Engineered Drawings and Construction Documents

The purpose of the construction documents (CD) stage is to prepare all documents required by the contractor to construct the building. During this stage, the consultants and architects collaborate intensively to work out the “nuts and bolts” of the building and develop the required documentation, referred to as construction documents. All of the consultants advise the architect, but they also collaborate with each other (generally through the architect) so that the work of one consultant agrees with that of the others. The construction documents consist of the following items:

• Construction drawings

• Specifications

Construction Drawings

During the CD stage, the architect and consultants prepare their own sets of drawings, referred to as construction drawings. Thus, a project has architectural construction drawings, civil and structural construction drawings, MEP construction drawings, landscape construction drawings, and so on.

Construction drawings are dimensioned drawings (usually computer-generated) that fully delineate the building. They consist of floor plans, elevations, sections, schedules, and various large-scale details. The details depict a small portion of the building that cannot be adequately described on smaller-scale plans, elevations, or sections. Construction drawings are the drawings that the construction team uses to build the building. Therefore, they must indicate the geometry, layout, dimensions, types of materials, details of assembling the components, colors, and textures, and so on. Construction drawings are generally two-dimensional drawings, but three-dimensional isometrics are sometimes used for complex details. Construction drawings are also used by the contractor to prepare a detailed cost estimate of the project at the time of bidding. Construction drawings are not a sequence of assembly instructions, such as for a bicycle. Instead, they indicate what every component is and where it will be located when the building is completed. In other words, the design team decides the “what” and “where” of the building. The “how” and “when” (means, methods, and sequencing) of construction are entirely in the contractor’s domain.