Episode 26: Contract Documents Phase of a Design Project

Twitter in London. Photo by Hufton Crow.

IA Principal and Technical Director Stephen Furnstahl highlights the third phase of the design process.

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ia-radio_logo-ia-interior-architects-26Show notes

Contract documents are part of the legal contract that is required for construction. One of the most challenging parts of a project is putting these contract documents together. The contract documents must contain specs that provide criteria for materials that will be used in the project and drawings that show relationships and appearance.

Conflicting schedules and specs. A spec is a written narrative, and drawings are drawings. The specs should describe what the materials are and what the standards are to install those materials, while the drawings should show what we want to create, where it goes, and the thousands of components that go into what we build.

Common mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes is repeating information in more than one place, such as showing a door twice while listing the dimensions on an elevation. These mistakes can lead to conflicts down the road if the height of the door changes, or you forget to add those changes elsewhere, for example. Another common mistake is providing incomplete information. Vagueness can lead to unintended mistakes or value engineering. I actually used to draw a fish in one elevation in each set of drawings to see who was reading the drawings closely.