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By Missy England
March 19, 2019
Construction firms are unable to create any type of structure without first having detailed and intricate drawings in place. These blueprints guide every aspect of the building process––from budgeting and hiring the correct subcontractors to completing the finished product.
Indeed, as famed architect and academic Pier Vittorio Aureli explained to The Financial Times:
"Drawing is the means by which the architect defines his role. He doesn't build––he draws."
Since people began building structures, there has been a need for someone to draft the blueprints for what the workers are constructing. While techniques and modeling methods have evolved over hundreds of years, for the most part, these drawings were completed with pencil and paper. However, this all began to change with the advent of digitalized drawings. In much the same way, the introduction and incorporation of perspective altered the way architects approached drafting blueprints, so too has the shift to digital drawings revolutionized the field once more.
At first, this shift to digital processes was incremental and mostly self-imposed.
Those who first took advantage of these new trends had to go out and literally create their own software. As noted in Financial Times, Frank Gehry needed to adopt and alter aerospace and orthopaedic software to create his distinct, expressionistic architecture forms.
These ad hoc programs eventually gave rise to much more focused software designed specifically for architects and construction firms. Unfortunately, while the industry gained a greater ability to visualize drawings in a three-dimensional space, it also created problems with file sharing and data transcription.
For instance, as is often the case, a project manager might have a new version of a particular drawing, but team members on the field might still be using an outdated version. In addition, when analog files are uploaded into a digital format, important information such as parameters or measurements can potentially become obscured, illegible, or even altered. Any one of these issues can create significant problems for a project. Even worse, a combination of several of these issues at once can be disastrous for a construction company.
Thankfully, as software programs have moved away from siloed, on-premise data servers and into cloud-based solutions, computer engineers have also been able to create construction platforms to follow suit.
For example, Procore's cloud-based project management platform solves the troublesome and costly problems associated with drafting and sharing digital files. With Procore you can:
The platform's industry-leading optical character recognition (OCR) technology instantly reads and transcribes all the pertinent data associated with drawings, including the measurements, title, and iteration. This ensures that all information, no matter how inconsequential, gets uploaded and integrated with the associated file. The platform can then categorize each individual sheet by discipline.
This intuitive platform lets project managers upload new revisions that Procore then marks up with all of the information from the previous drawings. By creating a new version and instantly disseminating that information to everyone, it alleviates the problems associated with team members working off of outdated or incomplete versions of a drawing.
This means every time a drawing is uploaded, Procore automatically links the new version with the related punch items, RFIs, and notes from past drawings, ensuring no information is lost in the drawing-updating process. This is crucial for many reasons, as too often a single missed note or RFI left off of a new drawing iteration leads to untold monetary losses down the road.
For instance, project managers can upload a new punch list task, drop it directly onto the drawing, and immediately assign it to the appropriate team member. With the ability to track the project's status and completion throughout the entire process, none of these tasks will fall through the cracks.
Reduce lost information with an easy-to-use mobile interface. Project managers have the ability to instantly snap a picture of a punch item and associate it with the appropriate drawings. This greatly reduces the loss of information between the as-built drawings and subsequent versions. As noted in Questions and Solutions for Engineers, in the past, a contractor would maintain a master set of manually marked red line record drawings, against which all subsequent drawings would need to be checked whenever a change order, RFI, or punch item arose. Now, with Procore's drawings interface, all of these changes remain connected in a single, easily accessible, cloud-based repository of drawings. This greatly reduces the chances for any information loss, or a critical miscommunication.
Upload all the information you want. With unlimited storage space, construction firms and architects can upload vast amounts of information––no matter how big the drawings get, or how many iterations they go through.
If you'd like to learn more about how to keep your drawings current and error-free, check out these free ebooks:
Generating Accurate As-Built Drawing Sets (Without the Headache)
5 Drawing Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Starting the Conversation on Voice Technology in Construction
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