CDS/PDD: 5 Types Of Documents Every Architect Needs To Know

You have drafted up so many construction documents in your young hipping career. But when you're asked a question what goes inside bidding documents, you've no idea.

You hear your project architect interchangeably using the terms “specs” and “project manual”. But did you know they’re actually not the same thing?

Don't worry. I've got you cover!

We’re going to look into every type of documents you’d need to know (not just for the CDS/PDD exam but for your daily practice). You can even download the CDS/PDD – Know Your Documents study guide at the end of the post before your exam!

 
We’re going to look into every type of documents you’d need to know for the are 4.0 CDS/are 5.0 PDD exam. You can even download the study guide at the end of the post before your exam! Read more on the Millennial Architect Blog. | Joann lui
 

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

This is the easiest to understand. Construction documents include everything you do to bring a project from design to a completed building. This includes:

  • Bidding Requirements
  • Contract Forms
  • Conditions of Contract
  • Specifications
  • Drawings
  • Addendum
  • Contract Modifications

Tips: Submittals are not part of construction document. Submittals are drawn by contractor and reviewed by you - you don’t actually draw them.

BIDDING/PROCUREMENT DOCUMENTS

Before you issue for construction, you'll usually issue a set of documents for bidding only. This is to help the owner award the contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. That's why the bidding documents include basically everything before contract is awarded and construction is started.

  • Bidding Requirements
  • Contract Forms
  • Conditions of Contract
  • Specifications
  • Drawings
  • Addendum

Tips: An addendum is to modify or clarify the procurement documents issued for bid. It's issued after you issue a bid set and before a contract is awarded. After a contract is awarded, any documents issued to make changes to the project are issued as bulletins.

PROJECT MANUAL

Many think of specifications as a written construction documents. Specifications communicate the type and quality of materials while drawings communicate the quantity and layout. But it's important to know that specifications don't equal project manual, but instead it's a primary component of a project manual.

Other documents included in a project manual are:

  • Bidding Requirements
  • Contract Forms
  • Conditions of Contract
  • Specifications

Tips: In 1963, the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) introduced MasterFormat to organize information in a project manual. Know the sections, parts and divisions in a MasterFormat - they do show up in the exams!

CONTRACT DOCUMENTS

Contract documents includes deliverables after bidding is completed (i.e. owner-contractor agreement is executed). Any bidding requirements are NOT included in the contract documents. It includes the owner-contractor agreement, the general and supplementary conditions, the specs, contract drawings plus any changes or modifications made to the contract.

  • Contract Forms
  • Conditions of Contract
  • Specifications
  • Drawings
  • Addendum
  • Contract Modifications

Tips: Contract drawings on the other hand are the graphic illustration of the project. It's part of contract documents to show the size, form, quantity and relationships between materials and systems.

RECORD DRAWINGS / AS-BUILT DRAWINGS

Providing record drawing is an additional service of an architect. It's meant to record the building as constructed based on information provided by the contractor to the owner. Because the information is provided by the contractor, the architect has no obligation to verify if the record drawings represent the built work.

(A201-3.11) Contractor shall maintain record drawings on site to mark up field changes & selections made during construction which will later be transferred onto a permanent reproducible medium for architect to submit to owner. 

It's comprised of all the deliverables that the contractor used to build the project including any changes/modifications that've been made during bidding/construction.

  • Specifications
  • Drawings
  • Addendum
  • Contract Modifications
  • Submittals

Tips: As-designed record drawings are what we as architect designed for the project (including the drawings, specs, addenda, supplemental instructions, change orders, construction change directives & minor changes in the work).

More Tips: B101-2007 Owner-Architect Agreement outlines all the basic services & additional services. Give that a read. It's important to know what they are for the exams!


Now that you understand every type of documents that architects need to know in a broader picture - go ahead and download the CDS/PDD - Know Your Documents study guide. It's designed to help you understand each document more deeply.

What constitutes as bidding requirements? Where does a change order fall in place? What is a submittal? The worksheet outlines every type of deliverables for you, so you don't have to go out searching for it when you're crunching your exam!

For more information about project documents, read up Part 3: Project Delivery in The Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice*.



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