Friday, May 27, 2011

How to booby-trap a contractor...

Or anyone really, that is assessing construction documentation with the intention of committing to create something out of nothing based on drawings compiled in packages often labelled “for tender”.
Could be a client representative too, charged with overseeing the project!

Here is my list of 5 ‘favourite’ booby-traps:

1/ When soft copies of drawings are requested, provide only PDFs and bind them into one;
(can be separated into sheets, but it takes time and they end up with names hard to recognise)
2/ If you provide CAD files, make sure drawings are numbered instead of named
(most jobs have sheet-numbers going into hundreds – non descriptive titles hinder navigation)
3/ Set all scales at dubious ratios
                (1:300, 400, 750 are all well liked)
4/ Print all PDFs to black (or greyscale)
5/ Print PDF’s with thick lines on
                (my favourite-favourite see attached screenshots;  Samples are sourced from a number of         different jobs; The marvellously hidden number 25 was quite critical to the sheet it was       residing on);

The above described tricks are relatively minor annoyances, however, combine them all and they can compromise the contractor’s ability to put their best bid forward.
The intention could be for these practices to weed out the bad from the good, it can also prevent a good contractor do what they are best at, price, programme, plan for successful building.


  1. I had thought by June we might be on a positive vibe?
    How is it that the whole industry has it wrong and you have it right, but won't tell us....

  2. 't was the last of May's post. So still hope for June.
    And I am being positive, just need to dig deeper for the meening...I would not be sticking around this industry if I was not.
    And at least am happy to stay notanonymous;
    However, thanks for your comment -

  3. BTW - did not quite get it, are you telling me that the above described things are not happening in the industry or that they do not worry anyone just me?

  4. Zolna,

    I think your post does reflect what happens with the way documents are issued to contractors. We see this all the time and spend ages trying to work out the details and drawings, and our task in life is just to try and measure whats drawn, let alone build it!