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Re: Re: Level of Detailing

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From: Will Haynes <gtg740p(--nospam--at)>
Date: 2006/08/12 Sat PM 02:02:11 CDT
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Level of Detailing

As an Architect and builder, I see absolutely no reason why every aspect of a structural design isn't drawn to scale.  IMO its pure laziness that details are drawn NTS.  With the sophistication of CAD programs today, there is no excuse for not drawing to scale.  

As for detailing, unfortunately, just as most architects don't know what they don't know about engineering, most engineers don't know what they don't know about architecture. It drives me nuts to have to redraw an engineer's detail myself to ensure that it works in the design because what is actually a W18 is drawn in some generic BS detail as a W12. Well, I do it all the time, because the level of structural detail hit a 5 when it should be an 8.  

I can't tell you how many times I've caught NTS footings protruding into slab recesses, or framing clips exposed inside the finished surface due to inadequate detailing.  Most engineers don't even know this stuff happens because we fix it in the field or re-design the architecture to make it work because we can't wait the 2 days it takes to get a cogent response from an engineer.  

To me 5 is minimal and frankly, in today's CAD world, lazy.  7-8 should be the minimum and if I need it, I'll pay for a 10..


I would like to give an example of what I think is a "1" is also.  There is an engineer I worked with who mass produced, designing several large projects at the same time. It was more of a small sweatshop type environment so he was highly regarded. He was also smart and had codes memorized. He could look at member sizes and tell you if they worked or not, and how high you could go with a concrete moment frame and still meet drift limits. But, I sometimes think he border lined on negligent (having 2 detail sheets for a large project that were not even full). The details he did have were less than "detailed" and just had lots of CYA notes on his plans. Also, sometimes he would get caught by a contractor who would not do anything without sending an RFI, or a building department that would consistently reject his drawings. But, he almost always came in substantially under budget and he never had any failures or even significant serviceability issues that I was aware of. 

On 8/12/06, dave lowen <jatech(--nospam--at)> wrote:
Time to get on my soapbox again.
On Will's scale, drawings rated 5 would be, to my mind ideal. I have seen an ideal set of drawings once in the last 10 years. The remainder have been 1's or less with a couple of 2.5's in there.
As for taking on more responsibility, that is akin to being deader. You ARE responsible, period.
Dave Lowen
V 519 587 5797
F 519 587 5138
E jatech(--nospam--at)
From: erik gibbs [mailto:erik.gibbs(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: August 12, 2006 1:56 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Level of Detailing
Although I only graduated in January and have been working at a structural eng company since, I do know where you are coming from. At an internship that I had, the SE was a 9 or 10. Very very detailed. I thought that was good until someone explained that not only are you wasting time and money, but also you take on more responsibility the more detailed that you become. 
At the company that I work for now, the general acceptance is to produce drawings with a level of detail of about 4 to 5. This is hard for me because I tend to be very meticilious and detailed, but I understand the concept that too much detail may be a bad thing. 


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