Ottawa Construction Association

Interpreting Construction Drawings and Specifications - 2 Day Course

Upcoming Sessions
Nov 25, 2019
Click to Register
Course Duration

The course duration is approximately 2 days


OCA Members: $325.
Non-Members: $400.


This 16 hour interactive course will teach the student how to read various types of drawings used in Construction projects. The importance of reading, understanding and using drawings is pivotal in maintaining effective communication that impacts cost, time and overall management of a successful construction project.  Drawings created by different disciplines including architects, engineers, interior designers, technologists all mean different things and must be read in conjunction with one-another for project success.

This course has been accredited with 2 Gold Seal Credits.    

Delivered over 2 full days, and using an example project, the student can expect the following outcomes:

  • Understand the role and responsibility of contributors to the construction document process: Architect, Engineer, Designer, Draftsperson, Sub-Contractor shop documents, Manufacturers and Suppliers.

  • Decipher between a complete set of drawings and incomplete for scope requirements

  • Read and interpret INTENT versus construction detailing of different drawings and how and where to get further information. 

  •  Understand issuances of drawings and obsolete or amended information

  • Understand all symbols and abbreviations used by design professionals and what they mean relative to each other navigating a set of drawings

  • Introduction to using and navigating a specification and its purpose relative to the responsibility of stakeholders

  • Concepts in Law for the use of drawings and specifications in the project 

  • Basic understanding of Ontario Building Code, NFPA, and other codes that impact drawing content.

  • Basic understanding of requirements of authorities having jurisdiction for planning control and satisfying permit to construct requirements

  • Basic take off for preliminary estimating

  • Basic introduction to current physical changes happening in the electronic creation of construction documents.

Recognizing the diverse roles of the various students in the class, the course will be adjusted to suit each in the room and address where they fit in the process.   This course is valuable for new project managers, owner agent project managers and administrators, buyers of construction services, interns in the architectural or engineering disciplines, junior estimators or sub-contractors required to produce shop drawings.


Offering clients and course attendees 25 years of construction industry experience in Canada, Derek is a trained design professional having practiced privately for over 15 years of his career collaborating on over $300 million in built or contemplated ICI and residential projects resulting in over 75 projects.  As the CEO of the London & District Construction Association (2007-2012) he acted as employer bargaining agent to General Contractors in a successful strike free round (2010).  LDCA was also where he was introduced to Government Relations and industry advocacy activities, having chaired the Construction Lien Act Amendment committee for the Council of Ontario Construction Associations.  His work path led in 2013 to creating Constructionlab - now comprised of three facilitators covering topics of interest in vertical and civil construction - ICI and multi unit residential.  

Derek maintains a clear understanding of the construction supply chain from conceptual design through total performance, and as such is a hands-on workshop and course developer/facilitator sought out by the largest to the smallest AEC companies in Canada working in the design and construction space.  Since 2013, Constructionlab has developed 5 Gold Seal courses, a dozen custom corporate training sessions for global companies, and delivered workshops to over 3000 construction stakeholders.  Attendees to workshops include project managers, lawyers, architects, engineers, procurement professionals and owners, sub-contractors and more.  Derek has been a trusted advisor to the Canadian Construction Association, and Canadian Construction Innovations.  Recently, Derek authored Mastering the Modern Business of Construction in Canada - A Handbook of Best Practices.

Upcoming Sessions
Nov 25, 2019
Click to Register