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James Parker wrote:

>>Shop drawings aren't usually official contract documents, since they are 
not approved by the building official.  They should not be used for special 
inspection - the approved design drawings should.<<

I would take exception to that.  "Shop drawings," in their true meaning are 
exactly what the name implies:  "Drawings to be used in the shop."  They give 
the workers in the shop the exact dimensions, angles, curves, holes, welds, 
processes, etc., necessary to cut and assemble pieces for erection in the 
field.  "Shop drawings" should remain in the shop, and rarely, if ever, be in 
the field.  They should be reviewed by the EOR for compliance with the 
structural drawings.  Structural drawings rarely, if ever, show everything 
little thing that is necessary to fabricate and erect an item.  (When was the 
last time that you showed lifting lugs on a beam or column?)

While the structural drawings may show a weld to be a fillet, or complete 
penetration, or partial penetration weld, they usually don't (and really 
shouldn't) specify the process to be used to create these welds.  As such, 
the special inspector (in this example) needs the shop drawings in order to 
perform his/her special inspection.

Unfortunately, the term "shop drawings" has been used by engineers to cover 
everything from "shop drawings," to placing drawings, to erection drawings, 
to supplier structural calculations, etc.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona