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As-built drawings are a crucial part of construction and manufacturing jobs, yet not every architect, engineer or contractor uses them. What are as-built drawings, and why should you offer them to your clients? We’re glad you asked!

At DRSi, we have more than 30 years of experience supporting the AEC industry with high-quality printing. We collaborate with our clients to produce excellent printed materials for blueprints, as-builts and everything in between. Reach out to our team of experts to get your project started.

What Are As-Built Drawings?

Those in the AEC industry know that over the course of any building project, there are changes, updates and deviations from the original plans. This knowledge is a simple fact of life in construction and manufacturing. Each time a detail changes, you must update the original plans to reflect the new information.

These changes are why as-built drawings exist. The as-builts are like the project’s memory bank, tracking shifts and adjustments to the original plans. 

Once completed, the as-built drawings help everyone involved track the differences between the beginning plans and the final project. These drawings are no longer proposals. Instead, they show the completed project “as built” in real life. 

Who Is Responsible for the As-Built Drawings?

For most construction projects, the architects and engineers involved are responsible for drawing up the original plans for permits and client approval. 

Different people may be involved when it’s time to draw up the as-builts. In most cases, it makes sense for the architect or engineer to create the as-builts, but sometimes a contractor or project manager may do the job. 

Regardless of who is in charge of the as-built drawings, those doing the work must keep meticulous notes about each change. This careful record-keeping will make it much simpler to produce the as-built drawings.

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Why Is an As-Built Drawing Important?

Some contractors or construction companies bypass the as-built record, deeming it unnecessary. But the reality is that these drawings are crucial for any project, from renovations to new construction. 

Here are some of the primary reasons as-builts are important:

  • They capture an accurate record of the complete project. Communication between contractors, architects, subcontractors and clients can become a maze. By noting all shifts and adjustments in the as-built drawing, you create a complete picture of the final project. This important document helps everyone be on the same page as they sign off at project completion.
  • They streamline renovations and onboarding. When the time comes to upgrade or remodel an existing building, the as-builts can be invaluable. The information in the drawings allows architects and contractors to know what’s underneath the surface of any potential project before they begin. And having this record on hand makes it easier to communicate your needs and goals with subcontractors.
  • They make maintenance easier. Your clients will appreciate having updated, accurate plans for their properties. The as-built drawings make planning regular or emergency maintenance projects much more straightforward.
  • They make it simpler to get future permits. If the property owner ever wants to remodel, they may have to submit as-builts to their government agency to secure permits. This benefit of the as-built drawing makes the record highly valuable to your clients.

As-Built Drawing Checklist

There is a lot to keep track of when working on a construction or manufacturing project. It can be daunting to track and record every change, no matter how slight. But this step is vital to completing your job. Throughout the project, it’s critical that your team notes the date of each change along with the name of who authorized it.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to having effective as-built drawings for your buildings. These records need to include the following:

  • Changes in Dimensions – Did you have to adjust some aspects of the job? For instance, did the kitchen cabinet dimensions have to shift up or down a bit?
  • Changes in Locations – It’s essential to note any location changes for the major systems, such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing. These adjustments are particularly crucial for future maintenance needs.
  • Changes in Materials – Sometimes (ok, frequently), clients change their minds about which materials they want. Budget is often the biggest reason for this switch, but sometimes supply issues also come into play. Either way, it’s important to note the changes.
  • New or Different Installations – Final construction often includes systems or installations that weren’t part of the original plans. The as-builts need to indicate these updates.
  • New or Different Fabrications – Permits and inspections may require additional beams, columns or handrails that weren’t indicated on the original plan.

Although tracking each change can be time-consuming and tedious, modern software makes the process much simpler. Thank goodness for drafting and AutoCAD programs! Gone are the days of needing to do all of this with pen and paper. Going back to the drawing board is much easier when the drawing board is on your computer.

Large-Format Printing and Digital Scanning for As-Built Drawings

As wonderful as the virtual designs are, most projects also require hard copies of original plans and as-built records. DRSi is the Puget Sound region’s go-to expert for high-quality large-format printing in the AEC industry. 

Our team produces clear, crisp prints of designs, plans and job site signage of any size. And our water-resistant Rhino(™) material ensures that your blueprints stay usable despite our Pacific Northwest weather. The DRSi delivery fleet brings your printed materials directly to your job site when you need them.

Additionally, we can scan and digitize all of your construction or manufacturing documents so you can store and share them more securely. 

The Seattle area has seen tremendous growth and construction in the 30 years that DRSi has been in business, and it’s an honor to continue serving our AEC clients and community. Connect with a DRSi team member today to get a quote for your project.

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