Construction projects come in all shapes and sizes, but all must be monitored closely. This is why a project has many construction documents. Building a structure is a complicated job and every aspect of it requires construction drawings to plan on paper before the build begins.
The importance of construction documents and drawings have in construction project management cannot be understated. They set up the project for success by detailing everything from the site to the design and even the project administration. But what exactly are construction documents and what types of construction drawings are there?
What Are Construction Documents?
Construction documents help project managers streamline the process of planning, scheduling and tracking construction projects. There isn’t just one type of construction document and they come in many types. Construction documents can be written, graphical and pictorial.
ProjectManager is construction project management software with unlimited file storage. Our software can be accessed in the office, on the job site and even remotely so everyone on the project can share the construction documents and drawings from one centralized hub. If you need to make changes, everyone is updated to keep them on the same page. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
In a sense, construction documents are like puzzle pieces that make up a bigger picture of the project’s design, location and physical characteristics. You can’t pull building permits without the right documents, and you can’t legally build anything without permits. This gives you an idea of the importance of construction documents.
Here are some of the main documents that are created throughout the construction phases. While each of these documents serves a different purpose, they all contribute to one common goal, which is to facilitate the construction project management process.
Creating these documents can be challenging, so we’ve created free construction project management templates to help you with this process.
1. Construction Plan
A construction plan is a thorough construction document that describes all the planning details of a construction project, such as its scope of work, budget, schedule, work breakdown structure, among other important components.
2. Construction Budget
A construction budget is a document that outlines all the costs of a construction project. The main purpose of a construction budget is to help construction project managers control spending as construction projects are executed to ensure the costs won’t be exceeded and the project will be profitable. In addition a construction budget should include a construction contingency fund to cover unexpected expenses such as the cost of responding to project risks.
3. Construction Schedule
A construction schedule is a document that coordinates all the activities that take place over the execution phase of a construction project. The main purpose of a construction schedule is to make sure that everyone involved in the project such as contractors and subcontractors understand what the due dates for their deliverables are, so the entire project can be completed on time.
4. Construction Estimate
A construction estimate is a document that includes the direct, indirect and overhead costs of a construction project such as materials, labor and equipment rental. The construction estimate is the preliminary version of a construction budget.
5. Construction Lien Waiver
A construction lien is a legal claim that protects construction firms, contractors and subcontractors in scenarios where project owners are not willing to pay for the construction work they’ve performed.
On the other hand, a construction lien waiver is a document that is exchanged between project owners and contractors once the project has been completed and the corresponding payment has been made. A lien waiver is a legal document by which a contractor gives up the right of filing a construction lien.
6. Construction Submittals
A construction submittal is a document that’s created by subcontractors and sent to general contractors, construction project managers, design teams or architects so they can approve the materials, equipment and processes that the subcontractor intends to use to execute their construction work.
Construction submittals help make sure all the construction work subcontractors are performing is aligned with the specifications outlined in construction contracts.
7. Construction Change Order
A construction change order is used whenever the initial construction plan needs to be adjusted. There’s a wide variety of reasons why this might happen. For example, project owners might add extra work to the construction plan during the execution phase which means the initial scope of work needs to be expanded and more materials, labor and equipment is needed.
8. Bill of Quantities
A bill of quantities is a very important construction planning document. It describes the quantity and quality of materials that will be required to complete a construction project, along with the labor requirements. This construction form allows contractors to estimate construction costs and prepare their construction bids accordingly.
9. Schematic Design
A schematic design is a construction drawing that provides an idea of the construction project layout, how the construction site fits with its surroundings, what the actual measurements the building will be like and whether building codes and other regulations are met. Schematic designs are created during the schematic design phase, which is one of the steps in the architectural design process.
10. Punch list
A punch list is a construction form that’s used to list down any tasks that need to be completed before the construction phase can be considered complete. These are usually non-critical tasks such as for example doing paint touch-ups, cleaning up debris or replacing defective equipment.
11. Construction Specifications
Construction specifications describe the guidelines for the scope of work, materials and quality of workmanship for the activities that make up a construction project. They provide additional information that should be used in conjunction with construction drawings to make sure the project is completed within the standards set by the owner and the construction design team.
Construction specifications are made by the design team and approved by the project owner before the construction company or general contractor executes the work.
12. Construction Daily Report
A construction daily report is a document that lists the work that occurred during a day on the construction site, along with other details such as the material and equipment inventories, incidents, weather conditions and any other information that might be relevant to the construction site manager, construction project manager or general contractor.
13. Material Takeoff
A material takeoff (MTO) is a construction form that itemizes all the materials that will be needed for a construction project and describes the required quantities of each based on all the available construction drawings and documents. The main purpose of a material takeoff is to accurately estimate the costs of those materials.
The term construction drawings refers to all the architectural documentation that guides the construction phase of a project. Architectural drawings are very detailed and cover everything from codes, safety plans and sustainability standards to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems.
There are many types of architectural drawings and for this reason, different countries have developed their own nomenclature standards. In the United States, the preferred method of construction drawings nomenclature is the US National CAD standard, which was developed through a group effort from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute and the National Institute of Building Sciences.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the architectural drawings, as defined by the US National CAD standard.
1. A0 Sheets
A0 sheets, also known as project information, have a cover sheet that summarizes the project information such as names, contact information, property details, zone use, building type, city pin number, site map, regulations, etc.
There’s also the accessibility notes and details sheet which includes door width and sizes and location of signage among other things (though not included for residential projects). The site plan shows the building as it sits on the property, landscaping, concrete work and exit safety requirements. A more detailed landscape plan is sometimes included.
2. A1 Sheets
A1 sheets are floor plans that show where every element of the building will be located and includes detailed dimensions for these elements. There are also keynotes, door, window and wall type tags as well as other call-outs.
3. A2 Sheets
A2 sheets deal with elevations and sections. Elevations are the flat image of the outside faces of buildings. They show the height of the existing and new building elements as well as the materials that’ll be used or persevered from existing elements. There are keynotes that add other important information about the construction of the exterior.
4. A3 Sheets
A3 drawings or section drawings are cut-section drawings through the center of the building. They show wall and foundation construction, floor-to-floor heights and the height relationships between the inside and the ground plane outside.
5. A4 Sheets
A4 sheets are enlarged plans or large-scale views. The main one is the reflected ceiling plan which shows the view up to the ceiling rather than down to the floor. These include ceiling material types such as drywall, plaster, wood cladding, etc. They often include the light switch locations to control the ceiling-mounted lights.
In residential construction projects, there’s also a power plan that locates the outlets and data points for cable TV or internet access. It shows the power location for appliances and personal devices. Larger projects have these details noted in the electrical plans.
The enlarged plans also include what materials will be applied to the walls and floors. This is done with finished tags that refer to a finish schedule (details further down the list) which show manufacturer, product names and other qualities.
6. A5 Sheets
A5 sheets are about details. They show the types of walls, built-in furniture, where the power outlets will be, lights and switches as well as the height of different elements. These differ from residential and commercial spaces, but both need interior elevations charted.
7. A6 Sheets
A6 sheets are schedules. Schedule in this case means a spreadsheet rather than a timeline. They’re used to keep track of various detailed product information concerning finishes, types, sizes and so forth.
8. S Sheets
S sheets are structural drawings, which are standard throughout the building. The drawings are done by a licensed structural engineer and show the plan for each level, such as concrete footing, steel and wood framing and where and what size they will be, as well as any other structural details.
9. M Sheets
M sheets are the mechanical drawings for the project, such as the electrical and plumbing systems. They’re usually delivered by the engineer who provided the S sheets. These drawings show where the electrical and plumbing systems will go and what sizes they’ll be, including ductwork and types of air handling systems used.
10. P Sheets
P sheets are plumbing drawings that detail the pipe sizes that’ll be used in the system for both waste and potable water. There are also locations of vent risers to release sewage air out of the building safely.
11. E Sheets
E sheets are directed towards details in the electrical drawings. They have locations of outlets for all power in the building, including the switches that control them. They detail what type of wiring is required and the boxes to handle the electrical equipment.
ProjectManager Helps Manage Construction Documentation
As you can see, those are many documents to manage. Project management software can help you organize these documents and make them accessible to those who need them during the execution of the project. ProjectManager has unlimited file storage and is online to offer everyone access to the files they need whenever and wherever they work. But our construction project management software is more than a document organizer.
Use Multiple Project Views
The ability to share files is great, but if you’re not able to execute that work, you’re going to have to seek out other tools. That makes things complicated. We keep it simple. Our multiple project views mean that construction project managers can plan on Gantt charts, designers can visualize workflow on kanban boards, crews can check off tasks on our list view and stakeholders can make sure milestones are met on the calendar view.
Other problems occur if everyone is working from construction documents in a silo. If teams can’t collaborate effectively, issues will arise that result in delays and extra costs. Our online software takes care of that. As noted, files can be shared and users can comment on tasks and tag anyone in the project to bring them into the conversation as needed. Emails notify users of changes to the plan or comments, but there are also in-app alerts so you don’t have to leave the tool.
Our software is a great construction project management tool that is a centralized hub for your construction documents and drawings, but we also give you features that help you plan, monitor and report on the project. Get a high-level view with our real-time dashboard to keep on track. Then use customized reports to keep your stakeholders updated. We’ll help you manage expectations and deliver success.
ProjectManager is award-winning software that organizes and stores all your construction documents and construction drawings. Our collaborative platform connects everyone on the project team and lets them work with the tools they want. Plan, monitor and report on every aspect of the construction project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.