How Having More Hard Copy Drawings Can Minimize Project Cost Overruns

Whether you’re a project manager, architect, or contractor, hard copy prints are key to any successful building project. At the same time, forward-leaning teams and project accountants hoping to cut costs oftentimes view hard copy prints as an antiquated expense that can either be omitted or reduced to save money. Throughout the process, teams can become vulnerable to the challenges associated with digital files, or degraded drawing sets. In turn, large projects can run millions or even billions of dollars over-budget. Likewise, projects could be cancelled altogether if the team has incorrect information. Overall, the amount of money spent on hard copy drawings is minimal compared to potential budget overruns. Having accurate, readily-available onsite drawings is a simple way to keep your entire team on the same page – literally!   

File Accessibility

On any job site, flexibility and portability are key. When project leads decide to eliminate or reduce hard copy prints, they may believe that they’ll have one less item to transport to the job site. They forget that their team still requires file access. Depending on connectivity, some sites may have difficulty downloading updated files. In turn, they either need to provide tablets or pack additional computers on-site. As a result, expenses can rise while convenience can fall. 

Compatibility Issues

With paper prints, what you see is what you get. After pressing the ‘print’ button on that IFC Set, your entire team sees the same thing. With digital files, however, a team member may incorrectly save over the file, reference an outdated file, or even lose the file altogether. 

Some modern day planning rooms consolidate and host project files, oftentimes leading to incorrect exports. Here, the risks are high if you only provide digital files to your team. If the team needs printed drawings, the file printing method is now out of your control. If the data or files are corrupted during printing, your liability as a project owner increases, as those corrupt drawings may be incorrect.

File Interpretation Errors 

Many project overruns stem from contractors underbidding due to incorrect expectations of the work scope from the get-go. Not having enough drawings in your bid to cover detailed work scopes leads to misinterpretations of the work scope. Smaller print sets may lead to less printing, but at the same time, more drawings create less room for project bidding errors. More drawings also creates more equal bids coming in as details are clarified and unknowns are minimized. By coupling hard copy drawings with their digital counterparts, you may generate even more bids.

Onsite Delays

If teams are waiting for updated files or onsite prints, productivity is slowed. Needless to say, time is money. If teams are provided with ample sets of drawings to keep everyone on the same page, those drawings can be quickly shared with others to maximize team-wide productivity


The construction industry is riddled with lawsuits over who is responsible for what. By having parties sign proper printed drawings with contractual details, you can avoid these headaches. Next, file the documents away in a safe place as a reference.

Procurement mistakes 

If teams reference an outdated file by accident, the old file may require more or less materials than the updated version. In turn, your team may order unnecessary materials. Giving your entire team access to the printed IFC Set is a sanity check that ensures they are viewing the right information. 

Incorrect measurements 

If a mistake goes unnoticed after referencing an outdated file, your team may have a costly redo. Ensuring that the updated set of drawings is easily accessible for reference can minimize those measurement errors. 

Construction software programs can be risky without having proper hardcopy drawings onsite. Fortunately, you can minimize errors by making sure all parties involved have ample access to digital and printed copies. 

Getting Started

For architects in need of scaled drawings, project managers seeking accurate blueprints, or contractors who need to print a set, our TR Trades Reproduction team provides precise printing solutions and drawing delivery services to either your job site or office.

For questions, our knowledgeable support team is available via phone at 604-736-4571 or through email at

We look forward to hearing from you!

TR Trades Reproduction Ltd.

1744 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver BC
604.736.4571 x 2

Mon to Thurs 7:30am to 9:00pm
Friday 7:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm
After hours printing available!