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Canon Solutions America Provides Guidance to the Architectural and Engineering Industry

Press release from the issuing company

How a Simple Change to Color Can Benefit Your Business 

Melville, N.Y. – For many architecture and engineering (AE) firms, making the transition to building information modeling (BIM) is still too costly, despite the many benefits; but there is an often overlooked alternative. By incorporating color into construction documents, firms can deliver significant cost savings opportunities to project owners and general contractors, as well as gain a competitive advantage.

Canon Solutions America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A, Inc, outlines below how a simple change to color can help AE firms realize the many of the benefits of BIM – for a fraction of the cost.

Reduce the Frequency of Requests for Information (RFI)

AE firms draft building designs to meet owners’ conceptual project requirements, but these designs overlook the level of detail that general contractors require to determine the constructability of a project. Additionally, general contractors typically enter the building project well after the project owner has approved the building designs. As a result, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers will often generate an unnecessary number of RFIs to better understand the designs and project requirements.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) estimates that annual costs for RFI management as well as design and information verification for the average AE firm are $0.05 per square foot and $0.10 per square foot, respectively1. By improving detail and removing ambiguity, AE firms will benefit from a reduction in costs associated with RFI management during construction, as well as costs for design and construction information verification during the estimation and bidding phase of a project.

Reduce Estimation and Bidding Costs

Since general contractors become involved after the building design has been approved, they often receive insufficient design and construction documentation from AE firms during the estimating and bidding process. As a result, they will build in estimation and change order cost contingencies, which are billed back to the AE firms. For moderately complex capital building projects, contingencies of 10 to 20 percent are considered common without the use of BIM or color 2D construction documents2.

By making the switch to color documentation, AE firms can reduce the number of errors and omissions up front, while improving overall collaboration and communication throughout the design-bid-build process. In addition, AE firms are exerting cost control up front, eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of estimating and change order cost contingencies that general contractors build-in to their bids.

Improve Your Competitive Advantage

Applying color construction documents to design-bid-build projects presents a significant near-term opportunity for improving project collaboration and reducing project-related waste. Incorporating more detailed color documentation can help to ensure that communication between all stakeholders is improved, while also increasing value to the project owner, reducing waste and maximizing efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction. By enabling project owners to capitalize on cost saving opportunities that come from improved communication and reduced waste – such as accelerated project schedules and reduced errors and omissions – AE firms can gain a significant competitive advantage.

Color CAD systems are widely in place today, and construction documentation and designs created in CAD are created natively in color, which can readily increase the quality and detail in conceptual designs for estimating, bidding, and preconstruction activities. Compared with the upfront costs required to implement BIM, including software, computing hardware, staffing, and training, color CAD documentation workflows can be implemented more quickly and with less overhead.

For more information on how Canon Solutions America helps architecture and engineering industry professionals economically incorporate color into their workflows through its line-up of large format color inkjet printers, plotters and multifunction systems, visit: www.csa.canon.com/colorforcontruction.

To learn more about the cost savings that can be gained by simply adding color to your construction documents, download the new Lyra Research whitepaper “Color Construction Documents: A Simple Way to Reduce Costs” here: www.csa.canon.com/lyra.


1Gallaher, Michael P., Alan C. O’Connor, John L. Dettbarn, Jr., Linda T. Gilday, “Cost Analysis of Inadequate Interoperability in the U.S. Capital Facilities Industry,”NIST GCR 04-867, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, August 2004,

<http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/oae/publications/gcrs/04867.pdf> (4 January 2010).


2 U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration, “Design-Build Effectiveness Study,” January 2006, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/designbuild/designbuild.htm


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