About As-Built Drawings

All About As-Built Drawings

as built drawings

As-built drawings play a vital role in the remodeling industry, helping architects, engineers, designers, construction professionals, and homeowners prepare for renovations. In this article, we will explore the definition of as-built drawings, their purpose, how they’re made, and the difference between as-built documentations. We will also cover several related topics including AutoCAD, commercial as-built surveys, residential as-built surveys, and pricing.

I. What Are As-Built Drawings?

As-built drawings are a set of plans created in preparation for a renovation or remodel and are an important starting point for all stakeholders involved in the completion of the project. These plans document any changes or modifications made after the original construction plans, including modifications made to the property throughout the years. They reflect the actual conditions of the project site and are created by surveying the property and taking precise measurements. 

It is important to remember that As-built drawings provide an accurate representation of a building as it stands before any planned remodeling has begun. In the next section, we will explore why these drawings are important, different types of as-built drawings, and the “survey” process involved in creating them.

II. Why Are As-Built Drawings Important?

why architectural as-built drawings

As-built drawings are essential in construction projects because they provide an accurate representation of a building in the present moment. They are the most up-to-date documentations of the building and provide a reference for future repairs or renovations. As-built drawings can be used for design purposes to help architects and engineers make informed decisions when planning future construction projects. They are critical in ensuring accuracy and precision during the construction process and are also essential for maintenance and repair work.

They can also be used for maintenance purposes. When a building needs repairs, as-built drawings provide the necessary information to make efficient and effective repairs. Without accurate as-built drawings, repairs may take longer, and there may be a higher risk of mistakes or errors.

These documents serve as a record of the current state of the building structure and are crucial to begin maintenance, remodeling, or repair work.

III. Characteristics of As-Built Drawings

Characteristics of As-Built Drawings

As-built drawings are known for their accuracy and completeness, which makes them critical to any remodel project. These drawings reflect the actual state of a building or property, including all dimensions, features, and their locations. This not only makes them essential for design and construction, but they also play a crucial role in maintenance and repair activities.

Because a key feature of as-built drawings is accuracy, these documents must be precise and detailed to ensure they accurately represent the property or building. As a result, they are created with extreme care, which is why they are more reliable than measured drawings.

Another critical characteristic of as-built drawings is completeness. These documents must cover all relevant features of a building or property, including measurements, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems depending on the intended use of the drawings. This completeness ensures that as-built drawings can be used for various purposes, such as design, construction, and maintenance.

Property measurements are an essential component of as-built drawings. These measurements capture the exact size and orientation of the interiors and exteriors of a property, which is critical for ensuring accuracy of the as-built drawing. Inaccurate property measurements can lead to faulty design and construction, resulting in costly rework and delays.

IV. Three Types of As-Built Drawings

As-built drawings are categorized based on their function and location within the construction project. The three types of as-built drawings in construction are architectural, structural, and MEP.

Architectural As-Built Drawings:

These drawings include floor plans, elevations, and sections that show the layout of a building’s interior and exterior. They provide accurate measurements and details for floors, walls, windows, and doors.

Structural As-Built Drawings:

Structural as-built drawings show the layout of a building’s structural components, including columns, beams, framing, and foundations. They ensure that the building is structurally sound and up to code.

MEP As-Built Drawings:

MEP as-built drawings show the layout of a building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. In many cases, architects will need to address immovable MEP or consider what MEP might need to be moved to implement a new design along with understanding the cost of doing so

V. Four Types of Construction Drawings

In addition to these types of as-built drawings, there are four types of construction drawings used in the industry. These include plan drawings, elevation drawings, section drawings, and detail drawings.

Plan Drawings:

plan drawings from as builts

Plan drawings show a top-down view of the building or space. They typically include floor plans, site plans, and landscape plans.

Elevation Drawings:

elevation drawings from as-builts

Elevation drawings show the vertical face of a building or space. They provide details on the building’s exterior or interior appearance and include information on materials and finishes.

Section Drawings:

section drawings from as-builts

Section drawings show a cutaway view of the building or space. They provide information on the building’s interior layout, including walls, ceilings, doors, and floors.

Detail Drawings:

Detail drawings provide specific information on how parts of the building or space are constructed. They may show how materials are installed or provide information on specific elements of the design.

VI. How are As-Built Drawings Made?

How are As-Built Drawings Made?

As-built drawings are made by first visiting the project site and taking accurate measurements; this is called an as-built survey. The as-built survey process involves conducting a survey of the completed construction project to create accurate and detailed as-built drawings. This process involves using both LiDAR technology and traditional measurement strategies.

LiDAR Technology

LiDAR Technology

LiDAR technology involves using lasers to measure distances and create 3D models of the space. This technology provides high levels of accuracy and precision, and allows for detailed measurements to be taken quickly and efficiently. Depending on which laser scanner is being used, the accuracy rate can reach as close as 0.5 to 10mm. Advanced LiDAR technology is faster and more accurate than traditional measurement strategies. 

Traditional Measurement Strategies

Traditional Measurement Strategies

Traditional measurement strategies involve physically measuring the space using tape measures, laser distance meters, and other tools. While this process may take longer than using LiDAR technology, when done correctly,  it also ensures that all measurements are accurate and comprehensive.

measuring spaces without as builts through traditional methods

The downfall of taking measurements traditionally is it creates a higher risk of human error. Precision is crucial in creating high-quality as-built drawings. Any errors or inaccuracies in the drawings can lead to problems down the line, such as the incorrect placement of building elements or the failure to meet building codes and regulations.

VII. Residential As-Builts

Residential As-Built Drawings

Residential properties can also benefit from as-built surveys, especially for remodels and renovations. An as-built survey can provide accurate measurements and drawings that can help homeowners plan for renovations and ensure that their projects meet safety standards. Examples of residential properties that may require as-built surveys are homes, apartments, and condominiums. Clients of these projects can include homeowners, remodelers, and architects. Homes may require as-built surveys for renovations or additions, while apartments and condominiums may require as-built surveys for maintenance and safety inspections.

VIII. Commercial As-Built Surveys

commercial as built surveys

Commercial surveys can involve multi-site properties or single-site properties, such as retail locations, hotels, industrial properties, and educational facilities or institutions. Clients may include property owners, real estate developers, architects, and contractors. The requirements for commercial surveys are often more complex and detailed than those for residential surveys due to the larger scale of the project and the need to meet regulatory standards. Commercial properties require as-built surveys to ensure that the buildings are up to code and to identify any potential structural or safety issues. As-built surveys are especially useful for multi-site properties and historic preservation projects.

Multi-site properties can benefit from as-built surveys because they often have similar layouts and designs across all locations. By conducting an as-built survey of one site, the surveyors can create accurate drawings and measurements that can be used across all other locations or repeat the process using the same template for locations that have slight variations. This saves time and resources and ensures that all locations are up to code.

commercial as built drawings

As-built surveys are also important for historic preservation projects. Many older buildings were constructed before modern building codes, and an accurate as-built survey can help preserve the building’s historical integrity while ensuring that it meets current safety standards.

Hotels may require as-built surveys to ensure that they meet safety standards and to plan for renovations or expansions while industrial properties may require as-built surveys to ensure that they meet safety and environmental regulations. Educational institutions may require as-built surveys to plan for campus expansions or to ensure that the buildings meet safety standards.

Overall, as-built surveys are important for both commercial and residential properties. They provide accurate measurements and drawings that can help ensure that buildings meet safety standards and that projects are completed with worry-free timeliness and accuracy.

IX. How to Complete As-Built Drawings

How to Complete As-Built Drawings

When providing as-built drawings, clients need to be able to trust that the drawings they receive are up to date, accurate, and reliable. Completing as-built drawings requires quality control and quality assurance measures. Quality control ensures that the as-built drawings are accurate and complete, while quality assurance ensures that the drawings meet the required standards and specifications.

Technology plays a vital role in completing as-built drawings. AutoCAD technology, for instance, is widely used to create as-built drawings due to its precision and accuracy. It enables the creation of 2D and 3D drawings, which can accurately reflect the actual dimensions and features of a property or building. As a result, AutoCAD technology has made the creation of as-built drawings faster, more efficient, and more reliable.


as builts in 2D CAD

One of the tools used in creating as-built drawings is AutoCAD technology. AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software that is used to create precise and detailed drawings quickly and efficiently. AutoCAD is used after the survey and measurements are completed and aids in visualizing the data collected.


as builts in bim

Another tool for visualizing as-built drawings are 3D BIM software such as Revit, Archicad, and SketchUp. BIM stands for building information modeling and adds another level of ease to visualization and design. These software allow for a more advanced project management process that streamlines updates in real-time to all contractors involved in the process. By employing a 3D BIM software you gain tools including clash detection, push/pull modeling, instant customizable geometry, parametric components and subcomponents, and smart multiple extrusion tools. These softwares also allow for “walk through” capabilities. This means you can view the model on your computer and virtually walk through the model as you would in a video game.

X. What if Drawings are Inaccurate?

If as-built drawings are not accurate, it can lead to various problems and challenges during the design, construction, and maintenance phases of a project.

Inaccurate as-built drawings can result in errors in the design of new projects, leading to unexpected clashes, and delays during construction. This can lead to additional costs and can even result in safety issues, particularly in the case of construction projects that involve complex systems or structures.

Furthermore, inaccurate as-built drawings can also lead to maintenance issues. For instance, if an engineer or contractor is working on a building or a system based on inaccurate as-built drawings, they may not be able to identify and address the underlying issues correctly. This can result in additional time and expenses to correct the mistakes.

Additionally, inaccurate as-built drawings can result in legal disputes, as the incorrect information in the drawings may lead to project delays, additional costs, or errors that lead to claims for damages. In some cases, disputes arising from inaccurate as-built drawings can even result in litigation, which can be costly and time-consuming for all parties involved.

In short, inaccurate as-built drawings can have significant negative impacts on construction projects, leading to additional costs, delays, safety issues, and legal disputes. As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that as-built drawings are accurate and up-to-date to avoid these challenges.

XI. Who Creates As-Built Drawings?

Creating As-Built Drawings

As-built drawings are typically created by surveyors, architects, or contractors. Surveyors are responsible for taking measurements of the property and creating a detailed drawing that accurately reflects the existing conditions. Architects may create as-built drawings, particularly during renovation or remodeling projects. Contractors may be involved in creating as-built drawings to ensure that their work aligns with the design and specifications outlined in the drawings. Professional As-Built surveying companies also exist to take this work off of the hands of architects. These companies may offer surveying services, drawing services, or both. One example of a specialized company who offers all services needed for accurate as-built drawings nationwide is Precision Property Measurements. 

Timeliness, accuracy, and communication are all essential in providing quality as-built drawings. A reliable as-built survey provider ensures that the project is completed on time and that the drawings are accurate and comprehensive. A constant stream of communication between the survey provider and the client helps to ensure that the drawings meet the client’s needs and expectations.

XII. How to Price As-Built Drawings

The pricing of as-built drawings can vary depending on several factors, including project scope and complexity. Large, complex projects may require more detailed and extensive drawings, which can increase the overall cost. Additionally, the location of the property and the level of detail required can also affect pricing.

How to Price As-Built Drawings

It’s important to work with a reputable company that offers transparent pricing and can provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in creating as-built drawings. This can help clients make informed decisions about whether as-built drawings are necessary for their project and budget accordingly.

XIII. Conclusion

As-built drawings are a crucial part of construction projects, from design to construction and maintenance. They provide an accurate and complete picture of the current state of a property and ensure that a construction project is completed to the required standards and regulations. 

They are created by surveyors, architects, contractors, or a professional as-built surveying company. These plans require quality control and quality assurance measures to ensure their accuracy and reliability. Technology, particularly AutoCAD, has revolutionized the creation of as-built drawings, making them faster, more efficient, and more reliable than ever before.

By understanding the factors that affect pricing and the professionals involved in creating as-built drawings, clients can make informed decisions about whether they are necessary for their project. As-built drawings are not only essential for future repairs, renovations, and design purposes, but they also provide valuable information that can be used for years to come.