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Architectural Basics: 5 Types of Construction Documents You Need for Every Build

The process for putting up a building, whether it’s a house or a commercial site, produces a lot of paperwork. Some of that paperwork is incidental, but you need a lot of it for legal or accountability reasons.

For example, you don’t want the contractor to break ground without all the necessary permits.

Not sure which construction documents you need. Keep reading for an overview of the essential documents you should have before and during the build process.

1. Building Drawings

There are several types of building drawings. There are the presentation drawings that give the homeowner or investors an idea of what the proposed project will look like at the site after completion.

The more crucial drawings are the actual building drawing or construction blueprints. These drawings provide precise details about the layout and required materials. Contractors use these drawings for the actual build.

2. Contracts

Even a home construction project will involve a few construction contract documents. You may sign a contract with an engineer or architect for the design. You will definitely sign one with your primary contractor. If you plan on getting extensive landscaping done by someone other than the contractor, you may end up signing a contract with a landscaping company as well.

These contracts detail the work expected, any guarantees, any penalties for delivery failures, and payment terms. You should work out some form of construction document management to keep track of the contracts, blueprints, and any other important documents.

3. Scope of Work

As a general rule, contractors don’t handle every aspect of the build. They subcontract out tasks that required specialized knowledge or licenses, such as wiring or plumbing.

A scope of work document typically includes a breakdown of the expected work and who will perform it. It may also include an initial schedule, project management details, and a project overview.

4. Permits

Every construction project needs permits from the local town, city, or county, depending on the build location. In general, you keep these documents on-site in case of an inspection. It’s usually a good idea to keep separate copies of all permits in a safe location, just in case the original gets damaged on site.

You can use a local print shop for copies of most essential documents.

5. Construction Schedule

Every project should maintain an updated construction schedule. This schedule keeps everyone in the loop about delays. It also ensures all parties remain clear on the expected completion date.

Construction Documents and Your Project

Construction documents for your project serve several important functions. They define the work that will be done, by whom, and when. They also ensure that the project remains legal through the appropriate permits.

Most construction projects take months or, in the case of very large buildings, even years. That means you need a solid document management system for your project. That ensures that you can put your hands on the right information if a problem does happen.

Looking for tips on what you’ll do in your garage after your home build? You can find them in our DIY Auto Repair section.