Unit 6: Construction Documents and Details
This unit provides an overview of the different types of project deliverables that are typical for structural engineering projects. The unit highlights the components that are typically found in a set of construction documents including plans, elevations, sections, details, schedules, and general notes. Each document provides a perspective on the actual design of a project.
Construction Documents and Details Objectives
In this unit, students will gain an understanding of:
- the purpose of construction documents
- the format of construction documents
- the creation of construction documents
After completing this unit, students will be able to:
- Define the different types of project deliverables.
- Know the different parts of a set of construction documents.
- Understand the relationship between plans, sections, and schedules.
Construction Documents and Details Overview
Each component of the construction documents can be thought of as a lens which focuses on different sections of a design to communicate different requirements. A representative sample of each type of document can be seen in Figure 1. In numerical order, the documents pictured are: plan view, elevation, detail, schedule, and plan notes.
Construction documents are the records that are shared with architects, owners, engineers, and other construction professionals to communicate a design. For example, architects and owners need to see floor plans, elevations, and 3D drawings of the design for approval. Engineers from other disciplines will want to see those drawings, as well as more detailed drawings, to help them understand the building model and how it affects their work. Construction professionals need all of these drawings, as well as schedules, to build the design. A construction document set (also called a drawing set or a sheet set) is a compilation of drawings created by each trade for construction purposes. Each sheet contains pertinent information required for the building design.
The construction document (CD) phase is the last stage of the design process. Structural engineers focus on finalizing their drawings and specifications for the structural components and systems of the building so that their drawings can be included in the contract documents. A complete fully coordinated set of construction documents and specifications is made up of the different architectural, structural, mechanical, and civil engineering drawings. The contractor then uses these drawings to determine a guaranteed maximum price (often called GMP or G-max price or lump sum price), obtain necessary permits, and construct the project. A new emerging aspect of construction is that the design team also releases their models for the contractor to use in conjunction with the printed construction documents. This aspect of BIM is a large departure from the historic way of producing buildings. The use of the BIM software file as part of the contract deliverables produces great opportunities for efficiency, challenges for additional risk and liability, and potential for significant new revenue.