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Zero Drawing Construction

The Zero Drawings (or ‘drawingless construction’) approach is a process and methodology conceived by Sweco’s BIM specialists. Put simply, time-consuming physical drawings are no longer required for the site team to build from – instead, a 3D model-based workflow is used from concept to completion.

In basic terms, all the information the project delivery team needs sits within the drawingless model, which gives them the ability to use a non-physical 3D model alongside the tools they have on site. The concept is ideal for streamlining any construction project, but particularly where deadlines make physical drawings less viable.


How Zero Drawing construction works

Traditional perception is that drawings are essential for building any structure. At Sweco, we always question established ‘truths’ – which we believe limits thinking – and have conceived a Zero Drawings approach that is  proving the merit of more innovative digital and BIM-focused thinking.

Innovation meets emotion – our Danish colleague Øystein Ulvestad shares his story and explains the benefits of Zero Drawing construction.
Out with the old…

Traditional methodology involved creating 3D models, but then compressing them to a 2D drawing which became the basis of 3D construction. This effectively ‘downgraded’ the project design at the most crucial stage, and left lots of room for error in each of these linear and ‘flattened’ processes.

In with the new…

Using a Zero Drawings approach, we now take information from the core 3D model, and implement it to a 3D structure directly using contextual digital data capture and visualisation, which eliminates a lot of the transformational risks and ‘points of failure’ of traditional methodology. Sweco UK’s BIM Manager, Dinos Ipiotis explains more…

If we only produce 2D drawings as a construction guide, we only communicate a small part of the data that lies within the 3D model of a design. For example, a pipe may be presented as a single line in a basic drawing with limited information available such as pipe size and system abbreviation.


But if we make it possible – and simple – to refer to the actual 3D model itself during the build, engineers can see the space that pipe inhabits, its insulation, the properties of the pipe, the material which is made of and other relevant data such as system, length, installation height and even flow rates. With so much ‘rich’ data to hand, errors are reduced and value is added to every stage of the process.

Zero Drawing benefits

There are many benefits of keeping a project’s workflow in a 3D world. It’s easier for all stakeholders to see and understand the scope of work, and it allows more adaptability.

Whenever a problem occurs or something does not work, it’s cheaper to fix it in the model than it would be onsite. It’s even possible to subsequently use augmented reality onsite to achieve the ultimate in intuitive construction.

  • Reduces the drawings on projects by 90%
  • Reduces site queries by 50%
  • Speeds up design revisions
  • Provides one version of the truth
  • Better understanding of scope
  • Better quality control of design
  • Faster design
  • Faster revisions
  • Material takeout directly from model
Together with our clients and the collective knowledge of our 21,000 engineers, consultants and other specialists, we co-create solutions to address urbanisation, capture the power of digitalisation, and make our societies more sustainable.​ With international multi-disciplinary teams, we can call on the right insight and technical capability at the right time from across Buildings, Infrastructure, Advisory & Planning and Compliance.​

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