Talk to any architect or property owner and they’ll tell you that getting a building permit and maneuvering through the San Francisco Planning Department is no small feat. The codes are stringent and the requirements for construction plans and drawings are specific.
To speed up the permit process it helps to have someone with experience on your side. Riyad Ghannam with RG-architecture has built a reputation for understanding just what the San Francisco Planning Department demands in order to issue a building permit and get approval on a project.
“The planning process in San Francisco is so long right now,” says Ghannam. “In order to expedite the process, we start mapping out a building immediately using ArchiCAD. We look at yield, occupancy, open space, exposure and many other parameters early on. Because of the power of ArchiCAD we’ve been able to translate this work into a digital design that we get a lot of mileage from.”
While Ghannam and his team have helped get several projects through the planning process, one he is most proud of is 685 Florida Street, a Passive House multi-family building currently under construction in San Francisco. “Making a building energy-efficient adds a level of complexity and requires the study of a wider variety of design and material options,” says Ghannam. Not only this, designers must also ensure that the exterior of the building looks attractive whilst also being secure. Some construction projects like to make use of companies, similar to the Industrial door company, to install glass doors for them. There are many parts that need to be considered when planning out a building like this, the exterior is one of many things that will need to be thought about, especially because this building aims to be as energy-efficient as possible.
In order to facilitate the decision-making and approval process on the Florida Street project RG-architecture created a wide variety of 3D models and renderings in ArchiCAD and Artlantis. These were used to determine such things as how the building should be positioned on the site, the appropriate location for the windows to achieve the maximum cross-ventilation, and the types of shading required to keep the building occupants comfortable.
Once the informed decisions were made, RG-architecture was able to easily modify the construction documents that had been simultaneously developed with the model, to meet the planning needs of the city. Ghannam finds that many of their clients come back to them for their next project because they value how they visually communicate their designs as well as their ability to work with the San Francisco Planning Department.
RG-Architecture is a full service architecture firm specializing in contemporary design, sustainable practices, permit processing and 3d visualizations.