Construction Document Basics

Whether working for a construction company or owner, commercial and institutional locksmiths may be furnishing or installing hardware specified by a set of plans.


Commercial and institutional locksmiths will find themselves working on construction sites. Whether they are working for a construction company or owner, they may be furnishing or installing hardware specified by a set of plans. Construction documents are also referred to as building...


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Commercial and institutional locksmiths will find themselves working on construction sites. Whether they are working for a construction company or owner, they may be furnishing or installing hardware specified by a set of plans.

Construction documents are also referred to as building, construction or working plans. Sometimes they are loosely referred to as “blueprints.” They consist of set of plans, details, specifications, worksheets, schedules, statements and certificates.

Locksmiths who intend to concentrate on new construction hardware should attend specialized courses (or series of courses) that cover all aspects of construction documents.

Locksmiths who only occasionally deal with new construction should also gain enough education to at least know what to look for in the construction documents and how to interpret them.

If you don’t know what to look for or how to find it, the set of construction documents will be especially intimidating. The documents are for all trades so most of it will not pertain to the locksmith.

By mastering the movement from door schedule; to detail; to floor plan; and then elevation, all the information that is necessary to order and install hardware can be acquired.

These are parts of the construction documents that locksmiths are concerned with.

Locksmiths who install electric locks or access devices will also need to review the electrical plans and specifications but these are the types of locksmiths that are better served acquiring a comprehensive understanding of construction documents through advanced courses.

To apply these basics, locksmiths should ask construction companies in their area for old construction documents and then practice the mentioned procedures.

Bring Your Camera

Prepare by bringing your “tape measure. If you don’t already have one, consider purchasing a digital camera. The digital camera has become as important to the locksmith as a tape measure is to a carpenter. When reviewing construction documents; always bring your “tape measure” (digital camera). I use it in place of a clipboard as it is faster and more accurate at making notes.

The images in this article were cropped from the digital pictures taken from a set of construction documents.

Always set the digital camera at the highest possible resolution and expect to take flash shots at the macro setting. Take many shots.

On the Title Sheet, snap pictures of the symbols, abbreviations. Snap a picture of the project number and any addresses that refer to the different construction contacts including the architectural firm, the construction company, and the customer.

Drawing Index

The first page of the construction documents should always be the Title Sheet. It includes: general notes, symbols and materials, abbreviations and a drawing index.

The locksmith should become familiar with the different symbols and then use the drawing index to locate the parts of the control document that concern the task at hand.

The drawing index is grouped by page type. The floor plan; elevations; details; and schedules (not in that order) are usually found in the Architectural group.

Additionally, under the Structural group, there may be pertinent notes under the General Notes page.

The first page to navigate to is that page that displays the “door schedule.” In this case it would be “A-700 Schedules/Details.”

Door Schedule

Always start with the door schedule. All the information relating to the individual doors is cross-referenced here, including the name of the area in which the door serves; the area or room number; the frame type; the door type; the size of the door; the opening number (how the door is designated on the floor plan); the hardware type for the door; fire ratings; and remarks about the door.

Every door being installed or remodeled should appear as a line item in the door schedule.

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