Construction Management

Difference Between Shop Drawings And Design Drawings

Difference Between Shop Drawings And Design Drawings

Shop drawings and design drawings are both required to design and fabricate a wide range of projects, ranging from plumbing and platework to bridges, commercial and industrial structures. Structural steel shop drawings and design drawings serve distinct but equally vital roles in the construction process, despite being frequently misconstructed as the same thing

Design drawings are used to communicate design ideas and proposals in the early stages of design development. On the other hand, shop drawings give the specifics needed by a fabricator during fabrication, assembly, installation, and erection, such as the specified material, weld kinds, and connections.

What is design?

The design process is the initial phase of an architectural or engineering project, and it entails breaking the project down into manageable chunks. The design process is the initial phase of developing drawings that precisely cater to the criteria for the concepts to be in sync with the intended output.

Various aspects and approaches are employed systematically in the design process to get the desired output to satisfy the client.

It can take different forms based on the project and the client’s needs. The architect or engineer creates drawings that are roughly the proper size for the building or object.

The design engineers’ or architects’ duty is to create an accurate drawing regarding the size and shape of the desired model.

Difference between Shop drawings and Design Drawings

Knowing the difference between shop drawings and design drawings is essential in construction project. Following are the explanation of shop drawings and design drawings.

What are Design Drawings?

As the first step in the design phase, design drawings are created. They are typically aesthetic concepts or renderings that convey a client’s ideas and the designers’ intent.

In the early phases (during the bidding process), they may demonstrate to the client the capability of a specific design team to complete the design. They can then be used to do the following:

  • Create and communicate the brief.
  • Investigate potential locations and assess your selections.
  • Create a coherent and coordinated design based on the approved idea.
  • Inform other stakeholders, such as the local planning authority, the building control body, contractors, and suppliers, about the created design.
  • Make a record of the completed construction.
  • Maintain a record of any ongoing changes to the completed construction.

Architects, engineers, contractors, and suppliers may all be involved in the preparation of design drawings. They enable the architect or designer to convey their concepts and vision to contractors, builders, and fabricators.

What Are Design Drawings Used For?

Design drawings are used for various purposes. They are used to develop and express the client’s ideas into an approved and clear design because they are at the start of the design phase. Architects frequently use design drawings to communicate their designs to contractors and the building department. These drawings are also used to keep track of the completion of construction and ongoing changes.

In most cases, design drawings include the following information:

  • Interior and exterior elevations
  • Interior and exterior 3D renderings
  • Floor plans
  • Site plans
  • Design layout
  • Aesthetic elements, such as colors, textures, and some materials
  • Connection design

What are Shop Drawings?

Shop drawings, also known as fabrication drawings, are detailed drawings that convey design intent. They provide fabricators with the information to manufacture, fabricate, assemble, and install all structural components. Furthermore, the shop drawings assist the construction site team in knowing all the details needed to be executed in the construction building. This covers the necessary materials and dimensions, as well as instructions for assembly, installation, and erection.

Shop drawings are typically created by engineers, steel detailers, steel modelers, and fabricators.

They typically contain the following information:

  • Information required for fabrication, such as dimensions and special instructions, including connection details
  • Applicable fabrication standards
  • Installation and erection information
  • Dimensions that require on-site verification
  • Comparisons to the construction documents to enable approval by the architect or engineer
  • Notes on changes from the construction documents to enable approval by the architect or engineer.

How are Design Drawings translated into Shop Drawings?

Due to pressure on engineers and budget cuts, the quality of design outputs has recently been less than desirable. Accurately translating design drawings into shop drawings requires significantly more information and expertise than just plugging in the dimensions of design drawings.

That is why it is critical to have the right professionals with the necessary technical knowledge to decipher design intent and bring the project concept to life. Steel detailers must be able to combine design drawings into a 3D model, finding and correcting issues and clashes to create highly accurate 2D shop drawings that enable superior quality fabrication.


Accurately translating design drawings into shop drawings requires a high level of skill and expertise

Shop drawings and design drawings and are essential parts of the steelwork life cycle, whether for a bridge, stadium, tank, or pipes. An architect or engineer can explain their vision for a project using design drawings. In contrast, shop drawings provide the detailed instructions and specifications needed by a fabricator to create structurally sound, millimeter-perfect steelwork.

The general intent of what is to be built is conveyed through design drawings. The shop drawings provide a detailed description of how it will be built. An architectural plan and specifications, for example, will specify the sizes and types of custom cabinets to be installed in a kitchen. The shop drawings will include enough information about the materials, thicknesses, fasteners, dimensions, parts, and assembly details to allow them to be fabricated.

See Also

Difference between Shop Drawings and IFC Drawings

What Are As-Built Drawings?