Show Accent Colors on Exterior Elevations

Figure 3.2 shows the elevation view of the front exterior of a particular house, including the color scheme accent colors.

In this particular case, the elevation drawings from the building plans were reduced down to 11×17 inches, and each wall area was color coded and labeled a particular paint color.

These color-scheme elevation drawings can be done by the architect, builder, city or county art committee, or as in this case, a professional color design consultant.

An elevation view of each exterior side of the structure typically shows only the flat surfaces facing the viewer.  The wall surfaces perpendicular to the viewer, such as the pop-outs around the windows and the garage door in this example, can only be illustrated as vertical or horizontal lines in the two-dimensional view.

Because a line on a drawing is not thick enough to be cross-hatched or color-coded to indicate a particular accent paint color, these areas are sometimes misses on color scheme drawings for new housing projects.  Without identifying the specific paint color for every wall surface, the painter must then guess whether a particular accent paint color stops at and outside corner or continues around to the un-shown inside corner (being the same line in elevation view).

The painter rather than the architect or the color consultant must then make numerous small “judgment calls” regarding exterior painting…and each decision also then becomes a matter of time expediency that cannot wait for a field visit from designers for a definitive answer.

Wall surfaces that are perpendicular to the elevation view can have their accent colors called out using arrow-lines, or can be illustrated using three-dimensional sketches of the areas in question as shown in Fig. 3.1.

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Conserve Time at the Beginning of a Project

            Builders should plan, schedule, and monitor the design phase of a project with the same doggedness and attention to detail they display when it comes time for the actual construction.

It always annoyed me as a jobsite superintendent that development company owners and managers casually waste weeks or months during the design phase…procrastinating over simple design decisions…then treat every hour on the schedule as if it were a matter of life and death once the construction started.

Equally disappointing is the sometimes total lack of preplanning involving modifications and color scheme decisions on the sales models.

I once worked on a project where the company owners would ask the painting contractor to paint two or three potential colors on the exterior stucco walls at various wainscot, banding, and pot-shelf areas.  Several people from the main office would then come out to the project and review the color samples on the exterior walls.  The following week the painter would paint two or three more sample colors on the walls, and the group from the main office would come out again and review the colors.

This activity went on for three or four weeks, with only two or three colors going up each time.  The main office group finally made a decision after five weeks.  The frustration from my perspective was that all the paint samples could have been painted on the walls at the first field visit…and a decision reached shortly thereafter.

With a little preplanning and foresight…the entire process could have been completed in a few days rather than five weeks.

On this same project, however, because of this and other indecisiveness on the part of the company’s owners and managers…the sales models construction schedule became so compressed that it degenerated into the typical frantic scramble to make the grand opening date.  My credibility and reputation as a jobsite superintendent were on the line within those last few weeks and days leading up to the sales models opening…but no one from the main office remembered the valuable weeks or months lost earlier during the design phase…because of poor time management.

When people say that time is money during construction…they should also remember to say that time is money during the design phase and the sales models construction phase.

Builders need to look at themselves, the architect, and the various design engineers in terms of manpower, milestones, and completion dates with the same scrutiny and self-discipline they look at field supervision and subcontractor performance during the construction.