As a contractor, you probably spend a lot of your time studying drawings in an effort to prepare a bid for a potential new project. Whether you do this on paper with a set of pens and rulers, or you opt for take-off and estimating software to speed up the process, the drawings are equally important.
After all, most of the information you have about a hypothetical project will come from these drawings. In order to price your labour and materials to calculate a bid, you’re going to be relying on the details and measurements taken directly from these documents, so it’s clear that any mistakes on those will potentially have a major negative impact on your work (and your bottom line).
It’s more common than you might think to find small errors or problems with drawings, and usually they will fall into one of the following categories. It’s important to be aware of these common pitfalls so you’re more likely to spot them and avoid any impact on your profits further down the line.
Missing details or information
Large projects often require a number of different services to be installed in one building. The drawings are therefore very complex, with lots of potential for accidental omissions. Sometimes there might be plenty of details about certain services included on the drawing, but limited information for others, possibly because the finer details are still yet to be 100% confirmed.
As a result, estimators may need to know more information than the drawings offer. Sometimes there is no option but to make a reasonable assumption and tackle the specifics later, but of course there is a higher risk of (potentially costly) additions or changes being made to fill in the gaps.
Drawings conflict with other documents
During the process of designing the drawings and preparing the other relevant documentation for a proposed project, changes to the plans are not necessarily communicated to everyone involved. This can lead to inconsistencies in specifications, measurements and so on which can be hard to detect without detailed analysis and comparison, which most tradies don’t have time for.
Coordination and communication are key to minimising the risk of this issue occurring. From the perspective of the tradie, there isn’t a lot that can be done other than reviewing everything as carefully as possible and raising any queries about drawings and documents sooner rather than later.
Services conflict with each other
A drawing with many complex layers might seem to make sense to the designers as a two-dimensional plan, but when the time comes to physically carry out the work, previously hidden problems can become apparent.
For example, a piece of pipework or wiring might be installed before another element which needs to be fitted in the same location. Another example might be structural beams which are not included in sufficient detail on the drawings, but end up blocking access to fit a section of ductwork correctly. On the drawing, these conflicts might not have been visible, but in reality the plan is physically impossible to implement, leading to potentially expensive delays and alterations.
What else can contractors do to avoid the risk?
Inevitably, mistakes or changes will happen and everyone involved in the project will be forced to adapt. For contractors, the best protection against this risk is to ensure you’re making a healthy profit across all your projects, which makes unexpected problems less of a financial burden.
To do this, speed and accuracy are perhaps equally essential. But how can you improve one without compromising the other? The answer is to make your entire process more efficient, from take-off to estimate. Software like RapidBid is by far the most cost-effective solution, allowing you to very quickly transform the way you produce estimates and waste far less time preparing for every job. To find out how you can do this, get in touch to claim your free, no-catch software demo.