Importance of Shop Drawing in Manufacturing & Fabrication Process

Published: 13th May 2010
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A shop drawing is a set of drawings produced by the contractor manufacturer or fabricator. Shop drawings are most commonly required for pre-fabricated components. Examples of these include: elevators, structural steel, trusses, pre-cast, windows, appliances, cabinets, air handling units and millwork. Also critical are the installation and coordination shop drawings of the MEP trades such as sheet metal ductwork, piping, plumbing, fire protection, and electrical. Shop drawings are not produced by architects and engineers under their contract with the owner.

The shop drawing is the manufacturer or the contractor drawn version of information shown in the construction documents. The shop drawing normally shows more detail than the construction documents. It is drawn to explain the fabrication and/or installation of the items to the manufacturer production crew or contractor's installation crews. The style of the shop drawing is usually very different from that of the architect drawing. The shop drawing primary emphasis is on the particular product or installation and excludes notation concerning other products and installations, unless integration with the subject product is necessary.

The shop drawings should include information for the architect and engineer to compare to the specifications and drawings. The shop drawing should address the appearance, performance, and prescriptive descriptions in the specifications and construction drawings. The shop drawing often is more detailed than the information shown in the construction documents to give the architect and engineer the opportunity to review the fabricator version of the product, prior to fabrication.

References to the construction documents, drawings and specifications assist the architect and engineer in their review of the shop drawings. Attachment of manufacturer material specifications and other manufacturer information may be helpful to accompany these drawings. Because shop drawings facilitate the architect and engineer approval of the product, they should be as clear and complete as possible.

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About Author:

Richard Bose is structural shop drawer at OSD - a Shop Drawing consultant offering full range of structural services including Structural design analysis, Shop drawings and Review services at affordable rates. Contact us at

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