Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/330

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The first part of this charge, viz., that architects do not, as a rule, furnish proper plans and specifications for the plumber's work in the houses which they design, is true. They indicate upon the floor plans the positions of sinks, bath-tubs, and water-closets, and specify that the plumber's work must be done to the satisfaction of the architect, possibly stating the particular form of sink or closet that is to be furnished, especially if this has been dictated by their clients. They do not, as a rule, show the pipework in section or elevation. A proper set of working drawings for the plumbing of a house, upon which bids are to be made and the responsibility for plan and workmanship is to rest, and which is to be preserved as a guide for future work in changes and repairs, should be almost as minute in detail as the working drawings for the stairways or carved work. These plans and sections should show every pipe, fixture, joint, stop-cock, and trap, in their relations to walls, timbers, floors, gas and steam pipes, and ventilating flues, and give their dimensions. From these plans and specifications a competent plumber should be able, not only to make out a complete list of every length and size of pipe, trap, hanger, and fitting that he will need, but to do a considerable part of the work in his shop and deliver it ready to put in place. It must be admitted that such plans and specifications are rarely prepared, and that when they are furnished they are rarely made in the office of the architect. I do not think, however, that this fact is due so much to the inability of architects to make such drawings and specifications, as to the fact that they are unwilling to take the time and trouble to prepare them unless they are specifically demanded by their clients; thinking that any good plumber will be able to settle all the details of the work if the general scheme is only indicated, and that detailed working drawings are an unnecessary expense. Certainly the course of instruction in our schools for the systematic education of architects includes enough to enable the graduates of such schools to do this kind of work, although it may be doubted whether actual practice in the preparation of such drawings and specifications is sufficiently insisted on as compared with that required in the designing of faƧades and ornamental carving.

It is wise for the man who proposes to build a house to insist upon having detailed drawings and specifications for the plumbing-work, even if he does not employ an architect; the cost of obtaining them will be saved twice over in the first ten years after the building is completed, and this independent of the influence of the work on the health of the inmates. The drawings should not be folded up and put away, but should be neatly framed under glass and hung in the bath-room in a good light. The general principles to be observed in preparing such plans to obtain