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Chapter 14

Chapter 14

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Design Documentation:Drawings and Specifications
14.1 Introduction
Design documents evolve from and include the designer’s calculations,equipment selections, and sketches and are usually presented throughformal drawings and specifications. These construction documents arethe legal means by which the designer conveys the owner’s expectationsto the contractor. The importance of good documentation cannot be over-emphasized.An old adage says, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In construc-tion, the drawings are the picture, and specifications are the thousand words.For all projects where the work is accomplished by contract between theowner and the builder it is essential that there be good specifications inaddition to the drawings to define the relationship between the parties. The purpose of this chapter is to review the nature of contracts and to definedrawing preparation, specification writing, and organization well enoughthat the reader will have an understanding of and be prepared to implementthe basic techniques. Since drawings and specifications become a part of a construction contract, they become legal documents. As such, they mustdefine the work to be done clearly, completely, and unambiguously. Al-though this ideal is seldom achieved, designers must do their best to meetthese criteria. Lawsuits involving millions of dollars have been filed based on the interpretation of a few sentences in the specifications or a lack of clear detail on the drawings.
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.accessengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.Source: HVAC Systems Design Handbook
402 Chapter Fourteen
Remember that document preparation has a cost that must be reasonableand a schedule that must be met. No project has an infinite amount of timeor resources that can be allocated to the design effort. The result is thatdocuments should be adequate but not overdone, should be prepared in anorganized fashion and arranged to fully reflect the owner’s desires and thedesigner’s intent.
14.2 The Nature of Contracts
In the United States, the law allows two or more individuals, companies,or institutions to contract with each other for an exchange of goods or services. In HVAC work a building owner, called the
, will typicallyarrange with a vendor or installer, called the
to furnish and in-stall equipment and related material in a system. Often the HVAC work is performed in conjunction with the full complement of building construc-tion. The agreement between the owner and contractor contains the basisof elements of any legal contract—i.e., there is a
or service of valuecommitted to deliver; there is
for the work performed; and there is a
period of performance. All three elements are required toestablish a valid contract.Most construction is undertaken by contract; the specifications and drawings define the work to be done, and the contract includes a descrip-tion of the compensation and date of completion. There are often penaltiesfor failure to perform the work in a timely manner and sometimes bonusesfor early completion.Persons signing the contract must be authorized to do so. This is self-evident in the case of a private individual, a proprietorship, or a partner-ship. In the case of a corporation, the board of directors must have givenauthority to the signer for his or her signature to be valid and binding onthe company. Signatures are often witnessed or notarized.
14.3 Drawings
As we have noted, contract drawings are legal documents and should avoid ambiguity. This consideration leads to several criteria that are typical of good drawings. The efforts take time. The alternative—providing inad-equate or erroneous information, neglecting details, careless checking— can take a great deal of time later on, cost money for extras, and lose theconfidence of the client in the designer’s competence.
14.3.1 Drawing Size and Scale
Drawing size and scale should be appropriate for the work being de-scribed. Typical drawing sheet sizes are described by both letter and sheetdimension:
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.accessengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.Design Documentation: Drawings and Specifications
Design Documentation: Drawings and Specifications 403
Size DimensionA
11B 11
17C 18
24D 24
36 (22
34)E 30
42F 36
Special sizes may be custom ordered. Smaller sheets can be included ina book of specifications. Larger sheets are almost always presented as aset, except in the case of one or two sheets, when they may be folded and  placed in pockets in the specifications book.The drawing scale is determined by the amount of detail to be presented for the dominant aspects of the work. For building construction,
or ¼inch
1 foot. A very large building may have a plan view at
 1 foot for an overview relating the larger-scale details. Note that doublingthe scale uses four times the drawing area. Many mechanical room layoutsare presented at ¼-inch scale. It is important that all members of the designteam use common scales. This helps avoid errors and makes the overalldrawing set easier to read and interpret.
14.3.2 Drawing Character
Line work, whether hand-drawn or computer- or plotter-generated, should  be clear, sharp, and accurate. Lettering should be neat, uniform, and leg-ible. That seems obvious but is not always true, even for computer generat-ed material. The appearance of the drawings can go far toward establishingthe credibility of the design. Early in the development of computer-aided design (CAD) techniques, it was felt that computer-generated drawingslacked the character of well-presented hand-drawn work. With improved software and increased CAD drafter skills, one sees very little hand-draft-ed work today. As one who started his career as a drafter, this writer feelssome nostalgia but recognizes that times change. Nevertheless, a compe-tent designer should be able to describe his ideas with legible freehand sketches.
14.3.3 Adequate Information
Enough views, both plan and section, should be drawn to fully present thework. Details should be numerous and explicit. Standard details are oftenuseful and save time, so long as the application is really standard. Failure totailor standards to specific applications can be embarrassing and costly.
14.3.4 Drawing Legends
Symbols and abbreviations should be defined in a
. There aremany regional or office-specific legends, but no universally accepted in-
Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www.accessengineeringlibrary.com)Copyright © 2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.Design Documentation: Drawings and Specifications

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