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Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1338
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 08:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

NO. 187 [PART 2 AFTER NO. 186]
There is no unified group or agency that directs its efforts solely at the content and quality of contract drawings. Many groups set standards, guidelines, procedures, and checklists, etc, but do not address pure quality of content. Computerized production of drawings is so prevalent today that it overshadows and obscures the fact that rapid production and ease of manipulation are not valid drawing criteria. It is the depth and quality of construction knowledge, its correct application, depiction and purposeful communication that counts foremost! But without formal instruction in the production of contract [working] drawings, the quality can and has suffered. This is a task that is of grave concern and remains as one part of the detailed scope of this paper.
It is also important to understand that specifications are another, but fully equal, part of this discussion. Specifications writing may not become the primary task of the graduate, unlike the production of drawings. Indeed, few students and young professionals will engage in it full time, while others may never write specifications. Hence, to provide highly detailed, technical specifications instruction too early will serve no useful purpose. Instead, the need is to understand the intent and content, the general legal implications of, and the context of specifications within the umbrella of Contract Documents. Form, style and processing of specifications are not fodder for the early education. As expertise in design, and the allied course topics evolve and progress, so too, specifications should be addressed in a generally commensurate manner. This development should have the goal of putting the basic tool of specifications in the bag of professional expertise of the full student body of prospective registered professionals, but not as a highly developed skill. That Student Body is graphically illustrated below:

The chart illustrates the progressive student body that acts as a general audience for the receipt of building construction information, professional skill, project documentation [drawings and specifications], and understanding of the function of same in overall project development.
In essence, this is acknowledgment that there is a need for information, instruction, discussion and mentoring prior to becoming a Construction Documents Technologist (CDT). That should [if there is to be true change] take place well before the student emerges as part of the professional staffing with an understanding that CSI exists and what its function is. This will offer more insight to the young professionalsí work overall and the specifics of document production-- both specifications and drawings.
Every design concept comes to the point where it projects an image, and provides some indication of form, function, and interrelationships. This usually is in the form of information that closely resembles school projects-- rendering[s], small-scale plans and elevations, perspectives, models [virtual or cardboard], etc. At this point, the project is an unresolved piece of work, unbuilt, unoccupied, and non-functional. Between this point and the full reality of a completed project lie two major efforts-- proper professional documentation of the work, and subsequent skilled execution of that work. [Part 3 next week]

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