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As-built designs and archival designs

As-built drawings and archival drawings are drawn up graphically representing the building after its construction. Let’s discover the differences

There are different types of technical construction drawings that differ according to the purpose, the type of representation, the degree of detail, etc.

In this article we specify the difference between drawings of type:

  • as-built (drawings representing the building as it was built);
  • records (final documents ready for archiving);
  • shop (working drawings).

Before starting, I recommend a 3D architectural design software that allows you to create the necessary graphical and construction drawings automatically starting from the 3D model.

Construction drawings created with Edificius | As-built designs and archival designs

Construction drawings layout – Created with Edificius

What’s the difference between as-built drawings and archival drawings?

As-built drawings include a series of graphic drawings made and presented by the contractor upon completion of a project (or individual phases) to represent the actual size of the building during or at the end of the works. They describe the work as it was actually built, as a result of design changes in progress or discrepancies between design and construction.

The purpose of the as-built documents is to document all changes made to the project during the construction process and to represent the exact dimensions and actual positions of all elements as described in the contractual agreement.

It is good practice to work on as-built documentation already during the construction phase and update it when changes are made. In this way, you’ll ensure that the virtual information model is consistent with the real one, and that contractual clauses are being responded to.

Usually, the contractor who has carried out the work also has the burden of producing and delivering the as-built documentation to the client. Before its delivery to the customer, the documentation must be accepted and definitively approved by the professional in charge.

The archival documents (also known as record drawings), on the other hand, are the final and final official drawings, drawn up and certified by the qualified technician and officially delivered to the relevant bodies, in order to document the works actually carried out. They report all the changes made on site by the contractor to the as-built drawings, including the changes requested by the client during the works.

Being approved by the technician, they are considered more reliable than as-built drawings. The modifications are officially issued and may constitute evidence against the technician (designer or project manager) or the company in the event of disputes or inconsistencies between the works carried out and those established by the contract.

Basically, therefore, the as-built drawings are processed by the company while the archiving drawings by a qualified technician and the latter are recognized as more reliable because they are official drawings, approved, officially archived (at the municipal offices, the cadastre, the civil engineering, etc.) and made from the as-built drawings.

What’s the difference between as-built drawings and working drawings?

The Working drawings (also known as shop drawings in the US construction sector) are intended to represent each individual component of the building to be built in a very high detail.

They are used to communicate project choices to end customers and to give precise indications to the company that must carry out the work. They explain in detail the characteristics, position, assembly/installation methods of each component of the project and all the details necessary to understand and implement the work in accordance with the design idea.

Sismabonus 110 practical case designed with EdiLus executive table

Construction drawings layout – Created with Edificius

In general, the working drawings include details of construction, installation and assembly of windows, doors, finishing works, MEP components, structural elements, etc.

MEP systems drawing - As-built designs and archival designs

Drawing model showing the MEP system details | Created with Edificius

From the working drawings it is also possible to deduce the materials (floors, coatings, etc.), the construction techniques, the dimensions but also the times and costs of the works.

Unlike archival and as-built drawings, working drawings must be drawn up by the technician before the actual works start and precisely because they are intended to illustrate the project for the purposes of its correct implementation.