To get to the stage where we had our final concept, we played around with our options online. Through a blog I read I learnt of the free tool FloorPlanner. I'm warning you now that this thing is totally addictive- just ask my big bro and his wife ;).
The web based tool is super easy to use, and with the 2D and 3D options we were able to really "see" what the effects of removing the wall from the new kitchen would accomplish.
As the tool is to scale, I was able to use large printouts of the drawings as the official plans for the City, saving us hundreds in architect/design fees, woop woop!!
Another benefit of doing the plans for the City, is that we needed to do plans for the upstairs as well (we need to prove our suite will be less than 50% of our houses square footage).
So, here's a peek at our upstairs floorplan
And the official plans for our lower renovation- including the location of the 3 required parking spaces and fire separation line separating the suite space from our space downstairs.
What were my learning's from doing and submitting the plans myself?
- Plans must be 4ft:1inch scale- I added little 4ft markers on each plan to ensure they were blown up correctly (not just a pretty face eh!)
- The walls should not be black- the planners were not keen on this as it was hard to see the line for the fire separation
- Get the plans printed up in advance- getting the quality high enough to print on such a large scale was a bit tough with the free version of Floorplanner, and I ended up down to the wire
- Be prepared to go one or two time to get the plans reviewed, as a DIY-er there are lots of rules and requirements that I was unaware of
It was not the easiest of challenges that I set myself, but the money we were able to save, and the participation in the discussions with the planners and inspectors was invaluable, so next time I'd to it again. Hanging them on the wall and seeing the impressed look on our contractors face at their professionalism was also a nice bonus!