For Industry Professionals, Managers, Trades & Suppliers
J. NORMAN STARK, ATTORNEY and REGISTERED ARCHITECT
JURIS DOCTOR, B. ARCHITECTURE, B.F.A.
17000 St. Clair Avenue . Cleveland, Ohio 44110-2535
Tel.: (216) 531-5310 . Fax: (888) 833-5860 . E-Mail: www.Normstark@aol.com
In Florida . 6500 Midnight Pass Rd. #105 . Sarasota, FL 34242 . (941) 349-2061.
The process for any building construction or other improvement project, including demolition, requires careful
communication between the designer and building craftsmen in the form of detailed, descriptive, graphic portrayals, in
the form of drawings, of the work to be accomplished. These drawings, together with the detailed word descriptions of
the methods to be used, in the form of written specifications ("spec's"), all of which, together, comprise the
construction documents for the project.
The Ohio Administrative Code defines "CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: Written, graphic and pictorial documents prepared or
assembled for describing the design, location and physical characteristics of the elements of a project necessary for
obtaining plan approval in accordance with section 106."
Construction documents affect and govern the various phases of any construction project. The traditional phases in the
creation and generation of documents by the design architect or engineer, and thereafter by the selected contractor and
Whenever construction claims arise, the construction documents will become extremely important in determining what was
required to be done, as opposed to what was actually done by the designer the project contractors, and when and how it
was performed, changed, or omitted. In this regard, the "As-Built" drawings and specifications which reflect all
approved deviations and changes from the original construction documents, should show the project details as actually
constructed, and is invaluable in determining and proving factual issues.
- Design Phase
- Construction Documents Phase
- Bidding Phase
- Construction Phase
- Project Completion and Closeout
Claims against the architect or engineer may be asserted under applicable law: " 'Generally, one who contracted in a
specialized professional capacity to provide the design for a particular structure may be held to respond in damages
for the foreseeable consequences of a failure to exercise reasonable care in the preparation of the design.' " Campbell
v. The Daimler Group, Inc. (1996), 115 Ohio App.3d 783, 789, quoting Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum, Inc. v. McNulty Co.
(1986), 28 Ohio St.3d 333, 337.
Tackett v. Gas Energy, Inc., 2004-Ohio-6979, ¶15.
Claims against the government, contractor or subcontractor may also be asserted: ".if the contractor is bound to build
according to the plans and specifications prepared by the owner, the contractor will not be responsible for the
consequences of defects in the plans and specifications. * * * This responsibility of the owner is not overcome by the
usual clauses requiring builders to visit the site, to check the plans, and to inform themselves of the requirements of
the work." United States v. Spearin (1918), 248 U.S. 132, 39 S.Ct. 59, 63 L.Ed. 166, at 136.
Construction documents can provide invaluable business information to owners, their insurers and counsel, in maintaining
an important description and memorialization of any construction or demolition project.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural ignorance.
AUTHOR / EDITOR: J. NORMAN STARK is an Attorney-at-Law, a Registered Architect, (AIA, NCARB) Registered
Landscape Architect, Interior Designer, Planner and Senior Appraiser (ASA), admitted to practice law before the Bar of
Ohio, the US District Courts, Ohio and Illinois (Central Dist.), the US Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme
Court. He is a Mediator, Arbitrator and Litigator with experience in Business, Construction Law, and Public Works, and with
additional experience in Real Estate, Construction Attorney (Legal Project and Crisis Management), and as an Expert Witness
(Forensic Architect). His office is in Cleveland, Ohio.