Impact of CAD on the submittal process



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Texas A&M University


The efficiency and accuracy of design is critical for construction success. The realization of design is dependent on complete and coordinated design documents that are finalized through the submittal process. This process involves the transfer of design intent from the architect and engineer to the specialty trade contractor for the production of shop drawings. The use of information technology to increase the ability to meet this intent is not being fully utilized today. A case study was selected on the campus of Texas A&M University to investigate the impacts of CAD on the submittal process. The project was selected because it utilized both hand and CAD methods to produce shop drawings. The data collected included all contract documents, submittals, submittal logs, and interviews with the project participants. A comparative analysis was made between the shop drawings that were completed by hand and those that were done by CAD. An analysis quantified the number of notes and corrections made by the reviewers during the submittal process. A separate analysis was made of the number of errors in the interpretation and transferring of background information from the contract documents in the shop drawing production. Finally, interviews were conducted with the project participants to determine the cost associated with utilizing CAD to produce shop drawings. Although based on a single case study, the data showed that CAD had important impacts on the submittal process. The data suggests that when CAD is used to produce shop drawings, there are significantly less notes or corrections by the reviewers. It also suggests that the electronic transfer of design data from the architect and engineer to the subcontractor can ensure better design accuracy and lower overall project cost.