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Construction drawings which include engineering and architectural blueprints are the foundation of any construction project whether big or small. After all, without these plans, there would literally be no building to construct. Given the importance of these documents, it goes without saying that a good document organizing process for these documents efficiently should be one of the top priority of any construction firm.

However, numbers show 21% of company productivity is lost to ineffective document handling. A document that’ poorly stored takes about 18 minutes to locate about 50% of the time spent handling that document spent on looking for it.

Construction drawings need to be tracked for markups ( changes to the drawings in the field), and studies show that over 80% of the time is spent on just tracking these changes which includes who made these changes and when.

To prevent inefficient document storage to become a big problem later on your company’s productivity and bottom line, it might be a good idea to go digital and invest in a CAD drawing management software or a Document Management Software (DMS). A DMS software is a program that handles the creation of documents,  document sharing, and organization. And depending on your needs ,can have modules to handle CAD drawings for construction drawings.  The DMS software then stores the documents in a central repository system making it easy to access and manage

Types of Document Management Software

Document management software commonly falls between two types: Web-Based and Self Hosted or Premise Based.  Before deciding on which model to choose, it might be a good idea to look at your existing IT structures to decide which one is more suited to your company’s needs.

  1. Web-Based DMS Management Software

This DMS software is hosted in the cloud ( a collective term for many servers around the world acting together as one ecosystem). This type of system usually runs on a SaaS model which means its billed monthly or annually.

This type of DMS system eliminates the need for software maintenance and upgrades because this task is handled by the provider. Data backups are also done regularly by the provider so you can sleep well knowing that your documents are stored safely and securely.

  1. Self Hosted DMS Software

Self-hosted DMS software is also known as premise-based DMS software. As the name suggests, this DMS software is held in your company’s servers which lets you to have total power of the entire system without trusting a third party to keep it going.

The challenges with this system come in backing up the system regularly as well as compatibility issues with common Operating systems like Mac and Windows.

Must-Have Features in Your Drawing Management Software

If you’re shopping around for a CAD management software for your company, here are some things that you should generally look for in a software:

  1. File Security

File security is one of the top priorities of any organization that’s on the lookout for a DMS software, you want to get a software that will allow you to control file permissions on documents. You want to make sure that only people with authorization can open, view and make changes to a file with RBAC  (role-based access control). These features lessen the possible risks of letting out delicate information into the wrong people.

  1. A Big Central File Storage System

In a construction project, depending on the size, will have hundreds or even thousands of drawings alone, not counting other necessary documents like RFIs, etc.  that goes back and forth. Due to numbers of documents in all forms and sizes that need to be filed and organized, you want a DMS system that provides a big, unlimited and secures storage system that can support all file types and sizes.

  1. Easy to Use

The DMS software is going to be used by most, if not all the people involved in the project, so the ideal software should be intuitive and easy to use. You want something that your team members will use after a single orientation, and will not require a doctorate in mechanical engineering to operate.

  1. Allows Document Sharing and Revision

An ideal DMS software for your company allows document sharing wherever and whenever they are. You want the members of your team to create markups to construction illustrations and corrections to documents and distribute documents in actual time. You also want to the DMS to keep track on who opened, viewed and amended the diagrams and the documents.

  1. Has Good Search Features

File storage and backup is a must for any DMS software, but you also want a DMS software an intuitive search feature. After all, what’s the use of storing all these drawings and documents when you can’t find them? You want features like auto fill search which allows requests from entered text against the database, full worded search which combs for certain words contained in documents as well as a search for phrases while allowing a user to search for a text in a document.

Drawing and Documents Management Software

Let’s have a look at some of the best drawing and documents management software available:

  1. PROCORE

Procore construction project management software is a web-based construction project management software that provides a cohesive process for drawing management. The software provides your team a place where they can easily and rapidly view drawings and changes from beginning to end.

Procore’s system easily allows you to add drawings and add notes directly from your mobile devices or from your computer. Clients also can link RFI’s, word documents, construction submittals and pictures as well as distribute changes right away and in actual time.

Procore’s OCR ( Optical Character Recognition Technology ) which is patent-pending automatically labels, numbers and archives drawings as well as scan sets for details and connects them automatically with each other. This system also automatically divides drawings sets into separate sheets on upload, a procedure that can save you hours of effort, and boosts productivity.

Procore’s project management software allows any team member with a drawing authorization to upload illustrations.  This means that persons who have no administration privileges can have faster access to design changes especially those who are out of the office.

  1. ADEPT BY SYNERGIS SOFTWARE

If your company has a multi-CAD environment and need a CAD document management system that provides flexibility to accomplish a big number of CAD drawings from diverse software applications, then this might be the document management software that can work for your company.

Adept has software maintenance and has close-fitting integration with some of the most popular for 2D and 3D CAD software which includes AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS, and Inventor.

Here are some features that Adept can offer that you might find interesting:

  • File management of CAD file interactions as users changes, duplicate, move, and retitle documents. The software regulates and administers AutoCAD XREF’s  , Autodesk Invento, Microstation ,Relationships, and SOLIDWORKS parts, assemblies, illustrations, and relationships.
  • Links property attributes and tags from CAD documents, eliminating redundant data entry and allowing users to find documents quickly and efficiently.
  • Users who don’t use CAD  can lookup, print, compare and markup 2D or 2D inherent CAD documents without the need to buy or install CAD software
  • Adept also has the capacity to combine with other project document management systems
  • Users can access documents and drawing management features directly from AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS and Autodesk Inventor.
  1. ACONEX By Oracle

Aconex provides your fast access to existing documents, BIM models, contracts reports, schedules and more. It allows you and your team to store an unlimited number of documents in any file size, and form in a secure place as well as provide Role-Based Access control, allowing you to control which files are shareable.

The Aconex great meta based search tools allow team members to access their drawings in real time.  Team members can also look at illustrations and 3D or BIM drawings right from the browser without installing the software inside the computer. In addition to this, operators can also put markups or put comments in real-time.

The Aconex system has a procedure in place that makes sure that everyone that’s in the project can access the current version of all project information. The Aconex program also has what they call an audit trail. This means that once data has been shared in the software, deleting it is not possible, thus data is never lost. This feature increases accountability as well as transparency among team members.

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