Monday, June 03, 2013

What I Learned About Construction Drawings

Electrical and lighting drawings.

Heating and air ventwork can be seen above the metal studs and sheet-rock.

The ceiling grid in place from which I hung the light fixtures.

The painted, tiled, and mostly finished office space.

The ceiling grid and vent pipes as seen from above.

The almost completed kitchen.

Multi-lamp fixtures, recessed can-lights, and electrical receptacles.

One of twelve exit lights that I wired in place, as well as the light fixture.

Pictured is two of five heat pump package units that were set on the rooftop with a large crane.

After re-familiarising myself with electrical symbols on construction documents, the task of translating those symbols into a working electrical system would have been a daunting task if not for the guidance of an experienced electrician.

I have been fortunate enough to work for an experienced electrician and heating/air conditioning technician, and I have learned a great deal about construction drawings.  Despite my architectural education, and design history, I had no input on the design and drawings of the project pictured.

What is described in the construction drawings is very loose, and for the project in the images above, the heating and air conditioning system was not specified.  Were it not for an experienced tradesmen, the project never would have been realised.  So very many details were not included, and the project was completed because of experienced contractors.  For instance, only eight exit lights are specified on the drawings, but egress lights on the exterior of the office were required by the fire code.  These additional four lights were not on the drawings.  Were it not for experienced tradesmen, this project would have taken much longer, for installing wiring for lights after sheet-rock is installed is a labor intensive proposition.

I have learned that construction documents can be very vague, and sometimes rely heavily upon design/build skills of the contractors.

Throughout the construction process I was involved with assembling the heat and air system, which included the ductwork system pictured above.  I also wired in eighty light fixtures, cut and strapped endless EMT conduit, pulled countless feet of conducting wire, and wired in twelve egress/exit lights.  I had the opportunity to translate into the building everything on the power and reflected ceiling plan drawings.

At the end of this commercial/industrial project, I am certainly feeling more experienced and knowledgeable about the construction process.  The city building codes, national electric codes, and order of operations in which to construct something is more apparent.  I had a great time learning on the job, and I look forward to the next project.