How Digital Drawings in Construction are Affecting the Construction Industry
As mobility and digitization continue to shatter the concept of the traditional “workplace,” mobile digitized blueprints, known as digital drawings, are becoming a necessity. It is clear that the digital age is bringing about technological change that has been disrupting the construction industry as a whole.
93% of people surveyed in the construction industry agree that digitization will affect every process while 100% of construction employees agree that building materials are not being utilized at their full capacity.
Here are some ways that digital drawings in the field are affecting the construction industry:
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Many construction software platforms are beginning to integrate with digital drawing features if they have not already. One popular platform, known as PlanGrid, is the leader in construction software for the field. PlanGrid, helps contractors, owners, designers, and architects collaborate easily from their mobile devices and desktop, managing blueprints, specs, photos, RFIs, and punch lists. This immediacy of sharing and receiving feedback creates a huge time-savings and improves productivity on the jobsite.
By digitizing and mobilizing construction plans, there can be more collaboration and feedback from all project stakeholders. Digital drawing applications allow multiple users to collaborate on a drawing at once. This means that architects, engineers, subcontractors, and project managers can all be involved in the planning process, which creates more collaboration and involvement from all parties, as well as higher accuracy that causes less rework to be necessary down the line. By working together, eSUB and PlanGrid offer a secure, scalable solution that users will quickly adopt across their construction companies. Enabling the field and office staff with these cutting edge technologies will help construction subcontractors:
Speed is crucial
One of the big benefits of digital drawings is the speed at which blueprints can be created, reviewed, and adjusted. Traditional blueprints could take weeks before they are finalized and any revisions will extend this delay. On the other hand, digital drawings allow for as many adjustments as desired without requiring the document to be recreated completely.
Digital drawings not only allow for easy revisions but each time a revision is made, all relevant information will be carried over and stored in one place. This takes away the stress and anxiety of having to adjust blueprints and allows the project manager to make the drawing as accurate as possible without delaying the schedule and hurting the budget. By getting more accurate blueprints from the very beginning, there will be less costly and timely rework down the road.
Blueprints are not only time-consuming, but they are also expensive. One set of traditional blueprints costs about $23,000 while larger scale project blueprints can cost up to millions of dollars when accounting for creating multiple versions and reprinting when changes are made. In a news report on airport construction in Texas, a project that would have cost $1.2 million in blueprints alone, cut their costs by $1 million by using digital drawings.
Eliminates data silos
A common problem when using printed blueprints is that management and the fieldworkers may be looking at different versions of the blueprint, which means that the plan that was approved by management may not be the plan that workers are using on the field. Digital blueprints ensure that all users are viewing the most recent version of the drawing, which guarantees that everybody is always on the same page. Not only can the drawing be adjusted as many time as needed, but all relevant documents and notes will be carried over to the new version, and all old versions can be viewed to track all changes.
The move toward 3D
Many construction industries are beginning to implement 3-dimensional capabilities into their practices by utilizing BIM and virtual or augmented reality. This is logical for the industry since construction happens in 3-dimensions, why shouldn’t the plans be in 3-dimensions as well? Even though BIM and 3D design have not thoroughly permeated the construction industry, digitizing the blueprint process is a step in this direction.
As the digital age continues to shift the construction industry, embrace what digital drawings could do for your construction business.
FAQs – How Digital Drawings in Construction Impact the Industry
What are digital drawings in construction?
Digital drawings in construction refer to mobile digitized blueprints or project plans that are accessible and editable through digital devices like tablets and computers. These digital drawings have replaced traditional paper-based blueprints and offer numerous advantages in terms of accessibility, collaboration, and efficiency.
How do digital drawings improve productivity in construction?
Digital drawings enhance productivity by allowing real-time collaboration among project stakeholders, such as architects, engineers, subcontractors, and project managers. Software platforms like PlanGrid enable easy sharing and feedback on blueprints, specifications, photos, RFIs, and punch lists. This collaborative environment streamlines communication, reduces errors, and saves time on the construction site.
What role do digital drawings play in collaboration within construction projects?
Digital drawings facilitate collaboration by enabling multiple users to work on a drawing simultaneously. This means that different teams and professionals can participate in the planning process, resulting in higher accuracy and fewer rework requirements. Enhanced collaboration ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing misunderstandings and project delays.
How do digital drawings speed up the construction process?
Traditional blueprints often take weeks to finalize, and any revisions can further extend this timeline. In contrast, digital drawings allow for quick and easy adjustments without the need to recreate the entire document. Each revision carries over all relevant information and is stored in one place, reducing delays, stress, and potential budget overruns.
How do digital drawings save construction companies money?
Traditional paper blueprints can be expensive, with costs ranging from thousands to millions of dollars when considering multiple versions and reprints for changes. Using digital drawings significantly reduces these expenses. For instance, a construction project that would have cost $1.2 million in traditional blueprints alone saved $1 million by switching to digital drawings, according to a news report on airport construction in Texas.
How do digital drawings eliminate data silos in construction projects?
One common challenge in construction is the possibility of different teams or personnel working with outdated blueprint versions. Digital drawings ensure that all users view the most recent version of the drawing, promoting consistency and accuracy. Additionally, all relevant documents and notes are carried over with each revision, and previous versions can be viewed to track changes, eliminating data silos.
Are digital drawings paving the way for 3D design and Building Information Modeling (BIM) in construction?
Yes, digital drawings are a step toward implementing 3D capabilities in construction through practices like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and virtual or augmented reality. While 3D design has not completely penetrated the industry, digitizing the blueprint process is a significant move in this direction, enabling construction companies to work more efficiently in three dimensions.
How should construction businesses embrace digital drawings and their impact on the industry?
To embrace the benefits of digital drawings, construction businesses should consider adopting construction software platforms like PlanGrid. These tools facilitate collaboration, improve productivity, reduce costs, and ensure everyone involved in a project is working with up-to-date plans. As the digital age continues to shape the construction industry, leveraging digital drawings can lead to improved efficiency and competitiveness.