Construction Document Search

In Part 1 of “The Biggest Problem with CTRL-F,” we walked through some of the reasons CTRL-F often stops short of giving us the search results we want and need. In our recent interview with DADO’s Head of Architecture Ryan Grimm, he explains that construction documentation can be highly irregular. The Construction industry does not have standard formatting, especially when it comes to project drawings. If you’re working internationally, like constructing across the Canadian border or receiving drawings from engineers in Germany, the complexities can grow even further. Software solutions like DADO, that are designed and developed specifically for construction document search, are critical when we take these major complexities into account.

In part 1, we covered the limitations of CTRL-F. In part 2, we discuss why a linear search like CTRL-F is no match for the many variations that exist in construction documentation.


When it comes to construction documentation, sometimes it feels like the only rule is that there are no rules. Whether it’s page layout, font usage (true type vs. FHX/AutoCad-generated fonts), or abbreviations used, there is a lot of irregularity in the way construction documentation is formatted. If we’re searching for a term and we don’t know which document it’s in, much less which section, we’d better hope that we opened the right one when utilizing CTRL-F. Otherwise, we’re going to be spending a lot of time in the Finder window, clicking through result after result, trying to find our search term in a number of different documents. If our architect used an FHX font on top of it, forget it. CTRL-F won’t recognize some fonts, and will see them as images instead of text. In order to work around these non-standard fonts, we need a tool with a powerful-OCR engine to identify and appropriately categorize all of this text.


As mentioned in Part 1, some search tools require the user to be a mind reader. They ask us to get inside the head of whoever authored the documents, and use exactly the search terms they would use in order to find what we need. This just isn’t practical, and in some cases, it’s just not possible. We don’t need to go back and forth trying abbreviations, then the full spelling of a term, or multiple variations of that term (again- gas pipe vs. gas piping.) It’s not a good use of our time. And let’s be honest- we didn’t get into construction because we were smoking the competition in our elementary school spelling bees. With DADO, we can get around CTRL-F’s restrictions, and find what we need faster using a construction-intelligent search.

Today’s construction job site is too complex and the stakes are too high to keep relying on outdated tools. This complexity requires a greater level of stakeholder collaboration, decision-making, and exchange of critical data. This data can be harnessed. The solution is to equip field personnel with intelligent tools that bolster proven delivery methods. CTRL-F is antiquated and exposes projects to costly errors and rework. It is time to reduce this risk by deploying a search tool that eases the frustration of difficult construction document search.

Have we convinced you that CTRL-F is not a reliable way to conduct construction document search? Please share your comments with us below.