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Working drawings

What are Working Drawings and how to obtain them

Working drawings are a part of the executive project documentation and serve as a guide for the construction phase of a project. Here are the main types and how they work

Working drawings are part of the construction documentation process and  the key to transforming a project on paper into a well-constructed physical structure. They are one of the components of the executive project, and their ability to provide accurate information on geometries, dimensions, materials, and other technical details makes them an indispensable tool for professionals in the construction and engineering industry when it comes to guiding the actual realization of a structure or a portion of it.

In this article, we will delve into all aspects related to the executive project and the importance that working drawings hold within it. Additionally, I will explain how it is possible to simplify and automate the creation of these types of documents simply by using a software for creating graphic documentation that you can start using for free right away.

Example of a plan created automatically from a 3D model with usBIM.blueprint

Example of a plan created automatically from a 3D model with usBIM.blueprint

Executive Project: What It Is and What Documents Comprise It

The executive project is a crucial phase in the realization of any construction project, as it represents the pivotal transition between the conceptual design phase and the practical execution phase. This detailed document provides a comprehensive roadmap for translating an idea into a physical structure. The documents that make up the executive project are varied, and each plays a specific role in the process.

  • a general report describing the project;
  • a graphic section with working drawings;
  • an estimate section, including an Estimative Metric Computation, entrepreneurial cost, and additional costs.

Let’s delve into what working drawings are and how to obtain them in this article.

What Are Working Drawings in Construction and Engineering

The term working drawing refers to a technical drawing that provides specific and detailed instructions for the practical implementation of a plan, project, or idea.
In other words, this type of document serves to transform an abstract concept into concrete and actionable instructions. Its main characteristic is precision.

Working drawings play a crucial role in many industries, but it is in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction that they are commonly used.

These drawings are developed in the most advanced phase of the design process, following the technical and economic project feasibility (formerly the preliminary design) as well as the final project.

These drawings aim to provide technical details and essential information to transform a project into reality, ensuring its construction is carried out accordingly to desired specifications.

Working drawings contain specific instructions on dimensions, shapes, materials, and construction methodologies, helping to create the structure precisely and consistently, in line with the original project’s intentions.

These documents provide detailed information about work sequences, structural aspects, building systems and other key components of the project.

They, therefore, serve as a practical guide for architects, engineers and contractors working in the field, being an essential reference point for all other professionals involved in the construction process.

Why Working Drawings Are Important

In the context of construction, the importance of working drawings lies in their ability to support the project’s realization process, simultaneously ensuring the achievement of some fundamental advantages, as outlined below:

  • Precision in construction: Working drawings provide clear instructions for project implementation. They include details on exact measurements, specific materials and construction methods. This precision is essential to ensure that the project is executed accurately and in accordance with specifications, helping to avoid costly delays due to construction errors;
  • Universal communication: Executive documents represent a universal form of technical communication. They provide a common language that professionals from different disciplines can use to understand the project’s intentions, working together coherently. They also serve as an important tool for communication with clients and regulatory authorities;
  • Regulatory compliance: In construction and engineering, there are strict regulations and standards that must be followed. Working drawings help demonstrate that the project complies with these regulations, in such a manner, that they can be used to obtain necessary approvals from relevant authorities;
  • Safety: Working drawings also include details that contribute to ensuring the safety of workers on the construction site and eventual occupants of the building once it is completed. Structural and system specifications are essential to prevent accidents or safety issues;
  • Quality control: Executive documents are an essential tool that ensures quality control during the construction process. They serve as an important reference point for verifying that the work has been done correctly and in accordance with project specifications. In case of discrepancies, working drawings facilitate timely corrections;
  • Productivity and efficiency: The purpose of working drawings is to reduce ambiguities and uncertainties during construction phase. These documents provide specific instructions for the assembly, installation, and placement of structural, architectural, and system components of the building. They contribute to improving productivity on the construction site and avoiding delays and additional costs due to unforeseen changes and modifications.
Executive drawings: the main advantages

Executive drawings: the main advantages

What’s Included in Project Working Drawings

In construction projects, several types of working drawings are included, each with a specific purpose and perspective on the project. The graphic documentation that comprises this type of technical drawings includes:

  • Floor plans: These are two-dimensional representations that show a horizontal section of the building from above, cut at a specific level. They are used to detail the distribution of internal spaces within the building at various levels, including structural features and the position of walls, openings, columns, and other essential elements, as well as the configuration of foundation and roof plans;
  • Elevations: These are orthogonal projections made on a vertical plane that show the building’s facades. They allow you to view the exterior appearance of the envelope, including all details related to wall height, door and window dimensions, finish features, roof slope, and more;
  • Sections: These result from vertical cuts made on the building in a transverse or longitudinal direction, showing the interior in detail. They are used to illustrate how different parts of the building are structured, such as floors, ceilings, systems, and other essential components positioned within the structure;
  • Construction details: These are detailed graphic representations that show the technical specifications and practices necessary to effectively construct a specific part of the structure. They specify the materials to be used, precise dimensions of construction elements, wall stratigraphy, structural connections, and more. These drawings are essential because they provide detailed technical and visual information that helps construction professionals understand how to create each individual element of the project.

The 3 Essential Types of Executive Drawings

Executive documents provide a wide range of information and essential details that characterize the project from every perspective and are necessary for its correct execution.
Based on their specific functions, these technical documents can be divided into three different categories:

  1. Architectural drawings: These are graphic representations that primarily focus on the aesthetic and functional aspects of the building. They highlight the organization of internal and external spaces, room dimensions, the position of doors and windows, types of finishes, furniture arrangement, and more. They are designed to communicate architectural design and are used by designers, architects, and clients to define the building’s appearance and understand how spaces will be used and organized;

    Example of executive table with architectural drawings produced with Edificius

    Example of executive table with architectural drawings produced with Edificius

  2. Structural drawings: These drawings focus on the stability and strength of the building’s structure. They illustrate technical details related to the load-bearing structure, such as beams, columns, foundations, and support systems. These drawings are essential to ensure that the building is structurally sound and safe. They are used by structural designers and engineers to communicate technical specifications related to the structure, force calculations, materials used, and connection details;

    Example of structural design created with EdiLus

    Example of structural design created with EdiLus

  3. System drawings: These drawings pertain to the systems and installations required to operate the building in terms of electricity, plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and more. They show how system components should be positioned within the structure, how they should be connected, and how they should operate to ensure comfort and quality of interior spaces.

    Example of executive table with electrical system drawings created with Edificius-MEP

    Example of executive table with electrical system drawings created with Edificius-MEP

How to Quickly Create Working Drawings: A Step-by-Step Guide

The creation of executive documents can be a complex process and often represents one of the most significant time losses in projects. However, it is possible to expedite this process by using applications with specific functions to automatically create working drawings from a 3D model. This way, this activity can be performed with just a few simple clicks, without the need to use BIM authoring software.
If you want to test this technology for creating your working drawings, you can start using a software for creating technical construction drawings for free and follow these 5 steps:

  1. Open the 3D model on the usBIM platform;
  2. Select “Graphic Tables” from the top-left menu;
  3. Click the + symbol and choose to add a floor plan or section;
  4. Move the section box to select where to cut the 3D model;
  5. Click the “Download” button next to the document to export it in DXF/DWG/DWF formats.

The video tutorial below provides a step-by-step guide to creating 2D graphic tables from a 3D model.