Marking Up Shop Drawings | BLUEBEAM for Architects

Hey there!

In this post, I’m going to go over how to mark up shop drawings and get them sent back to the contractor. I’ve reviewed a ton of shop drawings and I’ve learned how important it is to have a tried and true method to get through them. It can be a lot of work to get them marked up and sent out, and they’re pretty much always under a tight deadline.

Before we get too far, I’ll explain what a shop drawing is, just in case you are unfamiliar. After the construction documents are completed and in the contractor’s hands, they will go through all the products that they will need to order and install in the project. This is everything from exterior materials to window types, to door hardware, and everything in between. The contractor will look at your specifications and/or drawings and determine what products they will need. They find the cutsheets for the product and send them to you – the architect – for review. It’s your job to look at your drawings or specifications and verify that the product they are submitting meet the applicable codes and standards. It can be a very tedious process, but it’s super important to be thorough and get this right, because this is your last chance to make changes before they put the order in. From there on out, it will most likely be a large cost impact to make any changes.

Now that all of that is out of the way I’ll go over my technique to help you pound through those shop drawings in no time!

The video goes through everything in more detail than the written portion of this post. Feel free to check out either, or both!

Here’s the agenda:

1. Using Bluebeam Markups

I won’t spend a lot of time here, since I’ve gone over these tools with my video and my blog post. But, there’s one tool I want to reiterate since it’s super helpful and I don’t think a lot of people know about it.

It’s the ‘Change Colors’ tool. It allows you to take a snip of part of your drawing and then change the linework color of that snip. Here’s a quick GIF to demonstrate:
GIF demonstrating how to change color of linework for a snip in Bluebeam

2. Insert PDF

After we make our markups in Bluebeam we always put a coversheet on the front of the document. It has a bunch of general info on there like who reviewed it, what date, what the submittal is for, general notes, etc.

This step is pretty easy. Just open up your file explorer, find the file, and drag-and-drop it into your thumbnails – see the GIF below for an example.

Gif demonstrating how to insert a cover sheet in Bluebeam

3. Flatten Markups

The last step is to flatten your markups. This helps prevent anyone from modifying your document after you send it to the contractor. It merges all of your markups with the document itself so all of your markups are essentially locked. You can undo this process later on if you realized you made a mistake and need to change something yourself. It’s a real easy process and I recommend you always do this before sending a final marked up document to someone outside your company.
Gif showing how to flatten a document in Bluebeam

That’s all I’ve got for you on marking up shop drawings using Bluebeam. Thanks for checking it out! As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to let me know below!


The Archi-Tech Guy

Thanks for following along! Check out my youtube channel for other How-To Videos for Architects.

I’ve also got some great bite-sized tutorials and more on my Instagram!

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