Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drawing review: measure thrice, issue once - Part 2

So we've talked about having someone review the drawings on a major milestone (like DDs or especially CDs), but what about the specs? Remember, the specs go with, complement, and complete the drawings, so they're important enough to be reviewed. So who reviews them? Well, how about you?

An intern may be the perfect person to review specs, partially because they're rarely the person who does the specs and can therefore look at them with fresh eyes. In some ways, interns will read specs almost like a contractor--you know generally what the project is about, but you don't know every little thing, hence reading the specs will tell you (or not tell you) a lot about the project. Because many interns don't get to look at specs very often, it can be hard to know what you're looking for. Here are a few highlights:
  • Lists or choices that should be made. For example, the metal framing spec section may list a variety of acceptable deflection amounts in brackets, and the architect has to pick one. If the spec section still shows a list that looks something like [L/120] [L/240] [L/360] [Per Drawings], then that deflection criteria still needs to be picked. Make a note of it to let someone know (either by redlining a hard copy or putting it in an email with the spec section number and the outline number (e.g., 054000, Section 2.1.A).
  • Duplicated information. Again in that same metal framing spec, you might see some descriptions of how thick the metal framing should be (e.g., interior studs are 25 gauge, exterior non-load-bearing studs shall be 16 gauge, etc.). But having done the drawings yourself, you might remember that your partition types schedule lists the minimum required stud gauge already. This is another moment to make a note and ask the project manager--do we want to repeat this information? (Probably not.) If not, where would we rather have this information shown--specs or drawings?
  • Unnecessary spec sections or subsections. I noticed in a recent spec section on blinds and louvers that we listed a bunch of info for the louver blinds as well as for roller shades. However, our project had no roller shades, so this section needed to be deleted. While sometimes it may be acceptable to leave in this kind of extraneous information (say, if you're using "typical" specs for a longtime client for whom you do several projects a year), I recommend that it generally come out. If we left those roller shades in the specs, a sub might read the specs, look at the drawings and not find any roller shades, and then get confused about what s/he should be providing. Extraneous, unnecessary information can cause subs to throw extra money into their pricing for a project because they can't find the product in the drawings are are fearful that the drawings are what's bad, not the specs.
  • Missing spec sections. If you don't see certain products listed--maybe the special glass mosaic tile in the Tiling section, or the connectors that hold the art glass against the wall in the Glazing section--bring it to your manager's attention. This is where it's a good idea to pan briefly through the Masterspec table of contents to see if you've accounted for everything in a project.

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