Shop Drawing Services in Melbourne: A Fundamental Part in Building Development

11 October 2019

Years ago, time-honoured drafting tools were employed when shop drawings were required. A sharp pencil and sheet of ISO A0 paper were pinned to a drafting board in some dusty Melbourne office while slide rules and building codes were employed by laser-focused engineering types. While those tools of the trade are still very much in evidence today, computer workstations are now an engineer’s go-to tool.

Tales of a Drafting Table

Centrally located in a building developer’s office, perhaps surrounded by several high-intensity desk lamps, an inclined table is layered with large sheets of paper. Shop drawings are being set down in hard, pencil-sharp lines on the sheet. They show the top-down details of a building that’s about to enter its development cycle. All wall and floor dimensions are outlined to scale. On the next drawing, a second perspective is adopted. Here, the walls are drawn and decked with applicable features. Windows and doors, structural steel supports and all other project features, they’re all meticulously laid down in great detail on the shop drawings.

Rise of The Computer Workstation

Paper and pencil are not obsolete, but drafting tables are shuffling off to one side of the design office. In their place, special software suites compile shop drawings and append them to software-stored project plans. With the scaled-down measurements and geometrically exact structural overview framed in a high-definition monitor’s workspace, fastener openings and weld zones are clearly illustrated on the plans. If this is a prefabricated collection of structural elements, beams and cross-supports, then their lengths and positions are clearly demarcated. If the workspace contains multiple views of a floorplan, then all wall, ceiling and floor measurements and boundaries are graphically rendered on the virtual drawing, too.

The Multiple Viewpoint Approach

Still in that small office in Melbourne, the work area is no longer dusty. Pencils and slide rules don’t care about dust bunnies, but computers sure do; they require clean-room conditions. Anyway, whether on paper or computer, a whole pile of shop drawings are accumulating. They contain floorplan information from different perspectives, then there’s the weld and fastener data, the blueprint angles and cut lengths to deliver to the machine floor, plus a whole sheaf of overlay data to incorporate. Provided separately, those overlays contain electrical conduits, plumbing and sectional wall views. Done and wrapped up, the drawings head over to the shop foreman.

Integral to a building project’s construction process, shop drawing services must be addressed by engineering professionals. Sure, the initial design is perhaps pinned to a wall. It’s a beautiful structure, or it’s a simple box-like collection of walls and floors. Either way, the architect’s job is done, and now we need to send the plans to the shop floor or a local contractor. To get the construction and erection work moving, real-world dimensions and material plans come down from the shop drawings, not directly from the architect.