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DRAMS INC.

San Francisco, CA, California

(47)

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Get a free quote from this professional

‘20 Certificate of Excellence, 2020

About

Drams Inc. was founded in San Francisco as an Architecture, Planning and Interior
Design Firm. Al Dram, owner and accomplished architecture designer with 12 years of
experience founded the firm. Al holds a Ph.D. in Digital Design from ETH Zurich as well as

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5/5

47 customer reviews

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1 July 2021

If you are doing an architecture project in California, I think you are making a big mistake if you go with anyone besides DRAMS Architects. I interviewed 9 different architects in-depth, and I initially did not choose DRAMS because they were the only firm using a fully 3D digital capturing and BIM modeling workflow. Since no one else we interviewed used that, it seemed risky. After wasting time with someone else for a year, we fired our first architect and started over with DRAMS Inc. It has gone so much better, and I wish we picked them in the first place.The first architect we tried (not DRAMS) was well-reviewed. 5 stars on all sites, great communicator, great portfolio, seemed very expensive but we were willing to pay for quality. But the drawings he generated had mistakes (e.g. side view not matching the front view), and when we asked for a set of changes, only half of them would actually get made.DRAMS Architects team scanned our house with an automated scanner. The model they built of our existing structure includes not only the walls and cabinets but even the wall switches and electrical outlets. They emailed us a link where we could see the whole house in 3D, and even walk through it like a videogame. This works for both the as-built and the new plans.Because the level of detail is so high, we are able to save money by reducing rework. For example, we wanted to add a closet to an existing room. DRAMS put the wall of the closet in a place that looks slightly strange from a top-view. But it looks great from the in-person view, and it reuses our existing light switch. Because DRAMS Architects uses technology that captures these details, we can tell the electrician to completely ignore this room, rather than needing to redo the light switch. Unless you're using a workflow with the DRAMS Architects level of detail, it's not possible to notice these things ahead of time. Our first architect definitely did not, and from my 9 interviews, DRAMS Architects is the only architect near San Francisco working from in-house laser scans.The other big difference with DRAMS Architects is that they used BIM modeling for the entire process. With our other architect, we were using just 2D drawings. It didn't emerge that the different levels of the house didn't match until we had already paid a structural engineer. The engineer figured out beams to cantilever one level out over the other, but the whole thing was an accident due to the manual process. With DRAMS' fully 3D digital BIM workflow, those mistakes never happen.With our other architect, if we asked for four changes, two of them would make it into the drawing. It was a lot of work to check and recheck that our feedback made it in. Eventually, we stopped asking for small changes that we wanted, in the hopes that at least the major changes would make it. With DRAMS, we have never had to ask a second time for a change, which means that we feel comfortable asking for small changes, or sometimes saying "never mind, for that part, go back to the old way". Because Al Dram is so responsive, and the BIM model makes it easy to visualize the design, we ended up at a design which is far more useful, far more beautiful, and *way* cheaper to build than we were able to achieve with our first architect. 6 stars out of 5, DRAMS Architects is using the workflows of the future and we are thrilled with them. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

1 July 2021

If you are doing an architecture project in California, I think you are making a big mistake if you go with anyone besides DRAMS Architects. I interviewed 9 different architects in-depth, and I initially did not choose DRAMS because they were the only firm using a fully 3D digital capturing and BIM modeling workflow. Since no one else we interviewed used that, it seemed risky. After wasting time with someone else for a year, we fired our first architect and started over with DRAMS Inc. It has gone so much better, and I wish we picked them in the first place.The first architect we tried (not DRAMS) was well-reviewed. 5 stars on all sites, great communicator, great portfolio, seemed very expensive but we were willing to pay for quality. But the drawings he generated had mistakes (e.g. side view not matching the front view), and when we asked for a set of changes, only half of them would actually get made.DRAMS Architects team scanned our house with an automated scanner. The model they built of our existing structure includes not only the walls and cabinets but even the wall switches and electrical outlets. They emailed us a link where we could see the whole house in 3D, and even walk through it like a videogame. This works for both the as-built and the new plans.Because the level of detail is so high, we are able to save money by reducing rework. For example, we wanted to add a closet to an existing room. DRAMS put the wall of the closet in a place that looks slightly strange from a top-view. But it looks great from the in-person view, and it reuses our existing light switch. Because DRAMS Architects uses technology that captures these details, we can tell the electrician to completely ignore this room, rather than needing to redo the light switch. Unless you're using a workflow with the DRAMS Architects level of detail, it's not possible to notice these things ahead of time. Our first architect definitely did not, and from my 9 interviews, DRAMS Architects is the only architect near San Francisco working from in-house laser scans.The other big difference with DRAMS Architects is that they used BIM modeling for the entire process. With our other architect, we were using just 2D drawings. It didn't emerge that the different levels of the house didn't match until we had already paid a structural engineer. The engineer figured out beams to cantilever one level out over the other, but the whole thing was an accident due to the manual process. With DRAMS' fully 3D digital BIM workflow, those mistakes never happen.With our other architect, if we asked for four changes, two of them would make it into the drawing. It was a lot of work to check and recheck that our feedback made it in. Eventually, we stopped asking for small changes that we wanted, in the hopes that at least the major changes would make it. With DRAMS, we have never had to ask a second time for a change, which means that we feel comfortable asking for small changes, or sometimes saying "never mind, for that part, go back to the old way". Because Al Dram is so responsive, and the BIM model makes it easy to visualize the design, we ended up at a design which is far more useful, far more beautiful, and *way* cheaper to build than we were able to achieve with our first architect. 6 stars out of 5, DRAMS Architects is using the workflows of the future and we are thrilled with them. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

28 May 2021

Al and his team did a great job with the drawings for our basement remodel. We are turning our basement into two bedrooms and a bathroom, and it also involved a kitchen remodel. Al came up with comprehensive blueprints for the whole project, and also developed some really great 3D renderings of the new kitchen for us. He also shepherded the process of getting permits from San Francisco. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

28 May 2021

Al and his team did a great job with the drawings for our basement remodel. We are turning our basement into two bedrooms and a bathroom, and it also involved a kitchen remodel. Al came up with comprehensive blueprints for the whole project, and also developed some really great 3D renderings of the new kitchen for us. He also shepherded the process of getting permits from San Francisco. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

2 May 2021

Al and his team were incredibly helpful and efficient in getting plans for a home remodel project drawn up quickly and with attention to detail.  They even helped us submit the application to the city which saved us a ton of time and headaches.  Al was responsive and professional and got back to us right away with all the details.  We've had a lot of bumps with our project and so far, working with Al and his team was the easiest and most efficient part of the process.  They really helped us in a pinch and were grateful for them.  I would definitely hire them again and also refer friends and families. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

2 May 2021

Al and his team were incredibly helpful and efficient in getting plans for a home remodel project drawn up quickly and with attention to detail.  They even helped us submit the application to the city which saved us a ton of time and headaches.  Al was responsive and professional and got back to us right away with all the details.  We've had a lot of bumps with our project and so far, working with Al and his team was the easiest and most efficient part of the process.  They really helped us in a pinch and were grateful for them.  I would definitely hire them again and also refer friends and families. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

30 January 2021

I didn't end up working with DRAM but I contacted them about a small project I needed help on because a different company who was supposed to be working on it was taking forever and had bad communication and after 4 weeks told me they couldn't give me a timeline. I spoke with Al and he was incredibly nice and helpful! He was honest about timeline and even offered to give us some tips to try to get the submittal in to the city at no charge! Seriously nicest guy ever. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

30 January 2021

I didn't end up working with DRAM but I contacted them about a small project I needed help on because a different company who was supposed to be working on it was taking forever and had bad communication and after 4 weeks told me they couldn't give me a timeline. I spoke with Al and he was incredibly nice and helpful! He was honest about timeline and even offered to give us some tips to try to get the submittal in to the city at no charge! Seriously nicest guy ever. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 January 2021

Al and his team are highly talented and trained professionals. I stumbled on their firm on Yelp and the team was quick to respond when I requested a site plan for my single-family property. Since I have a few pending applications with PG&E, East Bay MUD, and the city of Oakland Fire Department, the Drams team was able to tap into their extensive knowledge to draw up detailed plans for submission.The team employs drone technology and 3D-scanning, making their on-site presence light and safe; a real strength considering the ongoing pandemic.I'm very happy with the final plans and will absolutely reach out to the Drams team for future projects. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 January 2021

Al and his team are highly talented and trained professionals. I stumbled on their firm on Yelp and the team was quick to respond when I requested a site plan for my single-family property. Since I have a few pending applications with PG&E, East Bay MUD, and the city of Oakland Fire Department, the Drams team was able to tap into their extensive knowledge to draw up detailed plans for submission.The team employs drone technology and 3D-scanning, making their on-site presence light and safe; a real strength considering the ongoing pandemic.I'm very happy with the final plans and will absolutely reach out to the Drams team for future projects. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

25 December 2020

I am very happy and satisfied with Drams architect. They did my new homes remodeling including adding a new bathroom and changing the layout of my kitchen. Their design was creative, practical and beautiful. I was surprised that they were able to convert one bathroom into two full bathrooms (I have talked to multiple architect firms but none of them had this idea). For a three bedrooms apartment, this is a huge PLUS! More...

Reviewed on Thumbtack

25 October 2020

Best architecture firm ever! Drams Architects were the most professional architects I've worked with in over 10 years. I highly recommend to all my friends and family! They communicated effectively and were helpful throughout the whole permit process. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

25 October 2020

Best architecture firm ever! Drams Architects were the most professional architects I've worked with in over 10 years. I highly recommend to all my friends and family! They communicated effectively and were helpful throughout the whole permit process. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

23 October 2020

I have to admit, I was lucky to find this company. Their work was excellent. Al was great. He explained all the steps and provide me with the drawing. His plan approved by city of Oakland in 3 days. My contractor was impressed and asked me for his number. I highly recommend them. I would give them 6 stars if I could. More...

Reviewed on Thumbtack

12 October 2020

Al was wonderful. He explained all the steps. His drawings passed the city of Oakland the first time without any problems. I highly, highly recommend them. Thank you for the great job. More...

12 October 2020

Best company if you need a great architect. Al was very patient and explained all the steps. His drawings past the first time with no question asked. I highly, highly recommend them.

Reviewed on Yelp

12 October 2020

Best company if you need a great architect. Al was very patient and explained all the steps. His drawings past the first time with no question asked. I highly, highly recommend them.

Reviewed on Yelp

11 September 2020

Contacted DRAMS for the home project idea and planning...Al was very prompt, responsive, resourceful and informative on the subject and follow ups.  Al provided good advice and suggestions on the project, but given some constraints, the project is on-hold, but when the scheduling is better, I will definitely consider DRAMS.  Thank you! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

11 September 2020

Contacted DRAMS for the home project idea and planning...Al was very prompt, responsive, resourceful and informative on the subject and follow ups.  Al provided good advice and suggestions on the project, but given some constraints, the project is on-hold, but when the scheduling is better, I will definitely consider DRAMS.  Thank you! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

22 July 2020

We were planning on doing a TI for our commercial space. I was browsing on Yelp when I found Drams Architects with perfect reviews and great ratings. I decided to venture out to Emeryville and meet up in their office with Al Dram and his team. While the contract I signed said the project would take two months, the project actually got done sooner and was done well. Thanks to their help, we got approved for all permits with lower estimated construction cost than our budget, and I would definitely recommend them for any kind of commercial space work. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

22 July 2020

We were planning on doing a TI for our commercial space. I was browsing on Yelp when I found Drams Architects with perfect reviews and great ratings. I decided to venture out to Emeryville and meet up in their office with Al Dram and his team. While the contract I signed said the project would take two months, the project actually got done sooner and was done well. Thanks to their help, we got approved for all permits with lower estimated construction cost than our budget, and I would definitely recommend them for any kind of commercial space work. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

21 July 2020

Al Dram helped me on my major condo remodel project before COVID, which includes remodeling my kitchen and converting one bathroom into two by widening the bathroom from bedroom side. I would like to specifically mention that Al brought up the brilliant idea to convert my only bathroom into two (nobody brought it up before). This helped my three bedrooms unit become more functional and increased my home value too. Al also helped me to communicate with my HOA and get their approval smoothly. Besides bathroom, Al recommended to remove the wall between kitchen and living room to create an open space. I loved the design but was worried about if the wall beard load so the cost can be dramatic. Al checked my original building plans in SF DBI, double confirmed with his structural engineer consultant and confirmed that the which walls were not structural and which were structural, we did not touch the load bearer and we didn't need structural calculation. This saved me $3000+ from hiring a structural engineer. We got the building permit pretty fast and the SF city plan reviewer loved our documents! My home just finished the construction and everything is working as expected (and looks amazingly nice!). I am very satisfied with Al's service and excited for my new home! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

21 July 2020

Al Dram helped me on my major condo remodel project before COVID, which includes remodeling my kitchen and converting one bathroom into two by widening the bathroom from bedroom side. I would like to specifically mention that Al brought up the brilliant idea to convert my only bathroom into two (nobody brought it up before). This helped my three bedrooms unit become more functional and increased my home value too. Al also helped me to communicate with my HOA and get their approval smoothly. Besides bathroom, Al recommended to remove the wall between kitchen and living room to create an open space. I loved the design but was worried about if the wall beard load so the cost can be dramatic. Al checked my original building plans in SF DBI, double confirmed with his structural engineer consultant and confirmed that the which walls were not structural and which were structural, we did not touch the load bearer and we didn't need structural calculation. This saved me $3000+ from hiring a structural engineer. We got the building permit pretty fast and the SF city plan reviewer loved our documents! My home just finished the construction and everything is working as expected (and looks amazingly nice!). I am very satisfied with Al's service and excited for my new home! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

16 July 2020

I met Al through a social event and soon after enlisted his help with designing a condo in an SF high-rise. His patience and attention to detail are unmatched. I was able to provide input throughout the project and was pleased with the outcome -- and it coming within the predefined budget. This was all even more appreciated, as the pandemic began during the project yet did not cause any delays to the project. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

16 July 2020

I met Al through a social event and soon after enlisted his help with designing a condo in an SF high-rise. His patience and attention to detail are unmatched. I was able to provide input throughout the project and was pleased with the outcome -- and it coming within the predefined budget. This was all even more appreciated, as the pandemic began during the project yet did not cause any delays to the project. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

2 April 2020

This review has been removed for violating our Terms of Service

Reviewed on Yelp

28 March 2020

DRAMS Inc. supported me to get my Accessory Dwelling Unit through zoning and building at the City of Oakland, which is no small feat. Now, the hammer is raised and in 5 months, I'll have turned my single family home into two units. Al was especially responsive to all my communication: He replied to my emails promptly. He almost always picked up the phone, and if it went to voicemail, he called me back almost always on the same day. Al was very patient and supportive as he guided me through a process I've never been through before. I enjoyed learning from Al and will bring more insights into the next project I develop.

Thank you Al and your amazing team.
More...

Reviewed on Houzz

27 March 2020

DRAMS Inc. supported me to get my Accessory Dwelling Unit through zoning and building at the City of Oakland, which is no small feat. What I appreciated most about his service was how responsive Al was to all my communication: He replied to my emails promptly. He almost always picked up the phone, and if it went to voicemail, he called me back almost always on the same day. Al was very patient and supportive as he guided me through a process I've never been through before. Thank you Al and your amazing team. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

27 March 2020

DRAMS Inc. supported me to get my Accessory Dwelling Unit through zoning and building at the City of Oakland, which is no small feat. What I appreciated most about his service was how responsive Al was to all my communication: He replied to my emails promptly. He almost always picked up the phone, and if it went to voicemail, he called me back almost always on the same day. Al was very patient and supportive as he guided me through a process I've never been through before. Thank you Al and your amazing team. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

20 December 2019

Al Dram is awesome architecture designer with great ideas and designs that met all my expectations. They also provided services sooner than I expected. First round of approval in San Francisco planning and building department. I would highly recommend. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

25 November 2019

Al Dram worked with me on a home remodel project to add windows to a basement room. He was incredibly responsive and communicative throughout the process, presenting in-progress drawings to me to make sure it&#39; s what I had in mind and asking me for clarification throughout. He was thoughtful about what drawings would and wouldn&#39;t be needed as well so I didn&#39;t waste time or money on extra work. He was also super fast! The time between when he started work on the drawings to the time we went to submit the permit with the city of San Francisco was only two days. He also came to the building department with me prepared to make any adjustments or answer and questions, and the process was smoother than I could have hoped for. <br><br>Al is also just enjoyable to work with. He is a young man who got his PhD in architecture and design outside the US and then started a business here, with other drafters and architects working for him. It was inspiring to hear his story and I am looking forward to working with him on my next project (some exterior stairs)! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 November 2019

Need a good architecture designer?<br>This is the right place! Freindly, Professional, Knowledgable about codes, Eager to get the project done. <br>They did a same day revision on city comments and get all the approvals over the counter for my project.<br>Talk to Al or Max, they are the best. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

11 October 2019

Al in US Drafting has been great in helping us to drafting the best design to turn 1- bedroom  into 4-bedroom house total addition of 3000sHe was very reactive and always willing to make changes when we asked him, even adding up a little bit of a detail we could have never thought about. He worked very well in collaboration with our real estate agent and definitely the final result is amazing and we get a lot of compliment on our new place. Definitely recommend working with Al. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

2 October 2019

We just bought a house in Emeryville and Al was very helpful to advise us in a right direction for our addition.His design skills and drawings are amazing an we highly recommend him.

Reviewed on Yelp

2 October 2019

We just bought a house in Emeryville and Al was very helpful to advise us in a right direction for our addition.<br>His design skills and drawings are amazing an we highly recommend him.

Reviewed on Yelp

30 September 2019

Al is smart and very good listener, as out of half a dozen drafter I contacted before him<br>he seemed the most suited for complex detail oriented revision work. <br>I would highly recommend him and any drafting it design needs. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

21 July 2019

I am really satisfied with Drams services.<br>Contacted them for our new multifamily project in SoMa. The city reviews went so smooth and we have all approvals in hand.

Reviewed on Yelp

25 June 2019

AL Dram is not a licensed Architect!  I worked with Al on a new build for the last 8 months.   I do not recommend his services.  He led me to believe that he was licensed and he is not. He also misrepresented other areas of this work.  DO NOT HIRE!<br><br>I found his work to be uncreative.  He did not listen to my concerns and interests for the project and wasted his time showing me designs that were really bad.<br><br>Take a good look at his presence online, his businesses US Drafters and Drams Inc. are just shells making false statements.  I am embarrassed that I didn't do my due diligence. <br><br>Feel free to contact me if you are considering his services and would like more information about my experience. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

15 November 2018

Hired US Drafters for remodel very impressed with customer service everything was done in a timely manner and we're very pleased with the results definitely would refer to other contacts in need of assistance

Reviewed on Yelp

6 November 2018

They did a great job on our new house. Al helped us to design and build our dream house in a very short period of time and took care of all architectural and engineering parts. We have the permits now to start the construction and can't wait to move in. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

18 October 2018

We were really in a jam because the person who started our plans was unable to finish them.  The thought of finding someone new, vetting them and then hoping they deliver was overwhelming.  And then came Al!  He was incredibly responsive and delivered our project super quick.  He helped us with edits quickly.  The whole time he was incredibly professional and got back to us right away.  I would highly recommend his services. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

16 October 2018

Al did a great job on our coffee shop design. He was assisting us from initial design to getting the permit. His knowledge of building code and facilating the latest design techniques helped us to get out permit in very quickly. I recommend his services to anyone who wants peace of mind during the whole process. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

16 October 2018

I've been really pleased with Al, his responsiveness and turnaround time. The project I'm working on is not a huge one, but Al has been very attentive.

Reviewed on Yelp

9 October 2018

we needed to have a design and permit set for our new addition and we were so lucky to find Alto help us on this project.<br>Fast, easy and nice design just took him 2 weeks to finish.

Reviewed on Yelp

3 August 2018

I would highly recommend Al with US Drafters for your architectural needs. He did a fantastic job on drafting my master bedroom and bathroom addition. He listened to all my requests when we were designing the addition. As well he suggested ideas that I did not consider. Again, don't hesitate to contact US Drafters for your projects. More...

Reviewed on Yelp