CARMELHILL

Specs on drawings, or in spec book

Recommended Posts

With localities asking for more and more code info on drawings, and in an effort to reduce liability, I have steadily been adding to our drawing specifications. Someday I might just buy a copy of the code book and staple it to every drawing.

 

What's the general consensus here? Other than very basic code reference notes that need to be on the cover sheet near the Climatic Data chart, where are you putting your specs? Are you adding two or three extra sheets of notes to your projects or are you printing a dedicated 8-1/2" x 11" spec book? I've seen it both ways but it seems silly to print 3 full size sheets of prints, just for the contractor and subcontractors to basically look at it once during bidding, then never again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course you need to balance what's efficient for your fee structure versus the permitting requirements. In my region there's a massive disconnect between what builders want to pay for plans and want included in a set of plans, and what permitting officials want to see on a set of plans. Here, it is quite normal that many pages of a full set of plans never make it into the hands of the trades or suppliers, but stop at the permit desk. 

 

But, to your point, I'd keep my spec's and notes on the plan set, and not in a separate page format. I find it to be a real time waster going between 2 different layout sizes, then different pdf files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My county wants all kinds of code language on the plans. Then they started to request that the code language be placed on the relevant sheet and not “buried” in a specification sheet “that no one will read.”  This tends to make some plans a bit busy. 

 

I think it’s dependent on who is reviewing the plans and how lazy/busy they are as to their level of code language required. 
 

the two newest ones are the pellet stove installed to manufacturers specs and the GWB under stairwell language, both located on the plans at the location. 
 

now I’m getting push back on prescriptive hand-cut roof designs. They want to see them “engineered”.
Uh, that’s what’s in the tables in the code book people!

 

Lastly, it seems that the more info/detail you put into a design, the more they dig into it.  Sometimes leaving things minimalist seems to get through permitting easier.
 

I called the ICC and was given verbal permission over the phone to copy and paste various amounts of code language.   Her exact words were not more than five pages consecutively. She said something about it being allowed under Creative Commons license or some kind of thing. I recommend paying for the online access to the codes at the ICC. They make their $$$ and you have easy access to the codes. 

https://www.iccsafe.org

 

892E6E17-6317-437A-905E-F89AF00150E1.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put as little spec in plans as possible, for me, it only invites scrutiny. What I found was that just because one plan checker wants a million details on this particular plan doesn't mean he wants it on the next. It becomes very apparent when another checker sees the plans and asks why on earth I put so many details.

I simply budget in 1 revision set because of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a huge difference between specifications and code notes. Specifications are for the contractor, and define contractual obligations. If you are working directly for a contractor, most will opt for as few specifications as possible. If you are working for an Owner, that is a different ball of wax. Over the past thirty-some years I have done it both ways, and found that if you put the spec's in a book, that book will stay in the contractor's truck, and worse, may not even be seen by a subcontractor during the bid. For a number of years, I was adamant about the electrical spec's being on the electrical sheet, for example, because contractors would tear apart the plans and give the electrician just the one electrical sheet. If the electrical spec's weren't included on that sheet, the electrician might not ever see them, and then you have a mess when the electrician claims he never saw the requirement for metal boxes and currently every installed box is plastic with a bunch of cracked nailing fins. When you can now distribute the whole set electronically as a single file, it doesn't matter as much, because there isn't an excuse that the sub never got the spec's. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, Renerabbitt said:

I put as little spec in plans as possible, for me, it only invites scrutiny. What I found was that just because one plan checker wants a million details on this particular plan doesn't mean he wants it on the next. It becomes very apparent when another checker sees the plans and asks why on earth I put so many details.

I simply budget in 1 revision set because of this.

This is the way to do it.  I know some plan checkers as friends and they confirm that they change from week to week.  They change their focus on what they want to see.  Give them almost nothing.  They will request some notes.  Add them, upload the revision and move on to the next job.  I started to see LESS revision requests when I started doing this.  It often goes through with no note requests.  This whole conversation is about the "busy work" notes that no one reads.  A relevant specification is a different story.  I feature those on the plan where they are needed and will get read.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see everyone's points here. I've also seen it explained the other way. An architect's forum I read, said more detailed spec's yield better quality work, with less variation in bids, and less liability to us. But I agree, all too often these sheets get thrown in the trash.

 

My specs have turned more into code references that the one local town, only one specifically, is asking for more and more detail.  Everytime they send their plans examiners for a code training day, I get a wave of new rejection comments and more stuff that needs to be added to the drawings.

 

9 hours ago, para-CAD said:

Then they started to request that the code language be placed on the relevant sheet and not “buried” in a specification sheet “that no one will read.”  This tends to make some plans a bit busy. 

I have started doing this too, with the specific section of the code referenced on the drawing, but I do it via keynotes. The keynote system is the only way I can conceivably keep drawings readable, without getting too busy. And it's standard practice in commercial.

 

Thank you all for your input. I'm going to cut some of the "fat", and through some specific notes into the drawings with keynotes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Richard_Morrison said:

There is a huge difference between specifications and code notes. Specifications are for the contractor, and define contractual obligations.

This exactly^^^.  
In my experience jurisdictions rarely care about specifications for residential, except for a few things like fireplaces.  As others have said, if you do have a client that wants, (and wants to pay for) specifications, then they're most likely to be properly looked at if they're on the plans, but I would recommend doing it on an alternate set of plans that doesn't go into the permitting jurisdiction. As Rene said, it just invites more questions during the permit process... and 9X out of 10 everything gets changed by owner and/or builder as the project progresses... and then what?.. back to the city for revisions?  I would only ever do specs on an hourly basis.   For ensuring better quality work the best approach is to help the Owners get a contractor that does quality work without having to be told how to do quality work.    Also, rather than specifications, a few well considered arch. details can do a lot more than lots of words in a spec..


The only Code Notes most jurisdictions require are related to; egress, temp. glass, railings, stairs, fire protection and a few plumbing and electric.  You should be able to cover the relevant ones with a list of less than 30 code items. I list them in a numbered fashion on the side of the plan and reference them with a small note at each relevant location.  Although you could of course put more than these minimal amount of code notes, I feel you then only risk glazing over the eyes of who ever is reading the plans... not to mention it just muddies up the plans.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For fifty years I have lived by one creed:
     Never give a building department more information than they need to issue a building permit.
Now, though, every building department I deal with has different requirements for the code references and or specifications they want on the drawings.  
     My typical drawing now runs some 25 sheets of D size paper.  Way more than that when certain departments want drawings on ANSI C, whtich is 17x22.
     Almost all of them want everything relevant to the specific plan view or section to appear on the same sheet.  They seem to forget that callouts were made because you cannot fit everything on one sheet.
     I can always tell when there is a Continuing Education School for the building inspectors.....whatever they learned in that school they want to see on the drawings.
     So, instead of submitting, re-submitting, re-submitting, I took a lot of time to put all of the information the local building departments each want, and now I get through pretty much on the first go round.

     You really can never get it right....it is always subject to the individual inspector.  Oh well, thank God for client changes after the prermit so that re-submission money can be recovered and profited from.

Lane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to relabel all my layout sheets to match a bldg. dept's demand that all sheets follow their labeling protocol... or be rejected.

 

Seems to me it would be easier if each bldg dept would just add their stamps of what the "required" information is that they want to the planset.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an example of the opposite extreme of too much info on the plan.  One county I work in tried to use an "opt in program".  All plans had to be submitted but you could choose whether or not to have the plans examiner and the field inspectors involved.  This experiment has since come to an end.  The picture is an actual plan (not one I made)  that was approved for construction under this system.  I think you can guess why the experiment failed.

bad plan.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, javatom said:

This is an example of the opposite extreme of too much info on the plan.  One county I work in tried to use an "opt in program".  All plans had to be submitted but you could choose whether or not to have the plans examiner and the field inspectors involved.  This experiment has since come to an end.  The picture is an actual plan (not one I made)  that was approved for construction under this system.  I think you can guess why the experiment failed.

bad plan.JPG


LOL!... Hilarious.   That kind of drawing (though perhaps not quite that cartoonish) was actually not that uncommon in rural areas not all that long ago.
The only thing it's missing is a coffee cup ring for an architectural stamp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/25/2020 at 3:02 PM, javatom said:

 

bad plan.JPG

 

Add "not to scale," resubmit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Member Statistics

    27499
    Total Members
    6254
    Most Online
    Bren0625
    Newest Member
    Bren0625
    Joined