Deliberately Misleading

Today a new sign was installed for my office building, on the corner of the building lot. Depending on how fast you drive by, you may only see the first name on the sign. This first name, for a reason known only to my landlord, belongs to a company that hasn’t actually been a tenant in this building for almost 3 years.

It’s one thing to leave up old signs in the building that indicate that this now-relocated company is still upstairs. That might be due to laziness. But to put up a new sign is deliberately misleading, actually costs money, and leaves me shaking my head, or, actually, stalking around the office ranting about its senselessness.

This signage issue might not be such a big deal to me, except that I see misleading things in construction documents sometimes, too. I know how they got there – I know that design professionals use standard details or standard general notes or specification sections from project to project, and sometimes fail forget to edit them. Because of this, things are required by the documents that we don’t actually need for the project.

Remember, the drawings and the specs are contract documents. Along with the agreement, they make up the contract for construction. The contractor is required, by the contract, to provide everything indicated in the documents.

It may seem to the people producing the documents as if these errors, these things that indicate that something is necessary for the project even though it’s not, are minor errors of omission, like leaving up an old sign. They forgot to take them out, no big deal. But to the contractor, it is a big deal. The contractor doesn’t look at construction documents with the process of their creation in mind. The contractor looks at the construction documents as if they were created as the contract documents for this project – which is how they should be viewed.

Don’t inadvertently, or deliberately, mislead. For every project, check your general notes and your standard details to make sure they’re applicable. And don’t install brand new signs with old tenants’ names on them. Still shaking my head…

7 thoughts on “Deliberately Misleading

  1. I wonder if I could forward this to a few of my favorite Designers. Without them taking offense from an old estimator.

    • Well, you didn’t say it, I did! I bet you could forward it on and they wouldn’t be TOO offended.
      I hope my own architect-clients aren’t offended! Actually, the only time I’ve seen this recently was not on a bid set. My architect-clients are doing a good job.
      I know how these things happen, because I used to work as a project architect. But that doesn’t mean that all users of the documents understand how these things happen. It makes no sense at all unless you know how documents often get produced.

  2. We are constantly battling the canned specifications and the copy and paste details. I have even seen a set of drawings that had the corrections from the architect of record marked on the drawings for the assistant to make changes. The changes were not made and the drawings were issued. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter.

  3. Liz, thanks for your post! As Specifier, I tell my Architect clients that what I do is not “boilerplate.” Everything should be in the contract documents for a reason. For example, don’t put 50 different partition types on the Drawings, when 4 are needed. Don’t put 6 different waterproofing systems in the specification, when you only have one type. That’s deliberately misleading! When you put extraneous information in your documents, you waste everyone’s time. And you create an opportunity for the Contractor to question everything else in the documents. If your documents are full of “boilerplate,” then the Contractor is likely to think they don’t really have to read it or follow your instructions. That reflects poorly on all of us.

  4. Pingback: Construction Documents Can Be Misleading | Oh, By The Way...

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