Sunday, March 23, 2008

...and that's the way it was (built).

When a project gets done being built, the general contractor as well as the mechanical subcontractor and electrical subcontractor send as-builts to the architect and her consultants for final documentation. All the major trades working on a job have their own copy of the drawings that pertains to them, and they make notes on their plans as changes happen. These changes might be from the design team, like an RFI or a PR, or something that was discovered in the field and fixed there without being officially mentioned. They then turn their marked-up drawings over to the architect, who passes on appropriate drawings to the other consultants, like structural, mechanical/plumbing, and electrical engineers. We then mark up our own CAD files to reflect these in-field changes, and we do a final check of their drawings versus ours and make the necessary changes. It's also a good chance for us to make a final check to ensure that we got all those RFIs, PRs, CCDs, and so on incorporated into our drawings. When it's all said and done, we print a final set of drawings for our use and for the owner. We also send a copy of the electronic files to the owner, because technically, the drawings of their building belong to them.

I spent a few days this week doing the as-builts for MHRC's scope procedure suite (the project I did with Billy Ray during the last few months of last year). As I wrapped them up, Jann asked me how things were going on them.
"Fine," I responded. "I've got them marked "Record Set" and everything, but I wanted to ask if we wanted them stamped and signed by Alex?"
"No," Jann replied. "We only stamp and sign a record set, which is what you send the building department, if they require it, and it's not required for MHRC. These are 'as-builts'; they go to the owner, contractor, and us."

I scratched my head a bit. Howie always wanted me to write "Record Set" on my end-of-project drawings because, he maintained, we don't really know how 'as-builted' the building is. Someone could always come after us when something shows up int he building that we didn't know was there and be all, "How come this isn't in your as-builts, huh?" and we have to be all, "Look, we did our finals based on what the contractor sent us, yo" and they're all, like, "Whatever, this shoulda been in your drawings" and we're all, like, "We can't watch the contractor 24/7, dawg, we got shit to do all day too." And so on. So, Howie had me write "Record Set" on the Wheatlands drawings at the end.

So now, Shorty is doing that "Baroo?" look your dog does when it's confused. Am I doing as-builts or record drawings? Which of my project managers is doing this wrong? Does it really matter? If it doesn't matter, then why are there different names for these drawings? If it does, why doesn't Design Associates have a standard for this?

Even more pressing, really, is the slowdown in work in our office. We didn't get selected for a couple of big projects, and I'm a little freaked. Things are really quiet, and I might have to work for Guy's old boss in my office if no one has any use for me. Which would suck big time--Guy's old boss is one of the most useless managers I've ever had the unmitigated displeasure of working for. And I know that last sentence ended with a preposition, but I"m sure Kitty will forgive me. It's an uneasy feeling not knowing what you're doing day to day.

It's also hard when you don't like what you're doing day to day. Vinnie and I had an emergency meeting/cocktail hour about that topic; more solipsistic whining to come.


faded said...

"When it's all said and done, we print a final set of drawings for our use and for the owner. We also send a copy of the electronic files to the owner, because technically, the drawings of their building belong to them."

You actually do this? Yours is first architecture firm I have ever heard of that does this voluntarily.

My business take me into buildings after they are completed. The contractors, engineers and architects are gone, sometimes for years.

If the customer wants us to provide space management as part of the facility management process we need Autocad drawings. We ask the owner for a set of electronic drawings. We tell the owner to go to the architect ask specifically for the dwg files. We explain to the owner exactly what to ask for and how to check to make sure they got it. The owner goes to the architect and asks.

We almost never get cooperation. Architects attempt to give the owner PDF files and then claim that PDF files are the actual Autocad dwg files. We explain the difference to the owner and the owner has to make a second request.

We get told that the drawings are the property of the architect and they will not be supplied. Usually the owner reminds the architect about where his money comes from and then we get the drawings. We had one case where the owner's lawyer had to threaten the architect.

We get drawings with big nasty copy write warnings on them.

We get drawings with x-refs missing and the architect claims the drawing is complete.

Typically we find the interior designers and the furniture vendors to be very cooperative.

Concerning your work load, I hope that something comes in. The uncertainty can be nerve racking.

Wilderness Gina said...

"As-builts" the bain of existance. Your Dad did tons of them and was always irritable as a hornet for days during and after. Who the hell remembers what's under the ground? You need a t-shirt: "I'm no where near drunk enough to put up wilth you people"

Mile High Pixie said...

Faded: I'm surprised to hear that. I thought all architects were supposed to turn over at least CAD floor plans and ceiling plans to the owner on a CD-ROM when all was said and done. I've done so on every project I've worked on in my almost-eight years with DA.

WG: I dont blame him for being pissed about as-builts. Other trades used to saw/trench through Dad's stuff and he had to go behind them and fix his stuff and theirs. Talk about some bullshit.