Jeff outlines various referencing techniques.

Aside from the other, betterknown referencing techniques, including indexing, schematics, color-coding and profiling, there are other, lesser-known and -used techniques for referencing. In their own ways, they are as useful as any of the other techniques outlined above and discussed in detail in previous columns over the course of this year.

Manhattan diary

At the time of this writing, I am working on a large, fairly standard apartment building in Lower Manhattan. The building has sprinklers throughout, thus there are many enclosures for the sprinkler lines and heads within apartments, as well as in public spaces. Also, there are three "offset" floor conditions whereby MEP elements (pipes, ducts, etc.) require horizontal transitions. In turn, these require drywall fascia/soffit/ceiling enclosures. To account for all this ceiling work, the architect has included a series of drawings to define all of these conditions--the reflected ceiling plans. It is from these drawings that I must identify all these constructed elements.

To eliminate redundancies and to make the survey quicker and easier, I always create a format for my survey sheets (to be the topic of a future column). This allows me to take advantage of any and all repetitions, symmetry, duplications, etc., inherent in most building plans (especially residential buildings). Thus, my survey strategy is to isolate each apartment from the other and the public/building service spaces. Now, I must isolate the apartments in the same way, on the RCPs, to allow me to identify and quantify each apartment and account for any repetition, symmetry and duplications. Just as I did for the drywall wall assemblies and rough and finish carpentry items identified and quantified on the floor plans.

For the floor plans, I had to distinguish the variety of wall assemblies demising between the apartments and public-building service spaces (partitions, chases, vent shafts, etc.). For the RCPs, I need not be as exacting. As I do for a complex RCP (as discussed in a previous column), I will use an orange highlighter to color in all the walls that are demising. This allows me to visually distinguish the apartments from one another very easily and accurately. For the complex RCP, the highlighting of all the walls allowed me to essentially superimpose the floor plan onto the RCP thus allowing me to distinguish the ceiling elements (fascias, headers, etc.) from the wall elements (partitions, door openings, furring, etc.). By using the orange highlighter to distinguish only demising walls, I am providing the same type of useful visual reference. It allows me to clearly see the multitude of ceiling work broken down into its natural component parts: by apartment, public space and building service areas. Had I not included this "demising reference," it would have been extremely difficult to distinguish all these various areas from one another, thus providing very fertile ground for errors and omissions to occur.

Latitude and longitude

Another useful, though little-used, referencing technique concerns column lines. Very often, a section, detail elevation, etc., is delineated but not tagged or targeted on the floor plan and RCP. In other cases, it is inaccurately located on the plan. In both cases, it is always an effective method of identifying the location exactly--or in close proximity by using the column line/coordinate--typically indicated on the section/detail/elevation, etc.

Many times--particularly in large sets of drawings--it is difficult to view the horizontal column line indicator (usually on the left side of the plan) when the drawings are folded over in a large bound set. Whenever I encounter this condition and a poorly tagged plan, I will write the column line number (or letter) in a conspicuous location with a red pen. In this way, I can locate all column lines and coordinates without difficulty.

Last, but not least, of the useful referencing techniques little known are stop-start indicators. When working on plans, particularly where "match-lines" are used (for large plans continued on two or more drawings or the same drawing), these are extremely useful. They allow me to provide a visual reference of where one survey stopped and another began and vice-versa. A match-line does not always provide a natural break such as a column line, expansion joint, etc.; it could go through the middle of one or more apartments for example.

I use a simple reference of two interfacing "arrows" (hand-drawn) to indicate stop/start points.


This simple device provides a quick and easy reference that eliminates confusion and avoids doubling-up and/or omitting important survey items.