What cheeses *you* off?

We are compiling a list of people's pet peeves. Is there something that really gets your goat when you see it used (misused) in a drawing? Vent a little, lets see what happens.

Send your peeves to


Chuck's Peeves

Pet Peeves from a Field Guy:

I've worked in the marine industry all my life. Mostly, on the receiving end of someone else's products or designs. I seen some amazing design work and some real embarrassments. The unique aspects of transportation across a dock, ship/barge, the ocean and the remote areas of Canada and Alaska really magnify short comings of design work, fabricated equipment and surveys. The following are phenomena that routinely affect my mental health:

Lack of big picture details

Some manufactured piece shows up at the dock with shiny fresh paint, fragile and expensive.

The designer forgets to provide for safe and efficient moving of his creation which effectively becomes a dockside obelisk!

The forklift damages the unit while offloading from the truck exactly where the guys loading it did.

The crane operator sleeps in the cab while the rigger figures out how to lift the dang thing.....

The designer specs 3/4" holes in pad eyes for 3/4" shackles. Nope!... never works. Smaller shackles just won't fit....."bring out the torch!" The designer is screaming about the paint, galvanizing and the future rusting of all the torch sparkles.

The yard piles up with inbound trucks........Grrrrrr!

Oil drain plug access

Later on, on the job in some isolated part of the world, the above contraption needs maintenance.

The dipstick is hidden, the starter motor is buried, the valves covers can't be removed, the oil drain plug can't be reached or gets done....$$$Breakdown$$$. Grrrrr!

I have a saying: "Everything we build or design better be forkliftable, craneable and oil changeable!!!"


Drawings with a scale......I don't mean 1"= 50'.

I mean a scale so the poor field guys in the middle of the night, pouring down rain, using a flashlight can use a bar coaster, welding rod or part of a McDonald's Happy Meal box to create a calibrated measuring tool so equipment can be placed exactly on the spot once and only once.

After the crane leaves.....we are stuck. Providing a scale helps especially after the drawing gets copied and blown up. Field guys need little support...just a good plan and a scale. Grrrrr!

Legends and abbreviations

Use of symbols and abbreviations absent from the legend. Designers and engineers may be fluent with abbreviations.

If a drawing is going to used out the mud, dirt and debris, and the designer is 2000 miles away, call out the meaning of abbreviations and symbols. Grrrrr.

Matt's Peeves

@ symbol

I discourage abbreviations and I dislike the use of symbols. However, if the @ symbol must be used, it should only be used to refer to repetitively spaced elements:

2x6's @ 16" on center

Please don't use it as a substitute for the word "at"

Detail @ Door Jamb

"At" is a short enough word, it doesn't require abbreviation.


Dimension lines should proceed through the entire building, if they consist of more than one dimension. Don't fucking dictate to the guy where he will measure from, give him the choice of coming from the left or the right, the top or the bottom. We are drawing with computers, this should not be too much to ask.

Also, unsystematic dimensions make me nuts.

Here is what I like:
Overall dimensions of exterior
Dimension string of all exterior wall offsets, tied to above
Dimension locating windows, tied to above
Interior dimensions that run through the entire structure (as few as are necessary to locate all interior elements horizontally and vertically on the sheet.
Incidental dimensions only where required to locate the odd offset wall or something.

AND I LIKE A NOTE THAT SAYS WHAT THE DIMENSIONS ARE TAKEN TO (rough framing, centerlines, whatever) !!!!

Appropriate information

Call out information which is appropriate to the SCALE of the drawing you are doing. It is inappropriate to call out backerrod and sealant on a wall section drawn at 1/2" = 1'-0"

Graphic scale

Put accurate graphic scales on all drawings. Period.

North arrow

Put north arrows on all plans. Try to make sure they point north.


Should construction documents ever instruct the contractor to "coordinate" anything besides his schedule? Coordinating is something that people who prepare the drawings should do.


I hate redundancy. I dislike it too.

It is a mistake to duplicate information even if both instances of the information are correct.

Hosed? Vent!