Here are just a few key attributes of good construction documents for buildings:
- Drawings and specifications use the same terminology. A good example of this attribute would be consistent naming of soil types in earthwork specifications and structural drawings, and those names should also be consistent with the naming of soil types in geo-technical recommendations for the project. Naming of soil types on architectural drawings should also be consistent or should be avoided in favor of clear references to the other disciplines. Consistent naming can help to avoid misunderstandings about the design intent.
- Sufficient drawings views (plans, elevations, sections, and details) are included to describe typical and unique project conditions. Good drawing sets commonly include numerous partial and “hidden” elevations to describe unique project conditions that may not be covered by major views. Sufficient drawing views support effective cost estimating and construction in keeping with design intent.
- Drawing graphics are clearly explained with legends and are coordinated with drawing notes. Clear graphics and notes avoid misunderstandings about the design intent.
- Mechanical equipment is shown in the same location on mechanical drawings, architectural drawings, and (where applicable) electrical drawings.
- The actual sizes of mechanical and electrical equipment are accommodated within the architectural design, and necessary access space for service and maintenance is also included. The need for routine periodic access to service mechanical and electrical equipment is almost universal, and each type of equipment should be located such that necessary access space is provided as part of the design. Equipment manufacturers typically publish dimensional information including access requirements, and much of this information is commonly available online. Access for changing filters on mechanical equipment is a common requirement. Top-side access space exceeding the dimensions of the fixture itself is necessary for replacing lamps on some recessed electrical lighting fixtures.