Welcome to GDS Design Group

GDS Design Group creates submittal, permit and as-built drawings for fire alarm and access control systems in commercial buildings. Our drawings are used to obtain city and county permits, as well as for review by fire and security consultants during construction.

We submit plans on your behalf to City and County jurisdictions all over Texas. Plans are submitted according to each jurisdiction’s preferences – online submittal, direct email, or paper copies. We are licensed by the State of Texas to sign fire alarm plans designed by GDS, using either our ACR, or yours.

Other types of drawings that we can help you with include evacuation, voice & data, space planning and just about anything else that does not require an architect’s seal.

New for 2020:

  • 3D Laser Scanning – GDS can quickly and accurately create 3D models of your next residential remodel project. We can scan your home to provide very accurate floor plans of your house and the site to be used by your architect.
  • Flatbed Scanning – Our flatbed scanning service converts large-format paper floor plans to PDF through the use of our large format scanner. Plans that are yellowed or deteriorated are cleaned-up and saved to a thumb drive and to the GDS Vault for on-line access. Plans can either be shipped to us, or we can pick them up anywhere in the Houston area.

Who We Are

GDS Design Group, Inc. was established in 2003 to assist access control companies with the laborious task of permitting access control (electric locks) in the City of Houston. From 1990 – 2003 we worked in the access control industry and gained a very good working knowledge of the City of Houston building code and permit process. In 2003 GDS was started with just one person and permitting just access control. We quickly discovered that the same companies that were struggling with access control drawings were also having a hard time with fire alarm, and also security submittal drawing packages. To meet the demand, GDS started access control submittal drawings in 2005 and fire alarm plans in 2006, gaining our own fire alarm planners license (APS) and company fire alarm license (ACR) in 2010.

Currently we have 10 employees on staff and are expecting this year to be our biggest year ever. While fire and access drawings are the majority of our work, we also do evacuation, voice & data, and just about any other drawing that does not require an architect’s seal.

Our new 3D scanning service is expected to be a big hit with residential remodeling companies. We started 3D scanning after personal experience with a residential remodeling project that had multiple delays due to the floor plans not being very accurate. 3D scanning solves all that.

Our new flatbed scanning service is target towards property managers and building engineers whose hard-copy floor plans are slowly deteriorating. Not only are paper copies hard to manage because of their physical size and volume of sheets, but it is also hard to locate the exact plan that you need when you need it. Flatbed scanning solves all that.

Access Control Drawings

The task of submitting access control drawings to the local permit office is one of those tasks that seems so easy, until you do it yourself. These drawings are all about proving on paper that the means of egress is not violated by the access control devices that you are installing. While each jurisdiction is slightly different in what they require, they are all looking at occupant loads, door encroachment, proper use of door hardware such as panic devices (when needed), primary and secondary exit routes (no blocked exits), dead-end corridors, and similar issues. Many of these issues have nothing to do with the doors you are installing access control on but it involves you because the access control system is modifying the floor’s means of egress (chapter 10 of the fire and building code).

At GDS it is our job to stay on top of the code so that you do not have to. If there are code issues that will affect your project, it is our job to let you know before we submit plans to the permit office. We will advise your team what needs to be done (if anything) so that your plans pass plan review the first time they are submitted, and they will be ready to pass the field inspection later once the system is installed.

Our plans are easy to understand and look very professional with your company logo and information on every page. Plans are emailed to you directly and stored online in PDF format. The GDS Vault App allows you and your staff to view drawings anytime from any device.

Fire Alarm Drawings

Designing and creating fire alarm plans that are accurate and up to the latest code is a daunting task. It requires that you stay current with multiple jurisdictions not just on fire code but also on the application and submittal process for that jurisdiction. This takes a lot of time and just when you think you have it correct, it all changes again.

That’s where we come in. We stay current with all the jurisdictions in Texas for both code and administrative processes. The jurisdictions we are not familiar with we get to know. That is our job. While we can’t do everything for you, we let you know what the process is to register with jurisdictions, so that when we are finished with your fire alarm plans they can quickly go to the permit office in what ever manner or method they use.

The fire alarm plans GDS designs are rock-solid. We have eight designers stand behind our design and calculation, making absolute positive that all local and state codes are followed.

Our plans are easy to understand and look very professional with your company logo and information on every page. Plans are emailed to you directly and stored online in PDF format. The GDS Vault App allows you and your staff to view drawings anytime from any device.

Security Submittal/AsBuilt Drawings

If you have ever been a project manager for an access control company and had to put together a security submittal and as-built drawing package for a security consultant, you know what an exhausting experience this can be. Typically, a security consultant is hired by a large company to design their access control and security system. The consultant puts out a huge document that is difficult to understand, very lengthy and it almost always has unreasonable deadlines. Some companies do not bid on jobs like these because the drawing package seems impossible.

At GDS we have done hundreds of security submittal and as-built drawings. Our experience allows us to know what the consultant is looking in your drawing package.

We can provide you with a quote for the drawings very quickly. Once authorized to work, we start submittal drawing package in two weeks or less.

Our plans are easy to understand and look very professional with your company logo and information on every page. Plans are emailed to you directly and stored online in PDF format. The GDS Vault App allows you and your staff to view drawings anytime from any device.

3D Laser Scanning

At GDS we draw commercial buildings all the time for permitting purposes from scanned images and hand mark-ups. These type drawings are accurate enough for permitting but not for starting a construction project. 3D laser scanning, however, is accurate enough for just about anything. We are not sure of all the applications that we will be using it for in the future. We are starting this endeavor with scanning residential remodeling projects because we know there is an immediate need for this service. Later we will no doubt include other areas both residential and commercial.

Through personal experience, we have discovered that when remodeling a house, usually there are no floor plans available. Usually architects are hired to manually measure a house before they can remodel it. They use manual measuring devices or maybe a laser measuring device, but the result is the same – plans that are not very accurate and sometimes off by quite a bit.

GDS can quickly and accurately create 3D models of your space. Our 3D laser scanner makes an extremely accurate three-dimensional model of the house being remodeled. The 3D model is then brought into AutoCAD to create floor plans of the house showing the exact placement of walls, doors, fences, pools, trees, sidewalks and anything else that is on the property.

Click below to check out our video and see how it all works.

What is 3D laser scanning?

Call or email GDS today to book an appointment

713-524-8270

info@gdsdesigngroup.com

Flatbed Scanning

Our flatbed scanning service converts large paper floor plans to PDF using a large format scanner and software that optimizes the scanned image. Plans that are yellowed or deteriorated are cleaned-up and saved to a thumb drive and to the GDS Vault.

Scanned plans are bookmarked to make it easy to navigate through the entire drawings set to find the specific drawing that you need when you need it.

All scanned drawings are PDF files that can be printed or emailed as needed.

The GDS Vault app allows for viewing of your plans through any mobile or desktop device for those who are authorized.

We use the Oce Plotwave 365 for color and black & white scanning. We also have a Colortrac SmartLF 36” mobile scanner. Both scanners are clear, fast and accurate.

Meet the Team

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

–Andrew Carnegie, American industrialist and philanthropist

Barry Sims
Barry Sims
President
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Amanda Webb
Amanda Webb
Administrative Manager
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Travis Knowles
Travis Knowles
Operations Manager
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Glenn Snedden
Glenn Snedden
Designer
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Gordon Snedden
Gordon Snedden
Designer
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Eric Sims
Eric Sims
Designer
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Fabian Gutierrez
Fabian Gutierrez
Designer
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Gilbert Martinez
Gilbert Martinez
Designer
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Craig Ruszczyk
Craig Ruszczyk
Designer
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Jae Mi Park
Jae Mi Park
Administrative Assistant
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Our Services

If you are reading this page, you are probably a security, fire alarm, voice & data or other low voltage integrator and you either have your own designer on staff, or you use an individual who is self employed for all your design and permitting needs. The problem with this arrangement is that this one person can only do so much. They get overwhelmed with work, they get sick and they take vacation days. When any of these events occur, their work stops.

At GDS we have numerous designers on staff, there is almost always someone available to take care of your emergency. Huge jobs that takes weeks to complete do not make our entire operation stop, nor does getting sick or taking vacation days, as does when you have just one individual doing your designs. The work we do for you is yours to keep as a PDF or CAD file. Also, our feelings do not get hurt if you only use us for your difficult jobs or if you only use us when your in-house guy is not available or too busy.

We typically start new fire jobs within two weeks and access control jobs within a week. We also create submittal and as-built security packages (the ones that everyone hates to do). We do them all the time and typically take about two weeks to start also.

One of the biggest values of using GDS is that we use standard pricing that is very predictable, easy to understand and posted on this web site. Your estimators can easily plug our cost into your bids by using the price list or getting a quick estimate from us. When you get the job there is no haggling over pricing. Never again will your CAD job get hit with your in-house designer’s extra man-hours because your plans took longer than expected, or because there were several rejections. By the way, we do not charge anything for resubmitting plan, rarely do we have our plans rejected.

We can also help you with your fire alarm bids, we call this a Bill-Of-Materials and it is very inexpensive. We can use a PDF floor plan to layout your system and provide you with a list of parts for your bid. Or if you come into our office for assistance with fire alarm bids, we do not charge anything to go over the plans with you in person.

One of the best parts of all of this is that we deal with the permit office for you. We even do the paperwork.

Try us out for all your drawing needs, or just your overflow work, or try us our while you are between designers. You will not be disappointed.

Pricing

Our packages are built for every type of customer. Easy & Affordable.

Electric Lock Permitting includes device layout, one-line diagram, spec sheet, up to 3 sets printed.
    Base Fee (includes one floor, 1-10 electric locks)$385**
       Each additional floor at same building (1-10 electric locks)$100*
       Each additional 20 electric locks after the first 10 on the same floor$100*
    Revisions (changes to a plan after plans are approved but before it passes inspection)
        Incidental changes missing or incorrect information on plansno charge
        Change in the scope of work 1-10 additional doors added to a project$235**
        Each additional floor at same building (1-10 electric locks)$50**

Shop Drawings device layout including cameras, burglar alarm and access control equipment. Does not include cover sheet, one-line, details, panel layout, point-to-point or hook-up drawings.

Each floor done concurrent with lock permitting (up to 10 locations per floor)$75**
Each floor not concurrent with lock permitting (up to 10 locations per floor)$100**
    Each additional 10 devices after the first 10 on the same floor$75**

Electric Lock Signage

Sign 1 – “PUSH TO EXIT” (plastic, no Braille)$25
Sign 2 – “THIS DOOR TO REMAIN UNLOCKED WHILE BUILDING OCCUPIED” (sticker)$10
Sign 3 – “PUSH/PULL TO RELEASE DOOR IN AN EMERGENCY” (Braille, plastic)$50
Sign 4 – “PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. DOOR CAN BE OPENED IN 15 SECONDS” (plastic)$45
Sign 5 – “PULL UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS. DOOR CAN BE OPENED IN 15 SECONDS” (plastic)$45
Site Surveywalk site to obtain exit sign and other required building information.$75/hr*

Other Services

GDS Hourly Rate (Labor to create drawings and to provide miscellaneous CAD services)$75/hr
Non-AutoCAD plans (Labor to clean-up PDFs, scans, hardcopies, etc…to use in AutoCAD)$75/hr
Reproduction Fees (per sheet not already included in drawing package)$5
Expedite Fee (When available this fee puts your job at the front of the line to be done next)$250

Expedite Fee (When available this fee puts your job at the front of the line to be done next)

Small (1-20 locks), Medium (21-50 locks), Large (over 50 locks)$250/$500/$750 *

All plans are submitted to the AHJ either online, shipped, or available for pickup at our office. City/County plan review and inspection fees are not included.

* price change from previous price list

** The clock for “five business days or its free” begins once we have received the job name, address, CAD file, exit signs and parts list

Download printer-friendly Electric Lock Permit Pricing

Fire Alarm Design Includes device layout, NAC wiring shown, one-line diagram, battery/voltage drop calculations, spec sheet, stamp, 3 sets printed.

Base Fee (includes one floor with one power supply and all initiating devices).$650
Each additional floor or power supply at same building$300
Each duplicate (identical) floor previously engineered by GDS$75
Small Fire Alarm Designone floor with less than 10 initiating & notification devices$450
    Each additional floor or 4 NAC power supply at same building $300
EVAC Plans installed in conjunction with base fee above$350 *
    Each additional floor or amplifier supply at same building$100
Panel Replacement Plans – FACP location & specs only$225 *
Emergency Alarm/Hazard Plans installed in conjunction with base fee above$250
    Each additional floor or power supply at same building.$50

Apartment or Hotel Fire Alarm Design

    Base Fee$650
    Each sleeping unit $25 *
    Each additional free standing building in the complex (Clubhouse, Leasing office, etc.).$300
    Each duplicate (identical) floor at each building previously engineered by GDS $75
    Apartment Garage Floor Fee $150

Fire Alarm SLC Loop Only– initiating devices only (water flow, tamper, smoke, fire pull, ansul, etc.). Includes device layout, one-line, battery calculations, spec sheet, stamp, 3 sets printed.

    Base Fee (Includes one floor, 1-50 devices) .$385
    Each additional floor at same building (1 – 50 devices)$150

Additional Items Added to Fire Alarm Design

    SLC Loop Show Circuit and Address (50 devices)$100 *

Revisions(changes to a plan after plans are approved but before it passes inspection)

    Incidental changes missing or incorrect information on plansno charge*
    Change in the scope of work$285
    Each additional floor at same building$50

Bill of materialsfire alarm device layout for bid purposes. Includes device layout and device count.

    Base Fee (includes one floor with one power supply and all initiating devices).$75
    Each additional floor or power supply at same building$75
Fire Alarm Stamping – Design by OthersGDS does not stamp plans designed by others

Other Services

    GDS Hourly Rate (Labor to create drawings and to provide miscellaneous CAD services)$75/hr
    Non-AutoCAD plans (Labor to clean up PDFs, scans, hardcopies, etc. to use in AutoCAD)$75/hr
    Reproduction Fees (per sheet not already included in drawing package)$5
    Expedite Fee(When available this fee puts your job at the front of the line to be done next)$250

All plans are submitted to the AHJ either online, shipped, or available for pickup at our office. City/County plan review and inspection fees are not included.

* Price change from previous price list

** The clock for “ten business days or its free” begins once we have received the job name, address, CAD file, FACP/FCPS locations and parts list

Download printer friendly Fire Alarm Permit Drawings pricing

Access Control Submittal / As-Built Drawings these drawing packages are priced a la cart based on the criteria mandated by the user or security consultant. For submittal drawings, the base fee is always included, and typical packages have a riser/one-line diagram, device layout floor plans, panel hook-up diagram, panel layout with point-to-point information, and associated details of devices being installed. As-built drawings are estimated at 20% of the submittal cost or priced at $75 per hour to turn the submittal drawings into as-built drawings based on mark-ups provided of changes made in the field during installation.

    Base fee$400

Security / CCTV Device Layout Sheets

    Each Floor 1-25 card reader or camera locations$100
    Each Floor 26-50 card reader or camera locations$175
    Each Floor 51-75 card reader or camera locations$250
    Each Floor 76-100 card reader or camera locations$325

Riser or One-Line Diagram

    Each Floor 1-25 card reader or camera locations$50
    Each Floor 26-50 card reader or camera locations$100
    Each Floor 51-75 card reader or camera locations$150
    Each Floor 76-100 card reader or camera locations$200

Panel Layout

    Each 8 reader Panel or Rack.$50
    Each 16 reader Panel or Rack$100
    Hook-up Diagram$100 or $75/hr to create

Details / Elevations

    Simple$50
    Custom $75/hr to create

O&M Manuals

    Documentation Each Binder Tab in PDF Format. Printing will be done by others for large jobs, includes table of contents.$30
    Assembly Each binder put together with documentation, tabs, cover, includes binder and tabs$100
    Convert Submittal Drawing to As-Built Drawing$75/hr (or 20% of Submittal Cost)

Shop Drawings device layout including cameras, burglar alarm and access control equipment. Does not include cover sheet, one-line, details, panel layout, point-to-point or hook-up drawings.

    Each floor done concurrent with lock permitting up to 20 locations per floor$75*
    Each floor not concurrent with lock permitting up to 20 locations per floor$100*
    Each additional 20 devices after the first 20 on the same floor$75*

Other Services

    GDS Hourly Rate Labor to create drawings and to provide miscellaneous CAD services$75/hr
    Non-AutoCAD plans Labor to clean-up PDFs, scans & hardcopies to use in AutoCAD$75/hr
    Reproduction Fees per sheet not already included in drawing package$5
    Expedite Fee When available this fee puts your job at the front of the line to be done next$250

*Price change from previous price list

Download printer-friendly Submittal As-Built Drawings pricing

3D Laser Scanning – Our laser scanning service includes a site survey of your residential or commercial property. Each room of the property will be scanned to create a 3D point cloud file of the property. The 3D image will be used in AutoCAD to create very accurate 2D floorplan of the existing structure. You will receive both the AutoCAD, PDF and point cloud files plus three printed sets.

We use the Faro Focus M70 for all our point cloud scanning. It will work indoor and outdoor with a range of 70 meters and is accurate within 3 millimeters.

    Base fee$500 *
    Each square foot of building being scanned$1
    Site Planincluded *

Other services

    GDS Hourly Rate (labor to create drawings and to provide miscellaneous CAD services)$75/hr *
    Reproduction Fees (per sheet not already included in drawing package)$5 *

* Price change from previous price list

Download printer-friendly 3D Laser Scanning pricing

Flatbed Scanning – Our flatbed scanning service converts large paper floor plans to PDF through the use of a large format scanner and software that optimizes the scanned image. Plans that are yellowed or deteriorated are cleaned-up and saved to a thumb drive and to the GDS Vault. The GDS Vault app allows for viewing of your plans through any mobile or desktop device for those who are authorized.

We use the Oce Plotwave 365 for color and black & white scanning. We also have a Colortrac SmartLF 36” mobile scanner. Both scanners are fast and accurate.

Each sheet$5

Other Services

GDS Hourly Rate (Labor to create drawings and to provide miscellaneous CAD services)$75/hr*
Reproduction Fees (per sheet not already included in drawing package)$5*

* price and/or description change from previous price list

Download printer-friendly Flatbed Sanning pricing

Call Us

713-524-8270

713-456-2624 (fax)
info@gdsdesigngroup.com

Visit Us

GDS Design Group, Inc.
5005 Mitchelldale St, Suite 116
Houston, Texas 77092