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March 14, 2024 Heather Mc Daniel

As-Builts: The Complete Guide

photo of architectural drawing

Imagine stepping into a building years after its construction, armed only with the original blueprints. You know where the walls should be, the dimensions of each room, even the placement of electrical outlets. But what if there were discrepancies?

You know that 9 times out of 10, that’s the case. There’s a world of difference between as-planned drawings like blueprints and as-builts, which show the detailed records of the construction process.

As-builts might seem like something that you can skip. The fact is that they play a crucial role in a building’s lifecycle.

In this guide we’re going to show you what as-builts are, why you can’t afford to skip them, and tell you how software tools make it easy to make as-builts documentation part of your process.

Ready to unlock the power of as-builts? Let’s dive in!

What are As-builts?

As-builts are detailed documents are far more than just an updated version of the original plans; they serve as a record of the finished product, reflecting every deviation, modification, and unforeseen circumstance encountered during construction.

But what exactly defines an as-built drawing?

Think of it as a factual snapshot of the building as it stands. Think of as-builts as the reality of the final project, where shop drawings represent the dream and the initial vision of the project.

They capture crucial details like:

  • Actual dimensions and locations of walls, doors, windows, and other assets.
  • Modifications made during construction, such as relocated plumbing lines or adjusted electrical outlets.
  • Deviations from the original design, including unforeseen site conditions or material substitutions.
  • As-installed details of specific components, like equipment layouts or HVAC systems.

These meticulous recordings serve a several purposes:

  • Ensuring accountability: As-builts provide a clear record of adherence to plans and specifications, holding all stakeholders accountable for their decisions.
  • Facilitating future work: When renovations, repairs, or maintenance arise, as-builts provide an invaluable guideline because teams have the true layout of the building.
  • Knowledge transfer: As projects change hands, as-builts act as a knowledge library.

As you can see, as-builts are far from just a task item. They are the cornerstone of informed decision-making, efficient maintenance, and a seamless handover process, making them an indispensable tool for every construction project.

As-Builts and Project Stakeholders

Imagine a scenario where your construction project concludes triumphantly, only to encounter unexpected challenges years later.

Perhaps a major pipe needs repair, you can’t pinpoint its exact location because you’re working off of outdated as-planned drawings. Or maybe an expansion requires modifying existing systems, yet their intricate layout goes undocumented.

Such situations highlight the immense importance of as-builts, acting as a potent safeguard against future uncertainties and a cornerstone of project success.

Here’s why:

Improved Project Documentation and Accountability:

As-builts serve as a meticulous record of your project’s journey. They capture every deviation from the original plan, unexpected site conditions, and last-minute adjustments, providing a transparent overview of the construction process.

This comprehensive documentation strengthens accountability for all stakeholders, ensuring adherence to specifications and mitigating potential disputes between project owners and building contractors.

Facilitating Future Renovations, Maintenance, and Repairs:

Building maintenance and facility management isn’t typically considered until after the project gets completed. This leaves maintenance teams and facility managers guessing as to where critical assets are.

They spent time and resources trying to locate these assets, which turns out to increase maintenance costs. Worker safety becomes an issue, especially if workers can’t accurately tell where electrical lines are.

Accurate As-Built Records for Future Legal or Insurance Purposes:

Life in construction isn’t always smooth sailing. Unexpected events or unforeseen circumstances can lead to legal or insurance claims. As-builts act as indisputable records, clearly reflecting the actual state of the building at a specific point in time. This documentation can be invaluable in resolving disputes, demonstrating adherence to building codes and specifications, and ensuring fair claim settlements.

Demonstrating Adherence to Building Codes and Specifications:

As we just noted, as-builts serve as evidence of adherence to relevant building codes and specifications. This not only fosters confidence in a building contractor’s work but also helps prevent potential legal issues arising from non-compliance.

Streamlining Handover Process and Knowledge Transfer:

Construction projects often happen in silos. This usually means that teams don’t get the necessary information to do their respective jobs.

Don’t underestimate the power of knowledge transfer. As-builts bridge this gap, acting as a comprehensive knowledge library. Collaboration and efficiency are made easier because information about the building’s layout, systems, and modifications is readily available for everyone involved with the project.

Now that you know what as-builts can offer a project, let’s take a look at how you can implement them in your project workflow.

Implementing As-builts: Building a Sustainable Project Workflow

Now that you know what as-builts can offer a project, let’s take a look at how you can implement them in your project workflow.

Here are key steps to consider:

  1. Establish a Clear Process for Capturing and Recording Data:

Define a systematic approach for gathering and documenting as-built information. This includes:

  • Identifying key data points: Decide what needs to be captured, from dimensional changes to equipment placements.
  • Scheduling data collection: Determine when updates will be captured (e.g., at critical milestones or after specific changes).
  • Assigning responsibilities: Clearly define who is responsible for capturing and recording data (e.g., site supervisors, quality inspectors).
  1. Define Roles and Responsibilities:

Clearly delegate tasks related to as-built creation and maintenance. This includes:

  • Data collection: Who captures photos, measurements, and notes?
  • Data processing: Who consolidates information and creates drawings?
  • Review and approval: Who ensures accuracy and adherence to standards?
  1. Choose the Right Tools and Technology:

Embrace innovative technology to streamline data capture and drawing creation. Consider:

  • Construction photo software: Tools like FiOR RESolute allow you to capture images and link them to specific locations on the floor plan.
  • Drones: Capture aerial imagery for comprehensive site and building overviews.
  • 3D modeling software: Create visually engaging and editable as-built representations.
  1. Integrate Data with Other Systems:

Ensure seamless data flow by integrating as-built information with existing project management systems. This enables:

  • Centralized access: All stakeholders can access updated as-builts in one location.
  • Real-time updates: Changes are reflected in both systems for greater accuracy.
  • Improved collaboration: Teams can work collaboratively on as-built documents.
  1. Best Practices for Documenting Changes:

Clearly record any deviations from the original plans. This includes:

  • Marking up original drawings: Highlight changes directly on existing plans.
  • Using redlining tools: Utilize software features to clearly indicate modifications.
  • Maintaining detailed logs: Capture reasons for changes and decisions made.

You can establish an efficient and sustainable workflow for managing as-builts, maximizing their value to your project just by implementing these basic steps.

Maximizing Construction Photo Software

Today’s construction photo software is more than just a capture tool; it’s a game-changer for as-built creation and management. Here’s how it empowers you:

  • Effortless Data Capture: Capture comprehensive data through photos, 360° panoramas, and drone imagery. Leverage automated features like image tagging and georeferencing for seamless information recording and organization.
  • Efficient Annotation and Markup: Utilize intuitive tools to mark up photos, highlight changes, and add detailed notes directly on captured images. Simplify redlining and ensure clear communication of modifications.
  • Streamlined Drawing Creation: Generate as-builts directly from captured data, eliminating the need for manual drafting. Software automatically extracts measurements and generates accurate representations of the final building state.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Share photos, annotated images, and generated drawings with stakeholders in real-time. Facilitate collaborative review and approval processes with ease.
  • Centralized Data Management: Store all as-built data, photos, and drawings in a secure and centralized location. Ensure easy access and retrieval for future reference.

By leveraging these capabilities, construction photo software helps you maintain control of your as-built workflow, saving time, improving accuracy, and maximizing the value of your documentation.

As-Built Documentation Builds a Legacy of Informed Decisions and Efficiency

Construction projects are complicated. There’s a lot that happens between the initial design phase and the final outcome, and even in the building maintenance phase.

As-builts are a link between all phases of a project, giving facility managers, project owners, and building contractors a legacy of the project. They improve worker safety and improve efficiency.

Ready to unlock the power of as-builts for your next project? Schedule a demo and discover how FiOR RESolute can help you build smarter.

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