Jeff discusses one of the lesser known techniques of referencing.

Figure 1
One of the least known and used methods of referencing in the estimating process is based on a common delineation technique used by architects, engineers and interior designers--it is generally referred to as profiling.

The most common and simplest use of profiling occurs when there is a chance in elevation from one surface to another. Essentially, a profile is a vertical section imposed on a plan or elevation. In reality, a plan is a horizontal cross section of a floor/area typically cut just above the window sill. Profiles typically found on plans and elevations highlight contours, curves, setbacks, steps, pilasters, vaults, domes, etc.

I was always aware of profiling and its effective use on drawings but I used it as an information source--not as a referencing tool. It was not until I went into the plaster and EIFS business for two years in the early '90s that I discovered its effective use as a referencing technique for estimating. It is very common for plaster work--particularly ornamental plaster--to include curved surfaces, domes, vaults, coves, pilasters and niches. To highlight these conditions on the drawings, I noticed an increased use of profiling by the architects/interior designers for this trade's work. To indicate the presence of a cove around the perimeter of a room or a dome in the center, there would often be imposed on the RCP a profile showing the cove, flat ceiling and dome. I found this to be very helpful in understanding what was going on without having to refer to sections and or elevations to understand the complexities of the ceiling work.

Figure 2

A picture is worth a thousand words

Though it was and is more prevalent in ornamental plaster work than in drywall, the designer did not always include a profile. I found that to fully understand an RCP, I was superimposing a profile on the plan myself in many instances if it was not previously indicated. Above is an example of an RCP for a room without and with a profile. The room has a perimeter cove and center dome.

The RCP with a profile is much more informative and easily understood. Useful as profiling was for the plaster trade, I found profiling to be especially useful and necessary for performing quantity surveys for EIFS. With EIFS, one is dependent on the building elevations to define the scope of the work and determine quantities. This requires coordination with floor plans and sections. The building elevations are the main source for determining quantities that include surface area of EIFS, reveals, cornices, bands, rustication, color, material and system changes. Profiling the building elevations to define such conditions proved extremely helpful for the purpose of color coding and determining quantities accurately.

The example of profiling to the side shows a building's footprint (plan) and accompanying exterior building elevations (figure 1).

This example graphically illustrates the profile's effectiveness. The front/rear ("A") elevations have a protrusion in the middle of the elevation(s). The side(s) ("B") have a recess in the middle of the elevation(s). The building's footprint confirms this. Without the superimposed profile, you would have to refer to the footprint to know this. With the profile, it's a no-brainer.

As a further measure, I will superimpose the profile on each elevation to scale on the elevation. This eliminates the need to measure off of the plan to determine quantities. With the depth and height of the protrusion and/or recess indicated on the elevation(s), I simply distinguish them as separate quantities determinable from the elevation(s).

Profiles are effective wherever there is a change in elevation or height between surfaces. Currently, I am working on a project inclusive of a lecture hall with tiered seating. To understand the height changes--which affect the light-gauge framing that supports it--I superimposed a profile (to scale) of the height changes between tiers on the floor plan. I used sections and elevations to determine these height changes and coordinated it with the plan. I use profiles whenever I need to understand the two-dimensional plan in three-dimensional terms quickly and easily. Profiles give the lines on the paper enhanced meaning and depth of understanding. Using them effectively makes the estimator's task easier and more efficient. Like other forms of referencing, it requires an investment in time on one's part but pays back immediately.