//This blog is updated in 2020//
Opening a new restaurant? Renovating your home? In either case, you would like to direct your attention to the most important part to maximize the opportunity: interior design, whether it is for branding, maximizing spatial use, or to provide a certain living atmosphere. Lucky for you, archiparti can do the job for you.
Once you have made your mind to undertake the upgrade, the very first thing you need to do is to have a measurement of your space. Site measurement is a crucial tool for the communication between you and your furniture fabricator, interior designer or contractor. It shows the relationship of space between rooms and the overall physical features, allowing important information flow. By providing a detailed numerical sketch, you get closer to a more customized and fitting design specific to your home.
Again, archiparti can do the measurement for you if you are using our service, but it is not difficult to do it on your own as well! If you decide to do it on your own, here is a step-by-step guide to DIY site measurement to ensure you do it correctly.
Do I Need a Floor Plan?
The floor plan is at the heart of DIY site measurement because it is a reliable source for a DIY measurer like you. To begin any projects, the floor plan is a basic reference. Referring to a floor plan, you can make sure that you have gone through every sides and corner of your space and that you have done it accurately. It is best if you already have the floor plan with you from the landlord or from ex-tenant, but there may be cases where you have to find or even create & design your own floor plan. You don’t have to be afraid! Here we will introduce two easy ways you can have a decent floor plan in your hands.
1. Search on the Internet
This may sound too conventional, but classics are classics for a reason. Search the internet. It is where mass information is stored and most likely the floor plan you are looking for is online. A good tip is to search through real estate links. Many websites of real estate companies provide floor plans for free in their listings. Home buyers look through many floor plans to get a general sense of the apartment, so there is a high possibility that your exact homes floor plan is also already available. The one we recommend is that of Centaline Property Agency (www1.centadata.com) for it provides extensive information.
Or an even simpler way is to search “[Name of Your Space] + [Floor #] + [Unit #] + [Floor Plan].” For example, if you live in The Belcher’s, you can type “The Belcher’s Tower 6 11th floor plan.” Click the search result links, or simply go to the image tab and save the blueprint.
Type some words, click a couple of times, and voilà, there is your floor plan! Just be careful to double-check that you found the correct one especially if you are unfamiliar with looking and dealing with floor plans because the Internet often shows too much information and floor plans can look similar to the untrained eye. So make sure you double check to save the confusion you will face later when you are doing the measurements.
2.Use programs or applications
If you cannot find the necessary floor plan from a quick search, you may need to create one on your own. MagicPlan is a free, handy application that helps you draw a floor plan by taking few photos from your cell phone.
When you are making your own floor plan, the degree of accuracy depends on the purpose of why you need the floor plan. For fitting in furniture, the error should be less than 5mm, and you need to see if any wall or floor is not straight or flat respectively. 5mm may not sound like a lot but anyone that has tried renovating a flat will know the pain of their furniture not fitting perfectly, leaving a gap between the wall and the back of the cabinet. Then suddenly 5mm seems so painfully huge and by then fixing the problem will be a much bigger deal than if you just took the measurements carefully in the first place. On the other hand, for communicating with an interior designer or contractor to demolish and rebuild your place, 5mm error is acceptable if the wall is to be kept. If the wall will be knocked down, the error doesn’t matter at all. Try to analyse the purpose and use for your floor plan and be cautious accordingly.
One last advice about floor plan: make sure that the floor plan is same with the existing area! It doesn’t have to be a piece of art nor detailed description, but needs to be clear, correct, and complete. Or else, your entire measurement might be misleading and confusing! Keep it simple and look at examples of other floor plans before you start as a guide. Making measurements around your flat might not seem the most fancy and fun things to do compared to choosing furniture and designing your dream house but the floor plan and these measurements are the foundation to a successful renovation that leads you one step closer to getting your dream home. So be patient and take those measurements carefully, making sure you make the margin of error as small as possible just to be safe.
3. Get help from the government
If you are residing in Hong Kong, you can refer to the HKSAR Government’s Buildings Department (http://www.bd.gov.hk/english/services/index_bic.html) for information on your apartment. Building Information Centre provides copying service for any private buildings. Via online, you can use the BRAVO System (https://bravo.bd.gov.hk/login.action). Keep in mind that it requires registration before you can use the service.
There is also an offline alternative. If you cannot use the online help or prefer the offline process, you can visit 13/F, Pioneer Centre, 750 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Their opening hours are from 9:00am to 5:00pm, from Monday to Friday. We recommend making an appointment for a more efficient use of time but they also accept walk-ins.
As for cost, the fee for inspection of an electronic record is $36 per file, copying the certified plan is $42, and the uncertified cost $24 per sheet.
2. Measure Heights
If you are ready with your floor plan, you can start measuring! There are a number of tools you can make use of, but we highly recommend using a steel tape measurer. Tape measures are produced in various lengths, from 3m to 10m, but if you are going to use it only at home 5m should be enough. If it is for a larger space like a restaurant or a bar, you might want to get a longer one such as 10m.
After you got your tape, begin with measuring the distance between the floor and the ceiling. An important tip: for an accurate measurement, stick the vertically folded metal hook of the tape to the floor. The hook can be very useful to make sure that you have correctly measured the shortest possible distance (the height) between the floor and the ceiling of your space.
Most of the times, a space has a uniform height, but the heights differ by sections (e.g. different heights for bathroom and bedroom)! In such cases, don’t forget to measure each and every one of them, and keep the record organized. Even if they seem to be the same height, double-check by measuring all rooms anyways.
Also, if a false ceiling is to be kept, measure the height of the false ceiling. If not, measure the height of the real ceiling, and measure setting off and dimensions of all area. It is important to distinguish the places where false ceilings are to be kept and those that uses the real ceiling height and record the heights precisely as otherwise your furniture may not be the correct height for the room.
3.Measure Lengths and Widths
As you have finished measuring the vertical stretch of your space, now you need to work on the horizontal part. This is not so different from measuring the height, but requires help from others because you cannot just put one end of the tape on the floor. Ask your friends to hold the other end of the tape for you for a more accurate measurement! Remember to keep it as straight as possible, you don’t want any diagonal measurements!
Remember to measure the maximum length and width first to enhance accuracy. If you begin with the longer sides of your space, it is easier for you to approximate the size of your space. Each measurement can be compared to an individual tree, while the general sense of size is like looking at the forest.
4. Measure Openings
We are reaching the end! When you are measuring your site to request an interior design, there is one thing you should never forget about – the openings. Pay attention to where your windows and doors are, because if you don’t, you might find your bed sitting right in front of your room’s door or you closet blocking the opening of your window. Meticulous measurement of windows, doors, and other gadgets that should not be hidden, for example, your fuse box, is the key to the interior design that fits your place.
Again, using a tape measure, check the width and length of the windows and openings. Then, measure the setting off from walls and floors. Next is to photo record all the framing pattern and conditions for reference. The last step is to take note of and measure complicated bay windows’ depth and size, as well as any other special features. This way, you can be assured that your designer will put the right size of the sofa at the right spot.
5. Measure Outdoor Area
Grab your gear, it’s time to go outside! The last step to DIY site measurement is checking the exterior of your space. You might ask, why does exterior have to do with interior design? It is not even my property whatsoever!
Yet, we say it is important to know the height and width of the entrances, maximum dimension capacity of the elevator, and the way from the parking lot to your space especially if there are turns and staircases. This is to make sure that your furniture can pass through and safely arrive at your space. Sometimes furniture that don’t fit in the elevator might need to be carried up stairs. It is important that you know it might affect the delivery fees.
Indeed, not only the space is to be designed but also the design process must be designed. Hence, never overlook the significance of outdoor measurement.
By now, you should have grasped an idea about DIY site measurement. Either search the internet and check for existing floorplans or measure them with appropriate tools yourself! Make sure you check off all measurements and don’t miss any details. The floorplan is the basis and start of the renovation process so it is crucial to do it right! The measurement will be handy not only for interior designs but also for moving, selling and renting the space. You can calculate the perimeter and the area of your space by referring to the measurements that you have already done!
So what are you doing here? Measure your space and start improving your space with stunning color & designs ideas.
Dana, archiparti blog contributor
archiparti empowers project owners and independent designers, by streamlining the process in the design and build industry. Benefit from personalized and professional design service, as well as on-site measurement service. To get a professional assistance on your project you can contact us & get free quotes.