What Are As-Built Drawings?

Though they might seem like a bureaucratic necessity, the true value of As-Built drawings goes far beyond mere documentation...
what are as built drawings

Navigating the complex world of construction projects requires thorough understanding of every stage, from initial design to final handover. An integral element of this process, often overlooked in its importance, are As-Built drawings.

As-Built drawings, in simple terms, are a revised set of construction drawings that are prepared by the contractor after the completion of a project. These drawings reflect all the changes that were made to the original plans during the construction process, capturing the exact dimensions, geometry, and location of all elements of the work completed under the contract.

They are also referred to as record drawings or just as-builts.

Though they might seem like a bureaucratic necessity, the true value of As-Built drawings goes far beyond mere documentation. They play a crucial role in depicting the reality of a completed structure, serve as a vital resource for any future additions or renovations, and facilitate the efficient management of a project post-construction.

This article aims to delve into the significance of As-Built drawings, their creation process, the components they encompass, and the modern technology facilitating their preparation. Additionally, it will highlight the role they play in project management and regulatory sign-offs, as well as their future in the evolving landscape of construction technology.

As-Built Drawings

Understanding As-Built Drawings

As-Built drawings are a complete set of drawings that reflect any and all changes made during the construction phase of a project. They are a revised version of the original design that accurately showcases the final product post-construction.

As-Built drawings depict the exact dimensions, geometry, and location of all components of the work completed under the contract. These changes might be necessitated by a myriad of factors, including design variations, alterations in the materials used, rerouting of systems, extra works or any unforeseen complications that were tackled during the construction phase.

Difference between Original Construction Plans and As-Built Drawings

Original construction plans or working drawings lay out the intended design and structure of a building before the commencement of the construction process. They serve as a blueprint that guides the construction work. However, during the actual construction, adjustments are often needed to accommodate real-world variables and constraints, or to improve the design based on real-time insights.

This is where As-Built drawings come in.

They capture and reflect the reality of the completed construction, recording all changes, no matter how minor, from the original construction plans. This makes them an invaluable resource for understanding exactly what was built, where, and how – information that can prove crucial for maintenance, renovations, or future construction projects.

In essence, while the original construction plans present an idealized view of the project, the As-Built drawings provide an accurate record of the project as it was actually realized.

How are they created?

As-Built drawings are a product of collaboration between various professionals in a construction project, from the contractors to the architects, each bringing in their unique perspective and information to the table.

The creation of As-Built drawings typically begins on the construction site with the contractor. The contractor plays a crucial role in tracking and documenting any changes to the initial design that occur during the construction process.

These changes could include, but are not limited to, modifications to the structure’s dimensions, rerouting of distribution systems, changes in materials used, and any extra works that were not part of the initial design.

In parallel to the contractor, the architects and engineers are also involved in creating these drawings. As the professionals who initially designed the project, they are ideally positioned to record the alterations that take place during the construction.

It is typically their responsibility to take the redlined drawings or notes from the contractor and update the original construction plans to create the As-Built drawings.

Importance of Continuous Tracking and Recording Changes in the Project

The process of creating As-Built drawings is not a one-time task but is continuous and concurrent with the construction process. It involves meticulously documenting all the changes that occur from the start to the completion of the project.

The contractor must continually track and record how the structure and adjoining land are evolving with each phase of construction. This tracking is usually done with As-Built surveys, which record variations from the original plans to what is actually built. It’s essential to ensure that all changes, even minor ones, are accurately documented as they happen.

This way, the As-Built drawings will accurately represent the completed project, serving as a reliable reference for any future work or queries related to the building.

The creation of As-Built drawings demands accuracy, attention to detail, and ongoing collaboration between all project stakeholders. These drawings are not merely an afterthought but an integral part of the construction process, contributing significantly to its efficient completion and management.

Key Components

As-Built drawings are complex and intricate, containing a vast range of details that present a comprehensive picture of the completed construction project. These components give future users, such as facility managers, contractors, or architects a clear view of the final state of the project. Understanding the main components can assist in appreciating the importance and role of As-Built drawings.

Details of Changes

One of the main elements of As-Built drawings is the detailed record of changes that took place during the construction process.

These changes may include variations in material specifications, alterations in dimensions due to onsite challenges, changes in locations due to emerging site constraints, adjustments in installations due to revised requirements, or modifications in fabrications due to unforeseen obstacles.

The dates when these changes were made are also recorded to provide a clear timeline of the evolution of the project. This component is crucial as it reflects the difference between the original design and what was actually built, capturing the dynamic nature of the construction process.

Inclusion of Relevant Shop Drawings and Appendices

Another key component of As-Built drawings is the inclusion of related shop drawings and appendices.

These drawings typically include fabrication and installation details, custom furniture designs, detailed equipment drawings, or diagrams for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. These drawings provide a deeper level of detail than the construction documents, illustrating how different components of the project fit together.

Appendices, on the other hand, might include specifications, manufacturer’s instructions, or special warranties. By including these elements, As-Built drawings serve as a complete record that aids in future modifications, renovations, or even maintenance activities.

In conclusion, the details of changes and inclusion of relevant shop drawings and appendices form the backbone of As-Built drawings. They work together to create a comprehensive picture of the project as it stands upon completion, forming a vital resource for the management and modification of the built structure in the future.

Importance in Project Management

As-Built drawings play a pivotal role in the sphere of project management, and their importance cannot be understated. These drawings are not only a testament to the diligence and precision of the contractor but also serve as a blueprint for future improvements and adjustments to the project.

Role in Regulatory Sign-offs and Occupational Certification

As-Built drawings are critical in the regulatory sign-off process, often required by local government and external certifying firms. They serve as a record of what was built in accordance with the approved building plans and specifications. They can act as proof that the project adhered to all the required safety standards, regulations, and building codes.

Thus, As-Built drawings contribute significantly towards obtaining occupational certification for the project, enabling the structure to be legally inhabited or used for its intended purpose.

Value for Future Renovations, Additions, or Ownership Changes

The value of As-Built drawings extends beyond project completion. These documents provide a precise and comprehensive view of the project as it stands upon completion, serving as a crucial resource for any future renovations or additions. In the event of ownership changes, these drawings offer a detailed understanding of the existing structure to the new owners.

If the original architects or contractors are not available for future modifications, As-Built drawings serve as an indispensable guide for new teams to understand the layout, materials, construction techniques, and any changes made during the original construction. This can prevent costly mistakes, construction delays, and potential damage to the structure.

By maintaining an accurate record of the project, As-Built drawings can also help in maintaining the building in the long run. They can guide the maintenance team about the exact location of utilities and structural elements, which can be extremely useful during repair or renovation work.

In essence, As-Built drawings offer a historical record of the construction project, aiding in its efficient management after construction, and serving as a cornerstone for any future developments.

Role in Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has revolutionized the way construction projects are planned and executed. BIM is a 3D model-based process that gives construction professionals the tools to efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. However, BIM’s usefulness doesn’t end once the construction process does.

It is essential that any changes made during construction, reflected in the As-Built drawings, be updated in the BIM.

This updating process involves integrating the information from the As-Built drawings into the original BIM, effectively transforming it into an as-built BIM model. This ensures that the BIM is a true representation of the completed structure, including all the changes, modifications, and deviations from the original design that might have occurred during the construction phase.

The benefits of using BIM in the creation and maintenance

In addition to the above, BIM has a crucial role in the creation and maintenance of As-Built drawings. Modern BIM software allows for real-time recording and tracking of changes as they happen during the construction phase. This means that the generation of As-Built drawings can be a dynamic process, with the drawings being updated in tandem with the progress of the project.

Moreover, BIM greatly simplifies the process of maintaining and updating As-Built drawings. A well-managed as-built BIM model is a digital twin of the real building, and any modifications, repairs, or renovations done to the building can be directly updated in the model.

This way, the As-Built drawings remain up-to-date and accurately reflect the current state of the building, helping facility management teams with efficient maintenance planning and decision-making.

Furthermore, BIM also enhances the value of As-Built drawings as a communication tool. With 3D visualization and the capacity to include detailed metadata for each component, as-built BIM models provide a comprehensive understanding of the building’s design and structure.

This can be especially beneficial for stakeholders who might not have a technical background, aiding their comprehension and engagement with the project.

In conclusion, BIM and As-Built drawings are intertwined processes that greatly complement each other. The combination of both not only streamlines construction and post-construction management but also enhances the longevity and usability of the building data, making it a valuable asset for future reference.

Maintaining and Updating

As-Built drawings are not simply documents to be stored away after the completion of a construction project. They represent a living record of the project that needs constant updating and maintenance to maintain its accuracy and relevance over time.

The Importance of Keeping them Up to Date

Accurate As-Built drawings are essential for managing and maintaining the building efficiently after the construction has been completed, any changes, improvements, renovations, or modifications made to the building should be reflected

This is important as it helps maintain a continuous and accurate record of the building’s state and aids in planning for any future work or alterations. It also assists in responding to emergencies, planning preventive maintenance, and managing the space effectively.

The Role of the Client’s Facilities Management Team

The onus of keeping the As-Built drawings up to date typically falls on the client’s facilities management team. They are responsible for recording any modifications or changes to the building and updating the As-Built drawings accordingly.

This task can involve working closely with contractors or construction professionals during any modifications or renovations to ensure all changes are accurately reflected. In larger facilities, there may be a dedicated role for maintaining these drawings, known as a document controller or similar.

Regular updates to drawings are necessary not only after major renovations or additions but also after minor changes. Even small modifications, such as changes in electrical wiring, HVAC modifications, or moving of non-structural walls, should be documented and reflected in the As-Built drawings.

In the absence of regular updates, the drawings may lose their accuracy over time. If the As-Built drawings are not up to date, it may be necessary to conduct new surveys to create accurate measured drawings, which can be a costly and time-consuming process. Therefore, regular updates are a proactive measure that saves time, money, and potential confusion in the future.

To sum up…

As-Built drawings serve as an indispensable tool in the world of construction. Providing an exact representation of a project upon its completion, they embody a valuable repository of information, showcasing the final reality of a project, including all changes made during the construction process.

In the context of ongoing facilities management and future modifications, As-Built drawings play an integral role. They equip owners with a comprehensive understanding of the project, ensuring smooth transitions for any future renovations, additions, or ownership changes.

Further, their importance in obtaining regulatory sign-offs underlines their critical role in moving projects from the construction phase to active use.

Technology has significantly streamlined the creation and management of As-Built drawings. Construction software and digital tools have greatly simplified the process of real-time tracking and recording of changes, ensuring a more accurate, efficient, and less time-consuming creation of As-Built drawings.

As we delve deeper into the digital age, the importance of As-Built drawings is only expected to increase. Advancements such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) are a testament to this. BIM allows for the seamless updating of design changes in the model, which can be easily transferred to the facility management team, hence underscoring the central role of As-Built drawings in the lifecycle of a building.

As-Built drawings represent more than just a record of the construction process. They are a crucial component of project management, a key to regulatory compliance, and a cornerstone for future adaptability.

Their importance cannot be overstated, and it is incumbent upon all project stakeholders to recognize and value their role in successful, sustainable construction. As we move forward, it is clear that the quality, accuracy, and completeness of As-Built drawings will continue to shape the landscape of the construction industry.