It has been observed that architecture is a discipline with its own 'language' just like any other type of vocational subculture. With this in mind, all prospective architects, indeed, anyone who might be involved in the construction of the building (engineers and plumbers alike) should be familiar with MasterFormat. The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) publishes the MasterFormat "the standard that is used most often for formatting construction specifications" ("MasterFormat Specifications Divisions," Arch Tool Box, 2013). Without having such a 'common language,' all persons involved in construction would not have the ability to be on the same page when merging the artistic and practical needs of a structure. Having a common language can improve the speed at which a project can be constructed, always a critical component of building.
Critics of the use of the MasterFormat have noted that it has been a financial boon for the CSI, given that the Institute is responsible for creating and disseminating the format, and can charge virtually whatever it wants, given the ubiquity of the design protocols in the industry. MasterFormat is trademarked as "a master list of numbers and titles classified by work results or construction practices, used throughout the North American construction industry to organize project manuals, detailed cost information, and relate drawing notations to specifications" ("MasterFormat 2012," CSI Net, 2013). All builders must have a current copy of the manual of the MasterFormat. The MasterFormat is as uniform as grammar of the English language or an MLA citation guide: in other words, there can be no creative deviation from this organizational format even though it may be used to describe a very wide array of structures and contracting needs ("MasterFormat 2012," CSI Net, 2013).
However, there are many advantages to using the MasterFormat, many of which are financial. When a project takes too long to complete, it invariably goes over-budget. Having a common language of specifications ensures that individuals from diverse spheres of the industry can quite literally hit the ground running when beginning to work together on a project. Also, if there is a problem and additional resources are required, the contractors can have the confidence of using the MasterFormat to discuss any issues which might arise. The MasterFormat, much like the construction industry itself, is constantly changing, and there are frequent updates to the MasterFormat. Each new update and reissuance must be purchased from the CSI. The CSI also offers assistance in creating specifications which are not found within the Master Format and must be added in a customized fashion for a particular project.
The MasterFormat is comprehensive in nature, spanning from everything from Division 00 - Procurement and Contracting Requirements to Division 48 - Electrical Power Generation. For example, some of the guidelines for Division 02 - Existing Conditions include not only the title division requirements but also general assessment; subsurface investigation; demolition and structure moving; site, water, and facility remediation and contaminated site material removal ("MasterFormat Specifications Divisions," Arch Tool Box, 2013). There are also numerous 'unassigned' categories to deal with potentially unforeseen occurrences within every specific division.
This comprehensiveness encourages a similarly meticulous approach when designing a structure, given the wide-reaching specifications which much be attended to over the course of a design project. Ultimately, although it has its detractors, "MasterFormat provides a standard filing and retrieval scheme that's used throughout the construction industry and can be used throughout the project life cycle. Construction projects use many different kinds of delivery methods, products, and installation methods, but one thing is common to all - the need for effective teamwork by the many parties involved to ensure the correct and timely completion" of project needs and changes ("MasterFormat 2012," CSI Net, 2013).
Q2. Find out other symbols
Electrical plan symbols are, as one might expect, extremely varied, given the widespread nature of possible fixtures. Some of these include the following ("009 Techniques -- Blueprints," Carnation Construction, 2013).
Basic plumbing symbols might include the following (although there would also need to be more detailed instructions for every item regarding the pipes and other implements involved in the apparatus ("009 Techniques -- Blueprints," Carnation Construction, 2013).
Regardless, "there needs to be one floor plan for each level" of every structure, and elevation and foundation plans alike must be included…