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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

  • 3

    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