What is an As-Built Drawing, and Why is it Important?

Final set of drawings created at the end of a construction project are known as as-built drawings. Once the construction process begins, there are several factors that may necessitate changes in the original design. All these changes are recorded in the as-built drawings after project completion. Unlike construction drawings, which are created with the help of computer aided design software, these drawings may just contain handwritten sketches, changes or notes.

For a better understanding of these drawings, it is essential to understand how construction drawings are created and how they work. The process starts when the developer or an owner hires a civil engineer or an architect to design his building. He will share his requirements and ideas with the architect, who will use them to create the construction drawings. These drawings are sent to the developer for approval, and later to the permitting authorities that will issue the building permit based on the construction drawings.

The construction of the building begins as per the design mentioned on the construction drawings. The builder would lay out walls, run electrical wiring or install duct work on the basis of the approved design. The need of an as-built drawing arises when a change in the original design is deemed necessary by the builder. The simpler changes are usually noted just on the building plans, but the bigger ones require architect’s approval. Once he receives approval for the change, he would record it in the as-built drawing. A change may also be requested by the owner or the developer during the construction phase. These changes are also mentioned in the as-built drawing.

In large scale projects, several as-built drawings are maintained. Each contractor or a sub contractor may have their own drawing. They keep recording the changes in their respective drawings, and at the end of the project, all drawings are combined into one comprehensive as-built drawing that includes all changes that they were made to the original construction drawing.

As-built drawings are extremely important for the owner or occupant of the building. These drawings make the maintenance and repair of the building simpler by informing the owner or occupant of locations for plumbing, cabling or any other hidden components. They also come in handy when renovation or remodeling is undertaken in the future. As-built drawing may also be demanded by the authorities, to check the safety state of the building.


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