Architectural Construction Documentation

Working closely with the reputed CAD service providers like The AEC Associates has become a norm rather than an exception for top architects around the world.

Third-party CAD service providers offer countless benefits contrary to the belief of some people who remain apprehensive about entrusting their important drafting and documentation job to an unknown outsourcing vendor and still prefer to get the work done by their in-house team only.

Following is a brief discussion on the main reasons you should not hesitate in hiring an outsourcing vendor specializing in the kind of work you deal with.

  • You Get Top Quality, Every Time

CAD service providers are teams of experienced, skilled professionals specializing in different disciplines of architecture and engineering, adept at handling both small, retail buildings as well as large, complex projects of all kinds.

You are assured of top-quality work every time when you associate with them. It takes you years of untiring hard work to build a reputation of your own, you just cannot afford to compromise on the accuracy or the quality of work.

Just take your time and choose your vendor after proper due diligence, and your results will improve.

  • Faster Turn-around Time

Time is money in today’s business world, you don’t deliver on time and your reputation is tarnished beyond redemption.

You might get apprehensive you won’t be able to control an outsider when it comes to punctuality, but is that true?

You can of course monitor your timelines closely while getting the job done from your in-house teams, but times have changed and globalization has ensured that most outsourcing vendors are usually located in different geographical locations and time zones than your own.

So, your work goes on even after you have closed down your office for the day. You can manage these vendors by having a time schedule and a good follow-up program in place to ensure a faster turn-around time.

  • Reduces Your Operational Cost Considerably

Some people think that outsourcing one’s work costs more money, but that’s a misconception.

It in fact reduces your operational cost considerably, besides giving you an exact idea of what it is going to cost you once you hire your vendor.

One big plus here is that you are spared the pain of hiring and firing as per the demand of your projects. Since you can work with a minimum number of employees as a result, you can save a lot on office space and equipment, and also on salaries and perks of the employees.

  • Ensures Data Security

Architects are sometimes wary of working with CAD service providers as they are apprehensive about design data being leaked or stolen.

They think that they are at greater risk when working with outside vendors, but it can simply be prevented by entering into contracts like non-disclosure agreements, etc.

Associating with reputed CAD service providers can give you more freedom to focus on your core competencies and business aspect.

They help make your work more efficient by reducing your operational cost, ensuring faster turn-around time, and offering top quality all the time.

 

Architectural Construction Documentation
3 Elements Of Efficient Architectural Construction Documentation

The AEC Associates Architectural Construction Documentation is an important part of the entire design and construction process of a building project. An efficient and precise Architectural construction documentation ensures that the quality of construction is maintained and the project is completed within the stipulated time period. Even though documentation of the construction process is an age-old phenomenon, it’s necessary today to use latest technology to ensure the efficiency and accuracy of the process. For example, using digital photographs, webcam or videos for documenting the construction project is imperative to stay with times now.

Essential elements of complete Architectural construction documentation

Every construction project involves a lot of money, a lot is at stake for both the client and the building professionals. A complete, accurate set of documents is a prerequisite to ensure that every stage from designing to construction, and from commissioning to facility management is efficient and smooth. Some essential elements of Architectural construction documentation are discussed to help you achieve the above mentioned objective.

  • Skilled local workforce

Construction projects cost a lot of money, one just cannot afford to rely too much on people issuing instructions sitting far away. You need to have skilled workforce that is available right at the work site, ready with the knowledge and expertise to solve any emergency that comes up. Easy access to the right documents that are accurate and precise Is most important to ensure that problems are solved quickly and expertly right then and there.

  • Required expertise

Whether you are using your in-house team or hiring a third-party vendor, it’s necessary to ensure that your documentation work is handled by a team of expert professionals. Even a minute error can cause a huge loss of time and money, and a great damage to the project. Every structure poses unique challenges, only specialized professionals can handle these challenges in an efficient and timely manner.

  • Quick access to information

Your information pool has to be accessible to everyone involved with the project without delay to ensure an efficient Architectural construction documentation process. If your entire team is not connected and informed on all aspects of the project, an efficient organization of the project will become virtually impossible.

Importance of line and form in landscape design Architectural CAD Drafting
Importance of line and form in landscape design Architectural CAD Drafting

Form is an important element of landscape design that helps The AEC Associates Architectural CAD Drafting services produce breathtaking landscapes. We have been discussing in our posts about how Architectural CAD drafting can use different forms and their properties to decide a theme for the design and come up with aesthetically attractive landscapes. This post continues with the discussion.

Shrub forms

Shrub forms often compliment tree forms. They may include upright, vase shaped, spiky, arching, mounding, rounded, cascading or irregular forms. Shrub forms are used depending on whether they are in a mass or as a single specimen. Mounding shrub would look best in a mass while cascading form looks great as a specimen.

 Groundcover forms

Groundcover forms are ground hugging, small plants that have little impact as individual plants. It’s best to use them as masses. They may include matting, spreading, sprawling, clumping and short spikes etc.

Properties of form

  • Form is so powerful, it decides the overall theme of a landscape for Architectural CAD drafting. People can distinguish or perceive a form just by an outline or silhouette. A pattern, the basic organizational structure of a landscape, is created by the repetition of form.
  • Form determines if a garden is formal or informal. A garden using geometric forms has an established style and formal feel, like contemporary gardens. On the other hand, an informal garden mostly uses naturalistic forms.
  • Form compatibility is a major component of a landscape. One or two strikingly different forms may create interest but it’s advisable to mostly use forms having something in common in order to give a unified look to the design.

Architectural CAD drafting need to understand the properties of various elements of landscape design to be able to produce gardens that are appealing to all the visitors. Form is a major element that determines the theme of a landscape and gives it a distinctive style. We shall continue discussing other elements of landscape design in our future posts.

Architectural Construction Documentation plays a major role in taking the building projects to the completion stage with the minimum of fuss and maximum efficiency and accuracy. Even the slightest of inaccuracy or error in The AEC Associates Architectural construction documentation could ruin the whole effort of the architectural team and other consultants and bring disastrous results. Many organizations have started to rely on the expertise of professional third-party vendors for the job instead of getting it done by their in-house teams. However, several firms, especially the old-timers, are still reluctant to hire these vendors for various reasons. The new-age professionals realize the importance of specialization today and are more willing to outsource their construction documentation job to reputed firms providing these services.

Outsourcing Architectural Construction Documentation
Advantages of Outsourcing Architectural Construction Documentation

Doubts regarding outsourcing:

As mentioned above, many organizations still have doubts regarding outsourcing Architectural construction documentation to third-party vendors and prefer getting it done by their in-house teams. Let us take a look at some of the doubts they have about outsourcing their work:

  • Cost factor- Won’t it skyrocket the cost of the project?
  • Dependability- Can these vendors be relied on?
  • Time factor- Will they deliver on time?
  • Reputation- The reputation of the firm will be ruined if the quality is poor; can the reputation of the firm be risked by hiring these services?

Confidentiality of data- Will the vendor guarantee confidentiality of design data?

All the above-mentioned doubts are quite justified and need to be addressed. Let us discuss these doubts and enumerate some of the benefits of outsourcing your work.

  • Lower operational cost:

Maintaining large office facilities and work force costs a lot of money; this is sometimes not justified. You can reduce your operational cost by outsourcing the work you don’t specialize in. Efficiency can be increased by having only the minimum number of employees you really require throughout the year. This way a hefty sum may be saved on the salaries, perks and overhead costs.

  • Focusing only on your main strengths:

Outsourcing your documentation job to the third-party vendors, you can hire only a team that is involved in core functions; thus you save yourself the pain of hiring and firing employees according to different project needs. It gives you time and opportunity to focus on your core areas and allows you to utilize your time productively.

  • Faster turn-around time:

Even though CAD software ensures top quality, they are complex. The organizations need to frequently train their employees to be well versed with these software. This can save them time and money that may be used for other productive purposes. As these vendors are located in different time zones, your work goes round the clock ensuring a faster turn-around time.

If you employ an experienced and proven vendor and take due precautions like confidentiality agreements; outsourcing Architectural construction documentation would prove very beneficial.

Even though construction documents and services outsourcing has become a widespread phenomena, many organizations still harbor some doubts about the possible cons. Most old-timers prefer getting their important project work done by their in-house teams so that they may supervise the work progress themselves. While some of the apprehensions expressed by the skeptics may not be completely unfounded, you can take certain steps to make The AEC Associates construction documents and services outsourcing safer and more profitable. Let us first take a look at some of these apprehensions.

Apprehensions:

  • It will cost much more than getting work done by the in-house team.
  • Ensuring good quality will be almost impossible.
  • What if the vendors don’t deliver on time.
  • There is a real chance that quality may suffer because of a communication gap between the two parties.
  • What if there is a design leakage? How can confidentiality and security aspects be taken care of?

It’s true that these and many more similar concerns are not completely unfounded and we definitely need to address them. We are listing some of the advantages of construction documents and services outsourcing while trying to allay the above mentioned fears at the same time.

 architectural construction documents
Architectural Construction Documents Services

Advantages of outsourcing:

  • Reduced operational costs:

Maintaining large offices and workforces costs you money. Many organizations get big projects only once in a while but have to keep their employees for the fear that they might not get the required skill set in time if they let these people go. You have to pay their salaries and allowances even when you have no work. Extra office space can also cost you dearly as you pay extra rent, electricity and other charges. You can save all these unwanted expenses by outsourcing your work to some reputed third-party vendor.

  • Better quality:

Reputed outsourcing vendors employ highly skilled professionals specializing in different disciplines. Thus you are assured of top-quality services if you choose your vendor after careful deliberation. Training your in-house teams in the same skills may cost enormous time and money.

  • Timely delivery:

Most of the reputed vendors are often located in different geographic locations, thus your work actually never stops. Your project work goes on even when your office is locked for the day. Maintaining a good communication is really no problem in this era of superfast communication techniques and phones, internet calls and emails etc help you keep in touch constantly.

  • Data security:

Your data is safer in the hands of a third-party vendor than with your own in-house employees. You can always make confidentiality agreements like a non disclosure agreement to ensure that there is no leakage or theft of your classified information.

The AEC Associates construction documents and services outsourcing can prove beneficial if you take care of a few aspects and choose your vendor after checking their background and previous projects they have handled. You will get top-quality work delivered on time at a cheaper cost and the security of your data will also be ensured this way.

Many companies prefer outsourcing Architectural construction documentation over using their in-house teams in the present era where demand for specialization has become a norm rather than an exception. Countless outsourcing vendors have mushroomed all over the world providing specialized services in different areas to the architectural and construction companies. However, despite the fact that outsourcing of documentation work has become quite a common phenomenon now, a lot of apprehensions and fears still persist, especially most old-timers still prefer to use their in-house teams for getting the work done. Let us examine how valid these apprehensions really are.Architectural Construction Documentation

Will they ensure quality?

The reputed outsourcing vendors are a bunch of top professionals, each one specializing in some specific area. They know their job inside out and have the experience of working on large projects. It’s generally difficult to get the same quality from your in-house teams that have neither the expertise nor the experience of working on big projects requiring special skills. Architectural construction documentation needs accuracy and top quality that can be ensured by these outsourcing vendors provided you go through their portfolio carefully before handing over the project to them.

Will they deliver on time?

Time is money as they say. You don’t get your drawings on time and you lose a project. So this apprehension is quite valid. However, these outsourcing vendors are usually located in different time zones than your own, so in fact the work on your project is going on even you have closed your office for the day. If you give them a time schedule and follow them up properly, chances are good that your project will be prepared well in time.

Will it be cost effective?

Many old-timers have an impression that outsourcing your documentation work will cost a lot of money. However, you already know what it is going to cost you once you hand over the project to them, while your cost can really escalate if your in-house team is not really efficient and you have to stick to time schedules with them as well anyway. In addition, you can save a lot on office space and extra employee salaries and benefits by outsourcing your documentation work.

Will my data be safe?

There is always an apprehension about data theft or leakage when dealing with an outside vendor. This aspect can be handled effectively by employing steps like a non-dosclosure agreement or other such measures. Usually an unknown vendor has little to do with leaking your design information anyway, you face a greater threat from your office insiders.

If you enquire well about the third party vendor and ensure that they have handled projects like this one before, outsourcing Architectural construction documentation can always be a profitable proposition. One can use provisions like penalty clauses and Non-disclosure agreements to safeguard their interests and reap the benefits of the outsourcing trend.

Continuing our series on Quality Audits in Architectural CAD Drafting Services, we take a look at audits focused on the people who perform the task– the project team.

 Architectural Drafting Services

Auditing people? Isn’t that the job of Human Resources?

There will always be an overlap between the job of human resources and that of any people manager. Take the instance of this architectural CAD services firm, where these instructions were given to senior architects conducting job interviews:

While it is natural for you to assess the human aspects of the candidate, make your enquiries job oriented. Look at the person’s competence to perform the job, his willingness to adapt and his ability to work in your team, etc. Leave the stuff about family background, hobbies, behavioral patterns, socio-economic strata etc. to the human resource team.”

Aren’t we basically process policing here?

Team in Architectural Drafting ServicesYes, we are looking at the process. But policing stops at catching offenders and rendering punishment. The policeman who gives you a speeding ticket is looking at the speed of your car, and not (as we all know so well) at what made you drive too fast. Auditing the project team involves focusing at the cause of human error.

(Inadvertently we seem to have leant an unpopular meaning to auditing: looking for error)

What is the auditor looking for?

He is looking for the source of the quality produced.

Before doing this, the auditor studies quality reports over time periods and project types, to come at something called Consistent Quality Level or Expected Level of Quality.

Then, the objective of the audit becomes to understand where this consistency springs from. Consistency here conveys neither appreciation of the output, nor criticism. It is statement of fact. In case the CQL is 97%, then the audit looks for the source of both: 97% error free outputs and 3% erroneous work. This will finally help Process teams to protect whatever delivers the good work, and correct whatever produces the errors.

Oh God! So is Quality Audit a new fangled name for a witch hunt?

Team in Architectural Drafting ServicesNot a very surprising reaction. Theory X style of management, believes that it is always a person to blame for any failure. Find him, and weed him out. Due to thish, over time, auditors had to, in some situations function as ‘spies’, i.e. working with teams as a cross functional member with the intent to audit their process.

Today’s informed and alert architectural CAD services world works best in a transparent setting, because:

  1. It saves time, which for the architectural CAD services world, is money
  2. Computers record everything we do. No longer can damning evidence be burned or a drawing erased just before the audit. Honesty is the best option!

Today’s drafter also knows that the auditor is not looking for a scape goat. He is seeking the root of a malaise that he can help you correct.

Helping the auditor is helping you.

Architectural Construction Documentation, also called a ‘CD set’ or ‘Working Drawings’ is the set of drawings issued by an architect, by which a building or interior is constructed. It contains accurate information about material, thickness, size, placement, fixing and services.

Architectural Construction Documentation is a legally admissible document in many countries, and the firm issuing the set is liable for any damages or losses caused by errors in the CD set.

This article looks at the inputs that go into the creation of Architectural Construction Documentation

Final approvals

The stage preceding Architectural Construction Documentation is Design Development. From this stage, approvals from the following need to be incorporated:

  • Client: Stakeholders, users, technical departments
  • Statutory bodies: Town Council, Municipal, Urban Development, ADA, Environment, Airport regulatory, etc.
  • Community:  Permission to work, unload material, allow workmen etc. Normally this would come through a Citizens’ Group, or, in case of an interior, the Premises Management

Site data

The site is studied before the design stage. However, more data needs to get incorporated at this stage of Architectural Construction Documentation for various reasons like:

  • Engineering: Certain new elements in the design might require fresh site data, e.g. a new structural design  might need deeper foundations or a new material in the interiors might need specific fixing details
  • Design: The design having firmed up, may need site data not required before, like specific climatic data, or magnetic fields, etc.

Building Engineering Services

Building Engineering Services are the most critical contributor to giving a final shape to Architectural Construction Documentation. After Client Approvals and vendor finalization, the Engineers can give exact and accurate requirements of engineering components of the building in terms of:

  • Size
  • Clearances
  • Fixing
  • Relationship with other elements on issues like magnetic field, safety, supply, etc.

Shop Drawings

Vendors are selected based on a holistic assessment of (a) technical compatibility (b) commercial viability. In other words, the vendor whose product or service meets the design requirements is then selected based on his ability to meet the time and price targets of the project. Once on board, the vendor must submit detailed technical drawings showing (a) Retro fitment of their product on site (b) details of their product and its interrelationship with other elements of the site. These drawings are popularly termed ‘Shop Drawings’ and perhaps are the keystone that complete the Architectural Construction Documentation set.

Background

Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms offer CAD services related to Building Engineering and Design.  Such firms are, more often than not, Engineering firms who have added Architectural Services to their ambit. They are, mostly, large firms, with employee strength over 100, and are mostly in large metropolitan cities. The Global Outsourcing phenomenon has now allowed such services to be in any part of the globe, South Asia currently being the most popular destination.

Services

Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms offer the entire gambit of services required for a built environment, whether it be a building, a campus, a township or an amusement park.

The benefits of hiring a firm with all services in one roof are, apart from coordination and accountability, a holistic approach. Good Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms use the learning from their projects to broaden their vision, resulting in a future-proof project.

Here are the services that an Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms would offer:

  • Architectural Design: Conception, Representation and Documentation
  • Structural Design and Analysis
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Public Health Engineering
  • Specialized services like Green Building Design Support

Engagement

An Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms can be hired for a single service or the for the entire range of services.

The process to hire an Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms involves:

  • Understanding capabilities
  • Enquiring on Work Process and QA systems
  • Sending a hypothetical project for estimation, accompanied by :
    • Client’s CAD standards
    • Relevant information about the project to be estimated
    • CAD and PDF files of similar projects
    • Target start and finish dates
    • Finalizing the fee, schedule and terms of appointment
    • Starting with a pilot project

Points to take care of

Hiring an Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms needs special care on points such as:

  • Work Process
  • QA systems
  • Coordination
  • Documentation of Query resolution
  • CAD standards
  • Competence of each Division/Department
  • Understanding of client’s codes and standards
  • Infrastructure: hardware, software, facilities, and work conditions
  • Exigency planning: Power, data, server back-ups
  • Manpower: competence, experience, HR systems, training, attrition
  • Confidentiality
  • Pricing
  • Track record
  • Stability

We will expand upon these points in separate blogs

Relationship

Outsourcing of Architectural Engineering CAD Services involves a lot of knowledge share and training at both ends: Client and Service Provider.

Both start benefitting from the relationship, regards time and cost, only by the 3rd project. At that point, Outsourcing actually becomes even more convenient than working with your own staff!

Hence maintenance of relationship becomes a key for both the Client and the Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firm.

While we will expand upon Vendor Relationship Management in a separate blog, essentially the 4 Ts of a relationship work her too:

  • Trust
  • Time
  • Touch
  • Talk

Conclusively, hiring an Architectural Engineering CAD Services Firms can be a win-win situation for you in the long term.

What is Architectural Construction Documentation?

Architectural Construction Documentation also called ‘Working Drawings’ is the set of drawings issued by an architect, by which a building or interior is constructed. It contains accurate information about material, thickness, size, placement, fixing and services.

 Where does Architectural Construction Documentation appear in the Project Life Cycle?

Project Documentation supports the Project Life Cycle at its various stages (terminology might differ in different countries):

  1. Conception stage: Site documentation, Presentation drawings, Schematic Design
  2. Development stage:Design Development, Permit Set
  3. Implementation stage: Bid Set, Architectural Construction Documentation and As-Built Set

Why a separate set for Architectural Construction Documentation?

A valid question, oft asked (especially by people who pay for the drawings!):

“When detailed drawings are made for a Bid Set (drawings by which contractors price their bid), then what new information comes in to justify separate Architectural Construction Documentation?”

Part of the answer is in the question: the contractor. Some contractors will construct exactly as per drawings (like brickwork, concrete, formwork, millwork, flooring, AC ducts, etc.). But many, in fact 80% of the building or interior consists of prefabricated elements like beams, doors, windows, false floors, floor finishes, ALL furniture. These vendors measure the site and furnish ‘Shop Drawings’ which get incorporated in to the final Architectural Construction Documentation.

Another reason is the human element. The designer and the client, in their desire for perfection, keep changing things while they can.

So Architectural Construction Documentation should imply that this it: Final! No changes now!But some changes do happen. Else, why would we need the last set called: ‘As Built Drawings’?

What elements go into the creation of Architectural Construction Documentation?

The final Architectural Construction Documentation set is a result of collaboration from all the participants of the construction process:

  • Clients: Changes incorporated after Final approval after all stages of selection of vendor, costs and time.
  • Vendors: Shop drawings
  • Service consultants: All service inputs
  • Site/ Community: Parameters from site  and neighborhood

Is there a list of drawings for the Architectural Construction Documentation?

Here is what typically goes in to an Architectural Construction Documentation Set:

  • Cover sheet: Project information, drawing numbers, etc.
  • Existing Site Plan
  • Architectural Plans – site, each floor
  • Demolition Plans
  • Service Plans – for each service
  • Coordinated Service Plans
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Flooring Plans
  • Sections
  • Elevations
  • Detail sheets
  • Notes
  • Specification sheets

 How do we ensure the right people receive the Architectural Construction Documentation Set?

The utmost care is taken in ensuring the drawings are accurate and competent to enable correct translation of the design on site. At the same time, it is equally important that it reaches the right person at the right time.

To ensure this, the Project Manager observes the following:

  • Draws up a list of drawings, dates and intended recipients at the start of the projects, and circulates it to all intended recipients
  • Uses that list as a checklist every time a drawing is issued
  • Each drawing is issued through a transmittal(electronic or paper)
  • The drawing is not considered issued till an acknowledgement is received from each recipient
  • The acknowledgement is worded such that the recipient does not simply confirm receipt of a file or a packet, but confirms the contents as mentioned are there and are readable

This procedure needs to be followed even more strictly when a revision occurs. Many a near blunder have been averted on site by a discovery that the Data Cabling contractor, the Modular Furniture vendor and the carpenter working on different versions of the plan!

 Are there any commercial or legal implications of Architectural Construction Documentation?

In many countries, the Architectural Construction Documentation Set is a legal document. A contractor not abiding by its instructions will be liable for damages. Similarly, the architect will be liable for damages in case an error in construction occurs on account of wrong drawings.

The Architectural Construction Documentation is also the base for calculating final bills and payments for all vendors. Unexplained variance of this set from the bid set can cause a problem in bill payments.

Most of all, the Architectural Construction Documentation has to ensure the final project lives up to the promises made in the early stages of Design to the client on accounts of planning, environment, space, safety and building codes.

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