I agree that it is NOT necessary to give an entire set of CAD files to contractors.
The last big $20M hospital addition project that I was on in 2006-2008, went like this:
- We sent original paper drawing plots from our in-house plotter to the GC's preferred printer along with a transmittal to the GC. Thus, we issued the entire set of paper drawings to the GC from his preferred printer.
- His printer also scanned the original drawings PDFs.
- A PDF of each drawing was then posted in the same order as the original drawing set to the GC's project web site for reference. An original complete full size stamped drawing set was also available as required by law at the GC's job site trailer.
- The GC issued an entire drawing set to each awarded subcontractor, (some GC's only issue partial sets).
- We then issued CAD files of various plan drawings directly to certain sub-contractors only upon request along with our CAD File Disclaimer Statement. Over time, the use of the architect's actual CAD files has become a normative Construction Industry modus operandi as a means to expedite the shop drawing process. Not every trade requires CAD files. Typically, it's the MEP & FP subs that scream the most.
- If a plan change was necessary, upon owner authorization, we then re-issued affected individual drawings as part of Change Order to the GC. He then posted a new PDF of the updated drawing on his web site; and there were not very many of such drawing re-issues.
- My experience on that project, (and generally has been), that the GC's built the work in accordance with the architect's plans and specs as required by code as adopted and thus by law.
- At the end of the project, the GC then handed over the architect's set of stamped drawings along with various up-dated drawings to the owner "As-Built". Sometimes, I've seen "As-Builts" with hand markings of minor field modifications, but usually, when something needs to be built differently, the GC gets the architect to re-draw and re-issue the drawing, as most GC's do NOT like to get involved with drawing. In the above case, the GC also handed the owner a set of the PDFs as well.
Your comment brings up many interesting thoughts:
- The Adobe Acrobat program can be utilized for making all kinds of text and graphic comments and could be utilized to a certain extent by a GC to make "As-Builts" if needed.
- The Construction Industry is starting to move towards obtaining the architect's 3D model for the same purpose in "design assist" to expedite and fast-track production of shop drawings and even produce a 3D "Navisworks" Model for MEP FP clash detection. But even here, they do NOT need every drawn detail. They might need "the model" and it could even be stripped of various "sheets" that include details.
- GCs are starting to carry computer tablets of the architect's drawings in lieu of even "nini-sets" around their job sites.
- In the above case, the owner also asked for the architect's CAD files which they typically then hand over to a 3rd party entity which maintains an on-going CAD file for a number reasons in the facility management of the building. One of which, is that the owner's CAD files are then given to future architects for future additions and alterations as needed. Some owners do NOT maintain third party CAD files for facility management. But rather, they go back to the original architect or engineer and for a fee, obtain CAD files of the existing building to give to other AE's for future projects. They do NOT need a CAD file of every detail drawing.
Again, I agree that giving an entire set of CAD files including details is an absurd request. Good luck.
Gail Ann J. Goldstead AIA
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