Details, Details, Details…

The success of any design is in the details.

I have spent the last week or so fleshing out the construction drawing set for the Bay view 16 design by inserting, notating, and in some cases, re-drawing details for better clarity above what is modeled.

The number one cause of customer dissatisfaction (not to mention legal action) for architects is a building that leaks. You would think that, with all of the manufacturers of the products that we use providing their own details about what is the proper way to install their product, we architects would have it easy. Just copy the detail into our drawings and voila! we have it covered. (NOT!)

The truth is, the standard details provided are just for one item in a blank slate environment. It is up to the architect to think through how the standard details for say, the roofing system, combine with the standard details for the siding system, and oh, you say there is an odd angled corner in there too? Yeah, the standard details cover that situation just fine, right? Um, no.

The architect’s job is to take all of the standard manufacturer’s details, figure out how they work, apply them to the design in question, and make sure that they work together.

If he does it right, and ensures that it is conveyed accurately and clearly in his drawing, the builder that uses his plans will be able to ensure that both the standard and the non-standard conditions work, and do. not. leak.

Unless of course the builder decides he knows best, and builds things the way he thinks is best. Sometimes, he’s right, but he’d better hope that that is all of the time, as if he doesn’t follow the architectural drawings and something goes wrong, the architect gets to say “Sorry bub, you are on your own.”

And sometimes, he may not understand what is on the drawings, which results in oopsies like the hole in the concrete slab below, which is the result of a sub-contractor not understanding what a revision cloud bubble depicts.


(For more construction oops, be sure to visit )

This is not to say that a builder or your average Joe cannot do this work. Many have developed this skill over the years. There are many great builders out there that know their profession inside and out, and there are a fair few architects that couldn’t figure out a drainage plane on a building to save their lives. However what I and the majority of the other architects out there offer is the benefit of our knowledge and experience as we apply them to fleshing out our designs.

Anyways, enough of delving down that rabbit hole.

As I was saying, I have been working on details, and have a fair few left to get on the drawings.