Should you outsource your As-Built surveys?

Should you outsource your As-Built surveys?

Should you outsource your As-Built surveys? 1024 683 Andy McFarland

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!