The Ultimate Guide to Shop Drawing Reviews

Read our guide to shop drawing reviews. Whether you're new to the process or want to reflect on your own, have a read!

Feb 6, 2023

Reviewing shop drawings is an essential part of the construction process, and going over the required submittals at your pre-construction meeting is an important element. At this meeting, you will check to ensure that all the components manufactured off-site and on-site will meet your specifications and align with the design intent. 

The shop drawing process is where you will address any variables that have arisen and confirm the trades understand the project requirements. It is also important to ensure that fabricators receive all the necessary information to deliver the best possible product. 

Things to consider before you start reviewing

#1 The general contractor should always review the shop drawings before you receive them. If they don’t, send them back. 

#2 Figure out where this shop drawing stacks up on your priority list. 

#3 Allocate enough time to complete the review. 

#4 Think about which disciplines should be included in the shop drawing review and make sure they receive them.

Consultants can often become overwhelmed with submittals to review, especially as construction starts to ramp up on-site. Ask your GC to make a list of priorities. This will typically include any equipment or materials that have a long lead time.

The Consultant Team

Make sure the required consultants are on the distribution list and have a due date. The review process usually involves a lot of emails and downloading/uploading of pdfs. Contract Administration software can make this process faster by auto-tracking reviews, surfacing review status’ quickly, and tracking revisions.

Start your review!

Here are some tips on what to look for and think about during your review!

  • Is the product/assembly an acceptable manufacturer in the specifications? If not, the GC should refer to section 01 of the specifications and submit an alternate.

  • Check the dimensions. Any dimensions that do not relate to the design intent should not be reviewed. All critical dimensions should be verified by the consultants. Make note of the dimensions that should be verified on-site by the GC.

  • Review the materials. Does the material match the contract documents in terms of color, gauge, finish, etc? Request a color chart or samples for your design team to make a selection. Try and think of it from an installed point of view (ie; should the interior of the duct be painted black, what color should the caulking be).

  • How is the assembly secured? Will there be exposed fasteners? Should they be countersunk, aligned, or painted to match the finish? Really try and visualize the final product and what will be exposed to view. 

  • Are there loads being imposed on or by the system? Coordinate with your structural engineer if you think additional support or considerations are required.

  • Acceptable details or sizes for joints, reveals, etc. Is there a specific location or pattern for them? Do they need to align with other design elements?

  • Does the assembly or system impact the fire rating of a partition? Do you have all the information on this shop drawing to determine whether it meets the testing requirements for your applicable codes and standards?

  • Does the system require an engineer stamp from the manufacturer or supplier? Make sure the stamp is present and valid in terms of date and jurisdiction.

  • Is there something missing? Make a note that the GC needs to coordinate with all trades to cover the scope of the contract documents. Notes on the shop drawing that say ‘by others’ can sometimes be a clue that there is missing scope or miscommunication.

  • Does the submittal include the required product data sheets? This could include LEED testing data and certificates, or another related testing certificate that must be provided.

Assemble the reviews

  • Follow up with the consultants. Make sure to collect and assemble all the reviews so the shop drawing can be returned as a complete package. Contract Administration software can help automate these reminders and, facilitate the exchange of files.

  • Review their comments. Did the consultants make any comments that you need to address or review? Will their comments change or impact your review?

  • Review for completion. Do you have all the reviews with their status? Time is of the essence, so quickly returning submittals marked ‘Revise and Resubmit’ is crucial. 

Return to General Contractor

  • Assemble the complete package. Double-check to make sure all final file versions are included. Contract Administration software can help with the assembly and distribution of the shop drawing reviews.

  • Indicate the review status. Make sure the review status is present from each consultant. The final package should be returned with the lowest level of review as the overall status. For example, if the Architets’ status is ‘Reviewed’, but the Structural Consultant's review is ‘Reviewed as Noted’, then the overall status is ‘Reviewed as Noted’.

Learn how Part3 can help you review your shop drawings efficiently and effectively! Click here!