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Details Matter! by John A. Herbert

John Herbert, hong kong energy saving expert, BEAM expert
John Herbert
21 May 2004

Communication is a vital element of every construction project, ensuring that all parties understand one another avoids misunderstanding and reduces the potential for delay and dispute. Where a thousand words cannot communicate the goal, one robust detail drawing clearly demonstrates the requirement. Their importance cannot be understated, in fact companies have been formed just providing construction details.

Design lives in the details, over the years Kelcroft has compiled thousands (about 5036) of tried and tested CAD engineering details, ready for execution, ensuring rapid design development and deployment. A robust library reduces production time by nearly 50%, saving valuable time and expense.

Is Detailing Important?

Why detailing is critical for successful projects:

Quality, Quality, Quality

It may seem obvious, but continuously reinventing the wheel for every project is a time consuming, wastes valuable resources, introduces opportunities for error and slows the development cycle. Robust details can be incorporated into any construction documentation speeding delivery and assuring quality.

Of course, details must be rigorously checked and pre-approved before included in any detail library, preferring that electronic versions are designated read-only. It is important to remember that every detail library must be maintained, a collection of details ten years old is more than useless, organisations need effective protocols to manage this valuable asset.
detailing construction, E&M Engineering, excellence, Kelcroft
Kelcroft's approach, every month, one section is reviewed. This ensures that revised regulations are reflected. In addition, post-project analysis identifies potential candidates for entry into the library. A sample detail (1page /PDF/36k) from our library.

Intellectual Property

Whilst on the subject of details, I just received another inquiry regarding copyright, therefore a few words regarding ownership and intellectual property are pertinent.

Judging from the increasing inquiries, there is certainly an increased awareness regarding intellectual property. Most agreements contain reference to copyright matters. Actually, the clause is not necessary because ownership and copyright is automatically vested with the creator (or creators employer) whether or not it is detailed in the Agreement.

Copyright and ownership is automatically vested with the creator

Initially, I found that it's inclusion often drew demands for copyright assignment, ownership or indemnification for the design team. Often buyers believe that since they are paying for the design services, they are entitled to own the copyright too, this is not the case. Like software, and other creative endeavours copyright belongs to the creator.

Assignment would prevent using detailing across multiple projects, increasing time and expense, and technically preventing us doing our job, no assignment is not the answer.

The solution is rather simple, the creator may License individuals and organisations to duplicate construction documentation for the execution of the specific project, and protecting both parties.


Of course, detailing will not solve every problem, there are NO standard buildings. However, robust details help speed delivery of quality information reduce costs for owners.

About the Author

John Herbert is a veteran chief engineer with more than 30 years international engineering experience, educated in the United Kingdom, he has worked in the United Kingdom and then across Asia for more than two decades engaged by international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), a BEAM Professional, and stationed in Hong Kong.

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