How Can Architects Produce More Effective Construction Documents? by @FrankCunhaIIIPosted: September 5, 2012
Ask the Architect
by Frank Cunha III
What are some inherent problems with producing Construction Drawings?
- Some details are not build-able.
- Inaccurate references and/or dimensions.
- Missing information.
- Coordination (or lack of).
How can we make the construction process better?
- Make better CDs (drawings and specifications) upfront instead of waiting for a problem in the field to solve later.
- Make drawings sufficient. Do not keep adding drawings, but coordinate the ones you have – in other words know when to say when. The drawings will never be as complete as you would like, but do not compromise the coordination of the drawings.
- Remember: the drawings have to be sufficient to meet the required “standard of care.”
- As time goes on the cost of a mistake rises (exponentially). It is important to avoid mistakes early on preferable before bid or construction phase.
- Quality Control (QC) is too late at the end of CD phase or Construction phase.
What are some goals during the Construction Document phase?
- Productivity (design with standards for efficiency when ever possible).
- Thorough, user friendly (for the code officials, general contractor, and subcontractors).
- Sufficient information.
- Good coordination.
- Consistency (look and feel of drawings).
How can Architect, Engineer, or Designer manage information more efficiently?
- Have standard sheets and details (cover sheets, partition types, toilet details, window details, door schedule and details, finish schedule, millwork/casework schedule and details, sealant schedule, miscellaneous metals schedules, etc.)
- Focus on “atypical” details.
- Show dimensions, quantities on a single drawing to avoid conflicts. Do not repeat similar notes. Put all of typical notes on one detail and refer other details back to typical detail.
- Follow principle of single statement – reduction of redundancy.
- Be frugal: use time and resources wisely.
- Avoid using similar scales (i.e., 1/8” and 1/16” OR 1/4” and 1/2”) whenever possible because information will be similar. Jump up or down at least 2 scales to avoid redundancy.
- How are words and #’s perceived? Reference with words rather than #’s. Keep key notes straightforward and simple.
- Wall section should be a “road map” like a plan where vertical dimensions and details are referenced. Avoid referencing typical conditions where possible.
- Think of CDs as a story board (i.e., “defrag” your working drawings like you “defrag” you computer). Begin with the end in mind!
- Include a schedule and instruction system at the front of the set to make it easier for the contractor to reference. Do not split up details that are related (i.e., keep plan, details, section details together not on ‘standard” sheets 20 drawings away from referenced drawing; keep references close, preferably on the same/next sheet when possible). This will make the subcontractor’s work easier and the construction process more efficient.
- Save time by creating schedules for sealants and miscellaneous metals so you do not have to include them in every detail.
- Coordinate, cross-reference, and remove redundancies from construction drawings and specifications.
How can an Architect, Engineer, or Designer save time on Typical Details?
- Create a default: Select the most common type of door and state that is the typical door unless otherwise noted. Try to minimize the documentation of exceptions by creating different typical conditions. This way you only have to document the exceptions or atypical situations and avoid redundancy.
- Try to figure out what is different that the default and illustrate those conditions.
We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.
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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
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