Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: eng info on dwgs

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

You are obviously refering to the provisions in the code requiring specific
information be defined in the Construction Documents.

My response is "carefully and minimally".  I provide only the specific
information required and no more.  While I have not been able to eliminate
the General Notes they can be made much shorter than is common.  

In order to minimize the inclusion of wrong information the master notes
you use on each project should not include specific values even if they are
typical.  Thus you will be more likely to omit the value than to
inadvertently include a wrong value.

Where codes require you to show material properties that are repeated in
the specifications I would show only the minimum required.  In the case of
Concrete I would only include f'c, using the argument that the other
information would not be useful to a future user.   Where the code is not
explicit you have great latitude ininterpreting the provisions.  I also
include a note that refers the user to the Specifications for additional

You may also want to indicate that this information is provided for
regulatory purposes only and state that it should not be relied on by the
Contractor or others.  I have done this in some special cases and have not
any objection from the building department.

In the situation where you require the Contractor to design specific
components of the building then you need to clearly define the necessary
criteria since the Contractor needs that information to do his work.

Mark Gilligan

-----Original Message-----
From: "Scott, William N." <William.Scott(--nospam--at)>


How do you conform to IBS-2003, Section 1603?


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Gilligan [mailto:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2004 11:25 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: eng info on dwgs

Most of the rationales for putting additional information on the drawings
are based on an attempt to prevent an often poorly defined problem that
will possibly occur some time in the future. These problems are problems
that we have no obligation to prevent and "solving"  them can have
consequences so why do we do it?

Construction documents are intended to give directions to the Contractor. 
It is my belief that documents are most effective when they try to do just
one thing.  When you try to accomplish multiple objectives, such as
facilitating future ill defined modifications, then things get  fuzzy. 
When we use construction documents to accomplish multiple objectives, we
spend more time and run the risk that we will increase our liability as a
result of confusing others.  

If you just tell the contractor to put a certain amount of reinforcing in a
block wall there is little confusion.  On the other hand if you define
something as a shear wall you might find the Contractor has wrongly used
this information to justify some interpretation you did not intend.  In
addition if there is litigation involving the building this additional
information and any alleged inconsistencies will be used against you if
possible.  Is it worth the grief?

The common practice of placing material properties on the drawings often
results in conflicts with the specifications.  Placing the material grades
and strengths on the drawings also encourages the contractor to get in the
habit of looking only on the drawings thus ignoring the additional
provisions in the specifications.  Is it worth the grief?

When you put additional information on the drawings it makes it easier for
another engineer to modify the building you designed.  On the other hand if
that information was not on the drawings the Owner might  find it cheaper
to have you design the modifications.  If you are dealing with somebody
elses design where certain additional information is not in the
construction documents you will probably have to spend more time thus
increasing your total fees.  Why should we spend more time doing something
that increses our liability exposure while likely having a negative impact
on future fees?

Thus I believe we should only include information in the construction
documents the Contractor needs to perform the current work.

Mark Gilligan

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers 
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To 
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you 
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted 
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web 
*   site at: 
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********