Identifying Root Causes of Long Review Times for Engineering Shop Drawings

Chang-Sun Chin1

1Ph.D., Honorary Fellow, Construction Engineering and Management Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, [email protected]


Every construction project requires approved shop drawings. Design drawings do not show details required for installation, so (sub)contractors cannot construct/install without approved shop drawings. Shop drawings are generally produced by subcontractors and should be reviewed and approved by appropriate parties promptly in order to avoid production delays. Observations on the shop drawing review process reveal that engineering review times of such major construction components as structural steels and reinforcing bars are unnecessarily long and often fail to meet the time frames within which contractors expect to receive responses from the design team. The primary goal of the study is to identify and speculate about possible measures for eliminating the root causes of long review times for engineering shop drawings. Since it is not a simple task to identify and eliminate root causes of any problem because problems are always coupled with their business and work processes, the study uses a systematic problem-solving technique: problem understanding, problem-cause brainstorming, problem-cause data collection and analysis, and root-cause identification. The study reveals that the root cause of long engineering review time is insufficient and unclear information, rather than capability or availability of reviewers.


Engineering review, problem solving, root causes, shop drawings



Chin, C. 2009. Identifying Root Causes of Long Review Times for Engineering Shop Drawings , 17th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 557-572.

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