and types of exterior finishes, where the basement wall may show, as much detail as possible. If you are planning to remove the entire wall, you don’t have to go into as much detail for this part. Creating basic exterior elevations for walls that are affected by your renovation can save time and money for you.kunkle reno amy kunkle architect home renovation

Tip: An easy way to create an exterior elevation is to take a photograph and print it out, then draw directly over the picture with the dimensions.

Don’t forget to make notes about changes that you would like to see, either on another graph paper or on your phone so you can email them to your architect. While you are going through your home in so much detail, you will think of things you wished you’d written down!

What Not To Do

Should you try and draw it on the computer with Microsoft Paint, or other program? No, the extra time and energy is just wasted. Your architect will have to transpose your drawings into AutoCAD or Revit anyway, and having a paper copy of your measurements is all they need.

Ultimately Saving YOU Money

You can save time and money by having these measurements done. The architect’s time will be limited to verification instead of doing all of this measuring as part of your design contract.


My home is about 2,600 SF and I am going to re-purpose some of the spaces (make them more usable for us), and add a small great room or four season porch. We will also be adding an in-ground swimming pool and new deck to our back yard. You’ll find all the photos here using the tag KunkleReno and at #kunklereno on instagram.

Amy Kunkle

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