Why YOU should use Markplan to prepare your drawings

By: Markplan Consulting  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Civil Engineering, Structural Design

We thought it would be useful for us to point out a few reasons why Markplan recommends the preparation of full engineering drawings as part of the structural design phase of your project.

Our approach to each of your projects is to provide a comprehensive set of calculations and drawings that not only addresses your needs at the time you obtain building consent, but also ensures that the level of information provided by Markplan allows your architect, builder and other professionals to concentrate on their respective areas of responsibility - which ultimately saves you time and money. With Markplan’s level of structural and civil engineering input into your project you know that it will run smoothly, cost effectively and meet the high standards that you no doubt strive to achieve.

Your Markplan team takes pride in our extremely high level of service, and we have noticed that there is a clear gap between the high level of service and documentation that we offer compared to that offered elsewhere for lesser fees, particularly in the residential sector of the building industry. 

Here’s why we think that you should strive to ensure your Engineer provides full engineering drawings as part of your design package:

1.     Your architect’s job is made significantly easier.  Our level of documentation reduces the amount of work they need to do in relation to the structural components of your development. Your architect will not need to transfer sketch details from the engineering calculations to the working drawings, ultimately saving you time and potentially architectural fees.

2.     Structural details will all be in once place, easily referenced by your architect and builder as well as Council during both consent processing and the building inspection phases of your project as required.

3.     By providing a full set of engineering drawings and details we eliminate surprises on site.  All important structural information necessary for construction and fabrication of structural components will have been identified so that your builder is fully aware of what needs to be costed and built. This avoids the inevitable “I’ll add 10% just to cover the unknowns” syndrome or additional costs as the project progresses if the builder was not fully aware of the project’s requirements when pricing using a lower level of documentation.

4.     Full engineering drawings are required by all the Councils in the Auckland Region at building consent stage.  We have no reason to believe this requirement will change once Auckland becomes a ‘Super City’.

Auckland City Council states: ”Structural elements specifically designed by an engineer must be recorded on the working drawings.  Sketches contained in the engineering calculations are not accepted” and “[Plans shall be] A1, A2 or A3, plans numbered. All plans should be to scale and have printed text equivalent to Microsoft® Word font size 11 that is clear and readable. Note: plan sets should be the same sheet size.”

North Shore City Council states: “All structural details must be shown on main plans” and “All drawings must be on A3 (minimum) and have space for processing staff to write and affix stamps”

Rodney District Council states: “Structural details must be part of the plans. Drawings to scale, minimum paper size A3 and referenced on plans – no hand sketches.”

Waitakere City Council states:  “Drawings must be produced on a minimum A3 sheet size.

All drawings must meet the minimum requirements of the Technical Drawings standard AS/NZS1100 with equivalent Microsoft Word text size 11 (free-handed drawings will not be accepted)”

Manukau City and other Councils in the Greater Auckland Region all have similar requirements.  We also know that other Councils throughout NZ are adopting these same requirements.

Unfortunately, there are occasions where Councils seem to allow lesser quality engineering documentation through their systems despite these “rules”. 

Reputable Consulting Engineers generally have very comparable fee structures.  A fee which appears much less than another usually indicates that the scope of work is less.  Check this very carefully and ask to see examples of similar work if you feel it necessary.

To illustrate our points above, please find below some examples of the level of detail we have provided for a range of residential projects undertaken in our office recently.

A)     High Spec, Award Winning Large Family Home (Build cost $2,000,000 +):

The drawing list includes a full set of engineering drawings (a set of 25 Engineering Drawings at A1 size) including the following:

·         Engineering Notes and Specifications

·         Structural Roof Layout Plans (3 sheets)

·         Structural Ground Floor layout plan

·         Structural Mid Floor layout plan

·         Ground Floor Foundation Layout Plan

·         Basement Foundation Layout Plan

·         Footings and Suspended Slab details and sections (2 sheets)

·         Structural Steel connection details for beams, portal frames, columns etc (11 sheets)

·         Site plan showing stormwater and sanitary sewer layouts

·         Longsection plan of public stormwater line

·         Longsection plan of public sanitary sewer line

·         Details for public stormwater and sanitary sewer

B)      High quality, medium to large family home (Build cost $800,000 - $1,000,000).

The drawing list includes a set of engineering drawings considered relevant to the project, with the architect detailing the location of structural members on their plans (a set of 9 Engineering Drawings at A1 size) including the following:

·         Structural Steel connection details for beams, portal frames, columns etc (8 sheets)

·         Swimming Pool details

C)      Standard specification, good quality family home (Build Cost $500,000):

The drawing list includes a set of engineering drawings considered relevant to the project, with the architect detailing the location of structural members on their plans (a set of 2 Engineering Drawings at A1 size) including the following:

·         Structural Steel connection details for beams, portal frames, columns etc, retaining wall and foundation details (2 sheets)

Plan and detail drawings representing each of these project types are found below.  There is similar cross-over in terms of the type of detail included on each plan, and the only difference is that more complex, larger houses generally require more plans and details due to their size and level of complexity. 

Please compare these to:

D)     A work example that was undertaken by us in 1995. This is long before we elected to produce full engineering drawings as our “standard’ level of documentation. 

This work sample was for a high quality, medium to large family home with a build cost of approximately $800,000 at the time of construction. There were 11 pages of A4 engineering sketch details in total. These sketch details at the time would have been re-drawn by the architect and included in the architectural set of plans that we would then have checked through to confirm all details had been included accurately.

An example of an A4 sketch detail sheet can be found below.

We are sure you will agree that these examples clearly illustrate the difference between full service, incorporating engineering drawings, and a partial service where we would supply sketches for your architect to incorporate into the architectural plans.  

Which level of service would YOU demand for your project and which level is allowed for in the fee estimates you have or will be seeking?

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Civil Engineering, Structural Design

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