A brief word on shop drawings…

Okay people, a brief word on shop drawings:  These are the number one perpetuators of architecture disallusionment.  If there was one thing no one mentions to students as they learn to be architects in their messy and esoteric studios, it’s shop drawings.  And I understand why.  If we told students that they would be spending hours of their life combing specifications and corresponding by written material to their contractors and subcontractors on every little detail of their building, kids would be leaving this industry in droves before they even got into it.  Sometimes I open a shop drawing and I have no idea what I am looking at.  Furthermore, I have even less motivation to figure it out, or look at my drawings to confirm it, or search through the specifications to see if the color of the basketball backboard was one of the several we specified as appropriate.  Also, if you are not a specified manufacturer and you were not involved in a request for substitution, I am not even going to look at your crap.  Its gonna get sent back until you go through the proper channels…primarily because not reviewing your submittal saves me time and, even more importantly, my precious effort. 

I am not bitter, I am just saying – no one told you this was going to happen to your life.  Secretly, I like reviewing all the work and making sure people get it right.  Maybe its a power trip, I can’t say.  Maybe its restitution on a long and difficult project and you feel the need to stick it to someone with a phrase like:

 “I am sure this is a fine product, but exactly which penetrations is it proposed to be used for….You can’t just fill every penetration universally with this product and maintain the fire-rated resistance requirement of the wall or floor being penetrated.” 

 I’m just saying, that’s all.  So if you are spending your days reviewing shop drawings, I feel for you and I am sorry that this post was not longer to effectively waste more of your time.

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  1. My main motivation for combing the specs and checking every last detail is taking the opportunity to find an error before it occurs in the field. There’s no feeling like being told that the unacceptable product you call out in the field was approved by yourself in the submittal stage.

    Thankfully submittals are not part of the contract documents, and architects only review them for compatibility with the overall and design intents of the work. We are not responsible for errors in quantity, or compatibility with the system each component is a part of.

    My building inspector is currently questioning the appropriateness of trap primers that are burried under 8 inches of concrete for the location they were installed based on a copy of the submittal he just received. Yay.

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