Who makes as-builts and who should I hire?

Written by LetsBuild

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In our lengthy definition in a previous article, we have learned that as-built drawings are revised drawings submitted after a construction or building project is done. They are drawing records that contain all changes and revisions made from the pilot drawings in the course of the entire construction process. They are very important as they furnish a precise representation of the building and the entire property upon completion.

Because as-built drawings specify all structures and elements within the scope of a building project, their dimensions and locations, all major or minor modifications and adjustments are and should be included, alongside their record of approvals.

All small details that have deviated from what was indicated in the plan should be recorded. For example, for materials used, unused materials should be indicated with marks relating to the original items and intended use. This is for future reference to the changes that have turned out all throughout the project’s construction.

Who are responsible for as-built drawings?

It’s usually the designers and architects who create the original drawing plans from which as-built drawings are based. Hence, they are the ones most qualified to make the final as-builts. But since their involvement with the daily construction is limited, they are mostly unaware of most of the changes tackled.

Consequently, it is the contractor who ends up with the responsibility of the final as-built drawings. Since the contractor is the one overseeing the actual construction, he is the one who is most capable to document changes and modifications as they happen. In actuality, however, when construction starts, contractors get caught up in the busyness and the responsibilities of on-site tasks that as-built drawings get left to the last minute.

Who benefits from as-built drawings?

As-built drawings are handy to all your construction project’s shareholders.

  1. Contractors. As-built drawings are a crucial source of recorded changes and alterations done in all construction changes. As construction transitions from one stage to the next, it makes it easier for the contractors to visualise their next necessary actions in the subsequent phases. Issues and other complications are easily spotted and prevented before they can occur.
  2. Clients/Building Owners. A precise as-built documentation is critical to building owners and clients because of all installation and item records, which is highly important especially if the building owner needs to troubleshoot an issue, or to revise the building design later on.
  3. Property Buyers. As-built drawings are essential to the final sale of the property as they provide important information as to what is being sold and bought, and as basis for all future renovations and developments.

For more informative read, check out our introductory guide article to as-built drawings.

When should as-builts be made and who should create and update?

The professional cost of as-built drawings represents about 1-2% of the total construction budget. It is relatively inexpensive but highly critical so it is important not to skimp on your as-builts. If you decide to go with as-built construction, you should create your as-built drawings at the beginning of your project and meticulously track your development all throughout from the beginning until the end. Producing them may be rigorous but is not necessarily a burden on your time and energy outside of what is required to successfully deliver a project to completion.

What’s highly suggested is to track any and all deviations from the initial plan and log each change as they happen. This frames each change and clarifies in context the reasons why they were made. Additionally, this habit of as-built documentation is a clear sign of your own professionalism that sends an important message to your client.

The inability to document changes and record adjustments during the construction process can lead to inaccurate final drawings and even risks upon completion. Without any record of compounding adjustments, you will end up with a final product that is full of unreconciled changes.

Once you have your original as-built drawings from your architect or designer, you have multiple options in approaching your as-built updating, with the prerequisite that you have acquired truly accurate as-builts:

  1. Do the updating yourself. Smaller businesses and firms usually do this to save money. However, you might not have the knowledge to properly handle as-built measurements and related processes. You might also be wasting all your time on tasks that you are not equipped to handle thoroughly in the first place.
  2. Delegate a junior staff member. Medium and larger businesses do this due to low cost but slightly better efficiency. But usually, your junior staff may not be an as-built professional and may end up unqualified and unprepared to perform the job according to industry standards.
  3. Hire an as-built firm. In the modern world, a lot of businesses and firms outsource their as-built duties to outside firms so they can easily shrug off costs and professional liabilities.
  4. The fourth option is to digitalise your company’s as-built process. By doing so, you can standardise and streamline all as-built related tasks and assign a specific individual or team to implement and execute. Then the actual construction teams can shift their focus on important tasks and actual construction work.

Discover why BIM as-built drawings and documentation are important to your construction project.

Create effective as-built drawings today

By reason that as-built drawings should document any changes made on the original plan and record any deviation from the original drawing, as built record drawings must:

  1. Accurately describe any and all changes and adjustments made including the date they were made. Specify materials used, equipment used, design changes, location changes, and include everything that’s applicable.
  2. What you consider insignificant process details like color coding, scaling, and log formatting should be followed for consistency’s sake. Confusing as-built drawings are as useful as having no as-built drawings at all.
  3. As-built drawings used to be very laborious requiring manual pen-and-paper inspections and workflows. However, the current technology disruption of the construction sector has simplified as-built drawings and as-built construction. As-built drawing templates can be used at the beginning of a construction project with as-built drawing inspection templates for any modification, with easy version comparisons for faster processes and real-time updating.

The use of software has made the as-built workflow simple, more accurate and data-focused, with the ability to produce precise as-built drawings. You can simplify your as-builts and standardise your as-built processes so you can easily implement through a delegated internal team or through an external provider.

Have your construction team focus on their actual tasks instead of wasting time on manual as-built processes. Learn today how you can implement as-built construction in your own company and further improve your own construction project management methodology.