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TACTICAL DIAGRAMMING Why it works. Three components of Tactical Diagramming. Skill Building practices and tactical diagramming practice. Art Personal intuition, imagination and ingenuity A technique —not a tactic! Procedures for performing specific tasks or functions. Science

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three components of tactical diagramming
Three components of Tactical Diagramming
  • Skill
    • Building practices andtactical diagramming practice
  • Art
  • Personal intuition, imaginationand ingenuity
  • A technique—not a tactic!
    • Procedures for performingspecific tasks or functions
  • Science
    • Planning and building codes
    • Terrain Analysis


building codes

Building Officials and Code Administrators



  • Three "national" building codes
    • Originally instituted for fire prevention and escape
    • Model codes rather than regulatory but usually adopted locally as requirements
  • Local zoning ordinances


reverse engineering
Reverse Engineering
  • Mentally disassembling a house to visualize the interior
    • Knowledge of building code requirements helpful but not essential
    • Familiarization with building practices is largely already available
  • Personal experiences and observations
    • Especially useful for police and military
    • All buildings are built for a purpose and many are altered to suit particular uses


building practices
Building Practices
  • Driven by economicand aesthetic factors
    • Size and shape of houseand organization of rooms
    • Expense of installationand cost of materials
    • Cultural conventions
    • Enables mass produced goods and components
      • Examples include window coverings, hardware, cabinets, furniture, plumbing fixtures, and so forth
      • Some have been incorporated into local ordinances
  • Just as influential as regulations
    • Tend to be universal rather than regional


building principles
Building Principles
  • Four elements that must be controlled
    • Fire, Wind, Water, Gravity
  • Use of building will strongly influence construction
  • Buildings are hollow
    • Limitations on span by materials and expense
    • Nearly all residences in America are "stick framing"
    • Interior walls are used for intermediate support
      • Bearing walls are more predictable than partitions


coup d oiel
Coup d\'oiel
  • French—"The vision behind the eye"
  • English translation—perceptive insight
    • An ability to "see" on the other side of the hill or inside a house
  • Part artandpart science


helpful hints
Helpful Hints
  • Work from large to small
    • Start with orientation
    • Next go to building outline
    • Diagram floor plan last
  • Work from confidence to ambiguity
    • Sketch in as many features that can be reliably placed and sized first
  • Compare
    • What you know or believe to what you see
    • Be suspicious—explain incongruities
    • Don\'t be afraid of "I don\'t know!"


residential trivia
Residential Trivia
  • Size of house ~2,450 square feet (median)
    • Typical three-bedroom in Southwest USA is about 1,400 sq. ft.
  • 80% built since 1920
  • About 2/3 will have an attached garage or carport
  • Almost half will have a separate dining room
  • More than 2/3 are occupied by the owner
  • More than 3/4 are single-family structures
  • Approximately 90 million homes in USA
    • Each has more in common with the others than differences


frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why focus on residences?
    • Most common target for warrants
    • Public buildings provide far easier access to gain info
  • How long does it take?
    • Varies with amount of desired detail and complexity of building
    • Generally, figure 60-90 minutes for most applications
  • How accurate can a diagram be?
    • Depending on resource photos, as close as six inches for a room and a foot for a building
    • Features can be precise!
      • Many features, like doors and windows, can be estimated within one inch


useful tools
Useful Tools
  • ¼ʺ graph paper
    • Good scale for nearly all diagrams
  • Mechanical pencil with HB lead
    • Soft lead with dark lines but easily erased
  • Compass or dividers
      • Easy and accurate transfers of scale
  • Gum eraser, especially pen style
  • Computer software
    • By far, the easiest and simplest method for diagramming
      • Some are automatically defaulted for sizes and codes
      • Provide instant 3D versions, including walk-throughs
    • Sketchup—free version from Google
    • Chief Architect—Better Homes and Gardens
    • Punch Pro—Punch Software, less than $100


useful books
Useful Books
  • Look for illustrations aswell as narrative
  • Comprehensive overview is better than detailed information
  • You don’t need to read them, you’ll use them for reference and precision


tactical diagramming book
Tactical Diagramming Book
  • Used as text for this course
  • Written from a tactical perspective rather thana builder’s
  • Heavily illustrated withexamples, graphics,photographs, etc.
  • Focused entirely on tacticaldiagramming