Grassroots Group of Construction Professionals Pushes For PDF Standards

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If you’ve been to a construction site in the last 10 years, you likely know that the days of huge sheet sets of plans printed ad infinitum are going away. While the level of technology adoption varies widely from job to job, the Portable Document Format (PDF) has largely replaced printed sheet sets, allowing better communication and saving trees, too.

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Although the PDF is the de facto format for digital construction documentation, national design standards haven’t yet been defined, meaning construction companies and CAD managers often have to change sharing methods and mark-ups for every job. Now, a group of design teams, constructors and every group in the construction chain, is trying to change that.  The Construction PDF Coalition ( is a grassroots group with members from major general contractors such as Turner and DPR Construction. Its aim is define standards to be implemented at project onset by the project team.


Some construction work is too complicated for 2D plans.

Nathan Wood, a project engineer at DPR, said the coalition wants fellow construction professionals to take a look at the site, including a survey of existing guidelines that can provide feedback, which will be compiled and reviewed as the group begins to create new standards and guidelines.

Wood said that on many projects BIM adoption and 3D model coordination during the construction phase is based on a coordination model that has to be reliable, especially for field managers. That’s one driver behind the coalition’s effort to agree on PDF formats that help teams align properly. Standards for digital documents can mean better procurement options for estimators and better quantity take-off for construction projects.

Design Members of the CPC

Allen Angle, BRG
Buddy Gessel, BN Design Studio
Adam Azofeifa, Holmes Culley
Dave Leptich, NBBJ
Dean Hendry, Devenney Group Architects
Kevin Reed, GGLO, Inc.
Nathan Woods, Taylor Design
Daniel Swaab, Mithun, Inc.
General Contractor Coalition Members
Eric Cleveland, Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC
Nima Darabi, Hoffman Construction Company
Chad Dorgan, McCarthy Building Companies
Kyle Hughes, Skanska
Kris Lengieza, Stiles Construction
Andrew Marsters, BNBuilders
Terriann Nohilly, Turner Construction
Nick Pfenning, Mortenson
Kevin Sund, Hoffman Construction Company
Nathan Wood, DPR Construction


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