The Importance of Accurate As-Builts in Construction

The Importance of Accurate As-Builts in Construction

You can’t properly plan for a construction project without accurate existing condition documentation.

Yet outdated as-builts are still relied upon on construction projects across the country.

The term "as-builts" refers to the final set of drawings (also known as record drawings) produced at the completion of a construction project.

These drawings reflect all changes made to the original design plans during the construction process, including any modifications, additions, or deletions. Accurate as-builts are crucial for several reasons, impacting not only the current project but also future renovations, maintenance, and even emergency responses. This article explores the importance of maintaining accurate as-built drawings in construction.

Paper as-built drawings scattered.
You can’t properly plan for a construction project without accurate existing condition documentation.

Ensuring Compliance and Legal Protection

Accurate as-builts are essential for demonstrating compliance with building codes, regulations, and contractual obligations. They serve as a legal record of the work completed, which can be critical in resolving disputes or claims related to the project. Inaccuracies in as-built drawings can lead to legal challenges, penalties, or even the need to redo work to meet compliance standards.

Facilitating Effective Maintenance and Operations

For facility managers and maintenance teams, as-built drawings are invaluable tools. They provide a detailed map of the building's systems, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and structural components, enabling efficient planning and execution of maintenance tasks. Accurate as-builts help in identifying the location of critical elements, planning for repairs or upgrades, and reducing downtime during maintenance activities.

Enhancing Safety and Emergency Preparedness

In emergency situations, such as fires or natural disasters, first responders rely on as-built drawings to understand the layout and structural details of a building quickly. Accurate as-builts can provide crucial information about access points, fire protection systems, and structural integrity, aiding in the development of effective response strategies and ensuring the safety of both occupants and responders.

Supporting Future Renovations and Expansions

When planning for renovations or expansions, accurate as-built drawings serve as the foundation for the new design. They help architects and engineers understand the existing conditions and constraints, reducing the risk of conflicts and errors during the design process. Without precise as-builts, the likelihood of encountering unforeseen issues during construction increases, potentially leading to delays and additional costs.

Streamlining Asset Management and Space Planning

For organizations managing multiple properties or large facilities, as-built drawings are crucial for asset management and space planning. They provide a clear overview of the physical assets and their locations, facilitating efficient space utilization and strategic planning for future needs. Accurate as-builts enable organizations to make informed decisions about leasing, renovations, and the allocation of resources.

Reducing Costs and Enhancing Efficiency

The accuracy of as-built drawings directly impacts the overall efficiency and cost-effectiveness of construction projects and subsequent operations. Precise as-builts minimize the risk of errors, rework, and delays, which can significantly inflate project costs. They also enable more efficient coordination among different trades and stakeholders, leading to smoother project execution.

Advancements in Technology and As-Built Documentation

The advent of advanced technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), laser scanning, and drone photogrammetry, has revolutionized the creation and management of as-built drawings. These tools allow for more accurate, detailed, and easily accessible documentation, enhancing the reliability and usefulness of as-builts throughout the lifecycle of a building.

Challenges and Best Practices

Despite the importance of accurate as-builts, obtaining them can be challenging. Changes during construction may not always be adequately documented, leading to discrepancies. To mitigate this, it's essential to establish clear protocols for updating as-built drawings throughout the construction process, ensuring that all modifications are accurately captured.

Contractors and project managers should prioritize the creation of as-builts, allocating resources and time to ensure their accuracy. Regular audits and quality checks can help identify and correct any discrepancies before the project's completion.

Accurate as-built drawings are a vital component of any construction project, serving multiple purposes from legal compliance to efficient operations and safety. As the construction industry continues to evolve, leveraging technology and adhering to best practices in as-built documentation will be key to maximizing the benefits of these essential records.

Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of as-builts is an investment in the future success and sustainability of built environments.

A GPRS Project Manager looks at a 3D laser scanner.
3D laser scanning is the best method to capture precise measurements and aboveground details of a project site.

How Do You Capture Accurate As-Builts?

3D laser scanning is the best method to capture precise measurements and aboveground details of a project site.

3D laser scanning uses LiDAR technology to quickly record the existing conditions of a building, site, or facility in the form of a point cloud. The precise details of the exterior and interior of buildings, foundations, structure, piping, and equipment are captured with millimeter accuracy, delivering exact building dimensions, locations, and layouts.

Point cloud data can be opened in CAD software, such as Revit and AutoCAD, to generate highly detailed 2D CAD drawings, 3D BIM models, 3D meshes, TruViews, virtual tours, and utility locate maps.

A worker looks at a tablet while standing in front of a dump truck.
GPRS created SiteMap® (patent pending), our industry-leading, cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution to put the field-verified data collected by our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers into your hands 24/7.

How Do You Store and Share Accurate As-Builts?

To ensure that accurate facility data is at your fingertips 24/7, GPRS created SiteMap® (patent pending), our industry-leading, cloud-based infrastructure mapping software solution that puts the field-verified data collected by our SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers into one single source of truth.

Accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, SiteMap® allows you to easily and securely view, annotate, and share your facility data with your team members anytime, from anywhere.

GPRS’ SiteMap® team members are currently scheduling live, personal SiteMap® demos. Click below to sign up today and see how SiteMap® can help you plan, design, manage, dig, and build better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are as-built drawings different from construction drawings?

Construction drawings are the initial plans used to guide the construction process, while as-built drawings represent the final condition of the project after all modifications and changes have been made.

What information is included in as-built drawings?

As-built drawings typically include detailed information about the building's layout, structural elements, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems, and any other relevant features that were constructed or modified.

How are as-built drawings used in facility management?

Facility managers use as-built drawings to understand the building's layout and systems, plan maintenance and repairs, and make informed decisions about renovations and modifications.

Can as-built drawings be used for legal purposes?

Yes, as-built drawings can be used as legal documents to resolve disputes, demonstrate compliance with regulations, and provide evidence in case of litigation related to the construction project.

How are as-built drawings maintained and updated?

As-built drawings should be stored in a secure and accessible format, such as digital files or printed copies. They should be updated whenever significant changes are made to the building, such as renovations or additions.

What challenges are associated with as-built drawings?

Common challenges include ensuring the accuracy of the drawings, keeping them updated with any changes, and managing discrepancies between the as-built drawings and the actual construction. Effective communication and collaboration among all parties involved in the construction process are essential to overcome these challenges.