PDD second fail - looking for advice on preparation strategy



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    Artem Melikyan

    Dear community members, can someone share their thoughts on the above?

    Thank you,

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    David Kaplan


    I have two questions for you and maybe I can help redirect your efforts, because the resources you've listed above seem like all good resources and are more or less in line with what I used:

    1) How much work experience do you have going into this test, particularly dealing with the full development of a set of construction documents and specs?

    2) Now that you've taken this test twice, what questions or types of questions stand out to you as "not falling in line with your studying?"  Do you find yourself getting tripped up by question that ask about pieces/parts of a wall section?  Cost estimating?  Code? 


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    Artem Melikyan (Edited )



    Thank you for your reply.

    You will be surprised, but I have 6 years of experience overseas and 7 years in the US. Although I've spent more

    time on the design side of the process than on the technical, I put together a set with my team many times too.

    I have drawn a certain number of details for several projects and never wrote specs but worked with them for CA a couple of times. As a designer I have always supported the technical production but never really driven it.

    Unfortunately there was a very long break between attempts so I only remember some of where I had more doubts in the recent round:

    1. I'm very slow to navigate through case studies. I seem always to run out of time and not be able to quickly find the right info. Even when I just need to find all the drawings that show a particular element. This is a speed issue. I always find what I need in the set in my real work but not very quickly and I'm not under such pressure.

    Case studies are clearly my weakest part right now as I think i never done them satisfactorily. I had to click random answers in the last 10 questions at least - because of time.

    2. Clearly calcs on building economy and budget comparison took a lot of time. Comparing how much a particular construction system might cost or whether its cheaper than the other one with certain givens. I was just not calculating quickly enough. Not even sure how to speed that up - I guess that's just my speed of calculation. I wish there were more questions on knowledge and less on calcs, and on speed of finding info in references.

    3. Also in the Handbook there is a question where you need to match a partition type (section) or a partition detail to partitions in a floor plan. That has to do either with a fire separation or acoustical separation. For some conditions the rational seemed very clear ... how to separate, but for others not so much. Like I could identify the rational for 2 or 3 out of 5 conditions. The Handbook says Architectural Graphic Standards would be a source to learn more about this issue, but I have not found it there.

    4. However many times I read the code and BCI book I still have trouble understanding some of fire separation requirements when given a plan of a floor of a building, especially multi-purpose. I feel I need to read commentary in all fire chapters of IBC-2015

    These are my thoughts.

    I'm thinking to try PPD now. What would you add to the references I listed in the initial post for PPD? 

    I think in addition to that list I would review again Site Planning Handbook by T.Russ and Sustainable construction by Kilbert.

    I'm hoping to rely on Ballast for building systems because the book by T. Grondzik is just overwhelming.

    Also Graphic standards never really helped me because of the lack of the categorization system in the book which makes things very hard to remember.

    These are my thoughts. Appreciate your feedback.



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