In managing construction, we understand that we are to deal with a massive pile of documents, with plans being one of the most essential to be recorded. Generally, plans utilized in the construction processes can be broken down into multiple types, one of which is As-Built Plans.
With the hundreds of steps and documents needed to complete a single construction project, as-builts’ importance is often overlooked and underestimated. Most of the time, as-builts are only addressed at the end when a product is far less achievable because of failure to monitor and record changes that happened throughout the project. Nonetheless, this doesn’t dim the as-builts’ role as an essential part of the construction processes, especially in maintaining a project’s lifecycle even after the closeout or completion stage.
In this blog, we will do a refresher about the basics of as-built plans, provide a roundup of the most critical items that should be included in the as-built drawings, and dive into its future advancements. Let’s get started.
What Is an “As-Built?”
Most commonly known as the red-line drawings or the record drawings, as-builts drawings are plans that allow comparison between the designed and the actual specifications and provide an accurate blueprint of the land and the building around it as actually constructed by the end.
According to Business Dictionary, as-builts drawings are a revised set of construction drawings submitted by the contractor upon completing a particular job or the whole project itself. They reflected all the changes made in the working drawings or specifications during the construction process and accurately show the exact dimensions, precise estimate, location, and geometry of all elements of the work accomplished as per the signed contract.
Typically, final as-built drawings include the following, as well as every other change made during the construction operations:
- Field Changes
- Design Changes
- Shop Drawing Changes
- Additional works
As-built drawings are always hand-in-hand with as-built surveys, also knowns as as-built maps. As-built surveys are used during the project’s construction phase to continually track how the lot and building are changing as the construction work progresses. Dedicated as-built maps make as-built drawings much more accessible to create in the end due to the more outstanding quality of detail recorded from every phase of the project.
Who Creates As-Built Drawings?
Typically, the architects who originally designed the project are the ones who create the as-builts as well. They are familiar with the original specifications and are of the project and, therefore, the most qualified to reflect recorded changes in the future.
For in-house design jobs, it could be put together by anyone on the design. Whereas for “out of house design jobs, drawings are put together by the general contractor, usually with the assistance of sub-contractors for submittal to the architect or other designers for inclusion in the record drawings.
As mentioned, as-builts, on the whole, are much simpler to accomplish with detailed notes from every stage of construction. Since truly useful as-builts necessitate so many nitty-gritty details, it’s more efficient to use technology to record changes when it happens than it is to try to recover the details of those adjustments afterward. One reliable tool to detail changes is cloud technology powered by construction scheduling software to enable you to track changes immediately, avoiding errors in recording them.
Why Are As-Builts Important?
While having as-built drawings is essential for every project, it is a valuable component of any completed structure. If completed according to the plans, it reflects well on the company’s image.
As-built plans, in other words, ensure that architectural and structural designers progress on in the project and a resource still exists beyond the original blueprint that was finalized in the beginning stages of the preconstruction phase.
Overall, as-builts are essential for two main reasons:
1. Improves the Renovation Process
Having a complete historical account of the changes made during the project, owners can define precisely what has been or hasn’t been built and so do not need to invest deeply in learning about the property’s existing conditions.
2. Assists the Facilities Team
Having a full record of changes that have occurred, the facility team can solve issues faster, resulting in owners saving time and money down the road because of the needed resources at hand.
Why Should Contractors Care?
If you are a contractor, you might be thinking, “why should I prioritize as-built drawings at the end of a project?” However, you shouldn’t just focus solely on creating as-builts; you should also strive to elevate the quality of the construction packages you provide.
Good as-builts drawings can be helpful in improving your image and reputation as a company and boost your business up in the long term. If you’re a subcontractor of any trade, as-builts can be especially necessary as you might be hired for system renovations and maintenance. At this point, the data and information found in packages won’t just benefit owners; it will also help your ability to track projects and complete jobs.
Interested to learn more about how to create quality as-built drawings for your projects? Read on.
What Should Be Included in As-Builts?
In order to make your as-built drawings as clear and concise as possible, you must include a wide variety of documents and tiny details. This information includes but is not limited to the following:
- Recording changes using the same scale used in the original drawings
- Noting unexpected issues encountered and the solutions decided upon
- Using clear descriptions and labels rather than unclear phrases such as “similar” or “equal to.”
- Recording any changes or alterations made as a result of final inspection before closeout
- Including changes in materials, sizing, location, dimensions, fabrication, installation, and so on.
- Attaching all related shop drawing, restrictions, and appendices
- Duly noting dates when changes and alterations were done
Obviously, this is an extensive amount of information to include in drawings and needs a keen eye on details to be recorded along the way. Even though this can seem like an intimidating and time-consuming activity, it’s presumably less daunting than telling a prospective owner that no as-builts are available or turning in half-hearted output that does not deliver (or your chances of getting contacted again) in the long run. Nonetheless, construction project software can assist in putting this recording process a breeze, practically auto-drive.
Where As-Builts Fall Short Today
If the ultimate goal is to enhance as-builts, then one must pinpoint where they’re falling short in the current times. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to address the real problem where it lies. The question now is: what’s the issue? In the long run, it comes down to inadequate documentation management. Missing and undocumented information are common reasons why projects get delayed or, worse, halted.
Too many as-builts display missing information and errors, at least partly due to a lack of commitment on the construction documentation team’s part. Today’s as-builts:
- Fail to support and back-up statements with photographic drawing or related evidence
- Often lack proper kind of documentation with details enough to be reviewed
- Fail to provide additional documentation for later updates effectively
- · Frequently, the data are disorganized, making it impossible to sort through the information thoroughly
- Don’t capture information at a deep enough level
Again, a lot of this is due to lacking motivation and commitment. To capture the needed information that quality as-builts rely on, construction teams must go into a project intending to do just that.
The Future of As-Built Drawings
One defining factor as a good as-built drawing is quality, regardless of the type of project at hand. Quality of data matters significantly in as-builts–and the more data at hand, the better. There are various tools and technology to enhance data capture to help teams manage construction projects better by improving as-builts and using them. Creating better as-builts helps to incorporate technology that gets you high-quality project data right from the cap off. Three of the best technologies today include:
1. Laser Scanning
This is a tool that’s especially useful for site surveying. This survey tool makes it possible to accurately and quickly measure the distance between two points, saving you loads of time in the planning and preparation stages. The data can be used to maximize the construction process to collect data essential for as-built drawings.
2. Building Information Modeling
BIM data that effectively captures both design and construction is essential to include in the as-built, which are alternatively called “as-built models” in BIM. High-level information can be used and updated for construction teams to visualize components in a facility when they have to conduct repairs or employ maintenance procedures.
3. Project Management Software
To build high-quality as-builts, teams cannot afford to have any data slip through the cracks. Project management tools and platforms help to ensure data is retained. For instance, Pro Crew Schedule enables all project information –assets, documents, inventory, and more – to be gathered, organized no matter the project stage. With all the information in the cloud that can be accessed anytime, facilities managers and owners have a comprehensive digital record set in one location to manage all building maintenance and repair needs efficiently. Even when it’s time for future renovations or refurbishing, this technology provides all the data owners need to make data-driven, cost-effective results.
Project management for construction has never been easier with the help of the right tool. Learn more about Pro Crew Schedule by requesting a free live demo.