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June 2014
1024 683 Andy McFarland

Should you outsource your As-Built surveys?

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your As-Built Surveys

For many years, it has been common practice in the architectural community to outsource related professional services such as structural calculations, interior design, and model development to other firms. But for one reason or the other, As-Built drawings have not reached the same level of ubiquity as a stand-alone service. In simple terms, an As-Built Drawing is a plan that depicts the current dimensions and condition of a property.

An As-Built plan should accurately reflect the way the building was originally built, plus any changes that may have occurred on the property to date.  But an As-Built drawing is NOT a design drawing – it will not reflect any planned changes or remodels to the building.  That is why you say the drawing is “As-Built”.

Who Needs As-Built Plans?

As-Built drawings are an essential starting point for ANY remodel project on a residential or commercial property.  In order to create a new design and construction drawings, you must first know the exact layout and conditions of the structure you are working with.  Therefore, As-Built plans are most commonly used in the following industries:


It all starts with the architect, at the earliest phases of the design process.  Architects are the single biggest users of As-Built drawings. Also related to architecture would be interior designers, contractors, and other property consultants that use the plans for the same purpose.

Real Estate:

As-Built drawings enhance marketing plans by providing prospective customers with a realistic view of a property which makes the use of such drawings quite important to real-estate agents and homeowners marketing properties. The plans can also be used to confirm Square Footage, do space planning, and more.

Facilities Management:

For very large buildings or for companies with extensive real-estate assets, As-Built plans are a critical tool for the continual assessment and management of their physical portfolio.

Objections Towards Outsourcing As-Built Surveys

In some local geographic markets such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is quite common amongst the architecture community to outsource their As-Built surveying to a specialized independent firm.  These architects have realized the benefits that come from working with a professional measuring company that can create an As-Built plan more accurately and quickly than they could do themselves. However in other markets such as Seattle, there is a much greater resistance towards the outsourcing of As-Built services.

Objections include:

Relinquishing Control:

Many architects find it difficult to relinquish control of any part of their design process due to fear that the service provider could negatively affect the project.

Loss of Billable Hours:

Some architects rely on the fees they charge for building measurement and don’t want to absorb a rise in project costs – even though the As-Builts are usually billed at a much lower rate than the higher-end design services.

Quality concerns:

Many architects fear that outsourcing could lead to an inaccurate or incomplete As-Built product – despite the fact that the professional measuring firms typically have better tools, technology, and experience.

The Benefits of Outsourcing As-Builts

When properly done with an experienced and reputable firm, there are numerous benefits that come from working with a professional As-Built company:

Increased Efficiency:

By starting each project with a consistent set of As-Builts, you can streamline your entire design process. You and your staff can focus your time and effort on what you do best, with the confidence that comes from knowing you are working with accurate As-Built drawings.

Better Results:

With the tools, technology and experience that come from focusing solely on As-Built measuring, you will receive a more accurate and detailed set of drawings than you would be able to create yourself or by using your own staff.


Your project should NEVER be delayed because you are too busy to get out to the property and take measurements. When you outsource your As-Builts, you are paying for the service only when you need it, and not maintaining costly equipment and staff when you don’t.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss your As-Built strategy or a particular project with an expert at PPM, please Contact Us. Thank you for reading!

700 525 Andy McFarland

Men of the Mustache

Does The Mustache Belong In Today’s Work Environment?

I can’t believe it has been more than 8 months since my last blog. During that time, there has actually been a lot going on with PPM. We’ve hired 4 new employees, revamped a bunch of our internal systems, and completed some really amazing As-Built projects. But as newsworthy as all of these things were, it took something really special to finally get me to fire up the word processor and write about it.

We had just such an occurrence last month: PPM’s first (and hopefully not last) mustache growing competition.

Like many great events, it all started with a man and a dream. Colin Maloney is always looking for a challenge. When he’s not expertly As-Built surveying a custom split-level residence, he needs something else to get his adrenaline flowing. Fortunately for Colin, the rest of us here at PPM are always looking for something fun to do at work. So when Colin asked if anyone wanted to grow a mustache during the month of May, there were 8 takers. The competition was on.

Participants were required to arrive to work clean-shaven on May 1st. For the next 4 Mondays, as the contestants sauntered into the office after a long and intense weekend of new hair growth, we would all spend a few minutes (OK or maybe an hour) comparing each other’s progress, and then take a photo for the official record. Rules were posted in the office halls, a judging scorecard was created, and an esteemed panel of mustache judges was chosen including PPM employees and special guest judge Mac McFarland (my father), he with 45 years of unblemished first-hand mustache experience.

Friday May 30 – Judgment Day. The tension in the office was so thick you could cut it with a tape measure as we all tried to get our work done before the 3PM judging. A random order was chosen, and then contestants were led one at a time into the conference room to face (literally) the panel of judges. We were judged on 5 categories of mustache characteristics (Style, Thickness, Scummyness, Filthyness, and Authoritative Presence), as well as by our answers to 4 mustache-related questions of great societal importance. To enhance their overall aura of mustachiousity, several contestants wore themed costumes and assumed an alternate identity.

After each mustache had its opportunity to be seen, heard, and felt, the judges took a good 15 minutes or more to deliberate. Heated arguments could be heard all the way across the building, and at one point I’m pretty sure a chair was thrown. When the dust settled, a winner was declared: Colin Maloney (a.k.a. Ned Flanders) had prevailed. Placing second was Cameron Slatterbeck (the redneck) and in a tie for third was Mike Valencia and Taylor Ferry. When it was all over, the 7 losers took turns and carried the winner on our shoulders from the office about ½ mile up Anaheim St. to our favorite neighborhood watering hole, Roundin’ Third. There, each mustache celebrated its hard work by soaking itself repeatedly in ale.

Mustache May was an unqualified success for PPM. Be on the lookout for a mustachioed As-Built Surveyor in your neighborhood in May 2015!