Plan Review – 5 Functions

For the construction and engineering sectors we have identified 5 key functions of plan review:

While considerable time and effort go into making plans, the function of plan review is critical. Plan review emcompasses:

  • To Review, verify or assess for completeness, for a specific purpose, eg safety, 
  • To extract information and take Action
  • To Markup, add comments or opinions, 
  • Present and discuss,
  • Approve and authorize.

In the construction industry, architects will review designs and plans as they progress, they will present and gather input from others, they will present for authorization and approval. Construction companies will review plans for the purpose of construction planning as well as working according to the plans, furthermore, they will markup and communicate regarding issues that arise. 

Urban planners will prepare or receive district or site plans. They will want to see the big picture but also investigate some of the details. In addition, they will need to present plans and gather input. 

City permit departments will review plans for compliance with regulations as well as make presentations and seek approval. 

Fire departments have an important role in plan review looking for fire hazard risks. They use plan review solutions to carry out this role. In addition, the plan review systems are ideal for maps and other visuals.


The “Problem” 

  • Plans and images need review, they need markup, comments & communication, they need presentation & discussion. Mission critical.
  • Cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop screens are too small.
  • Wall-mounted displays & touch screens are not ergonomic, tiring to use, they are ok for presentations. Presenting information on a screen at a poor angle will result in people losing focus.

The “Solution”

  • Displays of a suitable size and resolution that can be positioned at the optimal working height and angle (ergonomics). 
  • Volanti Plan Review tables:
    • Free-standing 32” 43” 55” 65, movable, with tilt & height adjust.
    • Tabletop 32” 43” with tilt adjust.
    • Mobile


Every company plans, people present, and others approve, however, a number of businesses work with plans that are highly visual. 

Users – target market:

  • Architects
  • Construction & contractors
  • Permitting authorities
  • Engineering organizations
  • Fire protection services

What types of plans are we talking about:

  • Visual plans such as CAD drawings of all types, mainly for larger-scale things such as buildings, sites, districts, infrastructure networks.
  • Images such as satellite images


Quote “You can put expensive sport performance tires on a budget car but it will not make it go faster or handle better, it is a waste of money. Similarly, you can buy expensive construction software and put it on a laptop but you will not see the plans and drawings as clearly as on a suitably sized plan review table, it is a waste of money that also risks errors and oversights.”

Quote “Using the right equipment for the task is essential to getting the desired results. Don’t use a screwdriver to hammer a nail, don’t use a small screen to review planning drawings.”

The proper and effective review of planning visuals is mission-critical to many functions in industries such as:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Permitting
  • Engineering
  • Fire protection


For some users, the question is still whether to use printouts or to view plans digitally. 

  • ROI of paper vs digital, digital typically pays for itself in a short period of time and also provides significant productivity and quality benefits.
  • Digital enables multi-layer, colored presentation,
  • Digital enables communication and collaboration,
  • Digital can employ AI technologies to highlight issues,
  • Digital enables instant updates across all platforms, devices, and to all users.


The display should be suitably sized, high resolution, interactive, sufficiently bright, and responsive to use. While bigger is better up to a point there can be practical space considerations for the size of the display that can be used. For a mobile cart based plan review system 55” and 65” are sizes that match well with larger paper sizes – they provide the big picture and thanks to 4K resolution they also show the fine details.

Tabletop versions are also available, 32” and 43” with tilt adjustment and also providing 4K resolution.


Ensuring that plans are presented to optimize the viewability is what this is all about. To ensure proper review the user has to be able to see and interact with the plans. We are all familiar with the draughtsman’s tilted drafting board used when making initial architectural plans, there is a reason for this, it is the optimal working position.


Plan review factors:

  • Image size: 
  • Color, reflection, brightness, resolution
  • Interactivity. 
  • Screen position relative to the user. Fatigue or distraction.
  • Software

Software – Choose effective software:

  • Present the image
  • Allow markup
  • Enable communication
  • Help by highlighting issues


Why is a larger screen important when viewing drawings and plans? 

Plans and sites tend to be large, to get the optimal impression it is important to have an image of suitable scale and resolution to be able to see the big picture as well as see details. Something a small display would not enable.

Why is resolution important? 

It is important to be able to see the details properly.

Why is the height and angle of the screen important? 

Working at the wrong position can either cause fatigue or discomfort that will distract from focusing on the topic, ie the plan review.


The following is a selection of software used for plan review:

FluixUvara for smart mapping
Applications incorporating ArcGIS


  • MyGov
  • GovPilot
  • Cloudpermit
  • SmartGov


Plan review is recognized as a process, it may not get the recognition it deserves as a specific process considering that it is mission-critical to the proper execution of a plan. A good plan review system will help ensure the right outcome to a project.

Of course, Plan Review is not the only use for the Volanti digital plan review table, construction Estimators also use them for take-off.