Site Plans and Drawings - Wally Westbrook Designs Really Delivered The Goods

August 30, 2010 - Work on the Creative Co-op building continues at a brisk pace.  Last week we reached a significant milestone on the project - We completed the technical plans and drawings for the building and our project Engineer - Ron Saikowski - signed off on the drawings.  Wally Westbrook the President of Wally Westbrook Designs, was there for us every step of the way.  For those who have not gone through the process, I will share with you what we learned.  This phase of the project took way longer than I anticipated - but hopefully, all that hard work will allow our plans to go through the permitting process without too many changes or delays.

Turns out, that a set of engineering documents for a commercial building these days is far more complex than the documents submitted just 11 years ago for the building we are in.  Changes in local and national codes, zoning regulations, accessibility requirements, fire regulations, and choices of materials are not as simple as they once were.  We actually locked down the basic design of the building back in April of this year.  Using Google's Sketchup, we were able to try a number of different concepts (over 35) before settling on our current design. Our architects used the design to draw a set of basic architectural plans, which were printed on paper measuring 36" x 24" (standard size for construction drawings).  It was VERY exciting to see these plans in a print format. 

We shared the plans with Mike Huffine and Brian Falcon, the owners at Silver Rock Productions, who had expressed interest in occupying over 50% of the Creative Co-op. They poured over the documents and came back with several ideas which we then incorporated into the plans. Silver Rock also helped us design the green screen video production studio to insure we had the proper layout, power and lighting for the room.

Sebastian Andrade our lead 3D Artist and Animator is an expert at using Sketch-up, but is new to the construction process. He could convert the ideas for the building into 3D drawings, but we needed someone with a great deal of building experience to help us with the formal plans that would be reviewed by our engineer and a variety of permitting officials. I first learned about Wally Westbrook over 30 years ago when we moved to The Woodlands.  At the time, he was one of the premier builders of estate homes in the area.  After a debilitating stroke in the 1990s's Wally turned to designing residential and commercial buildings.  Wally would be the one that would take us the rest of the way.

Construction drawings are not inexpensive, but Wally said he would work with us, and sure enough, he did.  Wally needed a web site, some architectural and interior photography to show off his designs, and a video to explain his services to prospective clients.  We struck a deal, and worked with Wally for several weeks visiting job sites, and shooting homes he designed. Many of these homes are simply awesome in both size and the attention to even the smallest detail.  One thing that came through with each visit was the delight by the homeowner in how well Wally took their wishes and desires into account, and the results of all this hard work.  He was good friends with each of these folks, and that is about the best testimonial at the end of a big project.  You can see some of his work in the photos to the right, or visit his web site to see more.