Color coding plans and construction documents helps to reduce errors and omissions as well as requests for information and change orders. Effectively minimizing these potential errors will result in tighter project budgets that progress as scheduled.
Dan Bayer of Miron Construction Co., which is based in Neenah, Wis., is also on board with the concept of color construction documents. Bayer, Miron's Director of Virtual Construction, developed a program for his employees based upon the use of color to improve the accuracy of plans and blueprints.
To illustrate how color helps speed up interpretation of complex data, consider this experiment: A group of contractors were handed two matching D-sized floor plans, one monochrome and one color. The participants were asked to count the number of sinks that appeared in the black and white floor plan. After about three minutes scanning the construction document and counting the number of sinks, the group determined that the floor plan employed between seven and nine sinks. They were then asked to examine the full color floor plan. Within seconds, the participants had correctly identified and counted all 10 sinks drawn into the plan.
Though this is a very simplistic example, if we extrapolate it to a large-scale construction project, you can imagine the time and budget savings implications associated with employing color documents.
Similar results have also been attained with regard to military maps. In a thesis titled "An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Color Coded Tactical Symbology applied to Military Maps," Peter Kafurke tested an experiment which supports the use of color coding for accuracy. He compared the subjects' comprehension of a conventional monochrome map with that of a map using color coded symbols. Kafurke summarized, "The analysis of the data obtained from 20 subjects revealed that performance under multicolor coding condition was significantly superior with respect to response time, accuracy of response and accuracy of location transfer onto a copy of the displayed map."