I enjoy documenting. I enjoy the design thinking that goes into good detailing, the artfulness of laying out a page, the methodical assembly of a rigorous documentation set. As the years have passed, I have codified a list of ten rules for exceptional documentation. Some have been bestowed upon me by peers like perfect golden nuggets of wisdom, others have come to me in epiphanic dreams, and yet others I have had to learn the hard way with gritted teeth and much yelling.
I hereby release this list into the wilds of the internet so that future architecture students may stumble upon its wholesome goodness in their moments of need.
An archive of the list can be accessed here.
9. Bury an Easter egg
Putting the finishing touches on your specification. You’ve abided by Rule #1 and Rule #2, leaving an easy-to-read specification packed to the gills with useful information. But you’re fighting an uphill battle, with many builders (and architects) assuming the drawings will tell them everything they need to know.
So bury an Easter egg somewhere, to test whether the builder appreciates the whole picture. After all, an exceptional documentation set is only as good as the people reading it.
Section 1.3.2 of the Mihaly Slocombe specification discusses the protocol of site meetings. It’s not long, just a paragraph on how often they’re to be held and who’s responsible for the meeting minutes. But at the bottom, it states that “the builder is to provide a bowl of M&Ms, with brown ones removed, at all site meetings.”
Or swap out the weekly M&Ms for a bottle of vintage Cristal champagne at practical completion. Most builders will miss the Easter egg, but the best ones will have a laugh and hopefully buy you a bottle of Cristal.
- Bury an Easter egg, author’s own image.