Design Illustrations and Cost Estimates

These illustrations provide the process from the introduction and possible use of Omni Block for your home or commercial project. Omni Block is as transparent as possible. We feel that the more due diligence that you do, the more information we supply, the more we answer your questions the more that you will realize that Omni Block is a great product, and can meet most any challenge that any owner would desire for their building.

We have been doing this for a very long time and have fine tuned our process to effectively communicate and provide reliability to our estimates and eventual contracts. The first step is to send us your plans in pdf format (required) and dwg files if you have them. Currently we are able to take the plans and put them into what we call “grey wall illustrations” at no cost to you.

Step 1: Grey Wall Illustrations

This illustration follows the design and dimensions of the plan provided.

Items of Importance:

  1. The grey/white areas are walls that are projected to be Omni Block walls. The pink areas denote walls that economics dictate should be lightweight construction (wood or steel stud). Block cannot be installed on lightweight construction.
  2. Omni Block can be used at this point with no modifications to the plan other than the construction details need to show Omni Block construction (not wood or steel stud), and the building needs to be engineered for masonry. If this is desired, you can skip to Step 3. However before you do, it is recommended to continue reading.
  3. We can provide a reliable estimate based upon these grey wall illustrations (including block quantities).
  4. Most building plans are not drawn with block in mind, so are not “block module” which are 8″ increments. Any dimension divided by 8″ evenly is block module. Therefore, any even number (2’0″, 4’0″, 6’0″…), any even number plus 8″ (2’8″, 4’8″, 6’8″…) and any odd number plus 4″ (1’4″, 3’4″, 5’4″…) are block module. This is important because designing in block module eliminates the dimensional cutting of block. Cutting block slows down the construction process, creates a great deal of waste which ultimately requires more block, and creates unnecessary dust and saw blade wear and tear. An analogy that we use is fairly simple, but usually helps some to grasp the concept. If you are provided 100 of the standard sized Legos and a “Lego-friendly” plan and Lego windows and doors, most could build the little Lego building in less than an hour. On the other hand, if you are provided the same 100 Legos and a plan that is NOT Lego-friendly and a little power saw so you can cut Legos where needed and that would include around windows and doors, you would need a lot more than an hour to complete and you would need a significant percentage more of the Legos. This translates to the real world of building your home/building with block.
  5. The residential example above has a great deal of non block module dimensions, which as noted above would require many dimensional cuts. This house would have over 1000 block cuts, if it were constructed as is. Ask yourself if those cuts were eliminated, do you think the labor cost would go up or down? Obviously the labor cost should come down significantly.

Step 2: Block Module Illustrations

This illustration has been modified to block module design.

Items of Importance:

  1. Dimensions never need to modified / adjusted more than 4″ from the original plan.
  2. Notice the window to the right of the illustration. It is a 2’8″ wide x 4’8″ tall (dimension not visible). This is not a “standard” window size. However, most window manufacturers simply charge for the next standard window size that is larger. In this case, the cost for the window would be the same cost as a 3’0″ x 5’0″ which was the what the original planned called for.
  3. Changing the window sizes slightly eliminates all of the cuts. The window cost is the same as what was originally planned, but now there is the opportunity for a great deal of savings on the labor side of things. The modularization of just the one 2’8″ x 4’8″ window above eliminated 30 block cuts.
  4. According the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) the best practice for architects and designers is to notate dimensions from outside corners to the next opening jamb then the next jamb (opening to opening) as seen in the above illustrations. Dimensions to the centerline of openings is a typical wood frame design technique, but is not useful to a mason.

Step 3: Block-by-Block Illustrations

This illustration show the various block types required

Items of Importance:

  1. The building is actually completely built “digitally” block-by-block and identifies each specific block type.
  2. The type of block is color-coded, which greatly assists the mason in understanding what block goes where. It almost becomes a “kit”.
  3. This is a timely hard cost to Omni Block. We charge $0.22 per block and rebate 50% of the cost at the time your order is placed and a 50% deposit is received. The block-by-block illustrations more than pay for themselves due to the accuracy of quantities and very importantly, the mason can readily see the modular design and that there is no question as where the block types are to be installed.

The Block-by-Block illustration yields accuracy.

Items of Importance:

  1. The block-by-block illustration provides extremely accurate quantities that the client can count if desired (complete transparency).
  2. The insulation insert quantities are directly correlated to the block quantities.
  3. An allowance for block breakage, mishandling and mistakes on the job is required.


Items of Importance:

  1. A standard contract for the sale of goods is offered.
  2. Freight will be quoted, but due to current market conditions is only an estimate. Owner/builder is encouraged to seek their own freight accommodations, but as a service, Omni Block will used one of their often used vendors to deliver the block and insulation inserts.
  3. In many regions the standard grey Omni Block is often a “stock” item and available on a first come, first served basis. Lead times vary for custom colors and finishes and range from 4 to 10 weeks.

Vertical Rebar Shop Drawing (optional)

Vertical Rebar Shop Drawings

Items of Importance:

  1. The drawings provide specific vertical rebar locations for the subcontractor installing the concrete footings.
  2. The Block Illustrations provide the block types and the subsequent rebar requirements.
  3. The cost of this service depends upon the size of the project and the clarity of the rebar frequency and/or locations from the structural engineer. A typical budgetary shop drawing preparation cost is $0.04 per livable/workable square foot.
  4. The shop drawings are never to supplant or supersede any of the work performed by the architect or structural engineer of record.
  5. The shop drawings provide an accountability tool for the general contractor in the event that the concrete subcontractor arbitrarily places vertical rebar in the wrong locations. Correcting the vertical rebar can be costly.