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At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.

Accuracy is first. Completeness is second.

We're talking about construction documents of course.

The end product of our work is a building. The documents are the primary device for ensuring the building is executed in accordance with our design intent. Therefore, in evaluating the quality of documents, we are really talking about their reliability. Using these documents, how close to the design intent can the builder get? How much extra effort will be needed on the part of the builder, or ourselves, to clarify the design intent?

So the most critical value is accuracy. If information is in the documents, it needs to be correct. There is no way to tell accurate and inaccurate information apart. If information is missing, the builder will need to ask for it. Better to be missing than wrong.

A corollary of accuracy is consistency. If information is repeated in the documents, the repetitions need to be accurate. Since changes + repetitions = maintenance, repetitions should be kept to a minimum. Remember unity.

Assuming all the information in the documents is accurate, there should be as much of it as possible. The second most critical value is completeness. While we want the builders to call if information is missing, we don't actually want them to call. The challenge is to maintain accuracy while improving completeness. Especially when under deadline, accuracy is at risk when you focus on completeness. Remember, as you are wondering how you will ever "finish", that accuracy is more important than completeness. It is dangerous to "just get something on the drawings," because once it's there it's easy for us to forget it's not accurate, complete-looking as it is. If you don't have time to do it accurately, leave it out, let them call.

Right, so you don't have enough time. This is bad news for the aesthetic enhancement of the CDs. You can't invest time in making the drawings more pleasing to the eye if they aren't complete and accurate. So beauty is third, and lots of times you won't get to do as much of it as you'd like.

Hey, it's not last. Last is probably 'use of whitespace' or something. Having kicked beauty most of the way off the train, now I'll give it a hand up.

Beauty should be considered in standards, since that way it can be automated. If a standard is set, a beautiful solution is no more expensive than a plain one.

And listen, we're talking specifically about technical construction documents, not the building, materials, presentation drawings, competition entry, finish selections, or conceptual solution.