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September 2, 2004

Guide addresses best practices

CCA to produce ‘how-to manual’ for plansrooms

BY PATRICIA WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

As a result of copyright infringement complaints and concerns regarding use of digital electronic drawings, the e-construction committee of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has decided to produce an information kit for use by plansrooms operated by member associations.

The guide will address best practices related to the use of digital electronic drawings for bidding purposes as well as ensuring the integrity and security of the design drawings.

“Hopefully, this will become a how-to manual,” said Doug Hotston, the CCA’s director of industry technology and trade services and secretary to the e-construction committee.

“Owners will be the main audience for this document.”

Hotston, whose association has endorsed a policy statement on the use of digital electronic information for construction tendering, said CCA would like to see some consistency in the way in which digital files are produced and formatted as well as displayed in electronic plansrooms.

Doug Hotston

“Some owners are getting PDF files from their consultants while others get TIF files,” he said.

“Design professionals are all using different software platforms as well.”

Hotston said CCA also would like to see some consistency in the types of agreements that plansrooms have with owners who deposit their plans for display electronically, dealing with copyright restrictions and the like.

“This has become an issue for a lot of design professionals and provincial (architects’) associations,” Hotston said.

In assembling its kit, the e-construction committee is keeping an eye on consultations being carried out by Public Works and Government Services Canada, a key industry client at the federal level.

The department is looking at developing standard technical procedures.

“In a lot of cases, what they (Public Works) are doing right now is taking hard-copy sets of plans and specifications and scanning them—which is very inefficient,” Hotston said.

“That is how they are generating electronic files.”

That is also the case with Ontario's Ministry of Transportation, which Hotston said “probably has the most robust" electronic tendering system currently on the market.

“They post their drawings and accept bids electronically, but all the drawings are still scanned.”

The committee hopes to have a draft of the kit’s contents completed for discussion at a meeting in Ottawa next month.

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