Shop Drawings Version Management: Our foul-proof method

What is Version Management
Shop drawings that describe how a building is going to be structured, or how it’s going to look like when completed are pieces of high technical value and also highly technical detail. Combine this with the fact that a drawing produced by a draftsman has to be circulated on numerous other engineers, often of different disciplines for review, revisions, and approvals, and you instantly have a serious need for a solid “Drawing Management System”, or DMS as we call it.

Due to the high complexity and information affluence of technical drawings, it is easy to miss a detail that has changed like a specification for example. Due to this, the process of sharing, reviewing, changing, and approving drawing versions has to be centrally controlled and managed, unifying everything and everyone under a centralized collaboration platform.

What are the Common Risks
The risks of not formulating a solid DMS, and not operating it at maximum effectiveness are multiple and very serious. Here are some examples that still plague the world of construction and occur way more frequently than what you’d think.

• Confusion caused by different numbering systems used in a construction project leads to serious time delays and costly errors. Two different numbering systems are enough to cause confusion, while anything above will bring havoc to even the most skillful and experienced construction managers. This is commonly caused by partially sub-contracting DMS duties, having overlapping responsibilities of engineering teams, and not unifying the DMS in large-scale construction projects.

• Duplicate versions always cause confusion and delays. The common reason behind this is the submission of multiple drawing file formats to increase the compatibility and readability of the files with multiple design software tools used by the various teams (architects, structural engineers, etc.). While well-intended, this is an erroneous approach.

• Old drawing versions being implemented on the construction site! This is the nightmare scenario, and at the same time a perplexingly common phenomenon that can potentially lead to extreme financial losses, claims against, and total project failure depending on the scale of the error.

How we do it
By utilizing modern construction management software and customizing it to meet the project requirements every time, we achieve a foul-proof documents and drawings version management that leaves no margin for errors. This is also reflected in our immaculate record, proving that our punctual approach pays off.

• By uniting everything onto a single collaboration platform, we achieve a coherent and project-wide document numbering and revision coding system. All drawings feature numbering consistency no matter which drafting team has prepared them, and the revision coding follows an easy to understand alphanumerical system. In addition to the above, we have established a filename suffix additive to indicate the various different file types linked to the same drawing. This way, there are no misunderstandings and confusions.

• All drawings feature a special formatting that includes a revision identification table on the corner. This makes it quick and easy to identify the revision number and quickly crosscheck if the handed file is indeed the latest approved shop drawing. No more costly mistakes on site.

• Doing things right and well as quickly is crucial in construction management, so we always aim to cut inefficiencies wherever they may be. In this case, the largest time wasting is found in the step of the auditing. To address this problem, we have developed a speedy workflow that is automated and streamlined (takes fewer steps). As the management software allows the live review of this process, we can identify any delays and bottlenecks and take timely action to resolve the issue or mitigate the risks.

• Thanks to the cloud-based construction project management software that runs our DMS module, we are able to connect all stakeholders and keep them on the same page with advanced visibility and report generation. We even connect vendors and subcontractors so the document management is truly unified, and information from everywhere is being captured in the platform for everyone to access at any point. This is indicative of our transparency and mentality to share all information with our clients.