Every Architect’s Dream – Reviewing Shop Drawings


We have been doing some reading about shop drawings and it was noted that there are "Four Filters of Evaluation which are (in order of priority) 1. Fire Safety, 2. Structural Integrity (i.e. Attachment Method), 3. Safety from Contact  and 4. Maintenance." - WhatsOnTheARE

Any other architects/interns/designers out there have a 5th and/or 6th criteria that they use? As much of a bore as shop drawings can be you have to admit they are pretty important regarding the quality of a construction project. We don't necessarily agree that shop drawing reviews should always be delegated to interns. (akin to composing door schedules using AutoCAD)

Architectural Surface Finishes by 3M

Nov 13, 11 2:46 pm

0. does it fulfill the design intent of the plans

Nov 13, 11 4:55 pm

Makes sense - in the end pleasing the client is crucial.

Mar 8, 13 5:42 pm

building envelope: keep the moisture out

Mar 8, 13 6:29 pm



Mar 8, 13 9:53 pm
chatter of clouds

i know people who view it as an opportunity to sneak in some new design information thus causing the contractor to weep bitter tears of rfis, contractual letters and variation notifications.  

Mar 9, 13 5:46 am
vado retro

not requested. not reviewed. see ya.

Mar 9, 13 6:06 am
vado retro

shop drawings are reviewed by the architect for their consistency with the design intent. they are not part of the construction contract.

Mar 9, 13 6:20 am
chatter of clouds

 try telling that to the ID consultant we're working with *sigh*.

even funnier when they reject the shop drawing due to non compliance with design revisions made ON the same shop drawings.

for a change, one is left sympathizing with the contractor. not...

Mar 9, 13 6:29 am
vado retro

that's c141 4.5.11.

Mar 9, 13 6:56 am
chatter of clouds

i checked. it doesn't describe how to design changes are to be NOT made (by the Architect/ID) vide the shop drawings :o)

its an interesting conundrum (since i lack extensive contract-based knowledge): can you reject shop drawings based on new design information issued within the rejected shop drawings that should, ideally, be provided vide an Engineer's Instruction to allow the Contractor to apply for variation costs?

a.  the Shop Drawings satisfy all prior conditions preceding this new set of design revisions, therefore they should be approved

b. however, if approved, you enable the Contractor  to proceed with procurement/production irrespective of your priviledge as a Designer to change the deisgn (with the Client's approval) that will naturally, and understandably have financial repercussions dealt with contractually.

one rather silly idea comes to mind. you approve the shop drawing then immediately or simultaneously follow-up with issuing the design changes to invalidate and supercede the SD's content and therefore compelling (or explicitly instructing?)  the Contractor to issue new shop drawings. but reviisons are built on rejected former versions of the  SD.

how would you go about it?

Mar 9, 13 7:18 am

Interesting conversations going on in here. Thanks for the useful responses thus far.

Mar 20, 13 2:07 pm

 “Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples and similar submittals are not contract documents. The purpose of their submittal is to demonstrate for those portions of the work for which submittals are required by the contract documents the way by which the contractor proposes to conform to the information given and the design concept expressed in the contract documents.”


“By approving and submitting Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples, and similar submittals, the Contractor represents that the Contractor has determined and verified materials, field measurements, and field construction criteria related thereto, or will do so, and has checked and coordinated the information contained within such submittals with the requirements of the Work and of the Contract Documents.”

Mar 20, 13 2:13 pm

Shop drawings are extremely important, and an important reminder that the architect's work is carried out by a number of specialists in various trades that we may know little about.  I learned a lot about different elements of design and construction (steel fabrication and wood casework among others) by poring over shop drawings.

Mar 20, 13 2:16 pm

@citizen and @b3tadine It is amazing that architects need not check for accuracy and quantity in submittals BUT they often do to keep the project progressing.

Mar 25, 13 6:17 am

 i hear those involved with preparing shop drawings stand around the submitted CD and laugh first before proceeding with their work

Mar 25, 13 6:51 am
won and done williams

They have a good laugh, then wander over to their photocopier and copy your detail on their letterhead. Most subs can't detail for shit and will take every opportunity to cut corners to save a ducet.

Mar 25, 13 1:46 pm

When architects try to supply us with shop drawings, they are typically unnecessarily complicated, poorly thought out, do not take into consideration actual material constraints, processes, and properties, lack cohesion with the larger design, are often not structurally sound/ waterproof/ able to be fabricated.

Just thought you would all like a perspective from the other side.

by the way, I'm the lead designer at a sculptural and architectural fabrication atelier. basically a detailing and structural design consultant.

Mar 25, 13 2:50 pm

those that don't laugh, cry.

Mar 25, 13 3:26 pm

"i hear those involved with preparing shop drawings stand around the submitted CD and laugh first before proceeding with their work" 

first laugh, then cry, then wonder is there a God, then laugh again

Mar 25, 13 4:12 pm

Best architect's details I've ever seen:

A square hole in a glass panel, in a shower enclosure, no less.

A 15' double cantilever in the depth of single framing.

A tile floor running continuously from concrete slab to wood framing to steel framing.

A stack of 2x6 plates 12" high supporting a sloped glass storefront with aluminum frame.

This could easily turn into a very long list ...

Mar 25, 13 4:33 pm

A 15' double cantilever in the depth of single framing.  exterior and no slope, so it either has to retain or drain water and/or snow.  no downspouts.  no columns.  we'll support the thing on faith.  let's finish it in vinyl wallcovering too.

we need to refocus our profession to those who want to design buildable buildings and get rid of those who want to be painters or sketchers or whatever.

Mar 25, 13 4:56 pm

^ The credentials of that particular architect include:

  • Design Honor, Salvadori Center
  • International Fellow, The Royal Institute of British Architects
  • National Design Award Finalist, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Maryland
  • Medal of Honor, American Institute of Architects, New York City Chapter
  • National Academician, The National Academy
  • Fellow, American Institute of Architects
Mar 25, 13 5:34 pm

They have a good laugh, then wander over to their photocopier and copy your detail on their letterhead. Most subs can't detail for shit and will take every opportunity to cut corners to save a ducet.

When I worked for a contractor we would only crib the details from the architects that didn't suck, the rest we just laughed at.

Mar 25, 13 10:07 pm

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