As-Built Measurements & Drawings, Draftings & Plans

How do you get an As-Built Drawing?

If you are working on a remodel project for an existing residential or commercial building, it is critical to start with a good set of As-Built drawings.  As-Built plans will tell you exactly what the current dimensions and physical layout of the building is, so that you can be sure you are basing your design and construction drawings from accurate existing data.  Many remodel projects have been subject to delays, cost overruns, and other avoidable problems as a result of inaccurate or inadequate As-Builts.  In most cases, the cost of professional As-Built drawings is only 1-2% (or much less) of the overall construction budget.  Why would anyone try to cut corners with such a critical yet relatively inexpensive part of the project?

Once you have made the wise decision to obtain a set of As-Built plans at the beginning of your project, the next question is how to obtain them.  There are numerous options:

1. Rely solely on existing record drawings
• Many times, an existing set of plans can be found from the building owner or municipality.
• This is a very risky choice. Without thoroughly checking the plans you cannot be sure that you are working with truly accurate As-Builts.

2. Do the As-Builts yourself
• This is the choice most commonly made by made by smaller architecture firms.
• The advantage is that you don’t spend any money, and also the potential knowledge of the building that is gained through the measurement and As-Built process.
• The disadvantage is that it’s probably not the best use of your time, and you might not have the necessary tools or specialized skills to do a thorough and accurate job.

3. Have a junior staff member do them
• This method is commonly used by medium and larger architecture firms.
• The advantages include low cost (on the surface) and slightly more efficiency then having a senior principal or designer do the work.
• The disadvantage is that the junior staff member is not a professional – they are likely unprepared and unqualified to do the job to the necessary standards.

4. Hire a professional As-Built firm

The demand for specialized, professional measuring services has increased rapidly over the last decade. Time and cost pressures in construction continue to increase, emphasizing the importance of accurate As-Built plans to minimize the delays and costs caused by inaccurate data. At the same time, the innovation of new measuring and drafting technologies has given an advantage to independent firms able to specialize in building measuring services.  Finally, many architecture firms like the idea of shifting their HR and tax costs, not to mention professional liabilities, over to an outside firm.

As a result of these changes, more and more design and construction professionals are realizing that their best option is to hire a professional third party for their building measurement and As-Built needs, allowing them to focus their time and energy on other parts of the project.