ED-1 Course: Shop Drawings - Part One


The construction/contract drawings and specifications prepared by the consultant show the general design concept of the project and each of the major components and their relationships to each other.

Some of the subcontractors and suppliers must prepare additional drawings, diagrams, schedules, and other data to illustrate the specific way in which their particular company or shop will undertake to furnish, fabricate, assemble, or install their scope of works/products.

These additional drawings are what we called “shop drawings”.

fig (1) Shop Drawing for installation of Diesel Generator

fig (2) installation of Diesel Generator based on fig (1)

Shop Drawings Definition: see fig (1) & (2)

The Means Illustrated Construction Dictionary Third Edition Unabridged defined it as follows:

"Shop Drawings are Drawings created by a contractor, subcontractor, vendor, manufacturer, or other entity that illustrate construction, materials, dimensions, installation, and other pertinent information for the incorporation of an element or item into the construction."

My brief definition for shop drawings is as follows:

Shop drawings are fully detailed and fully dimensioned drawings (disregard for which works they are done).

Shop Drawings importance:

  • Shop drawings are submitted for the purpose of illustrating how the contractor proposes to conform to the requirements and design concepts expressed in the construction drawings and specifications. 
  • Shop drawings are needed by the fabrication shops for their own use in instructing their own personnel how to carry out the requirements of the contract documents. Fabricators will produce the shop drawings even if they are not asked to submit them for consultant’s approval. 
  • Shop drawings are needed to give the consultant the opportunity to review the fabricator’s version of the product, prior to fabrication. Shop drawings facilitate the architect’s and engineer’s approval of the product.
  • Shop drawings are needed to ascertain that the contractor understands the architectural and engineering design concepts and to correct any misapprehensions before they are carried out in the shop or field. 

Shop Drawing Procedures:
  1. The contractor is obligated by the contract documents to submit shop drawings, product data, and samples for certain parts of the work to the consultant. 
  2. The consultant is obligated by the owner- consultant agreement to “review and approve or take other appropriate action upon Contractor’s Shop Drawings submitals. 
  3. After reviewing shop drawings by the consultant, they are then sent back to the general contractor, approved, conditionally approved, or disapproved. 
  4. The contractor will revise and submit all drawings that are conditionally approved, or disapproved to get final approval from the consultant. 

fig (3): Shop Drawing Stamp

Shop Drawing Stamps: 
see fig (3)

The consultant usually express their opinion of the shop drawings by use of the rubber stamp which usually has some exculpatory language in fine print plus some options which can be exercised by use of check marks. Often the stamp says something like "Review is for general compliance with Contract Documents. No responsibility is assumed for correctness of dimensions or details."

The various options to be selected include:

  • Reviewed.
  • Approved.
  • Rejected.
  • Revise and Resubmit.
  • Furnish as Corrected.
  • No Exception Taken.
  • Make Corrections Noted.
  • Submit Specified Item. 

Space is also usually provided for the date of review and action and the shop drawing number.

fig (4): letter of transmittal

Important Notes for Shop Drawings approval:

  • The accompanying letter of transmittal (see fig.4) should have additional comments that are needed to explain the reviewer’s action or conditions of approval. 
  • In the practical world of construction, all words that do not reject the shop drawings will be interpreted as approving them. 
  • The consultant's review is not to be taken as an approval of any safety precautions as these are the contractor's responsibility. The consultant's review is limited to determining if the requirements of the contract documents are being met and that the completed work will be in compliance with the contract documents. 
  • The consultant's approval of a shop drawing does not relieve the contractor of responsibility for meeting requirements of the contract documents. 
  • It is the contractor's responsibility to assure that all work on the job is in conformance with approved shop drawings 

in the next topic, I will continue explaining some important facts about Shop Drawings. again i promise you to make a special course for Shop Drawings but please, keep following.


  1. Wonderful , Dear eng./ Ali , I want you to know that a complete and professional step-by-step shopdrawing course will be an exclusive,unique course of your web-site.

    So, I want you please to make it as soon as possible

    Thanks in advance ... M.Montaser

  2. Thanks a lot for this wonderful information.

  3. Thank you Engineer Ali, your lesson are very helpful to me.