When a drawing, such as a cross-section, floor plan, or detail drawing is created by an architect, they are reviewed and redlined by engineers and contractors before moving to the construction phase of a project. Ultimately, as a construction drawing moves from schematic design to the creation of actionable drawings, reviewers will redline (aka markup) the drawing to ensure the specifications are feasible and accurate.
The concept of redlining has been around for hundreds of years, as collaboration between builders and designers is essential to the timely completion of a project. Today, this process is most often done digitally, as software allows for more accurate markups, clearer lines/text, and is capable of being done on mobile devices, enabling reviewers to include elements such as video, audio, and images. While some organizations still prefer to use paper redlines, some issues can arise resulting from errors or inefficient communication.
The creation of concise and clear construction drawings can be challenging at times, as the documents need to accurately represent all parts of the project in a way that is easy to interpret, and repeatable. Without comprehensible documents, construction would be like building a 10,000-piece Lego set while only looking at the picture on the box. While it can be done, it would take months to complete.
Markups/redlines are the optimum methods of collaboration, as they ensure all involved parties have their hand in the creation and revision of a drawing or document. It creates a share of accountability for all workers in the project and allows them to express their ideas, thoughts, and reservations regarding the design. This should be a dynamic process, as a drawing will never be perfect, and, many times, there is room for improvement.
RFIs and Submittals
The Request for Information (RFI), is a great tool for seeking additional clarifications. Once a drawing has been approved by all the reviewers internally, there still may be information missing from the project. Contractors can leverage the RFI as it provides them with a standardized form of communication between them and the contractors, engineers or architects. Modern document management systems enable workers to manage RFIs digitally from mobile devices. When the contractor is made aware of missing information or need further clarification, they can immediately send the RFI to the engineers and architects to get responses quickly, eliminating potential delays.
While RFIs are often seen in the engineering and construction industries, they serve multiple purposes and are not always used with markups/redlines. For many organizations, the RFI is also a common business practice for collecting written information about the various capabilities of vendors. They can be used to gather information regarding a decision so stakeholders can determine the best course of action moving forward. Inclusively, the RFI can be used for clarifications about timing, pricing, phasing, design coordination, clarification, project specs, or site conditions.
Tips for Improving Productivity
RFIs can quickly become unmanageable if not properly executed and administered. There are several steps you can take to ensure that RFIs are handled quickly and productively:
- Establish a standardized process for RFIs and submittals, and ensure it is outlined in your contract
- Specify all information required to facilitate an accurate response
- Assign RFIs sequential numbers to show chronology
- Make sure RFI titles are distinct and can be easily differentiated from one another
- Use external notifications via email to ensure quick response times
- Use RFIs in conjunction with markups to illustrate where the clarification is needed
- Include all deadlines and potential impacts on the schedule
- Include the cost impact of a potential change
- Ensure RFIs are written concisely, and professionally.
Improve Markups and RFIs with ImageSite and Engine-Box
Ensure real-time collaboration with ImageSite and Engine-Box, eQuorum’s robust workflow and document management solutions. Both solutions come equipped with optional RFI/Submittal and redlining capabilities, to ensure your company keeps up with stakeholder requirements and completes construction projects quickly and efficiently.
Engine-Box is a Cloud-based solution, making it the perfect solution for managing remote communications. This means there’s no IT infrastructure to maintain, and architects, engineers, vendors, contractors, and stakeholders can get instant access to the information they need when they need it.