The Five Most Common As-Built Drawings for Architects
From the architect’s viewpoint (and certainly from the building owner’s), every remodel project is unique. Both the inputs (existing building conditions, local codes, budget) as well as the outputs (new design/materials) are different every time – and when these 2 factors are combined into a complete project, the possibilities for architects are truly endless. Honestly I don’t know how they do it!
For the As-Built surveyor, however, we typically only have to deal with variances on 1 of these 2 factors: the inputs. It is our job to survey the existing building, and so we certainly have to be prepared to handle the wide variety of types, sizes, and other factors that make each building unique. But the other factor, the outputs, are fairly standardized for us. Our client, the architect, wants us to create a standard set of As-Built drawings that accurately depict the existing layout of the building. Of course these drawings can be customized with styles or details if the client desires, but for the most part we are producing the same output on all of our projects.
With over 12,000 As-Built surveys completed in the last 15 years, we have acquired a pretty good sense of what our architecture clients are looking for with their As-Built plans. Here’s a brief list of the five most common drawings that we get asked for on remodel projects:
It all starts here. You need to get an accurate Floor Plan before you can get most other drawings, because they need to tie back to the floor plan. A good As-Built Floor Plan shows all exterior and interior walls, windows and doors, as well as other visible structural elements such as columns and stairs. Any other required details can be added as needed, or shown on a separate plan.
This is a required As-Built Plan on most of our projects, particularly residential remodels. The Roof Plan should show the outline of the roof overlaid on top of the building perimeter walls, and include roof structural details including valleys, hips, ridges, and pitch. Equipment can also be added, particularly for flat commercial roofs.
As opposed to a “plan view” drawing where the perspective is looking down on the building, an elevation shows what the building looks like from the side. Exterior Elevations are As-Built drawings that show the exterior sides of the building, from ground level up to the top of the structure. Together with the Floor Plan and Roof Plan, the Exterior Elevations round out the typical set of As-Built plans that most of our architecture clients ask for on their projects.
REFLECTED CEILING PLAN
The Reflected Ceiling Plan, or “RCP”, is an As-Built drawing that shows both the structure of the ceiling (soffits, trays, coffers, exposed beams) as well as the elements attached to it (lights, vents, sprinklers). The RCP helps the architect understand how the ceiling is constructed, as well as what existing electrical and HVAC components are there for consideration with the remodel.
The Electrical Plan shows all of the visible electrical equipment, components and fixtures in the structure. This includes things like meters, panels, transformers, outlets, data jacks, lights, etc… We get asked to include an As-Built Electrical Plan on about 25% of our projects.
Taken together, these As-Built Plans show the architect a pretty comprehensive view of what the existing building looks like, and how it is constructed. In addition to these 5, there are many more useful As-Built drawings that we provide at PPM. For a full list of the As-Built drawings and As-Built services that we offer at PPM, check out our services page.