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Hi all

I've got to thinking about my notes lately - specifically the wall of text that is usually on the first page. I have to shamefully admit that my notes are really an agglomeration of notes that I "stole" from previous workplaces. They have evolved slightly, but meat of the information stayed the same. At the same time, I've started to wonder if, perhaps, some of these notes are unnecessarily detailed, or, are not detailed enough. So, my question then is - does anyone have a procedure or template to guide one through developing notes.

RE: Notes

We consider every single one of the general notes on every project. When we have problem on a project, it turns into a specification item or a general note. If something is a holdover from a previous project that doesn't make sense, we pull it out. My attitude is the no one really reads the specs, or even knows how to access them, but everyone at least has a copy of the drawings so its a much sharper tool for getting people to do things. General notes should also be as compact as possible.

RE: Notes

I agree with Glass99. We have a main template file that has all of our notes inside. Make a copy for a new project and edit every point as required to suit your job. Delete the unnecessary stuff to hopefully ensure the contractor attempts to read them. Add stuff if required for a specific item that is abnormal.

Even if your drawing is incorrect the generals notes would govern.

RE: Notes

Gentlemen, your advice is not unappreciated, however, it does not quite answer my question. I have what I think is a complete set of notes, on which, as you said, I cross out unnecessary things job by job - I'm mostly concerned about that information which I dont know that I should have on my notes -. I'm not sure how to approach this, short of having my notes be reviewed my a number of other engineers for suggestions.

RE: Notes

Do you mean you are asking for some template or method that makes sure you have all the notes you need? I do not think there is a solution to that question. Your notes reflect your specific project. As far as some kind of template, all I know you can do is review what you think notes should include. We could brainstorm that in this forum but I bet the results will look like a set of canned specs. My system is not like others anyway. I have 3 different types of notes in my drawings.
  • Project Notes-These are usually the first few pages of my design. They are used project wide. They also describe the other 2 types of notes.
  • Sheet Notes-Only applicable to the sheet they are written on or any other drawing that refers to them directly by the sheet number.
  • Detail Notes-Only applicable to the detail they are written on. I can however on a plan view call out the detail number and say "See Detail Note 3" if I want to make sure something does not get missed.

RE: Notes

We get drawings from other engineer's projects which we are reviewing for whatever reason - its useful to see what others are doing.

You could probably find a template from the internet and treat it the same way. If you want steel notes for example, you can usually download a pretty comprehensive set (we did this recently).

Sometimes your local jurisdiction has general notes they require your to include, like special inspections.

RE: Notes

Our notes are based on the following:
1. They are somewhat modeled after our book specifications - pulling out what we see as "critical" texts for each section.
2. The notes document the applicable codes and standards, the loads applied, and the raw material specifications.
3. A few notes based on what glass99 suggests - where a problem(s) have developed we include language mandating certain critical practices (i.e. no wet stabbing of bars, etc.)
4. Notes regarding typical or standard connections, bar spacing in masonry, metal deck fastening, etc. where we can dictate a design detail that is pervasive throughout the project instead of noting it over and over again on each detail.
5. Special inspection requirements - notes modeled directly from IBC Chapter 17.

Most of these notes are there to not only direct the contractor but also to leave bread crumbs and info for future engineers who someday may be asked to evaluate our structure for new loads, additions, etc. and don't have the book specs handy.

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RE: Notes

@glass - would you care to provide a link to the downloadable steel notes? if they are opensource of course. From what I gather, the suggestion seems to be to read through all the governing codes and specifications, and simply pull out critical information (?)

RE: Notes

I don't remember specifically where we got ours from but there is a ton of it on the internet. I just did a quick google search for "structural steel general notes" and got dozens of pretty good looking examples.

RE: Notes

It's been a while since I logged in... I use Project Notes for nearly all my work and prefer not to use 3 part specs. With old projects, often the drawings are available, but the specs are not. The Project Notes are current and I keep an archive of all editions. The notes are modified for each project.

I may have 4-6 sheets of notes... at 5/64" text. My current *.txt file is about 480K in size (they are very comprehensive) and can take the place of specifications. On one major project in Winnipeg, the Construction manager forgot to include specs in the tendering process and the comprehensive notes were easily adequate to do the work.

They are a compilation of 30 years of 'oversights', etc. Any part of a project that requires notes or procedures is added to the 'master file'. The last edit was 190805 and the current size is 485K. Since 2005, there have been 214 edits.


RE: Notes

As others allude to above, structural general notes are typically where CYA notes from past projects are thrown in as a last defense in resolving disputes/questions. These can be vague or detailed depending on what the issue was when the note was created.

Unfortunately, the CYA notes aren't reviewed/changed with the scrutiny that other notes are changed because they really are no more than bare minimums for certain aspects of the design. Notes will more often than not say "unless otherwise noted" because there is already a detail in the set that shows something else specific to the project.

I would not remove/change the notes unless:
- The note references an industry standard/product which no longer exists
- Typical details and/or key notes exist which completely cover the context of the note
- The language in the note is such that the note is unclear or misleading in intent

The language used in the notes is particularly important and you should read through the notes taking care to look for notes where there are multiple interpretations, words which have very specific definitions, notes with absolutes, etc...

Since the notes are part of a legal document, I would recommend confirming any changes with your supervisor or even with professional liability insurance representative.

RE: Notes

Sorry... my Project Notes are under constant review, and are not intended as CYA notes. They do take the place of 3 part specs. My spec reference is current, for example. I've encountered numerous specs referencing outdated standards and withdrawn standards.


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