General Notes and Standard Details

“General Notes” can be helpful, or they can cause many headaches. 

“Standard Details” can save time, or they can create lots of confusion.

Don’t let your drawings go out with General Notes or Standard Details that haven’t been reviewed.  Don’t include General Notes or Standard Details that do not apply to the project “just in case we need them.” 

Including inapplicable information in the drawings unnecessarily drives up the cost of the project, and makes it harder for you, the architect, to enforce the applicable information in the contract.  Remember: If it’s in the drawings, it’s in the contract.  If the contractor keeps discovering inapplicable things in the drawings, you’ll start having to fight over the applicable things. 

Delete the stuff that shouldn’t be in the project!  Step 1 of that process is to LOOK AT those General Notes and Standard Details, before anyone else does.  Review those notes and details the very first time you issue them.  To the bidders, to the Owner, to the Construction Manager, to the Consultants, (and to the lawyers, if it comes to that) your General Notes and Standard Details mean just as much as everything else in the drawings.

4 thoughts on “General Notes and Standard Details

  1. Be sure to know what you publish for each set of construction documents. Make sure they fit the project. You find yourself in that embarrasing situation of trying to explain a standard note or detail at the weekly project progress meeting with GC and all the subs waiting intently to hear what you will say.

  2. One small way to get that point across is to always refer to them as Reference Details instead of Standard Details – gets the point across that they are reference details to be used and revised as appropriate for the project rather than details to be used “as is” on every project.

  3. The person editing the notes may not know which pertain to the project as written, which must be modified, and which are irrelevant. Same with the details. This is an age-old problem, one that may never be resolved. The hardest thing to teach is that none of this is intuitive or common sense; we must be thinking all the time, asking “Why is it this way? Does it apply?” Being plugged into an iPod all day probably doesn’t help. 😉

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