Being a Tulsa commercial contractor means working with different architects at different times. As a Tulsa commercial contractor, you must learn to work with architects that draw plans and write specs in a multitude of different ways. First you may have an architect that will draw every little detail and have everything thought of from beginning to end. In particular, details are needed when there is a change in conditions.

A change in condition could be a transition from a wall with structural masonry with a masonry veneer to a pre-engineered metal building, an existing building being met by new construction, or the most common where wall meets roof, window, or door. There are architects that don’t draw much detail and expect the contractor to figure it out. This happens on a scale and is not an absolute, because the architect can not layout where every screw is going to go.

Most architects have areas and which they care about greatly in other areas which they don’t care about or anticipate the contractor in particular a Tulsa commercial contractor will be able to figure out on their own. This relates to how architects put together their plans and in which order they come in. I spoke in a previous article about how sometimes the structural will come first and the architectural will come after and in other cases it will come first, but the architect typically doesn’t draw their own structural drawings the structural engineer will draw those but if the architect places the architectural drawings in front of the structural drawings in order of the plans then you know that the architect is giving a great weight to the architectural plans.

Of course every architect wants their building to stand and be structurally sound but the aesthetics, the overall look, and the functionality of the building are always what they are going to find most important and secured in that is where you should typically see the greatest detail placed in the drawings. For the architects who do not want to leave anything open to a Tulsa commercial contractor you will find the most amounts of details and cut sheets and these will not leave anything open to interpretation and this will keep questions from being asked or things from being misunderstood. This is where the change in conditions comes into practice for the Tulsa commercial contractor.

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For instance the placement of a door jamb in a structural masonry wall can be open to interpretation and if the architect has not detailed that change a contractor may place that jamb flush with an unanticipated plane and create gaps that were not supposed to be there. If that occurs, especially in a structural masonry wall, the frame can’t simply be moved. The frame would have to be completely removed and reset then “punched and dimpled” on site. Another potential oversight that could occur in masonry veneer is the need for a loose lintel. In structural masonry the use of a bond beam header can be use over openings because door and window frames like sufficient strength to carry masonry and unlike walls there will be nothing for the weight to rest on.

A masonry header like a bond beam consists of using “U” shaped masonry units with rebar and poured solid with grout to create the ability of the masonry unit to carry its own weight over an open span. Smaller masonry units lack this shape and require a piece of steel thin enough to be grouted into the course yet strong enough to carry the weight of the masonry unit. If this detail is forgotten in openings, I.e. doors and windows, then it has to be added or other changes must be made to correct this oversight. This would create a change in the look and overall aesthetic of the opening and ultimately the building. The lintels are typically designed by an engineer especially when the masonry continues for up for several courses because this adds the weight the lintel must carry.

The thickness of the lintel can be decreased by increasing the length, thereby dispersing the weight of the masonry unit across other columns but this to is limited usually by other openings and walls. In cases like that, a Tulsa commercial contractor may have to install a steel beam and “soap” in pieces of masonry units through cutting small slivers and mortaring them into the beam to hide the beam. This may happen across large openings like an overhead door. These details may not be picked up by all architects, because these details don’t always matter in the way of the functionality or overall aesthetics. Usually these changes would be picked up by the structural engineer because they directly relate to the ability of the wall to function.

It may even be necessary for additional shoring to be added to create the look the architect desires. The additional changes to the conditions come with other possibilities that may also be unforeseen. In the case of the of the lintels, they will also need to be anchored to the masonry units and in the case of additional shoring, the architect may decide to add veneer to the shoring. Each addition must be thought through. If additional shoring is need and the architect wants to place veneer around the additional shoring, the columns could possibly need masonry anchors or rebar added to secure the masonry. In the case of rebar, holes would be having to drilled in the slab and epoxied with laps at specified intervals also decided by the structural engineer.

These are small details that can be possible be left out by the architect and if the Tulsa commercial contractor doesn’t see these potential problems before the arise it could have a detrimental impact on the critical path and the schedule in it’s entirety. If the mistake is the architect’s fault then additional days can be added to the contracted days, if that was a stipulation in the contract, but if the owner is needing the project by a specified time, then regardless of where the blame or mistake lies the tendency will be to blame the contractor once construction begins.