18 Types of Construction Documents To Know for Your Projects

Construction documents are a crucial part of any building project. Without readily available, organized, and reliable documentation, your time, money, and effort could go to waste. 

Understanding the different types of construction documents ensures you know what you need and when you need it. With streamlined document collaboration processes in place, you’ll avoid delays, confusion, and costly mistakes.

What are construction documents?

Construction documents include everything from contracts and blueprints to building schedules and safety plans. From start to finish, you could be managing thousands of vital documents for each project. This paperwork allows you and your team to operate without hiccups that could slow progress and increase expenses.

Without the right system, documents could end up lost or miscategorized, and the last thing you want is to misplace a structural drawing or a site plan. Solutions like ActiveDraft allow you to stay connected with real-time editing and communication, whether your team is on- or off-site. 

Bidding and contract documents

As you kick off a building project, you’ll immediately have an influx of planning and bidding documents to manage. These define the scope of work, help you collaborate with qualified general contractors and subcontractors, and lay the financial and legal groundwork for construction. 

Bidding documents

Bidding documents include architectural drawings, cost estimates, and construction specifications. These documents outline things like project scope, workmanship expectations, and construction schedules. This provides a detailed representation of the project to ensure a fair bidding process and accurate price estimates.

Construction agreement

The construction agreement is a formal contract that outlines the job, as well as the people involved and their responsibilities. Here, you’ll see terms and conditions regarding scope, payment, materials, completion timelines, expectations for delays, and insurance requirements. 

General conditions

The general conditions document defines all contractual relationships, administrative procedures (like how to review submittals), and terms and conditions. This includes rights upon termination, job site safety requirements, and contractor insurance. In short, it provides a legal framework for all construction projects. 

Special conditions

The special conditions document expands on the general conditions document, outlining any unique project information that requires additional explanation. This can include any project-specific modifications to terms, such as an unusual payment structure or elevated standard of work. 

Scope of Work (SOW)

Before beginning the construction process, it is imperative to outline the expectations for completed work using the Scope of Work (SOW) document. This document defines the location, deliverables, and performance standards of contractors to ensure everyone’s expectations are clear.

Planning and design documents

The planning and design phase requires coordination and communication between multiple parties, including architects, engineers, clients, and contractors. This foundational phase determines how the rest of the project unfolds, so you’ll want to be meticulous with paperwork here. 

These documents form a strong foundation for a successful construction project, so it’s important to make sure your team can access and collaborate on them whenever and wherever they are. Using a powerful document collaboration tool like ActiveDraft allows you to quickly and easily work together on these important drawings with real-time PDF markup. 

Requests for Information (RFI)

A Request for Information is precisely what it sounds like: a formal request for an additional explanation regarding a design team decision. Clear communication and timely responses are crucial to avoid design development disputes and conflicting expectations. 

Architectural drawings

Architectural drawings detail the building design. These schematic designs showcase the layout, floor plan, and spatial relationships of any project. They may include detailed drawings of specialty designs, such as staircases or wall assemblies, as well as landscaping and interior design finishes. 

Engineering drawings

Unlike architectural drawings, engineering drawings focus on the structural aspects of the home, including electrical drawings, plumbing drawings, and mechanical drawings. With the input of an expert structural engineer, these documents safeguard the project from code infractions and ensure a safe, functional design. 

Site plans

Site plans are comprehensive documents that showcase the entire site, including the exact placement of buildings, roads, utilities, and landscaping. 

These kinds of construction plans also frequently include topographical features like water elements and elevation maps. This helps the team understand the broader surroundings of the project and avoid zoning complications. 

Construction phase documents

The construction phase hinges on precise execution. The more detailed information readily available to your team at this stage, the more smoothly the project will go.


The project schedule details every major milestone of your construction project. It maps out start and end dates, task dependencies, and individual task durations. This leads to better time management and helps you avoid bottlenecks and make quick adjustments to stay on track. 


Before beginning each new phase of building, the contractor will send submittals to the design team detailing the materials and equipment needed and the price of labor and parts. This can include several different documents, such as:

  • Bill of Quantities (BoQ): presents the costs of materials, labor, and equipment 
  • Bill of Materials (BoM): details the raw materials that the contractor will procure
  • Equipment List: outlines the machinery and equipment required to complete the job

Schedule of values

A schedule of values dissects the financial investment of each component of the construction project to provide a complete picture of project budget spending. The SOV allows key stakeholders to review expenses, track budget distribution at each phase of the project, and adjust spending as needed before final account settlement. 

Change orders

Formal requests for adjustments are called change orders. Anything that deviates from the initial project plan — scope of work, timelines, budget, design changes — should be submitted through a change order. This protects all parties from potential disputes and ensures appropriate compensation for any unexpected labor or expenses.  

Daily reports

Daily reports record progress to track completion of work, materials used, and any unexpected issues. Documenting each day’s work keeps stakeholders informed and ensures prompt issue resolution and accurate resource monitoring. 

These reports also document project data that could be crucial in the event of a legal dispute, protecting the construction firm and contractors. 

Safety and quality documents

Safety and quality documentation are critical for quality assurance and the safety of both construction industry professionals and building occupants. 

Safety plan

Safety plans clearly illustrate expectations for all workers, including procedures for on-site behavior, incident reporting, and regulation compliance. 

Clearly documenting safety protocols helps keep workers safe throughout the duration of the project. It also protects the construction firm and contractors by outlining financial and legal responsibilities in the event of an accident.

Quality control plan

A quality control plan is vital to complete the project up to the standards defined in the bidding documents and design paperwork. By meticulously inspecting and testing components, materials, and work, you can flag and address concerns earlier, avoiding unexpected delays later on. 

Non-Conformance Reports (NCRs)

Mistakes happen, and sometimes workmanship or a building component does not meet established quality standards. In this case, non-conformance reports document the issue and initiate corrective action to remedy the situation as fast as possible to avoid delays. 

Legal documents ensure all aspects of a construction project comply with local, state, and federal codes, including building codes and environmental standards. 

Building permits and licenses

Legal authorization for your building project is non-negotiable. Building permits and licenses authenticate approval from regulatory bodies, such as local or state officials. This official paperwork verifies alignment with building codes, zoning regulations, and accessibility standards. 

Safety and environmental regulations

These documents relay the specific standards set by federal, state, and local agencies to protect workers, the public, and the environment during building activities. 

Following these regulations closely ensures legal compliance, helps maintain quality standards, and bolsters your reputation. It also encourages more productivity from motivated workers who feel safe and secure in their workplace. 

Closeout documents

The last stage of the building process is closeout. These documents finalize the project before turning over the keys.

Punch lists

During the final walkthrough, stakeholders and contractors create punch lists to identify any residual fixes required before closing. These could include things like adding missing power outlet covers, touching up paint, adjusting light fixtures, and performing HVAC system checks.

Inspection reports

At project completion, inspectors will perform official checks of the building and its systems to ensure building safety and quality of workmanship. This set of construction documents verifies that all work meets the project specifications and complies with building codes. 

As-built drawing sets

Because construction projects do not always go exactly as planned, the original designs may not be accurate at project completion. As-built drawings accurately depict the final construction with any and all changes in place. 

When it comes time for maintenance, renovations, or expansions, these construction drawings will be vital for understanding the building’s existing structural elements and final design. 

How construction document collaboration tools can simplify and streamline projects

Construction companies that don’t have comprehensive collaboration systems in place run the risk of legal infractions, delivery delays, and expensive rework. This can jeopardize reputations and working relationships, which can affect future project opportunities. 

ActiveDraft is purpose-built to simplify and streamline document collaboration, combining intuitive markup and collaboration tools to give construction teams greater visual context right within their web browser no matter where they’re located. 

It connects stakeholders and team members to the documents they need when they need them and empowers them to easily annotate documents with callouts, measurements, and comments about any potential issues within project drawings or plans. This leads to more productive conversations and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and costly delays.

Let’s explore a few other key ways you can consolidate your document collaboration.

Centralizes your collaboration in a unified workspace

Using a construction document collaboration platform to consolidate your communication is a fantastic way to start streamlining your projects from the very beginning. These documents hold so much vital information, and they’re important to get exactly right. 

Without document collaboration software, important communications about designs could be lost in multiple back-and-forth emails or Slack threads. Similarly, action items that emerge from these conversations can also get lost in the shuffle. 

With ActiveDraft’s markup tools, your team members can make notes directly on PDFs, assign tasks directly from document markup, and track progress across multiple projects — all in one secure workspace.

Leverages cloud storage and sharing

Construction companies do as much project management work in the field as they do in the office. A browser-based documentation collaboration system improves efficiency by bridging on-site objectives and office-based administrative tasks. 

A browser-based collaboration system like ActiveDraft maximizes accessibility and promotes real-time communication. Team members can access the same intuitive interface regardless of the device they’re using, making communication seamless whether you’re working in the office from your desktop computer or on site referencing plans from your smartphone or tablet.

Simplifies access and version control for greater scalability

While general accessibility is an important part of successful collaboration, not every document needs to be readily available to all team members. Protect sensitive information by limiting editing and viewing access to authorized personnel only. This will help you maintain document integrity, avoid unexpected overwrites, and comply with security standards. 

Version control tools also make it easy to ensure all team members are aligned and working from the same, most current version of a design. Used alongside disaster recovery tools, you can confidently scale to increasingly more complex projects. 

Centralize and easily collaborate on your construction documents with ActiveDraft

Behind every successful construction project is stacks upon stacks of paperwork that different stakeholders and team members will need access to throughout the project lifecycle. But keeping track of all of these project documents doesn’t have to be a headache. 

With ActiveDraft, you can collaborate on all of your digital construction documents by using our flexible software. ActiveDraft is a fantastic add-on for your larger construction project management software, aiding in faster, more streamlined communication. Real-time viewing and markup tools ensure effortless collaboration from the office or the job site.

Collaborate easily, stay connected, and never lose track of an important document again. Get started with ActiveDraft today.

Jeff Mack is the Head of Marketing at ActiveDraft, where he is responsible for developing the brand and telling the ActiveDraft story.


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