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What are As-Built drawings?

As-built drawings are graphic representations that describe the current state of a structure after the design phase has been completed. Read this insight to find out more

There are major differences between a building project and its actual construction. For every stage of a construction project, from the simplest to the most complex, there are certain challenges to overcome. An as-built drawing provides a complete history of every change and update made to a project and they can serve as valuable records and references for future purposes.  Let’s take a closer look at what they are, what they are used for, and how to leverage them. We also suggest using a BIM management software that allows you to manage all phases of the project’s life cycle effectively.

BIM Model with as-built documentation

BIM Model with as-built documentation

What are As-Built drawings?

As-built drawings are graphic representations that reflect how a project was actually built — after the many revisions that typically occur during the construction process. It is very common for project drawings to be modified during construction and site work, and as a result, the finished product may not match the original project 100%.
In essence, as-built drawings reflect reality much better than other drawings (including working drawings) and are much more reliable for those who are assigned with the ongoing management and maintenance of the project.

Why are As-Built drawings important?

The answer to this question lies in the management and maintenance of the project in question.
As we mentioned earlier, as-built drawings best represent the actual state of the project at the end of construction. Therefore, those who need to undertake subsequent maintenance activities or, more generally, manage the project can refer to reliable graphic documents that significantly reduce errors.

Today it is much more frequent to intervene on existing buildings rather than construct new buildings: this increases the importance and need to carry out as built surveys to obtain documents that precisely describe the current state of the property.

In general, we can say that as-built drawings are important for three reasons:

  • improvement in initial updating: When new people or new professional figures are involved in a project, as-built drawings make it easier and faster to access the necessary information, thus speeding up the project execution time;
  • constant support for different teams: As-built drawings provide detailed and continuous updates on the progress of the project, allowing for quicker problem resolution, saving time and money;
  • enhancement of professionals/client communication: Clients have the opportunity to obtain all updated information on the work carried out, including all costs incurred up to a certain point, enabling them to manage resources effectively.
Difference between redline drawings and as-built drawings managing changes during execution

Difference between redline drawings and as-built drawings managing changes during execution

For further information, I also suggest reading another article: “As-built documentation: what it is and what it is for“.

What are As-Built floor plans?

As-built floor plans can be intended as 2D graphic representations used to define the modifications made to the project.
Like all graphic documents, they aim to identify new dimensions, new positions, and the new types of elements that have replaced the previous ones.

To clarify, here are some examples of what an as-built floor plan defines:

  • the final position of walls, doors, windows, and other architectural elements;
  • the final position of building systems;
  • the final position of any control panels,
  • and more.

How to create As-Built drawings

As a general rule, there are no strict guidelines to follow for creating as-built drawings. Therefore, unless there are certain requirements imposed by the relevant authorities, these documents can be created as you see fit. What I recommend is always keeping in mind some very important general aspects, such as:

  • color coding – Have a legend for the colors used in the drawings to clearly indicate added elements, deleted elements, important information, etc.;
  • scale drawings – All modifications indicated on as-built drawings must maintain the scale of the main drawing;
  • date indication – Include the date of the modification and any additional information;
  • challenges faced – Specify the difficulties encountered during the entire modification process, of any nature (regulatory, technical, due to soil conditions, etc.)
  • systems – Make sure to indicate the exact location of all systems installed during the work.