Why are Blueprints Blue?
This Course Can Help You Better Serve Clients
by Jon Kimberlain
In today’s digital world, plan drawings can have a multitude
of colors and layers to illustrate building construction. Given the potential
choices, have you ever wondered where the term “blueprint” originates?
It comes from the methods used in the mid-1800s to create replicates of
technical drawings and engineering designs. The original technique required
someone to create the drawing on translucent paper. The drawing was then
laid over a piece of chemically prepared paper that, when exposed to bright
light, would turn a deep-dark blue. Combining the two papers, and running
them through a wash and dry process would leave a negative image of white
on blue paper.
This background on understanding from where the term blueprint comes might
serve as an impressive insight to share with family members or as an answer
to a question on Jeopardy. But to impress clients who rely on your company
for project bids and accurate estimates, you have to showcase a deeper
understanding of what goes into reading blueprints and providing labor
A Job Well Done
The ability to read and understand plans and specifications is the mark
of the complete glass installer. Without this ability, it is doubtful
that he or she will progress beyond the point of an apprentice.
Installers who enjoy their work take pride in being able to point to a
specific building and say “that was my job.” There is a tremendous feeling
of satisfaction in knowing that they had a part in helping to construct
GANA’s Blueprint Reading and Labor Estimating Course is an essential
correspondence curriculum designed for beginning estimators and project
managers. However, it also provides an update for more experienced individuals.
Using a 14-step lesson plan, the course begins with the basics and evolves
into a final exam in bidding a real-life project. Students who complete
the program with passing marks receive a certificate identifying them
as an advanced glazing specialist signed by GANA’s president.
Students who participate in this certificate program will gain valuable
insights including an understanding of design development documents, contract
documents and architectural drawings. They’ll gain the ability to understand
glass types, setting methods and modern window applications. Participants
will understand the importance and specifics of critical elements in a
design, such as storefront and entrance materials. The course will provide
them with a better understanding of glass fabrication terminology and
the relationship dynamics between architects, owners, contractors and
Students who complete the course will be able to perform quantity surveys,
prepare material take-offs, and estimate labor costs. Upon completion
of the final exam they will be thoroughly equipped to prepare comprehensive
estimates and submit bids.
The Blueprint Reading and Labor Estimating Course is a manual developed
by the GANA Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Division. Since its release,
it has provided nearly 4,000 students the opportunity to advance their
knowledge base. The course has become a go-to orientation and continuing
education tool for companies around the country.
Jon Kimberlain is an application specialist with
Dow Corning Corp. and chair of the Glass Association of North America’s
Building Envelope Contractors division.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.