Gaps between design disciplines are a common cause of construction change orders. In some cases, the consulting disciplines’ standard practices may generate a gap. For example, the electrical engineer may establish an electrical scope of work that “stops” 10 feet outside the building, while the site civil engineer may expect (and indicate on the site drawings) that the electrical contractor will provide power to a sewage lift station that is 15 feet outside the building. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that neither the electrical engineer nor the civil engineer will become aware of this gap in electrical service until the contractor submits an RFI.
Similar gaps can occur between plumbing and site trades, between mechanical and general building trades, between structural steel and miscellaneous metals trades, and between other trades. In most cases, proactive coordination by the project architect during the construction documents phase can help to minimize these gaps.”Proactive” coordination means getting involved in finding and highlighting possible gaps and managing document revisions to eliminate the gaps by conferring with the related disciplines, considering applicable trade practices and regulations, and assigning responsibility to the most appropriate party. (It’s usually not enough (and not really proactive) to simply tell the consultants to work it out between themselves.)