Sunday, January 12, 2014

INTERIOR DESIGN DOCUMENTS and Liabilities


In Interior Design organizations, many types of documents are created. These documents largely consist of Views (Plans, Sections, etc.), and also  include Write-ups (about things that cannot be adequately represented through views, or for people who are not trained to interpret drawings).

The Interior Design Documents are essentially of Following types:

    1    Personal
    2    In-house
    3    For client’s
    4    For consultants’
    5    For permissions / approvals by authorities
    6    For presentation / publications
    7    For job award or execution

1    PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
are created by the designer or scheme formulator. These are concept sketches drawn impressionistically and often like doodles or bubble diagrams. These are for designer's personal reference or reminder. As these documents are rarely meant for anyone else, are thin in content and just indicative. Sketch or preliminary drawings are too small in size, not to exact scale, lacking in details, and do not carry all the graphical views to convey the intentions. Similarly materials, components, procedures and design parameters which have not been fully conceived, or not crystallized into a formal structure, are all placed as noting. The sketches may not have any apparent order, and contain any trade, technique or material specific details. The orientation, scale, format, language, signs, metaphors, symbols, etc., are very much subjective and so illegible to others. This are very personal, un-interpretable or mis-interpretable documents. Yet these are ‘intellectual property’ (copyright, patent, exclusivity) documents.

2    IN-HOUSE DOCUMENTS are created to explore various aspects of the project. These documents always remain within the office and accessible to only authorised staff members. The composition is very casual as the contents are private and not binding to anyone. The contents can be altered at any time without any liability. Here options regarding materials, finishes, parts / subsystems,  techniques, are explored. The indication methods follow the traditions prevalent in the office, and as a result its format and language are very abbreviated. However, some sort of standard format is required, to create documents that are comparable and interpolating with other such documents within the organization. Such documents are never exposed to consultants, clients or anyone else. As whatever is shown or implied in the drawings may be construed to be a promise to deliver.

3    DOCUMENTS FOR CLIENTS are in the form of presentations. Clients’ are shown (and given) drawings and other documents at several stages of the project such as First for the approval of concept, then with intermediate improvisations, and finally for the execution worthy scheme. Besides these clients require presentation for marketing the spaces, which are being, created or altered. Few clients, however, understand all the technical drawings, but in case of a dispute every sketch, drawing or document will be reinterpreted by someone else (lawyer, arbitrator, judge, etc.) and that can create liabilities. The clients  consider the design documents as Bench-Mark during the post project evaluation. Presentations should be simple and in non-mechanical form, as the essential purpose is to impress the client and solicit a required response. These documents may additionally convey broad policy of operational modalities and related structure for guarantees and warranties. The presentation format is open, allowing several options and possible interpretations. A client needs two basic things through the initial presentations: 1. A layout scheme that shows how the project relates to the site and 2. A sketch / view that shows the form of the building. On later date presentations other details (materials, colour, textures, etc.) may be included. Clients’ presentations are for information and for initiating a discussion. Whereas, a set of all drawings, submitted just before the invitation of bids, is a formal ‘transfer of records’.

4   
DOCUMENTS FOR CONSULTANTS' ASSIGNMENT are of two levels: 1 Advice or option seeking exercise, an informal level of consultation, and 2 Formal or Action level, for the actual finalization of the scheme, and to decide the modalities of execution. In the FIRST case, the interim design documents that are schematically complete but lacking in finer details may serve the purpose. However, if any alternatives are sought then these must be self-evident and marked with an order of preferences. For the SECOND case the documents must be very definitive and complete. It must also unambiguously state the consultant's responsibilities and liabilities.

5    DOCUMENTS FOR PERMISSIONS / APPROVALS
are very much a condensed version of the scheme, as the authorities wish to check compliance with existing rules and regulations. Such drawings have prescribed format of presentation, including content, scale and manner of expression. A practical rule is to show information that is asked for or absolutely required for the purpose. 

6    DOCUMENTS FOR PRESENTATION / PUBLICATIONS
are created for the design office, client and other public agencies to market, publicize, generate a debate and solicit funds for the project. Preparation of such documents is often handed over to professionals. Provisions (sizes, proportions, scale), facilities and amenities, indicated on such presentations are frequently considered promise. This happens when presentations are created before, or in the early part of the project.    

7    DOCUMENTS FOR JOB AWARD OR EXECUTION
are of many different types, but mainly of 1. Set of working or execution drawings, specifications and quantity schedules, and 2. Site communications and Reports. Even where a job is simple, known or traditional, these must be formally defined. Contract documents have one major problem and that is consistency across the documents. A write-up may be interpreted differently from a drawing. A detail and component drawings are sometimes at a variance. The trades or the jobs are not distinctly recognisable, generating many quarries from the main contractor or vendor.

   Set of Working or Execution drawings consist of following:

  •     Layout Drawings, as the name indicates, are used for laying out the work on a site and specifying the whole work. This is the main or starter drawing and so it establishes links to other drawings and details. It is used for conveying methods of interpretation for this and other linked drawings. Measures (dimensions, tolerances, fitments, margins, and measures like weights /mass /speed /time), which cannot be graphically indicated or linked to any particular graphical view are presented as a common write-up or explanation. Being the basic drawing, it provides a common ground to indicate, when and how a part or parts of drawing become execution worthy. Limitations and responsibilities of various agencies' work, time schedules and inter link-ups for start and completion of various items, parts, etc., are all specified in the layout drawing.
  •     Detail Drawings are large scale (and so detailed) presentations of sections. Sections are recognized for the complete presentation of the building form, space entity, orientation and sequencing. Detailed sections often overlap at the edges. These drawings are accessed by several trades’ persons or vendors, so delineate the work responsibilities for siting or laying their systems. The drawing also establishes the relationships (such as sequence of assembly) for various systems and component. The detail drawings include legends showing graphical vocabulary used for identifying various materials in sections and on their faces (elevations). It also includes graphical symbols to represent very small parts or standard components.
  •     Component Drawings are accessed mainly by the specific vendor or contractor. The details consist of fitments conditions and operative parameters. Components’ details without siting specifications can mean that standard or the vendor’s conditions apply. Standardised components may also be indicated by referencing the recognised standards’.
  •     Written details are of different types such as: 1. Within the drawings, 2. attached to the drawings, and 3. stand-alone documents that can be used independently, without reference to the drawings.
  •     Written details within the drawings describe quality parameters of the parts or components such as finishes, procedures and schedules of assembly, required work precautions, etc. These are tabulated in terms of trade-job and scheduled in terms of start-end times.
  •     As a separate document but attached or referenced through the Drawings: Where Specifications are not related to any particular drawing or a view, describe common materials and processes etc. relating to the entire work, and when are very lengthy; are supplied on separate sheets of paper accompanying the drawing. If necessary, mention of such sheets is made in the relevant drawing. Such sheets sometimes are bunched together as a catalogue of Specifications of Works.
  •     As Memos and Short Messages: Site and Design Office continuously exchange messages of inquiries, clarifications, confirmations, rejections, acceptance, corrections, reporting, etc. Some such communications have an effect equal to a revision of a specification or initiation of a new specification. For this reason all messages, routed through whatever mode of communication must be Dated and Numbered with Author and Receiver's Identity. It is often more prudent to separate out Communications that could have Consequential Effect, and reconfirm them in the weekly or periodical reports. Communications relating to a specification, must mention the relevant part, component, subsystem or section of the project and exact location (drawing, communication, tender etc.) where it was earlier referred to.

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