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Regardless of the size of your professional or personal project, documentation will play a vital role in the success of your endeavor. This documentation can take many forms, including contracts, building permits, purchase orders, and many types of different drawings. 

One type of drawing that remains important in all manner of projects is the shop drawing. Before construction or manufacturing can even begin, almost all personnel involved with the project, from architectural designers and mechanical engineers to skilled laborers, will benefit from access to this information. 

With the powerful hardware and versatile software available today, many people can create shop drawings on their own. However, it can often make sense to outsource the production of these drawings, even if you already have in-house drafting personnel who are proficient with this type of work. And the design experts at Cad Crowd have the experience to develop accurate, professional-looking drawings for projects of all sizes, on time, and within your budget.

What is a shop drawing?

If you’ve worked with manufacturing or construction documentation for any length of time, you probably know that the terminology used to describe drawings can be confusing at first. You have probably run across terms like blueprints, engineering drawings, shop drawings, technical drawings, and working drawings. Technically, each of these types of drawings has its own definition, but you’ll find that even professionals tend to use many of these terms interchangeably. 

In general, shop drawings are graphical representations that provide the specifications needed to manufacture or build a specific product accurately. The product can be just about anything, from a consumer good that a shopper can pick up in a store to a construction project that will provide housing for a community of families. Shop drawings are often referred to as:

  • Engineering drawings (Note that in some locations this term applies only to drawings of manufactured items.)
  • Workshop drawings (Note that in some areas the terms shop drawings and workshop drawings apply only to construction projects.)
  • Technical drawings (Note that in some locations this term applies only to architectural drawings.)
  • Working drawings
  • Blueprints

(In the past, the term blueprint referred to a drawing that was reproduced using a specialized photochemical process that rendered the background of the image blue. Nowadays, the term is often used as a synonym for any drawing in this list, regardless of color.)

In this article, we’ll use these terms interchangeably. 

Who uses shop drawing services?

Businesses of all sizes and people from all backgrounds make use of shop drawing services during all stages of design and manufacturing, including:

Architects and architectural firms Fabricators
Building developers Homebuilders
Contractors Manufacturers
Designers and design firms Project managers
Engineers Subcontractors
Entrepreneurs Suppliers

Cad Crowd can help you find a shop drawing professional, whether you’re working on a professional project or a personal one. Contact us for more information.

What are the benefits of utilizing a shop drawing service?

As mentioned above, shop drawings created by a firm specializing in this service can provide benefits to the people working on your project. Contracting out the creation of these drawings also has many direct benefits for you.

Outsource drawing companies can provide conversion services

A common reason for using a shop drawing service is the need to convert paper drawings into a digital format. For example, sometimes only paper blueprints of a proposed project are available. An outsourcing firm can convert these blueprints into CAD drawings. Changes to the design can then be made more efficiently, and project information can be shared more easily among your team members.

Paper drawings are also difficult to store and are easily mislaid or lost. Images in digital format are readily duplicated, and multiple copies can easily be printed. But converting shop drawings to a digital format can be very time consuming, so it makes sense to use an outside service to handle the process.

They will help you maintain compliance with regulatory requirements

For construction projects, the need to obtain permits from a municipal building department will depend on the building code in force at the project site. A shop drawing services firm can make sure you have the drawings on hand when submitting the required paperwork. For manufacturing projects, regulatory approval at the federal or state level is also sometimes needed before a consumer good can be produced or sold. The EPA and FDA are examples of two agencies that require the filing of specific documentation that often includes shop drawings. A Cad Crowd freelancer or service firm can create these drawings for you, helping you to stay in compliance with the law. 

A shop drawing service can help you manage your time better

Project managers are constantly juggling multiple priorities. It can be difficult to focus exclusively on any one aspect of your project for any length of time. You can significantly speed up the timeline of your project by contracting with an outside firm to generate your shop drawings. These firms often focus exclusively on preparing drawings. These specialized experts will be better qualified to handle the drawings for your project, freeing up your time so that you can concentrate on other pressing tasks. This will enable you to focus on your design process. And it will help you structure your ideas into a focused, coherent proposal quickly and more efficiently.

Outsourcing some of your shop drawings can also save you time when your resources can’t handle your current business load. Equipment can break down, internet access can go down, and you can lose electricity unexpectedly, leaving you in the lurch. Employees take leave, existing drawings need unexpected revisions, and even a sudden spike in business can all lead to a situation where your project timeline is in jeopardy. Contracting with a shop drawings services firm can be a smart solution to these short-term problems.

CAD Crowds experts will provide you with professional results, without your having to worry about the time and expense of managing additional personnel within your own organization. 

As an added bonus, when you work with an outside firm specializing in CAD work, you have the services of an entire team of professionals at your disposal. Cad Crowd can put you in touch with reputable firms that will have the personnel with the experience to create accurate drawings quickly. These experts make use of the most up-to-date hardware and software available—resources that may be out of your reach financially. 

And last but not least, they can provide you with cost savings

While powerful software for developing CAD drawings is available to the novice, complex projects often require the use of expensive computer systems and experienced technical staff. Individuals and smaller firms may not have the money to fund these resources. But contracting with an outside firm on a project-by-project basis is often a cost-effective solution.

Drafting is a highly skilled profession. Expert drafters often command a premium salary. The costs add up quickly when you factor in the expense of employee benefits, equipment, licenses, training, and the additional office floor space needed to house personnel and equipment. Depending on your circumstances, it can make more sense to outsource your project rather than to expand current staffing levels within your organization. 

But even individuals managing projects outside of a business setting can realize cost savings by using an outside drafting firm. With professionally drawn blueprints, you can more precisely visualize how your project will look ahead of time. This means you can more accurately estimate the cost of supplies and labor for your project. Having a well-designed shop drawing also reduces the chance that you will need to make design changes after production or construction of your project has already begun. That’s definitely going to help you stay within your budget.

Click here to learn more about affordable shop drawing and drafting services!

What are some of the more popular software packages used by professionals to create shop drawings?

There are a number of advanced software programs that are used by drafting professionals. Among the more popular CAD packages in use are:

3ds Max Revit
ArchiCAD SketchUp
AutoCAD SolidWorks
MicroStation V-Ray
Navisworks Vectorworks

If you’re looking for a freelancer with specific software skills, or if you prefer working with particular file formats (.dwg, .pln, .png, .svg, etc.), please let us know when you request a quote. 

Cad Crowd has the resources to help with your project

Cad Crowd can help you accomplish your project goals by putting you in touch with a shop drawing service company or freelance specialist. Whether you’re remodeling your house, designing an innovative new consumer product, or managing a residential construction project, we’ve got the professionals who can help. Our network members possess decades of professional industry experience, so you can be sure of obtaining the high-quality results you expect. 

Whatever the size of your project, Cad Crowd has the resources to help you meet your goals. Our drafting professionals can create the shop drawings you need on time and within your budget. And the quality of their work is backed by our accuracy guarantee

Hire a professional freelancer the next time you need shop drawing services

Our shop drawing services freelancers among the most talented in the industry. Cad Crowd has an extensive network of pre-qualified and vetted professionals available who can generate the shop drawings required to help you turn your dreams into reality. By utilizing our network of pre-qualified freelancers, you can have highly accurate, exceptional-looking shop drawings delivered to you at a fraction of the cost of purchasing CAD software yourself. And the drawings will be delivered to you in a fraction of the time it would take you to master that software. Click here to obtain a free, no-obligation quote today!


Brands we've worked with

Yale University School of Medicine
Tiffany & Co.
CNOOC Limited
The Boston Consulting

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