What is meant by Construction documents?

Construction documents are the branch of architectural design and a vital field of the architectural process. We must not mistake the construction documents as a schematic design, wherein it involves sketching, model making, and so on. They provide guidance and instructions to the contractor or the subcontractor and they will study the architect’s building design, question the design professionals if needed, create a project manual and schedule for the successful construction of the proposed structure. Construction documentation acquires the detailed building permits and the design-build is initiated.

Purpose and scope of construction documents

The main purpose and scope of construction documents are to construct the design-build. The construction contract must contain all the design specifications by the design professionals compiled by the architect for a holistic understanding by the subcontractor. Inside the construction documents; drawings, specifications, and contract documents related to architecture, structural, mechanical architectural building design specifications of location and size of equipment, civil, plumbing, landscape architecture sheets licensed by the architect with proper coordination between the civil engineer and the landscape architect, architectural sheets inclusive of architectural drawings, architectural building components, standard architectural sheet sizes familiar to the assigned architect and so on must be present. The prime compilation inclusive in construction documents is the contract. The full project team is altogether inclusive in construction documents; the owner, contractor, the architect, the civil engineer, the landscape architect, and so on along with geotechnical experts, acoustics, if required.

Steel reinforcement for a foundation wall opening. This shop drawing will require the builder and mechanical engineer to specify the opening size for an air-intake and exhaust louvers to be placed in the concrete openings
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org | Stephen Shay 

MasterFormat is a standard specification from the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). This is a simple specification method in construction documents. MasterFormat frequently updates its information and templates to permit all designers and building engineers to create general notes and other building phases that are secure, sustainable, and durable. Every design team and consultant is fully responsible for arranging all the components and the design team holds the authority for any of the change orders in the building drawings. 

The United States National CAD Standard comprised the standard formats in construction drawings and specifications. The specifications go hand-in-hand with the construction drawings when presenting for construction. Construction drawings follow a specific order and usually, construction drawings follow the United States National CAD Standard.

Phases of document collection

During the construction document phase, they become legally bound between the owner and the contractor. The construction documents contain contract conditions and forms and only contractors with a good track record are qualified for the bid.

During the bidding phase, addenda also become a part of the construction documents.

During the construction phase, gathering of final documents inclusive of the construction documents.

Important construction documents

Bidding Documents

They give contractors a chance to declare their expectations early on in the process and hire contractors and design professionals if required for larger projects.

Construction Contractor Agreement

As soon as the bid has been accepted, general contractors must sign all the agreements before work commences and the construction contractor agreements cover the work scope, contractor information, environmental conditions and related delays, protection of contractors, and so on. The construction contractor agreement is the principal agreement between a contractor and the owner. Usually, all contractor agreements must include general conditions, certain restrictions to the contractor, cost estimates, material information, etc.

Architectural Drawings

The drawings must be legally agreed upon by both the parties, the contractor as well as the project owner.


The technical requirement specifications include material requirements and tested materials along with the machinery requirements

Bill of Quantities

The BOQ (bill of quantities) includes a compilation of all materials and tools requirements for project completion like a list of tools, labor, material, and so on. It assists the contractor to create cost estimation with accuracy.


The schedule should include a list of necessary components for completing the project, their relative start times, their relationship to other projects, and when each project should be completed by. The schedule can also be where licensing and building permit certifications are scheduled.

Other documents are work orders, subcontractor application, blanket subcontract agreement, form W-9, insurance requirements/certificate of insurance, daily reports, safety reports, workers compensation waiver, and state sales tax exempt certificate.

The construction administration is the administrative task series by the assigned architect or government to look over the construction project phase. Also, The Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) implements the latest costs, and standard document requirements and specifications along with contractual relations between both the contractor and as well as the client.

Advantages of construction documents

  • Owner protection: provision of the legal requirements between the owner and the contractor.
  • Lowest price: fetching the best price that interests the client’s requirements and specifications.
  • Ensuring qualified bidding and bidders
  • Delivering a quality project by using detailed specifications.

Context and Applications

  • Bachelors of Technology (Construction Management)
  • Masters in Science (Construction Management)
  • Masters of Technology (Project Management and Scheduling)

Practice problems

Q1. What is the full form of EJCDC?

  1. Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee 
  2. Engineers Joint Construction Documents Committee 
  3. Engineers Joint Contractor Documents Committee 
  4. Engineers Joint Contract Requirements Documents Committee 

Correct Option: a

Explanation: The full form of EJCDC is the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee.

Q2. What does BOQ comprise of?

  1. Material specifications helpful for the contractor
  2. Design requirements are given by the architect
  3. Legal documents between the contractor, owner, and the architect
  4. None of these

Correct Option: a

Explanation: BOQ comprises the material specifications helpful for the contractor.

Q3. Which of the following is/are a part of the legal documents?

  1. Subcontractor applications
  2. BOQ with material requirements and quantities
  3. Designs and drawings by the architect
  4. All of these

Correct Option: d

Explanation: Subcontractor applications, BOQ with material requirements and quantities, and designs and drawings by the architect are a part of the legal documents.

Q4. What are the three phases of construction?

  1. Construction document, bidding, and construction phase
  2. Contract document, bidding, and contractor bidding phase
  3. Construction, bidding, and documentation phase
  4. Architecture requirements, bidding, and project manual compilation phase

Correct Option: a

Explanation: The three phases of construction are construction document, bidding, and construction phase.

Q5. Which committee contains standard formats of legal construction documents?

  1. General notes
  2. Change order
  3. C-700
  4. The United States National CAD Standard

Correct Option: d

Explanation: The United States National CAD Standard committee contains standard formats of legal construction documents.

  • Building design professionals
  • Construction building specification section

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