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RE: Allocation of Responsibilities (part 1)

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At 09:01 AM 5/27/2004 -0500, you wrote:
Here's another perspective:  How many of you (or your drafters) generate all
of your plans from a blank sheet, and how many use the architectural
electronic base plans as a starting point?  I've had jobs where our plans
consisted of the architectural base plans x-ref'ed into a sheet with layers
turned off, then the structure drawn over the top.  We still had to draw the
structural system, and we still had to generate all the details and notes.
How is this different from what the fabricator wants to do?  I've also had
jobs where the arch. plans were such crap that we had to completely draw
ours from scratch.  Unfortunately, the some architects can't tell the
difference between the two.

This is where, in my experience, the problem occurs. I get a not-to-scale drawing from the architect. It happens all the time - the architect realizes he needs an extra inche here or there, and changes the dimension manually rather than correct his drawing. Better yet - he manually changes a dimension because it's showing an odd 16th and he wants it to look cleaner, then he goes back later an stretches the drawing to get that extra inch or two...but forgets that he's manually edited that dimension. The office policy was that the architectural dimensions come straight from God himself, and they are the gospel. I know that my design is complete - as a general layout. An inch or two will not affect my design - I don't base my designs on anything beyond two significant figures in buildings, as too much can change between modelling and occupancy.

So my design is good, my plans correctly convey the design intent. But I know that there are some dimensions that are off and I can't do a damned thing about them. If the fabricator uses my digital plans, there's gonna be problems. This sounds silly, but telling the brass that their project architect's building doesn't close falls on deaf ears. They won't take any action until it causes a problem (budgets are tight, can't spend time to fix things, only to correct them in the field ;-)

This is why we (the structural department) never allowed reproductions of drawings - we couldn't trust them ourselves.

Two points on this:

One, we developed an autocad routine to check all dimensions on a drawing - it put a green box around every "automatic" dimension, and a red circle with a line over every "manually edited" dimension. We caught a LOT of fudging with it, but even getting it right one week didn't mean that there wouldn't be changes the next week.

Two, the friction this caused between me and management over doing things properly was one of the reasons I left my old firm. In my own practice, I offer to use digital plans from architects to save a client money. I make it clear that if the plans are not accurately drawn in autocad, or the levels do not line up, they will be charged - in both schedule and fee - for my drafters to recreate the drawings just as if I'd gotten paper plans.

Jordan Truesdell, PE, Principal

Truesdell Engineering, Inc.
Structural Consulting and Design
434 Bluegrass Trail Studio #23
Newport, VA 24128-0342

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