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    SuperScript is a quarterly newsletter from SUPERSTRUCTURES. Founded in 1981, we are a firm of architects, structural engineers, and conservators dedicated to the art and science of exterior restoration.

      SuperScript

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      September 22, 2022

      A RADical Idea

      This overly literal dog owner makes a good point: Words alone leave room for misunderstanding. A drawing, on the other hand (we’re not sure what it would look like in this case), could make the same point without ambiguity.

      In our business, misinterpreting specs in narrative form can cause costly mistakes and delays. That’s why we developed our RAD (Restoration Assembly Detail) tag system and draw every detail to be employed on a project, providing a rational, graphic grammar to guide work in the field.

      Years ago, a detail of a parapet would consist of circling the area on an elevation and referring the viewer to pages of specs and definitions in text form—text that required interpretation and invited misunderstandings. In a sense, specifications are easy to write and to propagate from one project to the next, but not necessarily effective (consider the disparaging expression “a Xerox of a Xerox”). Replacing voluminous specs with clear drawings, organized by RAD tags, forces the designer to confront and reconcile exceptions to the rules and avoids the contractor’s well-intentioned misinterpretation of written instructions.

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