Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How to Pass the NCIDQ: Part 8

This will be final post on this series, well sorta (if you have questions, I'll post a questions/answer post, and then there will be a wrap-up post). I hope for those of you to whom this pertains to, it has been helpful. Today, I'm addressing the portion of the test that designers get the most nervous about, including myself.

The practicum.

This third portion of the exam, often offered traditional before the other exams (calendar wise), is actually the easiest of the entire exam! Really. This exam focuses on your hand drafting skills, but more than that it's about following the rules. Each sheet has clearly explained what you need to do to complete a passing drawing. Follow these, and you're good to go.

Though it is the easiest part of the exam it does take a lot of time to practice and prepare for. I highly recommend taking one of the NCIDQ practicum prep classes. The one offered in Oklahoma City is amazing! The teacher will help you to focus on the instructions best and really learn to manage your time. Today, I'm simply laying out the important things I wanted to not forget for each sheet of the practicum.

Everything you need to take this exam is given in the instructions, you are even given codes. Take your time, watch your time, and get your action plan in'll be fine.

General Notes
-Rip off trash paper prior to test day
-Pack a lunch with food that will energize you for the second portion of the test
-Go outside, if possible, on your lunch break and breathe in fresh air, take a walk
-When you hit a mind block, just breath and take a pause
-Write the start time at the top of your exam, bring a small digital clock(and silent it), just to keep yourself on time track
-Use highlighters ( key points= yellow, finished requirements=blue, electrical=orange, plumbing=aqua, ada=red)
-REMEMBER DimLabelGram aka use the last 10-15 minutes to check your dimensions/clearances, labeling of all items, programming has been completely met
-Write your control number on every sheet first thing

Space Planning
- Make sure you meet the required accessible mill-work & required standard in rooms
-Minimize the corridors you create
-Minimize the doors. Unless it states areas need to be private/secure, you don't need doors.
-Trench and fixtures like toilets must be on, but sinks don't but do have to be on a wall that is either on the trench or directly perpendicular to it
-Toilets and shower drains MUST be on the trench
-The ADA restroom: opposite of the door wall should be the plumbing wall for perfect clearances.
- An accessible rod should be at 44"AFF (note this)
-Don't forget to make clearance note sin front of the access panel
-Duplexes go every 12' in rooms outside of the kitchen
-In the kitchen, duplexes go every 4'
-Note which areas should be accessible and worry about them first
-Look for closet requirements, and don't forget them.
-Label major appliances correctly with correct electrical labels
-Note: use junction boxes for workstations, etc and use 240V for electrical dryers/printers, etc
-NO dead end corridors

-Take an hour for this
-Determine the wattage first and always round down (take the area and divide by the given energy amount [usually 1.5]- this gives you the amount of wattage you should be allowed)
-At the end of the lighting decisions: add the wattage and divide by the given area
-DLV is a dimmer low voltage and should be used for single fixtures ONLY
-Don't dim the LEDs
-Lighting types: task, ambient, wall washing, display
-Sconces, you must note the mounting heights
-Switch same types of light fixtures together only
-Make a list of all lighting rationals, and try to memorize them
-It helps if you write the criteria out
-Dash switching lines, read directions
-Anything that has a really high wattage, cross out and don't use
-Dimension lights when asked

-use your grid lines (print off grid paper prior to exam day, you're allowed to bring this with you)
-Write each space on a chart for yourself on the trash or post-its (and don't forget this and ANY notes you take during the exam must go in the exam folder at the end of the day)
- Helpful idea: determine the sq. footage of a grid line box and then half that, this will help you determine where to put spaces according to sq. footage
-Recessed door should take 15 sq. ft., 5' wide and 3' deep.
- Travel distance= farthest path of travel within existing suite + common path of travel to each stair
-Pay attention to dead end corridors, avoid them
-You MUST meet the square footage requirement, going over is okay
-Must dimension the clear space on the doors when not obvious
-Common path of travel shouldn't exceed 75'
-Must show your calculations in the notes area
-Occupation load= 50 then you need 2 exits and use the 1/3 rule
-Show 5' turnaround even in areas already drawn for you
Walls only go on mullions

Life Safety
-Exit Signs: all exit signs with directional indicators where direction is not apparent, each door providing access to area refuge requires an exit sign, required at all doors opening to corridor/passageways, at all exist stairs & in, note hung height: 6'8"-7'6" AFF
-Audio Visual in: RR, corridors/halls, lobbies, assemblies
-Smoke Detectors in: ea. room, corridor, storage, lobby, RR
-Fire extinguishers go every 75' and 1 per every 3000 sq. ft.
-Conference double doors should be lever set with dummy flush bolts
-Don't forget a fire a extinguisher in the elevator lobby
-Unless directions indicate acoustic needs, it's NOT needed
-Make sure the AV signal points into the room
-Use directional arrow exit signs anywhere not above the doors
-Storage areas over 100 sq. ft requires a fire protection enclosure
-Keep consistent, same  door type for all single doors with exception one double door
-Acoustic means to the deck
-All door frames should probably be HM or AL
-Emergency lights arranged along the path of egress
- Fire rated wall: corridor, demising wall, assembly space
-Fire rated door: 20min, metal frame, solid core, closer
-Learn door schedule from NCIDQ diaries blog

-Standard urinals should be 32" on center, but 18" onc center of urinal and partition is best
-NOTE sight lines
-Don't forget to dimension length and width of stalls, center lines of stalls/walls
-Don't forget to tag all fixtures
-Don't forget to draw 5' circle and 30x48 clearances
-Memorize chart from NCIDQ diaries blog
-Remember ADA stalls, doors swing out
-Mention cementitious backer board!
-Note pipe protection & clearance space

Systems Integration
-Take half an hour for this
-Stick to 84" on all lighting pendants
-COMPLIANT not creative is key
-Do conflicts near each other first, instead of numerical order
-Use directional (n,s,w,e) in your solutions
-Use words like interferes or conflicts 
-Pay attention to ceiling heights
-Note: there could be plumbing issues, thought not often, it is still a MEP plan (mechanical, electrical, plumbing)
-Think vertically
-You can't run a duc at the same height of the ceiling
-Thermostats cannot be on glass and must be accessible
-Sprinklers cannot be located any closer than 18" from the wall
-Wall sconces should be 4" deep and 80-84" AFF
-Make a list of possible conflicts/solutions to familiarize yourself

-30-34" to counter area
-27" clearance for knees
-18" depth for pulling underneath
-9" high toe kick
-7" apron
- 3" depth under apron
-6" depth at toe kick
-Open shelf above, 12" above counter for ADA
-Upper cabinetry 44" AFF
-Locate sink on hot & cold pipes where faucet will be
-Outlets are located anywhere from 15-44" AFF, 38" is safe
-Section marker, don't forget it
-GFI outlets are necessary when 36" within water
-Generally half of the unit should be standard and half ADA
-DIMENSION, dimension, dimension (your may have drawn it wrong, but write what it should be and you're fine)
-Think like a builder, notes are key
-Don't forget blocking in studs on your section
-practice, practice, practice the same test questions over and over again

The key to the practicum is following the instructions, reading, and practicing!
Practice makes perfect.

Got questions? Submit them here anonymously! 

How to Pass the NCIDQ previous posts:

Monday, December 15, 2014


Well Taylor, Swift of course, and I are both 25 now. Our birthdays are like a week apart, random fact. She celebrated hers on stage, or something like that, and I celebrated mine at home with my husband and best friend, baking a cake and unfortunately watching the Sooners almost win a game to the cowboys.

Kevin and I also decorated the home for Christmas right before my birthday. Traditionally, growing up, my family didn't purchase the tree until after my mom and I's birthday, happy belated birthday to my mom too. So this year, putting decorations up before thanksgiving and getting the tree up right after was a BIG deal, but totally awesome too.

Christmas looks good in our home. The lights on the tree warming the room, the cards of family and friends gracing the kitchen cabinets, the nativity displaying the humility of the KING of the world being born in a manger... I love the joy of Christmas.

Yesterday was our church's big Christmas show, it actually ran all weekend, and our pastor talked heavily on joy. Joy is intimately knowing the Lord. Joy is being in relation with the God of the universe. Joy is being in His presence, doing His commands, and being consumed by Him. Christmas reminds us of that joy. Christmas reminds you that no matter the difficulties, God brings joy. Because joy isn't happyness, it's being in relationship with Jesus who came to the earth as a babe, slept on hay in a manger, grew as a child, suffered verbal and physical abuse as a man and died selflessly on a cross. Dying to be the ultimate and sweetest sacrifice. THE sacrifice for all mankind. And Christmas, Christmas is where it all began. Sweet, precious, joy!

If you're looking for an advent study, join many of us ladies studying with SheReadsTruth.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Feed Oklahoma

Not so long ago, Bekah organized a beautiful effort for bloggers to give back to their communities through #Givethanksgiveback 

Holly and I signed up to the representatives from Oklahoma. We chose to volunteer at the Food Bank, where fellow blogger Shae works! She gave us some great information and we signed up for the first Saturday in November. We were hoping for more bloggers to join us but I think we were a little disorganized this time. Holly and I had a wonderful time and we, along with Shae, look forward to putting together more opportunities to serve through the Food Bank as blogger friends in the future.

Holly and I were put in the bread area. We inspected donated bread packages for mold/ect, and filtered it to the boxers who were responsible for packaging up a variety of breads, white/wheat/sweet,  for families. We had a blast!

That Saturday we helped package 723 boxes, the equivalent of 11,933 pounds or 9,960 meals!!!

Shae gave us information for another great opportunity the Oklahoma Food Bank is working towards. Check it out:

Million Dollar Match! 

Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the Cresap Family Foundation are doubling efforts to feed hungry children in Oklahoma by offering a matching challenge to our donors this holiday season. Starting November 15th, every dollar given to fight childhood hunger will be matched, up to $1,000,000. One in four children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger every day. This matching challenge will help us provide 10 million meals for chronically hungry children! The link is

So get out there and be a #hungerhero !!!

Additional information about the food bank can be found at and of course the link to sign up  any day is

Have you volunteered at your local food bank?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Pass the NCIDQ: Part 7

Math was never my strong subject. Honestly, I had a math tutor all the way through middle school, then post that I utilized friends as tutors. Math + Me = No

So it's no surprise that I ended up in a more creative field with less concentration on numbers. However, as many of you know, there's still plenty of math and calculations in interior design. For me, I have to write those equations out very clearly and practice them until they become second nature.

In the binder I created for the NCIDQ, I had a special section up front tabbed off for calculations. Each page contained a different section of calculations. Even if math is your thing, I recommend making sure you have a clear understanding of all the calculations you might want to know as you take the exam. I just started writing them down as I read through the chapters of the study book and then put them all together in a nice and simple format.

For both the IDPX and the IDFX, there are questions asking you either to do the equation and choose the answer, and there are questions asking how you would go about calculating different items. So, do you need to memorize all of these? no. But do you need to be familiar with them? yes, absolutely. (for example, the equations used for draper use a lot of terms, know the book definition of these terms). Know what you would need to have for each question, and practice each equation at least once right before you take the exam.

The ones you MUST memorize are:
-The run of the stair
-The three relating to lease/rent spaces

Others to review:
-Wallpaper: rolls needed to wallpaper a space
-Vinyl Wallcovering: yards need to wallcover a space

In my ideal blogging world, I would have made a graphic for each of these but in reality those took much longer than I expected and so I only did the most important ones.

Coming up next is all about taking the practicum! Have any specific questions about that part of the NCIDQ? Let me know and I'll do my best to help.

Got questions? Submit them here anonymously! 

How to Pass the NCIDQ previous posts:

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Night in Austin

It's my birthday eve!!! I'm still one of those I-love-my-birthday kind of girls. To be fair, I also love celebrating others' birthdays. And I share my birthday with my mom! So my birthday is also her birthday and thus it's our birthday! In other words, December 6th is the best day and it's tomorrow.

I thought I'd share some pictures and recap a little bit about a special trip I got to take last month. One of our product reps invited myself and my sweet coworker,  and others, out to a factory tour of Wilsonart down in Austin,  or just outside of it. Touring a plastic laminate company may not be your cup of tea but for me, it was amazing! #interiordesignerthings

In my previous position, I wasn't allowed to accept gifts like this and so getting to attend was really such a blessing! I have days when I miss my old job but the Lord knew that where I am now was going to be a place of learning and new experiences. I can't believe it's been over a year now that I've been here. Thank you Lord.

Wilsonart flew us out to Austin, with a stop to change planes in Dallas and we saw the Cowboys stadium from the plane, and gave us a the full tour of their factory, the history of the company, and a session with one of the lead designers for the patterns, which was so cool, and we even got to see Mr. Wilson's house, which was laminate extravaganza. The final night we spent in Austin. My coworker and I chose to take a brisk walk to the Capitol before a really fabulous meal. Then as a group we set out to experience a little bit of 6th street, which I'll have to admit was not exactly my cup of tea though fun to experience at least once in life.

I loved learning about Wilsonart but I truly cherished the time I had with my coworker. We had such a sweet time bonding, sharing stories, and chatting about just everything. I'm so thankful to have such a lovely friend and fellow sister in Christ, in my office, Again, thank you Lord.

 the bed and breakfast we stayed in for the first night

 one of the original sample boxes

 Had to take this classic Austin picture.

What are you up to this weekend?
Ever been to Austin? I want to go back and take Kevin!

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