All buildings require construction documents to provide instruction to the builder on what is to be built. Construction documentation can range from very basic drawings (with or without a specification) through to fully complete drawings and specifications with comprehensive details and schedules.
Generally the more unique or complex the project, the greater the need for more comprehensive and complete documentation.
For example, a simple garage can be constructed with a very basic drawing, while an individual house or other unique building requires full and complete documentation.
The construction documents generally comprise two different parts:
These contain dimensions, notes, details and other graphic information. These drawings will show things like the floor plan, exterior and interior elevations, and a plethora of details showing exactly how the building should be put together.
These are detailed instructions and information for the builder which are not usually shown on the drawings.
The specifications include written information for the quality and type of materials and products to be used, standards for various building elements, selections particular to the project and schedules for the windows, doors, finishes, door hardware and other ancillary items.
Specifications are a safeguard for the owner, requiring the builder to conform to Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia.
The construction drawings and specification together, fully describe all the materials and products that are required to construct a building. Both drawings and specification form part of the building contract – the legal agreement between owner and builder.
Construction documents for tenders
Construction documents are used to obtain competitive tenders from a variety of builders. We prepare comprehensive and complete documents to enable the tenders to be compared equally, and builders to be clear on the scope of work and materials, alleviating assumptions and allowances.
Comprehensive documentation avoids the circumstances where a builder, midway through construction, seeks large variations in the contract sum due to discrepancies and omissions in the documentation.
After a contract is signed and the building construction is underway any additional costs or variations generally arise from the site conditions or changes required by the client.
Construction documents for clarity
A great deal of time and effort is invested in preparing the design. The contract documentation ensures that the design can be faithfully adhered to during the construction process.
When producing the construction documents the architect discusses all the materials, products and fixtures with the clients to ensure that their preferences are included and that the quality of these items is in accordance with their expectations.
Disputes between clients and builders are common in the construction industry. Usually, these disputes arise because of the insufficient construction documents provided.
Construction documents for a smooth, efficient building process
Complete contract documentation enables the builders to proceed at maximum efficiency. With all the required information, builders can coordinate sub-contractors, order materials, and the construction sequence can go ahead in a timely, trouble-free manner using the information contained in the documents.
Construction documents for other participants in the building process
The construction documents produced by an architect are used by all the participants in the building process. This includes the authorities or private certifiers who must approve the completed building as well as the various sub-contractors responsible for individual elements and building products.
With a multitude of products and building systems, and many sub-contractors often working on any given project, it’s clear that comprehensive and full details of building construction is essential.
To produce a building of a high standard which meets with a clients expectations, concise documentation can avoid heavy financial and construction mistakes.