Prepare Construction Documents

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Your architect, along with engineer(s) and other consultants, will prepare detailed construction documents before you put your shovel in the ground. In short, construction documents are written and graphic documentation for bidding and building the project. These documents are used to make many decisions, and they affect the outcome of the final project and the budget. In addition, construction documents:

  • Provide a detailed look at the entire scope of the project
  • Give the GC the exact quantities, qualities, and configurations required for project construction. The GC also uses these documents to solicit bids or estimates from subcontractors and suppliers he or she will engage.
  • Help obtain approvals necessary to move the project forward with third parties (e.g., licensing and permitting authorities, financial institutions, etc.)

Producing the construction documents takes a collective effort by many design professionals. The preparation will likely include architects, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, landscape architects, fire protection specialists, interior designers, security consultants, and other professionals. As the working drawings take shape, formulate more detailed budget estimates with your development team. It is vital that you are very involved in this stage. It is far cheaper to make changes on paper than to rip out a section of wall later.  

Typical Construction Documents

  • Construction specifications (or the project manual) outline the materials and methods to be used. These specs provide the contractor with everything from manufacturer and model numbers for equipment, to color numbers and paint finishes. The contract documents consist of the drawings and specifications to which the contractor references when he or she bids.
  • Working drawings are the large floor plans, elevations, sections, and details that cover each aspect of the building. They provide dimensions, materials, layouts, and in some cases, construction phasing. The working drawings include architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, civil, landscape, interior design, and other specialty areas.
  • Bidding requirements include advertisement information, informational instructions for bidders, bid forms, and specific invitations to general building contractors to bid on the project.
  • Addenda (or additions) include added material to any of these documents issued by the architect during or after the bidding and/or negotiation process.

Legal Disclaimer:

Nothing in this material should be construed as investment, financial, brokerage, or legal advice. Moreover, the facts and circumstances relating to your particular project may result in material changes in the processes, outcomes, and expenses described herein. Consult with your own professional advisors, including your financial advisors, accountants, and attorneys, before attempting to consummate any transaction described in this material.