As-Built Plans: A Key Tool for Assessing and Leasing Commercial Spaces

Overcoming Logistical Challenges in Commercial Real Estate

As-Built Plans: A Key Tool for Assessing and Leasing Commercial Spaces

Overcoming Logistical Challenges in Commercial Real Estate

OTJ Architects is a leading architecture and design firm that collaborates with large organizations during pivotal development phases. With a nationwide footprint, OTJ creates lasting, human-centric solutions that emphasize diversity, wellness, and sustainability across various sectors, including commercial real estate, corporate, government, life sciences, and more.

OTJ Architects partnered with us on a significant commercial real estate assessment project in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project’s main focus was to accurately measure and document tenant spaces across three structures totaling 213,000 square feet. Thanks to meticulous planning and execution, we provided OTJ Architects with As-Built plans their client could use for marketing and leasing purposes.

We explore insights below shared by Peter Ducas, Senior Principal at OTJ Architects, and Colin Lenkeit, PPM’s National Project Manager, about their experiences and the project’s unique challenges.

As-Built Scope of Work

  • Floor Plans
  • Still Photos

The Client's Needs and Project Motivation

Peter explained that their client had a pressing need for As-Built drawings of their buildings to market them to new prospective tenants. Many of the spaces in these buildings had been occupied for extended periods of time by federal government tenants, and the building records were outdated. As tenants moved out, the need for up-to-date CAD drawings became crucial for test fits and to create marketing plans for new tenants.

Specifically, the goal for the floor plans was to identify all interior walls, doors, and millwork so that the marketing materials accurately represented the spaces. The detailed documentation allowed the building owners to reconfigure spaces as needed, especially when large tenants moved out. Although no remodeling was planned at the time, the As-Built plans we provided were utilized for various test fits.

Additionally, the As-Built plans were used to complete Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) calculations for the buildings according to the most recent BOMA Office Standard. This recalculation subsequently increased the rentable square footage of the buildings, which will be incorporated into tenant leases as they are renewed or as new tenants lease space.

"I was impressed with PPM's capabilities. There was great communication throughout the process and their agility in dealing with various tenants, including some secure government ones, was very appreciated."

- Peter Ducas, Senior Principal at OTJ Architects

On-Site Logistics and Challenges

The on-site logistics presented several challenges. Many tenants had specific requests or declined access, particularly government agencies with strict rules about their office spaces. For instance, one tenant did not allow cameras, a standard tool we use for quality assurance and client review. Another tenant was wary of the digital measuring tools, requiring our on-site surveyors to sign NDAs and various waivers to gain access.

Despite these hurdles, we successfully navigated the complexities. Colin explained that measuring this project using traditional methods rather than LiDAR laser scanners was necessary due to budget constraints and tenant requirements. Traditional methods proved to be the best approach, given the client’s needs and the specific challenges posed by the tenants. Since those methods take longer, we deployed three surveyors to expedite the process for the client.

"We listen to the client, understand what their focus is, and build their plans around that. The focus could be accuracy, price, speed, etc. It could be a simple set of drawings or a very complicated set of drawings. We consider all variables when determining the best production method for each project."

Unique Building Features and Measurement Techniques

One of the buildings had a massive, curved edge that made gathering traditional measurements more difficult. Organic shapes, such as curves and wavy walls, increased the time needed on-site to document details accurately. Lenkeit elaborated on the process, explaining how we used a known framework to survey the difficult parts. In this instance, we worked off two 90-degree angles and three straight walls, then connected the dots to figure out the curve.

The Power of Precise Measurements

The collaboration between OTJ Architects and our team highlights the importance of precise measurements and As-Built plans in commercial real estate. Through careful planning, adaptation to on-site challenges, and efficient use of traditional measurement techniques, we delivered high-quality results that will aid OTJ Architects’ client with leasing their spaces effectively and increasing their return on investment. This project demonstrates the value of expertise and meticulous execution in understanding and transforming commercial spaces. To learn more about OTJ Architects and their work, visit their website here.