You are not logged in. [ Login ] Why log in
(NOTE: Login is not required to post)

Architecttural Drawings

Nathan W Member

Hey Guys,

Not a question more of a rant than anything. Ive been with my current company for about 8 years. Sold about 2 years ago, my roll under the old ownership was one man show in the shop, cutting, machinig, edgeing, assembly, machine maintinence, you name it i did. Ive been moved into the office, no complaints love my job. Im constantly running into poorly put together drawings from architects(one we do lots of work for). Problems we have talked about on multiple occasions, no fillers, no counter overhang, drawer banks in really narrow cabinets, and on occasion no elevations at all, just floor plans. When I create drawings for submital, I have to comb through these drawings with a fine tooth comb to make sure it will all work in the end. No matter how many times we talk about it every drawing is the same. Im tempted to just build what they draw and when it doent work thow it back on them, I know I cant but would love to see the look on their faces. How do you guys deal with poorly drawn jobs, i thought it was their job to do all the thinking and just tell us what to build?

10/15/19       #2: Architecttural Drawings ...
Gary Balcom


Welcome to engineering/drafting in a custom woodworking shop. Good to hear you came up from the shop floor, obviously that will help you a bunch. It took me longer than I care to admit, to realize that it IS our job to engineer our shop drawings how we plan to build it. It is a disservice to everyone to regurgitate the architect's drawings. Very few firms can draw a set of plans that will actually work, it is up to us to make them work. I still see 2D Drawings where the plan view doesn't flush with the Elevations or the sections. The quality has generally gone downhill in the last 2 decades. About 10 years ago I had a set of plans land on my desk that actually had the reception desk within the double doors before the vestibule. It was a huge firm, apparently, no one was checking the junior draftspeoples work.

Think of it this way, when you get all that work done upfront, the entire job flows (more) smoothly. Come up with some standards if you can for your company, and try to push them in where appropriate. Have blocks ready to go in AutoCAD, etc. It will make it much faster to create a set of quality submittals that are actually buildable.

10/15/19       #3: Architecttural Drawings ...
Leo G Member

Start back charging for your time. Explain to them what the error was and why it needed to be corrected and the charge.

Obviously you can't do this if a single mistake comes up. But if it's multiple mistakes or the same mistake over an over again I'd consider it.

Maybe start up with a warning invoice, charge the time and then cross it out with an NC, to see if this gets their attention.

There is a caveat here, they could stop sending you work.

10/15/19       #4: Architecttural Drawings ...
Nathan W Member


Yes being in the shop for a number of years, and in the feild installing, has helped a lot, i remember the first side job i fillers, install was a disaster, luckly it was a family thing. So I usually go about drawing a job how I would install it. I have just kind of accepted it as part of the job. I know first hand, having worked on both sides (I sneak into the shop every once and a while when i need a break from the screan), its worth every minute up here to see the product fly through the shop (mostly, you have to be pretty sharp to run screen to machine).


You are deffinately on to something here. The first thing the new owner and I did was look at old invoices and go over things that were never charged for, one big red flag was design/programming time was never chaged for. I was optimizing and programming the machines on the shop floor, leaving lots of room for opperator error. We are now a screen to machine shop, and putting a much more accurate better quality product out the door, and consistancy has skyrocketed. We started charging for my office time accordingly and most of our customers accepted the charge with no fuss because of the better product they are getting.

10/15/19       #5: Architecttural Drawings ...
Leo G Member

With my clients I'll draw up a concept in eCabs based on their input at the first meeting. I'll pass that onto them and tell them what they'd like changed because it's just the first render. Then resubmit it with their changes.

After that big changes get charged. Minor things like swapping cabinets I don't care about. But redesigns take time and we deserve to get compensated for it.

This isn't exactly the same thing, but it's time consuming and if you can reduce it at the source it makes them a better client to deal with.

10/15/19       #6: Architecttural Drawings ...
rich c.

Have you talked to the architects? I'm sure their response will be something like, "we don't want to tell you how to make the cabinets, we are just giving you guidelines." Doesn't your time get figured into the bid?

10/16/19       #7: Architecttural Drawings ...
james e mcgrew  Member


gA lot has changed, My older guys are always complaining about poor drawings, I keep telling them you are dealing with Cut and past juniors out of School rubber stamped by a guy on a Golf course.

Bad but that is the way it is

10/16/19       #8: Architecttural Drawings ...
MarkB Member

Been going through this steadily myself. Some drawings are spot on and very well drawn, others not so much and as already stated, I dont look to the drawings to accurately outline every aspect of the construction but when you get them that just wont work or necessary elements just arent there, its a pain.

Im not sure I'd get any traction with charging anything back.

The miserable solution for me in the bid stage has just been RFI's and then you either have a tentative architect/firm that answers quickly and clearly or one that is late/slow or never to answer at all.

Drawing the job to what you feel would work best is fine in certain situations but the problem we run into is when things are not shown that you know need to be there or pretty much know for sure will be added, but they have a cost associated, and another shop will just bid to the drawings while you draw and bid the job correctly. The contractor does not take the time to review, and you lose, the other shop gets it, and adds in the changes later. Its a cat and mouse game. It seems you can note your corrections all you want but in the end the number at the bottom of the page sets the tone. It'd be great if you had a relationship where your bid carries the weight of them knowing you cover all the bases by default but in our world its generally going to be about the bottom line on the bid for the most part.

10/16/19       #9: Architecttural Drawings ...
Nathan W Member

I think you hit the nail on the head James, I have asked for a DXF or DWG in a few situations I need to get complex curves off of, and off in space is an old job that we did a couple years ago with bubbles around things they wanted to copy to make the new drawings from.

Good points Mark. We have been on both sides, the architect in question has awarded us jobs we were high on because we are upfront about how do things ad change when we but, knowing that they get what they want at the price we give them and it will work. Ive also lost a job, from a different firm, because we were 60K to high. When the job was all said and done they came back begging us to add what the other shop left out, we did it but it cost them more than the 60K they "SAVED"

10/16/19       #10: Architecttural Drawings ...
David R Sochar Member

Embrace The Void.

The fact is, you are the expert, the one most qualified to put together competent drawings - your current job. Your customers are not experts at this, though they may think they are.

Track your time and charge for it. Roll it into the whole, or give it a line item if you wish to whip 'em with it. Quit your cryin' and charge 'em.

Many of us have spent considerable time establishing ourselves as experts in our field. Take control of the situation by exercising that expertise and selling it back to your clients. That is why they are sitting in front of you.

I get terrible, almost non-existant architecturals where "we had to put something in there, but that is not what we want." Fine. This is now my opportunity to sell what I make, to have influence, to add to the overall. Tell me what you like.... Yes, you can have that. We can do that.

Always yes, always positive. Don't ever whine about drawings or design time or anything to do with their job or the work in general.

I now charge for design time, and talk time, and blabber time, and for all the incidentals we used to think we had to give away. It is not a line item, unless that is the way they want to see it. I have never had a complaint about the charges.

10/16/19       #11: Architecttural Drawings ...
Ex-Pat Member

I feel your pain Nathan, but don't expect things to change any time soon. The general consensus among architects is it that it is not their job to do our shop drawings for us. I do not disagree, all I need is what it is supposed to look like, where it goes, and how big it needs to be - unfortunately even that information seems to be lacking lately. The rule of thumb is the largest scale drawing should be the most correct, but I have noticed that section drawings are most often recycled from past projects so they seem to be most likely to be incorrect. And then there are the things that get drawn that just aren't going to work. I thought my job was to engineer things so that they would work, which cost us a lot of money because there was nothing in the bid to cover the extra costs - and if you draw it without a change order, good luck charging for it. My mantra now is "Submitted is committed." So here's how I handle it - I draw things exactly as they have been bid. If more is needed I put a note on the drawings saying (Insert Company Name) recommends (narrative of what I want to do). I will usually include the relevant AWI Standards section, if applicable I DO NOT draw it though. When the redlines come back, if they accept the solution, I draw it and send it back - along with the change order and pricing. When it is the case that there are details lacking, I draw my best guess and put a note on the elevation "Architect, please confirm (detail). Don't forget the please. If it is so horrible you are totally in WAG territory, send an RFI. The reason I put the RFI into third place is it can take forever to get an answer - but even if they are slow in responding, they expect you to have your shops completed the next day. These aren't perfect solutions, but it is the best I have come up with so far. Hope this helps.

10/16/19       #12: Architecttural Drawings ...
MarkB Member

Great topic of discussion.

My issues with regards to much of this pertains to being in the bid stage behind a GC. The architect is of course going to put an eyeball on the shops just as the GC is but your in the bid stage, and trying to get an accurate bid out with as little time invested.

I would love to be in the space David speaks of being able to charge for drawing or having anyone from the owner, to the architect, or GC, give us the latitude to put something in the space that we know there customer will like. Thats a luxurious position that seems rarely afforded in the commercial world and very rare behind an architect unless your spec'd as the sole supplier of something odd.

My tact for most everything that doesnt require, or isnt worth annoying the architect with, an RFI is pretty much spot on with Expat. I note everything in my bid, nothing is drawn at that point other than any drawings Ive done for bidding purposes. I note everything that doesnt look right or looks overlooked, but my bid is for whats in the drawings supplied. Recently bid one with uber long unsupported plastic laminate counter top spans. No call out for metal or laminate supports on "x" centers. No call outs for built in shelving details. Zip. It was all clearly noted. Had I added all those elements in because it was the right thing to do I'd likely have landed in the same situation Nathan mentions, losing the job and then hearing later that they paid the other shop to add it all in after the fact.

Good relationships are great and always the goal for sure. Please and thank you, humility, are always the name of the game.

Then of course there are the issues of being the one in the bid process that gets on the drawings early and brings up many of the issues that land in the next addendum and you've educated your competition bringing to their attention all the things that were missed. Its a slippery slope.

  • Post a Response to this thread
  • notify me of responses to this topic
  • To receive email notification of additions to this forum thread,
    enter your name and email address, and then click the
    "Keep Me Posted" button below.

    Please Note: If you have posted a message or response,
    do not submit this request ... you are already signed up
    to receive notification!

    Your Name:
    E-Mail Address:
    Enter the correct numbers into the field below:

    Date of your Birth:

    Return to top of page

    Buy & Sell Exchanges | Forums | Galleries | Site Map

    FORUM GUIDELINES: Please review the guidelines below before posting at WOODWEB's Interactive Message Boards (return to top)

  • WOODWEB is a professional industrial woodworking site. Hobbyist and homeowner woodworking questions are inappropriate.
  • Messages should be kept reasonably short and on topic, relating to the focus of the forum. Responses should relate to the original question.
  • A valid email return address must be included with each message.
  • Advertising is inappropriate. The only exceptions are the Classified Ads Exchange, Machinery Exchange, Lumber Exchange, and Job Opportunities and Services Exchange. When posting listings in these areas, review the posting instructions carefully.
  • Subject lines may be edited for length and clarity.
  • "Cross posting" is not permitted. Choose the best forum for your question, and post your question at one forum only.
  • Messages requesting private responses will be removed - Forums are designed to provide information and assistance for all of our visitors. Private response requests are appropriate at WOODWEB's Exchanges and Job Opportunities and Services.
  • Messages that accuse businesses or individuals of alleged negative actions or behavior are inappropriate since WOODWEB is unable to verify or substantiate the claims.
  • Posts with the intent of soliciting answers to surveys are not appropriate. Contact WOODWEB for more information on initiating a survey.
  • Excessive forum participation by an individual upsets the balance of a healthy forum atmosphere. Individuals who excessively post responses containing marginal content will be considered repeat forum abusers.
  • Responses that initiate or support inappropriate and off-topic discussion of general politics detract from the professional woodworking focus of WOODWEB, and will be removed.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their real name when posting. Intentionally using another persons name is prohibited, and posts of this nature will be removed at WOODWEB's discretion.
  • Comments, questions, or criticisms regarding Forum policies should be directed to WOODWEB's Systems Administrator
    (return to top).

    Carefully review your message before clicking on the "Send Message" button - you will not be able to revise the message once it has been sent.

    You will be notified of responses to the message(s) you posted via email. Be sure to enter your email address correctly.

    WOODWEB's forums are a highly regarded resource for professional woodworkers. Messages and responses that are crafted in a professional and civil manner strengthen this resource. Messages that do not reflect a professional tone reduce the value of our forums.

    Messages are inappropriate when their content: is deemed libelous in nature or is based on rumor, fails to meet basic standards of decorum, contains blatant advertising or inappropriate emphasis on self promotion (return to top).

    Libel:   Posts which defame an individual or organization, or employ a tone which can be viewed as malicious in nature. Words, pictures, or cartoons which expose a person or organization to public hatred, shame, disgrace, or ridicule, or induce an ill opinion of a person or organization, are libelous.

    Improper Decorum:   Posts which are profane, inciting, disrespectful or uncivil in tone, or maliciously worded. This also includes the venting of unsubstantiated opinions. Such messages do little to illuminate a given topic, and often have the opposite effect. Constructive criticism is acceptable (return to top).

    Advertising:   The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not an advertising venue. Companies participating in a Forum discussion should provide specific answers to posted questions. WOODWEB suggests that businesses include an appropriately crafted signature in order to identify their company. A well meaning post that seems to be on-topic but contains a product reference may do your business more harm than good in the Forum environment. Forum users may perceive your references to specific products as unsolicited advertising (spam) and consciously avoid your web site or services. A well-crafted signature is an appropriate way to advertise your services that will not offend potential customers. Signatures should be limited to 4-6 lines, and may contain information that identifies the type of business you're in, your URL and email address (return to top).

    Repeated Forum Abuse: Forum participants who repeatedly fail to follow WOODWEB's Forum Guidelines may encounter difficulty when attempting to post messages.

    There are often situations when the original message asks for opinions: "What is the best widget for my type of shop?". To a certain extent, the person posting the message is responsible for including specific questions within the message. An open ended question (like the one above) invites responses that may read as sales pitches. WOODWEB suggests that companies responding to such a question provide detailed and substantive replies rather than responses that read as a one-sided product promotion. It has been WOODWEB's experience that substantive responses are held in higher regard by our readers (return to top).

    The staff of WOODWEB assume no responsibility for the accuracy, content, or outcome of any posting transmitted at WOODWEB's Message Boards. Participants should undertake the use of machinery, materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB's Message Boards after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages it deems inappropriate. (return to top)

  • Forum Posting Help
    Your Name The name you enter in this field will be the name that appears with your post or response (return to form).
    Your Website Personal or business website links must point to the author's website. Inappropriate links will be removed without notice, and at WOODWEB's sole discretion. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    E-Mail Address Your e-mail address will not be publicly viewable. Forum participants will be able to contact you using a contact link (included with your post) that is substituted for your actual address. You must include a valid email address in this field. (return to form)
    Subject Subject may be edited for length and clarity. Subject lines should provide an indication of the content of your post. (return to form)
    Thread Related Link and Image Guidelines Thread Related Links posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should point to locations that provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related Link that directs visitors to an area with inappropriate content will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Thread Related File Uploads Thread Related Files posted at WOODWEB's Forums and Exchanges should provide supporting information for the topic being discussed in the current message thread. Video Files: acceptable video formats are: .MOV .AVI .WMV .MPEG .MPG .MP4 (Image Upload Tips)   If you encounter any difficulty when uploading video files, E-mail WOODWEB for assistance. The purpose of WOODWEB Forums is to provide answers, not to serve as an advertising venue. A Thread Related File that contains inappropriate content will be removed, and uploaded files that are not directly related to the message thread will be removed. WOODWEB reserves the right to delete any messages with links, files, or images it deems inappropriate. (return to form)
    Today's Sponsors
    • Safety Speed Manufacturing
      Economical Vertical Panel Saws, Panel Routers, Edgebanders and Widebelt Sanders
    • W. Moore Profiles, Ltd.
      Supplying Knives and Cutters to the Woodworking Industry - Standard and Custom Profiles Available
    • Quickwood
      Quick Wood specializes in finishing machines and brushes to finish any size and surface since 1975.
    • Cabinetshop Maestro
      Web-Based Project Management Software for Custom Cabinet Shops - Manage Jobs from Prospect to Punchlist Through Scheduling, Task Management, Time Tracking and Communication
    • Rangate
      Woodworking Machinery, Supplies and Knowledge
    • VORTEK Spaces
      Award-winning 3D Presentation Software for kitchen designers, interior designers, woodworkers and architects
    • 2020 Manufacturing Solutions
      Manufacturing Software Solutions Including an Offering Designed For Cabinetmakers, In Addition to Furniture, Architectural Millwork and Other Wood Product Manufacturers We Support
    • Old Wood
      International seller of fine wood floors including very wide planks, end grain wood blocks, and architectural elements.
      Individualized Placement Services, Specializing in Millwork Design Engineers
    • Holz-Her US Inc.
      Custom Edgebanders, Vertical Panel Saws, CNC Beam Saws, Wide Belt Sanders, CNC Point to Point Boring Machines, CNC Routers
    • Denray Machine
      Quality Dust Filtration Systems Provided by an Industry Leader in Wood, Metal, and Many Other Dust Control Applications
    • WEIMA America, Inc.
      WEIMA America Offers Hopper-fed and Horizontal Shredders as well as Briquette Presses to Handle Wood Dust and Shavings
    • Seymour & Associates Inc.
      Talent Recruitment for Custom Wood Store Fixtures, Architectural Millwork, and Cabinetry Professionals

    Become a Sponsor today!