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Construction documents are written, graphic and pictorial documents prepared or assembled for describing and communicating the design, location, and physical characteristics of the elements of a project necessary for obtaining a building permit and administering the contract for its construction.

Construction documents should also show the size, section and relative locations of structural members with floor levels, column centers and offsets, and the design loads and other information pertinent to the structural design.

So, not only do construction documents are a legal binding document needed for the success of projects but also ensure accurate coordination between contractor and client. Construction documents consist of calculations, drawings, specifications, and any other data that are needed to indicate compliance with the governing building code.

What are the Contents of Construction Documents?

The construction document should at least include following components:

1. Drawings

It is important that the structural and architectural drawings be coordinated on a regular basis. The following items are usually included in a typical set of drawings:

  • Structural drawings must show the size, section, and relative locations of all of structural members in a building.
  • Foundation plans.
  • Framing plans for all levels at and above ground.
  • Schedules for the structural members, including foundations, beams, slabs, columns, and walls.
  • Sections and details.
  • The size of the structural members can be given directly on the plans, or the members can be identified by marks on the plan with the sizes given in applicable schedules.
  • The same is done for the size, spacing, and length of reinforcing bars.
  • Anchorage length of reinforcement and location and length of lap splices.
  • Type and location of mechanical and welded splices of reinforcement.
  • Typical details are provided for various types of members utilized in the structure. These details, along with sections cut at various locations in the structure, help in illustrating specific information about the structure.
  • Provisions for dimensional changes resulting from creep, shrinkage, and temperature.

2. Material Properties

  • Specified compression strength of all concrete mixtures utilized in the structure at the ages or stages of construction for which each part of the structure is designed.
  • Specified strength or grade of all reinforcement utilized in the structure.

3. Design Loads

The following design loads and information must be included in the construction documents, as per IBC 1603:

  • Floor live load
  • Roof live load
  • Roof snow load data
  • Wind design data
  • Earthquake design data
  • Flood design data
  • Special loads

4. Geotechnical information

  • Include the geotechnical report as an appendix to the construction specifications.
  • Reference the soils report on drawings, show the parameters used in the structural design, and note that the soils report recommendations are to be followed.
  • Edit the specification section for earthwork to either match the soils report or cross reference the contractor to the appendix.
  • On large projects, draw the boring logs on the plans (usually where piles drawings are involved).

5. Other Information

  • Formwork and formwork accessories
  • Concrete mixtures
  • Handling, placing, and constructing
  • Architectural concrete
  • Lightweight concrete
  • Mass concrete
  • Post-tensioned concrete
  • Shrinkage-compensating concrete

About Madeh Izat HamakareemVerified

Madeh is a Structural Engineer who works as Assistant Lecturer in Koya University. He is the author, editor and partner at theconstructor.org.