Space planning is probably the most challenging drawing of the NCIDQ Exam to complete in the given time.
It’s worth 23%, more than any of the other exercises.
Your grade for this exercise has nothing to do with how the space looks. Learn to create a simple, practical, workable design solution. This should meet the programming requirements and meet the NCIDQ Building Codes. It’s not about “design”.
This exercise could be residential or commercial, so be sure to practice both!
Qpractice recommends using the most current drawings available in both residential and commercial PDPs. Be sure to get one of each.
Need extra practice and want solutions ready to go? Use the NCIDQ Interior Design Practicum Practice Exam.
NCIDQ recommends you spend three hours on this exercise. Time yourself and see how much you are able to do in 3 hours.
Practice until you can comfortably complete the drawing in less time, expect to do this exercise 3 – 5 times before you’re comfortable with it. Even if you already know the solution, redraw one of your practice exams within the given time.
Just the simple act of drawing the same elements over and over (even when you know the solution) will help you get faster.#NCIDQ Space planning is difficult before it's ever easy – get the real strategy Click To Tweet
Follow these steps to complete the space planning problem:
- Familiarize yourself with the floor plan and project description, as well as any physical building constraints.
- Add up the minimum square footage of all required spaces. Compare this to the total building square footage; this will let you know how tight your spaces are. Many people skip this step, and have trouble later on, this only take a few minutes.
- Block out your spaces – use the space planning method that works for you:
How to Block Out Space – 2 Ways
- Use tracing paper to create a quick bubble diagram of the needed spaces per the program. Plan according to plumbing requirements, including required adjacencies. Be sure your design solution meets all NCIDQ Building Codes. Once you have this, then slide your trace paper under your vellum so you can easily transfer to your drawing sheet.
- Many Qpractice members find that the sticky note method is very effective for blocking out space directly on the vellum floor plan. This saves time – you don’t have to transfer from tracing paper.
What To Do Next
- Locate/Add the second means of egress. Be sure it is far enough away from the main exit to meet code. Also, be sure the door swings out. Note: The secondary means of egress is already provided for you on current practicum practice problems. Be aware of this for older practice problems.
- Next, draw your spaces directly on the plan, working quickly. Don’t worry about line weight or being super neat, but you do have to draw to scale.
- Draw in all plumbing requirements including any plumbing trench extension. Label the length of the extension, and dimension the distance from the trench of any plumbing on a wall connected to the trench. Make it easy for the graders. Make sure all the plumbing works for all needed areas.
- Complete the restroom/bath and breakroom/kitchen areas placing furniture and fixtures as required per the program.
- Label all accessible heights and clearances in bath and kitchen. Remember to allow for and label clear space on the pull and push side of all doors.
- Draw all furniture and equipment in each remaining space.
- Draw the required power/voice/data requirements. Note height on any non-standard height, accessible, and above counter receptacles. Don’t forget to label GFCI receptacles. Do NOT place electrical symbols in other spaces not required in the program, this only wastes time, and you may make a mistake.
- Dimension ALL corridors. Use and label a dashed 60” diameter turning radius in all accessible areas and at every change in direction in the corridor.
- Label the 30 x 48″ clear floor space as required for ALL accessible spaces per the program requirements, and always in the accessible restroom and kitchen/breakroom.
- Label each space by name on the plan AND note the square footage of each space. Why do this last? You don’t want to label before you put in all the furniture and requirements
Practice Both Residential and Commercial Drawings
- Practice drawing this problem in both residential and commercial versions until you can easily complete it in less than 3 hours. Try to do several of each before the full day NCIDQ practice exam in your last week of practice.
- If a commercial project, make sure doors to each space swing into the space and that you left proper clear space on the push and pull side of each door.
- Avoid dead-end corridors – no longer than 20′ – 0″.
So start using them. The more you practice this over and over, the more it will become “automatic”.