The Evolution of Construction Project Drawings

The evolution of drawings for construction has reached the digital age. We are moving into the next era and it is an exciting time for those in the construction industry. For example, the current technology allows real-time sharing and maintenance of construction drawings resulting in greater efficiency on projects.

A Brief History of Construction Drawings

The concept of construction drawings dates back to the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures. To many people’s surprise, these drawings often included descriptive specifications. However, the birth of the blueprint changed the course of drawing production forever. In 1842, John Herschel invented a way to reproduce drawings.  Cyanotype is a photographic printing process done by a chemical reaction that produces white lines on a cyan-blue background, thus dubbing the name Blueprint. This process was much more cost and time-efficient. It also increased accuracy when producing an unlimited number of copies.

Eventually, the whiteprint replaced the blueprint. This new style of drawing was typically on a white background with blue lines. Currently, technical drawings are produced using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files. Because of this, the files can now be saved digitally and sent directly from a computer to a plotter.

Drawing Tables: A Thing of the Past

Drawings originally needed large plotters to print full-size and scale-size drawings. Typically, this required a third party print house and large drawing tables. Often this called for a dedicated project coordinator or assistant to maintain these drawings; both on the site and in the office. Furthermore, when revisions were made, the old version of the drawings had to be physically replaced and redistributed.

Drawings on Tablets: The Era of Digital Construction Plans

Due to the evolution of technology, there is now the ability to digitally share construction drawings in various file types. Additionally, the project team can access the drawings from anywhere, at any time, and can distribute them to the project team in a matter of minutes.

As if real-time distribution is not enough, the team can revise or interst drawings into the project set without ever needing to leave their desk. Because of this, reproduction houses no longer need to reprint the technical drawing. Similarly, a project assistant or coordinator does not need to spend hours maintaining a set of drawings.

Today, field superintendents can open drawings immediately. They can see changes in real-time as the drawings for the project evolve. Likewise, the right digital tools provide the project team with the ability to annotate drawings just like they would on a drawing table with a red pen.

Today’s Tools

Many different platforms offer various solutions for digital construction document management. Having the right tools for the job can completely change the project’s profit. Some solutions address stand-alone documents, construction project management, cost management, and document management processes.

With StratusLink, built-in artificial intelligence can automatically “link” your plans. This results in your project drawings being interactive.

The benefits of using technology in the construction industry are countless. Are you ready to go digital?