Fresh Eyes

The start of school, the approach of Fall, that says one thing to me.
I help review drawings before they go out for pricing, bidding or permitting.  I like the fact that I get to contribute to nearly all of our work in this way.  It does come with its challenges though.  While I ordinarily look at parts of the projects in the early stages, I don’t always have a full understanding of all the projects until I see them in their almost 100% complete form.  I have, depending on project size, only a day or up to a few days to really learn all I can about the project.  It is a challenge, but I look at it as a dry run for the permitting process, where a plan reviewer only has a limited amount of time to understand the entire building prior to issuing a building permit.  Things that may be taken for granted by the design team may not be clear to someone looking at it “with fresh eyes”.  Sometimes you can look at certain things for so long, you don’t take notice of them any longer.
I invariably uncover some things that might be able to be shown a little clearer for the contractor or the plan reviewer.  I am a firm believer that if you are intending to use an exception in the Code, write it down.  Not only does it clear any questions up for the next set of eyes to look at the job, but it becomes a record for the design team to remind them of the conditions of the exception.  Other times, I uncover a mystery that not even the design team picked up.  Recently I was reviewing a large set of drawings, nearly 300 pages, soup to nuts.  I had been through all of the architectural, food service, structural, mechanical and plumbing drawings already.  After three days of nearly constant review, I had gotten to the electrical apartment unit plans, nearly the last things I would see.  All of a sudden, I looked up and said, “Ooohhh, are all these apartment unit plans named after apples?”

Name that apple!

The design team working on this project happened to be sitting right where I was reviewing the drawings.  They all looked up and cocked their heads, as if they were trying to do long division in their heads.  After months of working on these apartments, it had never dawned on them.  Granted, they are not all traditional names we may think of for apple varieties, but some are.  At first the names made me think more about New York, although the project is located in Virginia, which I didn’t think was known for growing apples.
Empire, Rome, Cortland, Braeburn, Cameo…  I think many of us have heard of these.  Baldwin, Breeze, Liberty…  these were varieties I was not previously aware of.
I saw this one at a local farmer’s stand.  I want to live in the Rambo apartment!
Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes.