As-built documentation is valuable to your construction project

Quality

We have learned from previous as-built articles that as-built drawings provide very important and critical information needed during and after the construction of a project. During construction, as-built documentation serve as basis for all changes, modifications, and all related adjustments made so information is easily retrieved for any design or plan changes. After construction, as-builts provide available and accessible data about what was actually built. 

Inconsistencies with the design plans and the as-built documentation result to outrageous cost of delays and reworks throughout the operation and maintenance or renovation phases. 

Pen-and-paper as-built documentation

It’s usual for existing buildings to lack their suitable documents, change orders and as-built drawings thanks to traditional documentation. Consequently, traditional as-built documentation has been identified to be the source of failure in project management, building rehabilitation and renovation time and time again. It has precipitated so many issues and challenges in managing and maintaining construction projects throughout their lifecycle. 

The most common problem is rework—the inability to retrieve related construction data when needed has resulted in unreasonable time and cost overruns. In one retrospective study, they found out that despite modern integrated procurement methods, rework do not significantly differ. What makes a difference is inter-organisational communication in the formative phases of a project that reduce design-related reworks.

Because of the numerous different construction professionals working on different parts of a project (design, structure, services, etc.), the project usually follows a fragmented management method. If information is not exact in one aspect or phase, the following stages will carry over the inaccuracy and add layers of errors in the documentation. An unfiled or forgotten document, change order or as-built drawing will result in a ton other of lacking documents. 

Construction management software and BIM

The use of construction technology to automate workflows and integrate collaborative teamwork greatly improves construction productivity. The use of which is based on the hierarchical approach for construction projects and focuses on the following objectives:

  • Minimisation of the make span of a project i,
  • Minimisation of the (weighted) flow time of activities j,
  • Minimisation of the (weighted) delays of activities for given activity due dates ddj, Minimisation of the mean multi-project delay for the given project due dates ddi under
  • simultaneous consideration of more than a single project.

By limiting the main construction factors, you give your project manager, site supervisor or foreman the chance to make accurate decisions in appropriate times. By adding a suitable construction management software, you give them the ability to make decisions in real-time. Simply put, successful construction management equals to a successful construction project. 

Because current processes and traditional documentation do not make themselves usable towards managing the entire building lifecycle and the continuous changes a building goes through, construction management software and BIM can address the above-mentioned conflicts and problems and use all the data that traditional documentation wastes.

As-built modelling can document and visualise buildings and even provide 3D visualisation with the integration of BIM. As-built software and BIM can provide technical benefits that would greatly improve the productivity and sustainability of your construction project throughout its lifecycle. 

Related reading: Who makes as-builts and who should I hire

As-Builts Make Building Projects Sustainable

A project’s sustainability is measured through its (1) social, (2) economic, and (3) environmental elements. 

Social

As-builts and BIM improve a project’s social sustainability by providing better facilities design that is focused on the building users’ living comforts. Before a facility is constructed, building owners can review the design and critic the visualisation of the design model. Additionally, with a BIM platform, a highly fragmented mode of working is converted into collaborative working that allows better communication of information between shareholders for better decision making before a facility is constructed. 

Economic

When it comes to economic sustainability, as-builts allow exact estimation of materials needed and keeps account of the changes along the way. With a BIM-based cost-estimating software, estimates and bill are automated along with the whole production and construction. 

Environmental

In environmental terms, as-builts and BIM can simulate a building’s performance to assess a building’s energy consumption and environmental performance. As-built data (location, building geometry, materials, etc.) can be used as your BIM framework for collaborative design progress and optimisation and simulations. 

As-builts and building information modelling adds precise information for a knowledge-based decision-making process. Hence, you have the capability to correct issues and prevent errors by huge remarkable rates.

As-Built Conflicts and BIM Accuracy

In a paper reporting as-built case studies for BIM conflict detection and documentation, conflicts were easily spotted when objects were represented in the BIM model. With digital as-builts (and BIM techniques), construction activities had an error rate of 6.646% for the main fourteen activities. The traditional estimation, in comparison, was 43.749% for the same activities. This totally reflects the notable accuracy of digital as-built methods versus the traditional pen-and-paper. 

For a brief introduction to the basics of as-built drawings, check out our brief guide.

Conclusion

Digital as-built documentation and BIM tools significantly improve data control and management in construction projects. As-built software can detect numerous conflicts between as-built drawings and planning documents. Through digital visualisation, issues and reworks can be resolved before they can even occur through 2D and 3D visualisations and cross-sectional viewing of the project design plans.

As-built software is important for conflict detection and re-documentation of existing buildings, and for the reduction of change orders for continuing projects. Due to the accuracy of digital as-built drawings, they are, therefore, powerful tools in improving construction efficiency, productivity and delivery. 

If you are new to digital as-builts and as-builts in general and want to learn more, discover this link about as-built software to help with your own construction projects. Discover today how you can implement and integrate as-built construction in your current construction processes and see great improvements in your own construction management style and overall project delivery. Ensure the sustainability of your building project throughout its entire lifecycle.

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