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Shop Drawings vs Construction Drawings vs As-Built Drawings

Construction Drawings  /  Shop Drawings

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MEP Shop Drawings

If you work in the AEC industry, then you must have heard the terms ‘construction drawings’,’shop drawings’ and ‘as-built drawings’ quite often.

But what is the difference between these terms? 

Different drawing types

Construction Drawings

Every real-estate project passes through several phases before the construction begins on site.

One of these is the design phase, which includes all specifications and architectural drawings necessary for the construction. This is done with construction working drawings.

So, what is a working drawing?

Construction drawings are the written and graphic record of decisions taken during the design phase. These are the lifeline of the construction project. They drive communication regarding changes in design to builders and on-site workers.

Some people might ponder the worth of complete working drawings. Considering the time and money spent on their creation and number of revisions done before a set is even finalized, however, it makes sense to draw and re-draw drawings, rather than build and wreck.

Typically, a full-fledged set of architectural construction documents should include:

  1. Title sheet specs

  2. Demolition plans

  3. Schedules

  4. Foundation, floor and roof plans

  5. Sections & elevations

  6. Wall sections and details

  7. Interior elevations & details

  8. Cabinetry details

  9. MEP details

  10. Structural details

  11. Ceiling plans

There are several ways of creating effective construction documentation. You can read more about it or get in touch with us to discuss the details of your next project.

Shop Drawings

While construction drawings relate more to the building or structure as a whole, shop drawings are for various building components. Let’s delve deeper.

What is a shop drawing?

Shop drawings are a set of drawings that provide the details of various components that help in the construction of a project. They are generally prepared by your contractors and material suppliers.

Both construction drawings and shop drawings are done before the real construction begins.

While construction documentation includes building design and revisions that have taken place since the beginning of the project, shop drawings depict how the building was originally designed internally, with MEP components with their exact dimensions mentioned.

A step-wise assembly manual of your construction process, if you will.

Shop drawings supplement working drawings. Consider them an add-on or a detailed development of construction working drawings.

They typically include fabrication and installation details, structural steel detailing, windows and door installations and other MEP components.

With the help of shop drawings, you will be able to figure out the kind of materials you will require for the components, the dimensions of the proposed installations, and the timelines. 

So, does this mean the custom shop drawings for your new project should be ready before the construction phase?


Getting shop drawings designed should be one of the first to-dos on your checklist before your project kicks off.

You will get two birds with one stone if you have your construction shop drawings in place

  1. You will know your building’s design, installed components and specific details inside out, long before the construction begins.

  2. With detailed shop drawings in hand, your team will be on the same page – project managers, contractors, designers and manufacturers.

But what specifications comprise shop drawing details?

Based on the kind of project, the type of property, and your budget, your shop drawings will have varied electrical drawings, mechanical drawings and plumbing drawings.

The following list include essential details that your shop drawings must include:

  1. The date of the original issue

  2. The date of all revisions

  3. The title of the project

  4. Project number

  5. Names of the contractor, subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier and separate detailer, wherever applicable and necessary

  6. Order of sequence and sequence number for each drawing

  7. Identification of all materials and products with their dimensions

  8. Relation of various components to adjacent materials and structures

  9. Applicable building standards


As-built Drawings

Both construction drawings and shop drawings undergo several revisions. Because of this, the final building and the drawings might have some discrepancies. This is where as-built drawings step in.

So, what are as-built plans?

As built documentation is similar to the final draft of your building and includes every change that your project has undergone during planning and execution.

Learn about our Architectural Drawings Services .

Why should you have as-built architectural drawings?

As built construction documents reflect the actual structure or the building – not as it was conceived as idea, but as it actually stands.

Buildings don’t always stick to plans and the final structure may be slightly or significantly different to the original idea.

As built construction documents

As-built drawings are developed by contractors and sub-contractors from red-lined drafts and are essential to your construction project.

This is true for a variety of reasons:

  • Offer insights into safety: With as-built drawing plans, process hazard analysis and safety management become easy to achieve.

    Since the plans show where equipment shut-off valves are located, you can develop emergency evacuation plans, install safety equipment and set up contingency plans around your building perimeter.

  • Facilitate future repairs and renovations: Since the as-built drawing process takes into account only the final erected structure and installed components, they come in handy for any maintenance work in future.

    They serve as construction documents and shop drawings when the need to renovate an old structure arises. They also ensure that retrofits, if required, are carried out efficiently.

  • Maintenance and operations is a breeze: As built drawings assist in maintaining and easy operation of structures, because they have a clear documented history of the building.

    They also include electrical as built, mechanical as built and plumbing as built, allowing faster repairs by quick reference.

    Without custom as-built drawings, determining installed components, locating them and then repairing them is time-consuming and expensive.

Do you need shop drawings, construction drawings, or as-built drawings? Get in touch with BluEntCAD today! 

Maximum Value. Achieved.


  • How quickly can you turn around shop drawings? Also can you give me information where I can send construction drawings to have you price my shop drawings?

  • Hi,
    The most important is interior design ID drawings which causes reworks and decreases the quality of works, extra efforts, materials and money.
    During design stage if this is not finalised, it will creat lots of problems in MEP works.
    Its my personal experience I have faced in most of projects. ID is finalized at later stage and all works has to be redone.

    • Thanks Anwar, will surely consider this and write more on it in upcoming blog pieces. We appreciate your feedback.

  • My understanding is that after the Tendering phase is over, the Consultant will issue Issued For Construction (IFC) set of Drawings. During the Construction, the Contractor will submit Shop Drawings to the client and to the Consultant for the review. If the shop drawings are not aligned with the IFC set, the Contractor will be notified to apply the design as requested by IFC.
    When the Construction is finished, the Contractor shall issue the As Build set of drawing also reviewed by the Consultant.

    • Hi Mihajlo

      We really appreciate your insight on this piece. We’ll surely look into it and fix the changes.
      Keep reading & sharing your valuable feedback. This would really help us to curate quality information for our valuable audience.

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