DWF vs PDF
Electronic Plan Check
A traditional permit process involves submitting paper copies of plans. When ‘parallell’ tracking is used, where multiple disciplines review plans simultaneously (instead of sequentially) a separate full set of plans is normally required for each reviewing entity or discipline, such as life safety, electrical, mechanical, fire sprinklers, civil, etc. In larger jurisdictions this can mean 10 sets of plans for each review cycle, which involves thousands of sheets of paper. Normally as the correction cycles proceed, much or all of this paper ends up as waste, as revised plans supercede previous submittals. Some jurisdictions do not permit just changed sheets to be submitted; sometimes so many sheets are affected by a revision that full sets must be duplicated, at considerable expense.
In the electronic plan check process, the submittal is a digital version of the drawings, either in virtual form (such as an upload to an FTP site) or in physical form (such as a burned dvd). The jurisdiction distributes the electronic file to multiple plan reviewers who can work simultaneously, and comments are created in electronic form, including potential ‘red marks’ or notations in the electronic files to help the plan preparer understand the concern or question.
Plan reviewers need large monitors to be able to effectively ‘flip back and forth’ though plan sets electronically; and often fast computers with large memory is also required to minimize delay in accessing the information. Large plan sets and dense sheets can bog down systems even with fast processors.
When expedited plan review is used that requires plan reviewers to work overtime at home, electronic plan review may not work as the equipment would ordinarily not be available. Thus, in certain jurisdictions the fastest available permit processing excludes the use of electronic plan submittals.
PDF’s are often used as a format for submitted documents; but all pdf’s are not the same. Other formats can be used such as DWF. See comparison here: https://www.cadmasters.com/class/dwfvspdf.htm and here: http://dwf.blogs.com/beyond_the_paper/2006/06/comparison_of_d.html
Comments on electronic plan check?
Comments PDF programs and approaches?
Have you been required to use particular software, and arrange pdf’s in a particular format?
How did the electronic review affect the time for permit processing?