Red-lined sets of plans are plans (blueprints) that have been corrected or modified in the field because of errors or owner’s changes.
For multi-unit production tract housing and condominiums, red-lined plans are usually generated during the construction of the sales models which constitutes the trial-run phase before full-scale production begins.
The construction of the sales models provides the time-period in the project when the construction is debugged and the owner makes interior floor plan and exterior elevation changes.
The red-lined plans are then given back to the architect and engineers for revision so that a correct, updated set of plans can be used for the remainder of the construction.
Red-lined plans enable the builder to identify common mistakes to look for on future plans.
For example, laundry closets typically dimensioned 30 inches deep by the architect might be too tight for some brands of clothes dryers when the inclusion of the dryer vent hose and the gas pipe are taken into consideration, resulting in the wood bi-fold door bottom metal guides rubbing against the fronts of the appliances, for lack of space.
I have seen plans that mistakenly show a bedroom wardrobe closet opening width of 5’-6”, when standard 2’-9” wide closet doors do not exist.
These types of errors should become part of a growing checklist the builder uses as they analyze the plans before the start of every new project.
Homebuyer Walkthrough Sheets
Homebuyer walkthrough sheets are a source for identifying quality-control items that slipped past the final phase of the construction, but were noticed by the homebuyer at the walkthrough.
Some of these items are minor like missed paint touchup that are the result of time-crunch of completions, escrow closings, and move-ins that occur as closely sequenced events.
But other items are actual bugs that show up repeatedly on several walkthroughs, and therefore require identification and attention in order to be eliminated going forward.
Warranty Complaint Letters
Warranty complaint letters are a source of quality-control and debugging information noticed after the homebuyers move into their homes.
These letters are a means for evaluating the quality of the materials and products that were used, the construction methods, the warranty repair service of subcontractors in terms of response time and effectiveness, and the functional utility of some architectural designs.
Warranty complaint letters also tell the builder how accurate in the homebuyer walkthrough in identifying issues that need to be resolved at or before homebuyer move-in.
If the walkthrough sheet lists only 4 minor items to repair at walkthrough, yet 60 days later the builder receives a customer service complaint letter listing 30 items that would or should have been obvious during the walkthrough, for example, and this is not an isolated, one-time occurrence but is the repetitive experience, this then tells the builder that something is wrong at the delivery phase of the new units.
Subcontractor extras tell the builder where money was spent to solve problems that fell outside the scope of work sections in the contracts.
Extras tell the builder where design plans are incomplete or incorrect…and where contract language is loose. Extras are a source of information for tightening the budget on future phases of an existing project and formulating more accurate budgets.
Advice from Subcontractors
Advice from subcontractors is another valuable source of information for figuring out how to improve the construction.
Subcontractors have a unique viewpoint close to the construction.
Because many subcontracts are awarded through negotiation involving the same subcontractors, design and construction improvements can be solicited from a builder’s regular group of subcontractors, in technical jargon called value engineering.