How often have you given what you thought were perfectly clear verbal instructions only to find out later that the audience had a very different image in mind? These lapses in communication waste time, materials and, therefore, money. Profit targets are difficult enough to achieve without backsliding because of poor communication skills.
Graphic communication in construction is a learned skill that includes elements of illustration, mechanical drawing and architectural drawing. A few practical pointers can help sharpen your illustrating skills, and the more comfortable you are with your drawings, the more likely you’ll be to include them in your regular communications.
Simplicity in the graphic is important. A free-hand sketch often will suffice as a supporting document in a conversation with a client or subcontractor. More formal plans should be attached to any contract or approval-agency submission.
Each graphic should be to some scale, even if it’s not entirely precise, because proportions help clarify a drawing. Key dimensions should be included.
Defining the visual
Since 1932 the American Institute of Architects has produced the classic guide Architectural Graphic Standards, which is updated as necessary. This desk reference, now in its 10th edition, includes construction details and techniques, sectional and plan drawings, dimensions, and specification language that clearly describes a finished product. Design/build firms should own a copy of this 1,092-page book. Remodelers should know where to find one and review it as a resource. A companion CD-ROM is available.
To buy a copy of the book and the CD-ROM, Click Here. Or call the AIA’s Tampa Bay chapter at 813/229-3411.
The following are graphic communication assets to be mastered:
A fun skills builder is to imagine what an item would look like before committing it to paper. What are the most important details?
Understanding spatial relations is fundamental to construction trade contractors, and communicating that information is a core management skill. Master it well, and you’ve plugged another profit leak.