It's 2015 - Why are you not printing your Construction Documents in Color?

[fa icon="calendar"] August 17, 2015 / by TPM Admin

It's 2015 - Why are you not printing your Construction Documents in Color? 

By John Wagner, TPM Wide Format Printing Product Manager

The key findings of a landmark study conducted by Lyra Research in 2010 found that the Architectural, Construction and Engineering Firms (AEC) that utilized color construction documents saved money, reduced mistakes, and improved project collaboration.

"Construction workflows that leverage color, design and construction documentation and printing provide an important means for reducing costs for traditional design-bid-build projects. Relative to the cost of color printing, the improvements in collaboration gained through reduced estimation contingencies, requests for information and change orders can readily exceed a 4:1 ratio, in which each incremental dollar invested in color printing can yield $4 in savings for a given project. These savings are derived through the use of higher-quality color construction documentation during the estimation, bidding, and construction phases of building where collaboration extends across multiple downstream stakeholders, such as specialty subcontractors, fabricators, and suppliers.” Source: Lyra Research, Inc., Color Construction Documents: A Simple Way to Reduce Costs, April 2010 

So why in 2015 are so many firms still using only black and white prints for their construction documents?

A few of the reasons I've run across when speaking to clients in the industry are:

  • Cost - Color is too expensive, we can't afford it
  • Speed - Color wide format printers are too slow
  • Tradition - We've just always used black & white prints and that is what our people in the field are used to

While the reasoning above may have been true in the past, these assumptions are just incorrect today. Modern wide format color printing technology now allows color construction line drawings to be printed at the same cost as black and white line drawings and enables firms to produce full color renderings in-house at very low cost.  This doesn’t even take into account the savings incurred by reduced construction errors. When critical construction information is only displayed in black and white, details are lost and costly construction mistakes are made.

Speed is not an issue.  The latest color capable wide format printers can print at speeds rivaling and in some cases exceeding the fastest black and white only wide format printers in the industry.  HP’s soon to be released Page Wide XL 8000 can print up to 30 D/A1 size page per minuteOCE’s ColorWave 500 is able to produce up to 225 D-sized monochrome and color prints per hour.  In fact the greatest time savings have not been achieved by faster print speeds but by improved processing technology which has greatly shortened  time it takes to a prepare a complex job for printing.

Construction Document from PageWideXL A Construction Document printed from a HP PageWide XL.

Perhaps the greatest reason to invest in color printing of your AEC documents is that your designers and contractors are now used to seeing designs in color.  Designers create in color in their CAD systems.  Contractors and field personnel regularly view these documents in color with their digital formats, but often lose this capability in the field leading to mistakes and miscommunication.

So why are you not printing your construction documents in color? 

If you are ready to learn more about the advantages of color in construction documents, contact TPM. 

Topics: AEC, Document & Print Solutions

TPM Admin

Written by TPM Admin

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