How long has it been since you saw rows and rows of giant rolls of 30×42 sheets bound up in butcher paper, waiting for the Fed Ex guy to come and pick them up (and try to not break his back)? Every time a job was put out to bid, I remember the admin staff filling up half their office with drawings. Now? Doesn’t happen anymore. I don’t think it’s a shock that the amount of large format printing has dropped drastically over the years. You will still see physical drawings on a job site, but even the amount of those has dropped as well.
With faster data speeds, local governments accepting digital signatures, and better review tools out there like BlueBeam, everyone is just using PDFs. It’s faster, cheaper, and way easier on your back.
So why do we insist on limiting the amount and clarity of information we put into our drawings because of an issue that might not really be an issue anymore? Ask anyone why we still do black and white CDs, and the answer will most likely be “color is so expensive”. Color is definitely more expensive than black and white plotting. But there are two factors here to consider: 1) as discussed above, we just aren’t printing as much as we used to so printing budgets should be dropping anyway and 2) the cost difference between a black and white versus a color line drawing has been dropping as well. Part of this depends on the hardware your repro firm has, but many of them are starting to purchase exclusively color hardware. It might just be time for a real conversation with them about what the actual costs are.
It probably seems odd that I am writing about this. I’m 100% in with Revit. I love the software, I love its potential, and I love the benefit that the industry is going to gain by embracing the model. But I also like to solve problems, and this is a big one that I have seen in the industry for years.
What is the first thing many contractors do when they look at an RCP? They highlight every light fixture. How much time could be saved if this is what they already looked like? And now we know one hasn’t been missed.
I’m sure everyone’s seen those photos of construction issues floating around the web, the ones where they cut the concrete to match the call-out tag or the renovation cloud. It would be much easier to distinguish between tags and work if all the annotation was in a single color, say blue.
And how about demo drawings? Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what is being demo’ed and what stays around. Let’s make all demo in red, and all existing in green.
Piping folks have been distinguishing things in color for years. Some local authorities are requiring their permit drawings in color, making fire rating very easy to tell apart. It should be obvious how much easier to read CDs would be if we just added a tiny amount of color.
There are some issues to work past. We need to get some consistency, we need to take into account people who experience color deficiencies, and we need to figure out why Revit won’t let us set some categories projection patterns (I’m looking at you, ducts) but these seem like easy things to get past, and I think the benefits we will see from this are huge.