This paper aims to prove that writing communication is critical for future and current professionals who are going to work in the AEC industry. It combines the information gained with the help of a literature review and interviews to prove that the employees are to be able to prepare the project narrative and RFI. It includes the most significant information about the way these writings should be maintained and what they consist of. Except for that, the paper includes the supplement, in which one can find an example of the project narrative created based on the received information.
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Professionals who work in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry create various projects that are implemented with the help of other parties. To communicate the information they have or to ask for some data, they need to interact with each other efficiently. This process can be held in different ways, but the best one is considered to be writing. The paper will define its most valuable types for professionals who work in the field of AEC and describe their peculiarities.
Effective Communication with Technical Reports
Working in any field professionals need to communicate with each other to transfer information needed for efficient job performance. Preparing technical reports they receive an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience, convince other professionals and seniors in the necessity or meaninglessness of some actions. They are often used to reveal the results of one’s work and show main points and ideas, which requires such writings to be clear and precise for others to understand them easily (personal communication, June 21, 2016). Realizing the value of decent technical writing, educational establishments even provide special service courses for students to be prepared for their future profession and paperwork it entails (Thomas, 2005).
Professionals believe that it is critical to present the information according to particular guidelines so that the readers can deepen into it without complications. For example, they encourage students and workers to type important data making it bold so that it can be easily found in the whole text of the paper and number all figures. The process of report creation should start with the analysis of the received task. Knowing what should be done, one becomes able to design the structure of the paper and find related literature.
When the text is elaborated, appropriate figures and tables should be created. Having a report with a detailed structure, one can pass to the final check. If the paper is decent, it can be printed, copied, and distributed (Hering & Hering, 2010).
Types of Writing Needed in the Field of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
The professional from the AEC industry claimed that she always need to deal with huge amounts of paperwork that is why knowing precisely what to write and how to structure the information can be very beneficial. Writing skills allow her to cope with such tasks rather quickly and efficiently, which affects the working process positively because all parties can operate sharing the same information. Working in this career, professionals need to provide detailed plans for future projects and scheduling, define approximate costs and resources needed.
They should be able to create proposals, reports, narratives, minutes, requests for information, responses to them, and other documents (personal communication, June 21, 2016). To make them efficient, future professionals should start practicing when being students. At this period, they have more possibilities to master their skills and make mistakes without negative consequences. Schmalz (2014) encourages them to practice more to omit even the smallest mistakes to be highly valued by the seniors. In this way, it is advantageous to pay attention to punctuation, grammar, spelling, and word usage. The information should be provided so that it cannot be misunderstood.
If a professional creates a report or proposal that is not decently prepared, it can even affect the way one is treated by colleagues. Still, it is difficult to remember the peculiarities of all works at the same time. The interviewee stated that the most valuable writings are considered for one who works in the sphere of AEC to request for information and project narratives (personal communication, June 21, 2016).
The task of the project narrative is “to make the history and present status of the project explicit” (Project narrative, n.d., p. 1). It describes all peculiarities in detail, organizing the text of the paper as a chronological story, which can be used to decide if the project is good enough to be implemented. It is often seen as a reported interview with the manager that reveals the main idea of the project so that others could quickly get to know what it is about.
The project narrative includes also information gained from the related literature sources as far as it is appropriate. All in all, the writing is expected to answer those questions the consultant is likely to ask, including objectives, activities, names, timing, etc.
The project narrative should start with the most general information such as the essence of the project and its development. It should name the parties involved, their role, and reason for participation. Significant events, such as those that influenced the development of the project, its design, or actors involved, should be identified. It is critical to make the narrative easy to understand because it is mainly made for those stakeholders who are not experienced in the field (Project narrative, n.d.). When reading the document, they should realize what it is about and why it should be put into action. Thus, it is also advantageous to include expected outcomes and benefits in the text of the paper.
The efficient narrative should have a good title that is already full of information about the purpose of the project. Then it should include a paragraph that serves as an abstract and attracts readers’ attention to the discussed issue (Notes on writing your proposal narrative, n.d.). As a result, it should resemble an interpretive work for the representatives of the general public but not a technical report for professionals and experts.
A great example of such writing can be found in the article prepared by Enander et al. (2007). One more project narrative was created based on Project narrative instructions (n.d.). It can be found in the supplement.
Request for Information
A request for information (RFI) is expected to “provide an orderly, reliable, and documented mechanism to field and resolve legitimate contractor questions” (AIA, 2004, p. 1). Very often it is used to substitute phone conversations that can hardly end up with a decent formulation of required changes and the necessity of their implementation. However, the very necessity of providing this document means that the proposed project was not decently represented and failed to ensure the contractor that it should be maintained in a previously discussed manner (Contractor’s request for information, n.d.).
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Still, if the RFI is already ordered, it should include references, identified clarifications, and the way they will affect the schedule when being related to the bidding phase. During the construction phase, it should clarify the document or define the lack, have references to specification, and point out the influence on the schedule and expected expenditures.
All RFIs can be divided into four main groups:
- A plan holder is willing to change the equipment selected previously or to modify the construction. The reason for the alteration should be provided in the framework of the request.
- Additional information or explanations may be asked if the description of the project seems to be not complete or clear.
- If the construction deficiency was found, professionals need to prepare the appropriate form that would ask for information about the way this problem can be corrected.
- Verification of construction document deficiency may be needed. It should be entailed by proposed corrections and an impact on costs and timeline.
An example of the RFI can be found in Federal Register where America’s Surface Transportation Act is discussed (Notices, 2016).
When preparing this paper, I understood that being a professional in the field of the AEC industry does not only mean to be able to maintain various projects but also to work with paperwork. I could not imagine that I would need to be able to prepare so many different writings when becoming a professional. Moreover, I realized that I am yet not ready to create each of them because I lack the required knowledge and skills. Still, I think that I can handle two types of writing that were identified as the most valuable ones. When asking questions and conducting a literature review, I received an opportunity to find out the peculiarities of the project narrative and RFI.
As a result, I am currently able to write them following the guideline. However, I believe that I need to practice more to master. I should continue this research and find out more information related to those writings tasks that are needed for my career. I should create them following the instructions to understand what is needed and how I can perform this or that data.
Communication is extremely important for every organization. Many people today prefer phone talks instead of face-to-face interactions because it seems to be more comfortable for them. Still, this work emphasizes that writing communication is the most efficient way to provide and ask for information related to the project, as it allows overcoming different misunderstandings. This paper was made for my classmates to get to know more about writing in the AEC career field.
It points out what is expected from the students and future professionals so that they can realize what kind of knowledge or skill should be improved. Except for that, the paper describes in detail how the project narrative and RFI can be written. Having this knowledge as background information, my colleagues would have a better understanding of what they will be doing with time.
AIA. (2004). Knowledge gained from experience immediately applicable to a task at hand. Web.
Contractor’s request for information. (n.d.). Web.
Department of transportation. (2016). Draft statewide transportation improvement program. Web.
Enander, T., Gafnon, N., Hanumara, C., Park, E., Armstrong, T., & Gute, D. (2007). Environmental health practice: Statistically based performance measurement. American Journal of Public Health, 97(5), 819-824.
Hering, L. & Hering, H. (2010). How to write technical reports. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
Notes on writing your proposal narrative. (n.d.). Web.
Notices. (2016). Web.
NYC. (2016). About DOT. Web.
Project narrative. (n.d.). Web.
Project narrative instructions. (n.d.). Web.
Schmalz, B. (2014). The architect’s guide to writing: For design and construction professionals. Mulgrave, Australia: Images Publishing.
Thomas, S. (2005). The engineering-technical writing connection: A rubric for effective communication. IEEE International Professional Communication Conference Proceedings, 1, 517-523.
New York Road 12 (York Street) Widening.
The proposed project would enhance the situation during the peak hour periods on the Your Street. According to it, Road 12 would be widened. As a result, the average vehicular travel time would improve while the frequency and duration of traffic jams would reduce. Such alterations would make this road safer for both pedestrians and drivers. In order to implement this project, it would be critical to develop a detailed design of all required activities, including various resources needed to conduct them and realizable timetable. Right of way acquisition should also be done before the construction stage.
Currently, the York Street is one of the busiest streets in New York. Its major Road 12 is often overloaded, which affects vehicular travel time adversely and leads to accidents in this way. As Road 12 would be widened, the average vehicular travel time would improve while the frequency, duration of traffic jams would reduce, and fewer accidents will occur.
The proposed project meets the objectives of the statewide transportation improvement program that is focused on widening, reconstruction, extension, and construction of roads, highways, bridges, etc. (Department of transportation, 2016). It is expected that with the help of federal resources transportation in urban and rural territories would improve by 2017.
The main objective of this project is to improve the average vehicular travel time by 1 minute during peak hours on Road 12 (York Street) by 2017.
The implementation and management of this project will be under the responsibility of the project manager of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and one’s team.
The work will be publicized with the help of local news mainly.
Schedule of Activities
Table 1. Schedule of Activities.
|Objective #1:improve the average vehicular travel time by 1 minute during peak hours on Road 12 (York Street) by 2017|
|Activity Number||Description of the Proposed Activity to be Performed||Anticipated Completion Date|
|1.||Detailed design||March 2016|
|2.||Right of Way acquisition||July 2016|
|3.||Construction (widening)||October 2016|
NYCDOT is a governmental agency that has more than 5,000 staff members. It is in charge of ensuring safe movement for the citizens and visitors of New York. It enhances traffic mobility and maintains infrastructure, encouraging the representatives of the general public to use sustainable modes of transportation. NYCDOT’s activities are mainly funded by federal resources, but other investors may also be involved. The agency always acts under applicable law (NYC, 2016).
NYCDOT is tightly connected with other governmental agencies, especially those that deal with vendor resources and general services. For example, this project would be maintained together with the Department of Design and Construction. It also cooperates with profit and non-profit organizations that are willing to improve the sphere of transportation in New York City. They play a vital role, as can offer new projects and provide funding for them.
The parties would receive funding for this project from the citizens with the help of Community Board budget process that is maintained every year. Outside funding may also be gained from the voluntary organizations, foreign investors, and companies that are willing to do something good for their community.