Third-Party As-Built Services
Construction drawings should reflect real-world conditions
As-builts have been treated as an afterthought for far too long. We provide expert field verification and drafting services that will guarantee the most accurate documentation possible.
Why As-Builts Can't be Trusted
Most drawings are either not up-to-date, wrong, hand-drawn, or completely missing. Contractors are rarely held accountable for delivering poor as-built redline markups. So, why would they put in the extra effort if there are no consequences?
The current as-built process relies completely on the Contractor's motivation to put in the effort necessary to produce quality work. Effort cuts into profits and if the Engineers and Architects are not obligated to field verify the changes, there simply is no incentive to put in the extra work.
"Contractors who provide quality as-constructed records are in the minority."
As-built Problems &
"When as-built or record drawings are found, they are of widely varying levels of quality, completeness, and reliability."
ES Engineering Systems:
Are Your As-built Markups
"30% of data is lost during an average construction project leaving as-builts incomplete."
6 Next Level Strategies
to Improve As-builts
Some contractors do an excellent job of providing quality as-built records. The remainder do fair to mediocre work at best –their work is sloppy, incomplete, or illegible, with documents stapled to drawings and other related shortcomings. A few contractors have even been known to submit contract drawings as as-builts without making any notations on them. And you can forget about them documenting any unauthorized changes they've made. That would just open them up to litigation.
The reliability issues of as-builts is a global problem and won't change anytime soon. There are digital tools out there that some companies are implementing to better track changes and update drawings during the construction process. But the industry itself is still a generation away of fully adopting digitization. In the meantime, we continue to struggle with the pitfalls of working with inaccurate drawings.
Pitfalls of Inaccurate Drawings
Starting a project with inaccurate site information can lead to costly design errors.
of construction rework is due to design errors
Source: The impact on Rework on Construction & Some Practical Remedies: Navigant Construction Forum
More time is spent on site to field verify drawings due to a lack of confidence in them.
Change orders can come from design errors, unforeseen circumstances, and incorrect estimates based on inaccurate drawings.
of projects experience one major change order
Source: What is a construction change order?: Autodesk Digital Builder Blog, February, 2020
Location of hidden services
Maintenance staff can experience difficulties in locating services such as piping and cables hidden behind walls or buried if not properly documented.
Ordering the Wrong Parts
The Contractor doesn't necessarily have to install the brand of equipment shown on a construction drawings unless explicitly specified. Sometimes these changes are not reflected on the as-builts and can lead to the wrong parts being ordered.
Disputes can impact project costs, schedule, and quality. They will always be part of the AEC industry. The challenge is to keep them as infrequent as possible.
of Contractors say underpricing and inadequate information at tender is a common dispute cause
Source: Global Survey on International Construction Arbitration Highlights Opportunities for Efficiency: The Canadian Bar Association, January, 2021
Trades such as electrical, instrumentation, automation, and IT use drawings for troubleshooting purposes. This gets very difficult when terminal block and wire numbers on drawings don't match what's out in the field.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the term as-built. Rightfully so. The name suggests that the drawing should reflect exactly what has been built. But what about record drawings? What is the difference and when do those come into play? The following is how the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) define them.
As-Built Drawings are those prepared by the Contractor as it constructs the project and upon which it documents the actual locations of the building components and changes to the original contract documents. These, or a copy of same, are typically turned over to the architect or client at the completion of the project.
Record Drawings are those drawings prepared by the Architect when contracted to do so. These are usually a compendium of the original drawings, site changes known to the Architect and information taken from the Contractor's as-built drawings.
Summary: As-builts are redline markups created by the Contractor which is then delivered to the Architect. Record drawings are the final CAD drawings updated with the as-built information plus other information known to the Architect. These record drawings are not to be sealed by the Architect to limit liability. Pretty simple so far...
The Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) have their own definitions.
As-Built Drawing: A document created by or based solely on information provided by a third party that reflects the installed, constructed, or commissioned conditions of a device, machine, equipment, apparatus, structure, system, or other outcome of an engineering project. Since the engineer has not reviewed and verified that the information is complete or accurate, as-built drawings must not be sealed.
Record Drawings: Documents created to accurately reflect as-constructed, as-built or as-fabricated conditions and that have been sealed by a professional engineer after verifying that the documents are accurate.
Summary: As-builts can be redline markups created by the Contractor or a third party which is then delivered to the Engineer. Or they can be the final updated CAD drawings based solely on the Contractor's redline markups. These are often labeled as as-constructed drawings to add to the confusion. Record drawings on the other hand are the final CAD drawings updated with field verified as-built information plus other information the Engineer has documented over the course of construction. These record drawings are to be sealed by the Engineer which exposes them to some liability.
What Does This Mean?
Lawyers advise their architecture, and engineering clients to avoid liability when possible. They advise the architects to not seal record drawings and advise the engineers to avoid record drawings when possible. This is why engineering record drawings aren't as prominent as their as-built / as-constructed counterparts.
You end up with redline markups that rarely get field verified. And even if they do, there are seldom any repercussions for poor work. When you remove accountability on both the Contractor and Architect / Engineer, you end up in the situation we are in with drawings you can't trust.
How We Can Help
As a third-party as-built service provider, our goal is to start turning the tide on this epidemic of bad drawings out there. This is how we do it.
Using laser scanning to capture real-world site conditions to millimeter accuracy is the only way to produce accurate drawings.
Not only is it the most accurate and comprehensive, it's also the fastest. A laser scanner will beat someone with a measuring tape every time.
In-depth field verification by qualified personnel ensures that your drawings will be up to date and accurate.
Photo documentation includes motor and equipment nameplates, the inside of electrical panels, part numbers, equipment labels, and 360° images.
We update drawings such as:
Reflective Ceiling Plans
General Arrangements (GA)
Process Flow Diagrams (PFD)
Electrical Single Lines
Piping & Instrument Diagrams (P&ID)
Still working with hand-drawn drawings? We can turn them into CAD drawings and update them to current conditions.
Working with Architects and Engineers
We can work closely with Architectural and Engineering firms by providing them all of the field information.
We provide them with:
All photo documentation
Marked up drawings in Bluebeam
Point Cloud file
Third-Party As-built review
We can keep Contractors honest by comparing as-built redlines to actual site conditions. We can either provide this information to the consulting firm or update the drawings in-house.
You are only 4 steps away to getting the most accurate site information
Fill our form
A form will pop up once you click on the "GET A QUOTE" button. This form is a step by step guide to help you provide all necessary information for an accurate quote.
We will send you a quote via email.
Field and office Work
Once we receive a purchase order, we will proceed with the site work.
A shared folder will be sent via an emailed link where you will be able to download all deliverables. Printouts, if required, will be shipped by courier or dropped off in person.
If we are working directly with a consulting firm, the link will also be sent to them.