This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol1", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
All 1/2-inch details other than those just referred to are drawn in conjunction with the full-size details, and hold the same relationship to them that the 1/8-inch scale drawings do to the 1/2-inch details. They serve, that is, as a key diagram, showing in miniature the whole of the feature detailed, and give the principal dimensions of the same, and the relative positions of all the parts, mouldings, etc. The leading proportions for the 1/2-inch detail are taken from the 1/8 scale drawings, or if that portion of the building be already built in the rough materials it is safer to make these measurements on the actual work. From whichever source derived, these few heights, widths, and projections are sufficient for the setting out of the 1/2-inch drawings, and as half an inch to the foot is a scale in which even small mouldings can be indicated, the draughtsman is now able to see the whole feature in its grouping, and can compose his mouldings and decide on the points he wishes to emphasise with ornament. He can judge, too, whether his mouldings should consist of a few large or several small members, settle their projection, decide on the depth of his friezes, and in fact establish the whole of the feature, excepting only the actual form of the mouldings and carvings. The drawings for these mouldings and carvings are drawn full-size, and are the full-size details which have already been referred to.
Those 1/2-inch drawings which are intended to be included in the contract should be drawn on paper, inked in and coloured, but the drawings which are supplied during the progress of the work are merely drawn out in pencil, and tracings made in ink for the builder. The full-size details are also drawn out in pencil, and ink tracings made for the contractor. This does not apply to carved work, which may be drawn out in any manner, as best suits the draughtsman's style. Carved work is generally "specified" rather than "designed" by the architect, and if the work be of an ordinary character it can be dealt with in this way, a provisional sum being allowed for it in the specification; but for more important work it is better to draw the detail out in charcoal or monochrome. It is better still to make a small model of the required work, because it is impossible to design satisfactorily on a flat sheet of paper an ornament which presents facets to every point of the compass; but whether this should be done by the architect or by the carver - who would, of course, submit it to the architect for approval - is a matter of opinion. The ordinary full-size details of mouldings require but little notice, but it may be as well to warn beginners that curves which look graceful on a drawing in section do not necessarily look so beautiful when cut in stone or run in plaster, especially if they have been drawn out with no consideration of their relative position to the point of view.
And here it may be advisable to say a few words with regard to the methodical execution of a complete set of drawings for a building from the moment when the architect and his client have agreed upon the exact arrangement of the house. There are the contract drawings to prepare and complete before they go to the quantity surveyor for him to calculate the quantities. When the bills of quantities are out, tenders received, and the builder selected, the contract drawings are signed by the contractor and the building owner. These drawings then become legal documents, and no alterations may under any circumstances be made in them, unless with the sanction of, and initialled by, both parties to the contract. The architect has to prepare, under the R.I.B.A. schedule of "Professional Practice as to the Charges of Architects," one set of tracings and duplicate specification, these being for the use of the builder. Tracings of the contract drawings should be made on cloth, and of course in every respect facsimiles of the original drawings. All other tracings may be on paper. By no means infrequently, however, especially in London offices, small scale contract drawings are first got out in pencil on small flaps of tracing paper, a separate flap being used for each floor plan, and the flaps being superimposed to secure accuracy. These are then pinned on a board and traced in ink on one large sheet of tracing paper or cloth; and from this tracing sun prints are made, as many as are needed, in black line on drawing paper or tracing cloth, one copy being coloured and signed as working drawings, and others being supplied as may be required to the contractor or for deposit with local or other authorities.
At this stage it is advisable to open a "Register of Drawings," a small book in which every drawing is entered with full information as to its purpose. Every drawing should have its serial number throughout the whole course of the work, and the book should show in parallel columns (1) the number of the drawing, (2) date when made, (3) description of drawing, (4) its scale, (5) whether on paper, tracing cloth, or tracing paper, (6) by whom drawn, (7) to whom sent, (8) when sent, and if required, (9) how sent. This at first sight would appear to involve a great deal of extra work, but in practice it does not increase the labour of a staff to any appreciable degree. Its advantages are obvious, for the whole history of every drawing can be followed up in a moment, and no question as to where a particular drawing is ought ever to arise. The register would be as follows: -
T.C., or T.P.
To whom sent.
Front elevation (contract drawing) .............
P. R. L.
In office .....
Drawing-room bay window
1/2 + F.S.
In office ......
Tracing of 94 ..........
Tracing of Ground Floor plan (No. 5) ...........
P. R. L.
The letters in Col. 5 stand for paper, tracing on cloth, or tracing on paper; and those in Col. 6 represent the initials of the draughtsman who made the drawing.
It must be borne in mind, however, that this register is rendered quite useless if the draughtsman - and unfortunately such carelessness is by no means rare - omits to write the name of the drawing in full and its number on each sheet. It is safest to write on the name almost before the drawing is begun, as then it is the most likely to be remembered, for the majority of drawings are finished in a hurry and handed over to be traced by a junior. The junior does his work, titles his tracing and sends it off, while the drawing, untitled and unnumbered, goes into a drawer, to lead later on to endless discussion as to what job and what portion thereof it deals with.