The builder should work hard during the design phase to secure a complete and accurate set of plans.

This process involves sketching posts and beams in three dimensions to see if everything aligns and fits…looking for dimensioning errors by adding up dimensions across a page…checking that mechanical items such as fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, and vent ducts all fit…checking stair headroom clearances…and analyzing the plans using the building company’s historical debugging checklist.

Plans that have not been analyzed beforehand from a construction point-of-view usually result in questions and design conflicts when the construction starts…which generates plans revisions.   Plans revisions and clarifications in the form of addenda, bulletins, answered RFIs, and cut-sheets become more and more disruptive to the construction as they increase in number.

A set of plans that requires numerous revisions can create an information accounting nightmare on the jobsite.  Each time an inaccurate but most current set of plans is given to a tradesperson (most applicable in the sales models construction and the first production units for multi-unit tract housing and condominiums)…the superintendent must consider which additional cut-sheet information must also be included to avoid an activity being done incorrectly.

Copies of each revision (amended detail or RFI answer) must be made, and a filing system devised for organizing the revisions so they may be quickly found when needed.  If excessive, plans revisions become an additional set of plans the jobsite superintendent must manage during the early construction…until the final revised set of plans is generated from the red-lined plans.

The closer the original set of plans is to the red-lined set of plans…thanks to employing the proactive approaches recommended in this book…leading to the final revised set of plans…the less paperwork hassle for the superintendent…and the less opportunity is baked into the system for mistakes, change orders, extras, and lost time.

Minimizing revisions on a set of working plans therefore can also limit the additional time required of the superintendent to monitor any extra work generated from loose plans.  With almost every architectural or engineering change to the plans…an extra goes to a subcontractor.  On a project with numerous plans revisions, the builder can quickly become buried in time-and-material extras.

If a building company creates check lists that describe standard problems to avoid…as well as specific historical problems from past and current projects…then some of the potential revision work can be identified and resolved before the construction starts…freeing the superintendent to spend more time on quality-control and production than plans revisions and monitoring extras during the construction.