Verify in Field Aug18

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Verify in Field

Art of the punch[list]
By Takeru Stewart, MArch Candidate 2013

Five weeks into my summer internship at a Seattle architecture firm, I find myself easing into the flow of the “real world.” Lunch breaks, happy hours, and sketch club, it is nice to have a schedule where work can officially come to a halt at least temporarily. With that said, I have seen plenty of coworkers burning the midnight oil trying to stay ahead of the game. One even returns to the office after going home to put his three kids to bed.

Over the past two weeks, we have been “punching” an institutional building outside of Seattle that is nearing completion. This involves walking through a building (room-by-room) with the builders to ensure that it is acceptable to hand over to the client. A “punchlist” is prepared where items of concern are recorded and identified with a piece of blue painter’s tape in the field. Issues can range from an entire room having to be retiled to an air handler sounding too loud overhead. Every detail is scrutinized, debated and photographed and is later “back-punched” to ensure that the work has in fact been done. With all five senses on high alert, a day of punching is physically and mentally exhausting. By lunchtime, you are covered in dust from having walked through miles of freshly painted rooms, checking each door, drawer and faucet.

Despite the growing number of efficiencies being built into architectural practice, the sheer amount of labor required in completing a building remains innumerable. No amount of parametric modeling or Revit timesavers can determine whether a gypsum wall is indeed true and flush or if a door is too heavy for a child to open.

As this is a student opinion piece, please feel free to comment and start a discussion.

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