Usually, typical architects tend to think about their job all the time, at least I do. And at least for me that’s not just about some big ‘A’ type…
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To understand how actually deep this issue is, imagine a project engineer who has just received an addendum to initial contract drawings, which replaces 50 of the 500 sheets in the set. Imagine him taking the three bolts out that bind the sheets together and then coping to locate where does exactly each sheet goes, leafing them in one by one, and then dog-earing and marking each outdated sheet as “VOID.” Think about how stupendous and monotonous a task like this is. Now imagine how would you feel if you were the manager of this project, who’s paying $50 per hour or more for the work. What’s worse, it’s not just a solo set of prints your team needs to update. Can you imagine how many other teams on this project have to do the exact same thing for each change that comes out? This image is not only horrifying; it is costly, frustrating, and very unproductive. What you just pictured is the reality of contract documents. I’ve learned that the hard way, because I’m a project engineer. So why, with all of the digital drawing solutions available, are we still using paper at all?
The answer is that there are several use cases for viewing and manipulating (marking up) drawings. For example, tablets and smartphones are great for referencing while walking the construction site, while typical PC displays are fine for many tasks involving the drawings. Nevertheless, for some activities, such as takeoffs, group discussion, or even “studying the project,” construction professionals tend to prefer a full-scale format, in which we can view larger portions or all of the drawings without excessive zooming in or panning.
Though the tool we now have available are touch-enabled LCD panels, provided by companies such as BoxLight and iPlanTables , which have served as a digital solution for large-sized drawings for several years and are good at what they do. However, to put a 70-100lb, the cart-mounted system in your office or cubicle may require some rearranging or may become impossible. That’s why so many constructions and architecture firms purchase just one or two to place in a centralized location in the office if they buy any of these at all.
Resistance to behavioral patterns change is the main reason which attributes to the AEC industry being so slow in adopting to a new and better technology. That’s why what may resonate better with people like me is a paper-like experience, flat on your desk or plan table. However, using tried and true paper has its costs on today’s fast-paced construction business.