The Best Practices for Document Control and Quality Control for Engineering Drawings

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My most recent assignment to work with a major oil production company is clearly another eye opener in many ways. I expanded my experience that oil production and associative construction projects require significant visual support from numerous drawings. At the same time, I have more realized how important the documents are and why it is important to plan the right document management process containing the necessary support in terms of design and engineering.

Employers, generally, aren’t satisfied with the slow progress of engineers, as they handle working models one by one. The former group of personnel, in fact, provide a great deal of importance to designs and engineering drawings that have been prepared with adequate support from relevant data. Here follows the main reasons for the support:

  • Engineering designs provide clear course of action that needs to be followed in materializing the final goal, consistently. The consistence factor receives a great deal of stress as it functions as the foundation for product improvement and efficient production.
  • Engineering designs, supported by relevant data, is a clear proof that the final outcome will be in accordance with the ultimate objective. This conformance is important to convince both internal stakeholders and external factors to continue with their support for the project.

Document Control and Quality Control for Engineering

However, the above-mentioned purposes will not be satisfied simply through producing engineering drawings and storing relevant data. The true purpose will be served only when these documents will be protected, reviewed, passed through an approval method, published regularly and preserved. In this way, not only the objective of document control will be achieved but also it can be applied to the best use of the project.

This article, thus, will be aimed at promoting the best practices that are helpful in attaining the assurance of high quality and accuracy of engineering drawings, that is used through-out the construction project until its  production process.

Drawing Management System

Engineering drawing contains several aspects, such as, general arrangement for a project, detailing and schematic. The entire process is completed by an application software on a paper. Drawing management system and measures of document control takes into account both contents of the document and accordingly figure out the best control process for the same.

The drawing management system determines that engineering drawings, which is inclusive of technical documentation (specific instructions or procedures), should also contain the following attributes:

  • Name of the organization that owns the document and also possesses the ultimate responsibility for the content of the document
  • Unique document numbering system to make document identification easier
  • Clearly understandable title and description of the document
  • The document revision and developing a system to indicate any iteration of a particular design
  • Clear specification of the name of author(s), reviewer(s) and/or anyone else, who has taken part in creating the information
  • Presence of the relevant technical details to achieve this objective

Every figure or engineering design should be provided with a unique number before it is drafted or prior to start with a new drafting procedure (in case of any new drawing only). However, the process to determine the numbers for figures should comply with the norms of concerned conventions. The document control system should undertake the responsibility for allocating, logging and administrating the entire process of numbers to the drawings. Ideally, the supplied information would be taken into account by the document control system before assigning a number. Once the responsible document controller would enter the requisite details in to the drawing management system, the unique drawing number will be produced. Either manually or automatically, the unique document number would be sent to the originator.

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There is a set of procedures that document control process comprises when it comes to creation and maintenance of engineering drawings. The process of engineering drawing management comprises several business norms, such as:

  • The exact types of drawings are supported along with their content and format
  • The characteristic marks in which the drawings should be identified, in terms of ownership, number, date of revision or title
  • Name of the person or persons, responsible for creation, review and approval of the drawings
  • The procedure to determine the right time for the documents to be handed over to the concerned/interested parties
  • The procedure to determine the right conditions that makes necessary for the documents to review, revise, replace or cancel
  • The procedure to determine the best method for controlling, recalling or destroying the engineering drawings

It is important to note that engineering drawings remains with the drawing management system until its absolution but should never be deleted.

The superseded revisions of drawings should be protected as a record of the changes that have been made during life cycle of advancement within the course of drawing and drawing management system should play the key role in attaining this objective.

Quality Check for Engineering Drawings

Here follows the list of best practices that the management system should observe while undergoing a quality check and ensuring the delivery of accurate information:

Image Scanning

  • Whether or not the scanned image is of good quality and edible

Template Creation

  • Guarantee of the match between engineering drawing and drawing template
  • Whether or not the drawing contains the right logo

Title Block Inspection

  • Drawing number
  • Is the Drawing Number field filled in? (Is the correct syntax used?)
  • Is Drawing Number registered in System?
  • Tag number (Only for Tag specific drawing)
  • Is Tag Number(s) registered with client?
  • Revision Number – is it the correct revision number?
  • Does the Revision Number match the revision number issued in the System?
  • Does the Drawing type and Title Match?
  • Check if Drawing Content Description is correct.
  • Tags for tag specific drawings
  • Check for Correct Syntax used, and Match Drawing number.
  • Project Name / Number: – Is it filled in?
  • Job Number: – is it filled in?
  • Department: – Is it filled in?
  • Area: – Is it filled in with correct Plant number?
  • Date: – Is it in correct format? (i.e. dd-mmm-yy)
  • Scale: – Is it filed in? (i.e. Metric scales or NTS – Not To Scale)
  • Drawn By: – Is it filled in?
  • Engineer: – Is it filled in?
  • Checked: – Is it filled in?
  • Approved: – Is it filled in?

Revision Block Inspection

  • Rev – Does it match Revision Number in Title Block?
  • Date – Is it in correct format? (i.e. dd-mmm-yy)
  • Description – Is it filled in? (Clear and understandable description)
  • By – Is it filled in? (Typed initials and / or Signature)
  • Checked – Is it filled in? (Typed initials and / or Signature)
  • Engineer – Is it filled in? (Typed initials and / or Signature)
  • Approved – Is it filled in? (Typed initials and / or Signature)

Stamp Block Inspection

  • Does it have a stamp if one is required – (i.e. Issued for Construction only)
  • Is Permit stamp available?
  • Is Professional stamp available?

Engineering Contractors (if any) Block

  • Company Name / logo
  • Project Name / Number (if different from Owner’s project number)
  • Contractor’s Drawing Number
  • Revision

Reference Block

  • Drawing Number – Is the correct syntax used?
  • Is reference drawing number(s) available in the System?
  • Description of Reference Documents
  • Does the description match the title of drawing issued in the System?

It is quite frequently observed that the parameters of quality checks are performed in the form of restrained template or check sheets. In either case, the documents can be filled conveniently by the concerned document controllers. The document control group should also be responsible for managing, administering and safekeeping of the engineering drawings.

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Monika Ardianto

Quality Management Consultant and Auditor at Monika Nonce Ardianto
Monika Ardianto is a Certified Quality/Operational Management Consultant with over 20 years of experience in improving quality management systems of large businesses. She is an award winning author of "Winning the Audit".

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