4 Common Building Drawing Errors

One of the very first steps during any construction project is the creation of drawings.

Drawings are vital to any project, as they are what contractors have to work off throughout the entire job, from planning and ordering required materials to carrying out the work. It is therefore extremely important for designers to take as much care as possible to avoid mistakes on building drawings, as they can often lead to additional expense and delays for a project.

Are you new to construction and planning your first project, or simply working through your take-offs as fast as you can? We’ve made a list of the most common mistakes to be aware of when it comes to building drawings.

Incomplete drawings

It seems like a basic error, but drawings being incomplete is unfortunately a common mistake that causes issues during construction projects. This can arise if the designer is overworked and does not have significant time to create your drawings, is ill-equipped or is relatively inexperienced.

To avoid the possibility of this occurring (and the requests for information and change orders this mistake would bring), it is extremely important to check the brief you gave the designer against the completed drawing, as you may be able to spot any missing elements and let the designer know ahead of the work commencing.

Inconsistent documentation

When working on a project, the drawings are often not the only documents you must refer to, as there could also be written documentation (such as specifications) that you must adhere to as well. This could present an issue if the drawing designer is unaware of such documentation and the drawings end up with different information to that on the written documents.

To avoid this issue, it’s best to ensure that the designer has seen any other documentation, especially if the written documentation includes any additional information that could have an impact on the design.

Designers amending drawings during construction

It isn’t uncommon for designers to leave some details out of the initial drawing with the intent to return to the drawing and add in these details at a later stage. In such scenarios, designers may leave in some brief notes in the meantime, however, if the detailed information isn’t added into the drawing before work commences this can present further issues.

The designer amending the drawing once construction has began could cause problems as by the time the designer comes to amend the drawing, any existing work that has been completed on site may conflict with the details outlined in the amended drawing.

Drawings that do not match up

Another key mistake that can occur on occasion is having drawings that do not match up. Unfortunately, this can be quite common, especially when drawings are produced with input from different teams working within different trades. An example of this would be if the ductwork drawings and electrical drawings conflict with each other  – this could result in some electrical wires running through a ventilation duct if the work were to go ahead based on the drawings.

To minimise this risk, it’s important to arrange for all drawing designers to frequently have access to all of the drawings throughout the design process, plus they need an appropriate working knowledge of the logistics when it comes to installing multiple services in one location. This will enable them to identify any such issues and ensure they are corrected in time.

How can estimating software help?

The above issues can cause lengthy delays during projects and add additional pressure and stress that you simply don’t need, and this is before you have even started your take-off and estimating processes.

While digital take-off and estimating software can’t solve drawing mistakes, it can help with the overall project as it allows you to ensure accuracy and complete take-off and estimate tasks up to 70% faster than manual methods.