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.
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 place...you'll be fine.
-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
- 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
-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
-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)
-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
- 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: