Interpreting Blueprints & Specifications


Product Overview


Using an example three-story commercial project, this course will walk you through a complete set of architectural, mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural drawings. You will learn how to read and decipher a set of blueprints, including: plans, sections, elevations, plan details, and drawing conventions (standards, line weights, line types), and more!  In second half of the course, you will learn the components of the three-part National Master Specification (NMS). By the end of the course, you will learn how to create specification sections based on ARCAT website software. *Students will need a calculator and be prepared to complete some basic math exercises

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Interpreting Drawings
    • Understand what constitutes a “complete” set of drawings used in contract documents
    • Be able to scan an entire set of drawings (A, C, S, M, E, L disciplines) and evaluate the degree of errors and omissions
    • Learn how to cross reference plans, to building sections, to wall sections, to elevations, to details
    • Be able to read and apply material schedules found in drawings
    • Understand how tagging works to coordinate the information between material schedules and drawings
  • 3-Part Specifications:
    • Understand the components of a 3-part MASTERFORMAT specification, Division 1 General Conditions, and Division 2-49 of Technical Specifications
    • Learn how to use the practical applications of ARCAT for specification editing
    • Be able to develop specification sections and apply correct formatting

Technical Requirements

No special software is required for this course; however, students should have:

  • Basic PDF reader
  • 2-screen computer/laptop set-up (highly recommended). Your instructor will provide you with a set of digital blueprints. We recommend you have a second screen available so you can follow-along with the instructor.
  • Calculator

Course Format

  • Live, Online, Instructor-led training.
    • This course is facilitated by the instructor on the Zoom platform. Access information will be provided to you in advance of the training.
    • You will be expected to have your webcam on during the class and participate in group discussions and other activities with your instructor and classmates during the course.
  • This course is delivered in partnership with local construction associations. You will be participating with a cohort of industry peers from multiple regions.

Course Requirements (Technology & Participation)

Please make sure you have the following:

  • Computer or laptop with webcam: This course will involve on-screen interaction with your instructor and classmates, reading/viewing on-screen content like slides or videos, and interacting via typing with questions or responses. For this reason, we recommend that you have a full computer/laptop set-up and don’t recommend using a cell phone or tablet to attend the training.
  • A quiet space with minimal distractions: plan to be fully engaged in the class and clear your work schedule just as you would for attendance in an in-class program.

About The Instructor

Derek is a design professional with 15+ years of experience teaching at the college level. As a design professional, Derek has collaborated on over $300 million in built or contemplated ICI and residential projects working for clients like Chrysler Corporation, Penske Industries, University of Windsor, Nature Fresh, COCO Paving/Developments and more. In 2007 he became Executive Director of the London & District Construction Association. During his time in this role, he chaired the Construction Lien Act Task Force for the Council of Ontario Construction Associations – which led to the recent prompt payment and adjudication in Ontario. In 2010, Derek also acted as employer bargaining agent to General Contractors and Civil Contractors in a successful strike free round.

Since he founded Constructionlab in 2015, Derek has been trusted by over 1000 small, medium and large construction firms, law firms, design firms and real estate development firms to deliver best-practice advice on labour, procurement, contract administration, and more. He counts 12 mixed-trade and labour relations construction associations as clients. Derek is also the inventor of the JOBSITE boardgame! He recently invented, manufactured and released this series of construction industry and design sector themed board games to raise awareness of construction careers through spirited play and learning.