The Surprising Thing Designers Are Still Doing Wrong

business Dec 21, 2017

It never ceases to amaze me the number of designers that continue to do inaccurate and incomplete as-built drawings.

Imagine this: Your carpenters are working on a bathroom remodeling project. They’ve already started gutting it and framing the walls in preparation for the new layout.

Everything is going fine, and then you get the dreaded phone call. Your carpenter informs you that bathroom measures two feet smaller than the plan you gave them.

Your first reaction is total shock, along with words “Are you f***ing kidding me?!” You check the calendar to make sure it’s not April first. (It’s not.) So you drop everything to deal with the situation.

As you go over the plan and where you might have gone wrong, you quickly discover that in your haste to get to your next appointment, you didn’t get all of the dimensions you needed for the existing bathroom. You also forgot to take pictures.

In other words, when you did the plan, you assumed the bathroom was a typical size. So now what? Here’s what you have to do to make up for your mistake:

  • Tell the carpenter to go home and he loses a half day’s worth of revenue.
  • Cancel all your other appointments for the day.
    Re-measure the job.
  • Call the homeowners and inform them you screwed up.
  • Draw up new plans.
  • Schedule a time to meet with the owner to review the new plans.
  • Argue about the change orders you have to submit.
  • Agree to do some of the work at cost because you screwed up.
  • Reschedule all the subs.
  • Re-order the correct plumbing fixtures.
  • Schedule the carpenter to another job to keep them busy.
  • Buy flowers for the homeowner to try and smooth things over.
  • Finally, get back to work completing the job.
  • Review the job cost reports and find that you lost money on the project.

I’m not making this up, unfortunately — this happened to someone I know.

The moral of the story is simple: realize the importance of the as-built plan and take it seriously. If you have a lousy as-built, you’ll probably have a lousy experience on the rest of the project.

To Your Success,

Dan Baumann