Pondering on Printing Plans from Your Executive Director


Last month, I celebrated my 29th anniversary with the Northwest Regional Builders Exchange. Many things have changed in those 29 years (including our name and my hair color!). Contractors who have not been in our office for a few years, come in now and look at our plan rack and think we aren’t busy because we don’t have plans hanging as far as the eye can see. We are still busy. In fact, our membership and plan numbers are at an increase over the past few years. The construction industry survived a few hard years, but, I believe, will come out stronger because of it.

As I mentioned, the number of plans we have received is at an increase for 2016 compared to 2015. However, our plan racks are EMPTY! Twenty-nine years ago when I was first starting, all of our plans were sent in hard copy. We then in turn shipped that hard copy back to the architect/owner/general. A few years ago when we started receiving plans electronically, we began the procedure of printing off all of those plans and specs. Soon we realized that contractors were able to print off the spec pages at their own offices, so we discontinued printing spec books. At that point we continued printing off the blueprint pages. Then realized those were not getting looked at as much. Then we printed just the local projects, then just the architectural and structural pages of those local projects. Do you see a trend here?

Yes, we are printing less and less. And we have finally come to the conclusion that we will no longer print any plans or specs to view in office. HOWEVER, if you come to our office and need to see a hard copy of the floor plans for the hospital in Timbuktu, we will print that section of plans for you for in office use at no charge.

In all of this our members are our number one concern. We realized that we were wasting a lot of paper printing off plans that were never opened by anyone. It makes more sense for us to print off 10 pages for one contractor to look at than to print 100’s of pages that no one looks at. We continue to look for ways to keep our membership costs low, but still provide for our members’ needs. Your suggestions are always welcome.

This digital age has stolen our face-to-face contact with our members – and we miss that contact. Our website is well visited by our members on a daily basis (as our office used to be). We have accepted the fact that we are no longer the contractor’s excuse to get out of the office and are finding ways to make ourselves useful. Come visit us sometime – we get lonely!

Yours truly ~

dawn and staff