Plans- as they pertain to the building trades, there’s not much else is there? Everything begins, continues, and ultimately goes back to… the plans and specifications.
Plans and Specs, Plans and Specs. We say it and we hear it day in and day out. I’m sure that there have been sub-contractors and superintendents who have contemplated standing in front of train! If only… if only they would never again hear – Plans and Specs.
Many say that “it’s just not that easy”, and that if “he was down here on the ground, instead of up in that office, then things would be different… then that engineer would see that the plans just don’t work!”
But- the plans DO work! They always work. All that we have to do is follow them.
We follow a plan that has a “big picture” in mind
Whoever drew up the plans and wrote that big 500 page Spec book, had some “bigger picture” in mind. Now, this is not to downplay any of us on the ground, but speaking as someone who has had limited seating on both sides of the table, I can tell you that an Architect may or may not necessarily know how difficult it is to complete a task during construction. The truth is, he probably doesn’t care- that’s what the contractor is getting paid to do!
However, he absolutely DOES know what will happen if the plans aren’t followed. More often than not, this includes structural and/or contractual failure- which would then be the fault of a Sub-Contractor or General Contractor. At this point, the Architect could give you a pretty good idea of not only the work, but also the dollar amounts that would go into FIXING a problem that never should have occurred- IF you had only followed the plans.
When we follow the plans, there is very little chance of US doing something wrong
The Plans and accompanying Spec Book are fail safes for those working in the field. By following the plans, we take liability of NOT doing so out of the picture. Unlike residential construction, which may or may not have sets of “As-Built” drawings laying out in some air conditioned Job Trailer, most commercial jobs DO!
As such, by referencing the plans, we know our duties. If anything in the plans looks to be out-of-whack, then ask the Superintendent. More often than not, the plans will be correct, but in many instances this has not been the case, or- perhaps more clarification is needed. If this is needed, the Superintendent will submit a Request for Information, or an RFI to the Project Manager and/or Architect. In turn, they will review, and return a formal answer, or directive- indicating if there is a problem. If there is, they will include detailed instructions of how to proceed and what should be done in the field.
This is the proper chain of command and is known as “going by the book” for a reason. Let those who design the project shoulder any and all deviations from the plans and specs. By doing this, and also by double checking them once in a while, those in the field are guaranteed to be in compliance, and free from deviations, wrong doings, and taking the dreaded “short-cuts”!
Because we follow the plans, we can plan for success on current and future projects to come our way
When we choose to follow all plans and safety measures laid out for each job, it is demonstrating to those around and above us that we are intent on acting in a professional manner. This is key when the time comes for an Owner and a G.C. to bid out jobs.
If there is a Contractor or Sub-Contractor whose name equates with success, they will also most likely be the ones who everyone knows to follow, check, and re-check their work by the plans and specs. This is no accident, and there are times when it may take LONGER to complete a task “per plan”. But, when things are accomplished per print and according to specifications, the project will be a successful and a safe one, performed within budgets and timelines. This equals success for all involved and will help to assure repeat business!