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Re: RE: Level of Detailing

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This is an excellent post and strikes at the heart of the matter.  Sometimes, a lot of detail is useless to the field, not because it is too detailed, but because those building the project already know how to do it.  Other times, the architect nor the GC have a clue and then taking the "5" road can be dangerous.

I design a lot of redundant big box stuff low-rise commercial stuff and also build them too.  We've have, for example, developed strategies to reduce cracking and curling of the concrete slab over the years that we don't even bother the engineer with. We just do it whether its on the plans that way or not.  Frankly, we barely even look at the plans, (including my own) during construction.  Its all almost automatic for us, like driving a stick-shift. Once you get the hang of the clutch what seems impossible in the beginning turns into something you don't think about it anymore.

Whether or not an engineer can know who's building the project or not before he begins has an enormous impact on the level of detail he needs to put on paper.

But again, having said that, my pet peeve raises its ugly head again; there still is NO EXCUSE FOR NTS DRAWINGS...


	Are there projects residential, commercial, industrial, or nuclear?  The level of detail increases significantly from the residential to nuclear. 
	Do you know the contractor and the quality of their work (or lack there of)?  If the projects are not going to be bid or the bidders are pre-selected and we know the quality of work, then we may reduce the amount of detail.  This savings is past onto the client.
	What is the fee?  If the client wants to minimize the risk of RFIs and unknowns and is he willing to pay for the detail?   With the amount of work we have become more selective on clients and do not want to do the quick and dirty projects.  
	Drawings manually or electronically generated.  Pre cad, plans were 1/8" or 1/4" and sometimes only 1/16" and sections and details typically 3/8" and possibly 3/4".  Today details are drawn larger resulting in more detail.  For example, on a wall section showing metal studs at 1-1/2" scale showed the holes in the stud.  When drawings were manual the level of detail was kept down by keeping the scale down.  You used one line instead of 2 lines.
	The amount of detail shown by the architect.  We get drawings from architects that are not even dimensioned and the details are not worked out.  So to keep the project going we spend time developing sections and elevations that the architect should have developed.  How do contractors build without dimensioned drawings?

Being from the heavy industrial and nuclear side I tend to over detail (according to my boss).  But that minimizes the RFIs.
Gary Loomis


From: Will Haynes [mailto:gtg740p(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Sat 8/12/2006 12:46 PM
To: seaint
Subject: Level of Detailing

I wanted to get a rough estimate of the level of detailing some of you are putting into your drawings. I have worked at a couple of different places where there was a general acceptance of the level of detailing that should go into our drawings. Some places were kind of low where others were very high. However, there was always at least one person that was on the very low end of the standard and one that would almost drive you to insanity with his/her level of perfection.  
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the minimal amount of detailing to get by (which also normally results in a lot more RFI's being generated and field problems), and 10 being anal retentive to the max (where it takes twice as long to detail a project), how would you rate yourself or others you work with? Also, what do you feel the goal should be? 
I guess that the person that is on the high or low end would actually not see himself as being that way. Right now, I feel like I am about midway. I try to show the critical details on a project and note the structurally important nuances. However, I don't address every possible thought that might come into a contractor's mind during construction, and all of my text does not have to line up perfectly either. I usually make budget too. 
I know this is kind of subjective and depends on your client and what the standard is in your area. 

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