The Purpose of Shop Drawings

Builders often ask for shop drawings when offering a cabinet job in a custom home project. "Paper is still cheaper than wood," notes one pro: Here's an explanation of how the drawings serve the needs of everyone involved. November 11, 2005

We have been doing residential cabinets for 30 plus years and now we have some large contractors wanting our work in their large homes. The problem is they want shop drawings. What exactly are they looking for? We have Cabinetware. Are they just looking for the floor plan and elevations, or more than that?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor M:
Seems to me that question would best be asked to the contractors who are asking for the drawings?

From contributor W:
My suggestion is that whatever you do, don't give them dimensioned drawings before getting a down payment.

From contributor T:
The contractor usually receives his job from the architect or developer who needs "shop drawings" for their approval before any furniture construction begins. The architect does not and will not do shop drawings, but he does expect the contractor to provide him with detailed drawings of his sketches for his approval.

A "shop drawing" by definition is a; three dimensional drawing consisting of; three "detailed" views, plan(s), elevation(s) and section(s), hence "three dimensional".

The drawings should clearly state materials and finish to be used for each piece and the appropriate fittings and accessories to be used to complete the unit and who is responsible for their supply and installation.

The drawings should also show field dimensions and conditions and any additional notes pertaining to items that are missing or not complete or that simply must be verified.

From contributor A:
I consider my shop drawings the best insurance policy I have. It show's them exactly what you will be building. They protect you from any misinterpretation that your client could have. I get my client to sign them, and initialize on all pages, that way everyone is assured of getting exactly what is on the plans.

From contributor T:
Shop drawings are a great insurance policy. Everybody gets to be on the same page and paper is still less expensive than wood. I can't recall how many times I almost had a job completely drawn only to find out that the design had serious problems. When something like that happens with wood, it becomes a huge problem and much more expensive.

There is no substitute for a good plan. I'm not even saying that the drawings need to be professionally done. They could just be stick figures with numbers on it. As long as it is accurate and the concept can be understood then it will suffice.