What Are As-Builts?

There are various types of architectural documentation. These include feasibility plans, construction drawings, permit plans, demolished plans, space plans, electrical plans, renderings, BIM models, mechanical plans, sections, and and as-builts. What are as-builts?

What Are As-Builts?

As-builts, also called red-line drawings or record drawings, are drawings that indicate major and minor modifications made by either architects, contractors, or engineers to render the project. In addition, an as-built drawing can be defined as a written annotation on a paper blueprint that showcases changes made to a building during different construction phases. Construction workers compare the original drawings to as-built drawings to determine the new features and specifications of the building. These drawings display the geometry of the completed work and allow project managers to track and record changes made. Contractors can use as-built drawings to showcase their skills and professionalism.

What to Include in As-Built Drawings?

These blueprints should incorporate all changes made to the original construction drawings. Below are the main elements included in the as-built drawings:

  • Design changes
  • Labels and dates
  • Shop drawing changes
  • Detailed notes of modifications 
  • Field changes
  • Exact dimensions 
  • Changes to locations, including plumbing, windows, doors, etc. 
  • Extra works
  • Changes to materials, including hardware used, based on the size and type. (For example, if the owner decided to use invisible hinges as opposed to butt hinges.
  • Changes made in response to an inspection. 


In addition, some as-built drawings include various supporting documentation, such as pictures and written notes. 

What is documentation’s main objective?

To showcase a building’s intended architectural model. Based on research, there’s always a disparity between real-world buildings and the original design blueprint. Some of the factors that cause a building to veer away from the original architectural design include evolving mechanical implementation, materials, construction skills, tenant activity, techniques, and change orders. Architects and engineers incorporate these changes during the construction phase and operational lifecycle.

Who Creates As-Built Drawings?

Typically, the project designers and architects of the original construction plan are the most suitable for creating as-built drawings. They have in-depth knowledge of the original specifications of the project. This enables them to identify changes and record them accordingly. For in-house project design, anyone on the design team is responsible for creating as-built drawings. On the other hand, contractors and sub-contractors work hand-in-hand to compile the drawings. Finally, the architect plays a significant role in recording the changes in the as-built drawings.

How to Create As-Built Drawings?

1. Reference the Original Specifications 

Review the original blueprint to determine the intended specifications of the building. Having adequate information about the original project’s drawing will help you identify disparities between the final and initial drawings and changes made in different construction phases. In addition, you can take pictures of the new specifications to act as a reference when crafting the final as-built drawing. 

2. Document Changes Made

You should document all the changes that occur during the construction process. Note down the changes as soon as possible to minimize the risk of incorporating wrong details. In addition, make sure you take clear notes to make work easier, especially when creating as-built drawings. 

3. Create a Clean, Labeled Drawing

Create the as-built drawings as soon as you complete the project. A wide range of contractors, architects, and engineers involved in the project will be willing to view and evaluate your drawing. Therefore, ensure you craft a clean and well-labeled drawing that’s easy to understand. You can achieve this by using various elements, including a color scale, a format of changes logged, and a drawing scale. This strategy will help you come up with a consistent and professional design. You can display a copy of the as-built drawing in your portfolio for future reference in construction projects. 

4. Use Software Tools to Create the As-Built Drawing

Architects, contractors, and designers can use a piece of paper and a pen to create as-built drawings. However, various software can help you craft an impressive design. Using these tools can help in increasing efficiency and time management. In addition, it’s easier to submit the final blueprint to the project manager. The project managers can forward the as-built drawings to the clients for review and approval. Finally, incorporate a copy of the digital version in your portfolio. 

5. Save and Review It

Save the as-built drawing in a file for future reference. Engineers or contractors can use it to understand the changes made to the structure and review essential details about different phases of the construction process. In addition, contractors can use the drawing to add enhancements, updates, and renovations to the project. The final blueprint will help to determine what equipment, tools, and materials are suitable for constructing a similar structure.

The Importance of As-Built Drawings 

There are numerous benefits to developing as-built drawings and models. Building owners and landlords utilize them for facility management activities, lease area audits, and asset tracking. In addition, engineers and architects use these drawings to understand the underlying conditions of a building prior to retrofit or renovation. Below are the top benefits of as-built drawings:

Improves the Efficiency of Renovations 

Building trends are dynamic; therefore, at some point, a homeowner will opt for certain upgrades. Contractors can use as-built drawings to analyze the existing condition of the building. Time management and accurate information are vital aspects that’ll improve the efficiency of renovations. In the long run, as-built drawings will save money. 

Makes Issuing Permits Easy

In most states, government agencies request final as-built drawings to determine whether the building meets certain standards. Having these documents at hand will reduce the process of getting a permit. 

Save Time

As the project continues, the project manager will hire various sub-contractors to complete various tasks. Providing these sub-contractors with accurate as-built drawings will reduce the risk of project delays. 

Health and Safety

The as-built drawings contain various aspects that relate to health and safety. For instance, it contains the exact layout and location of various elements, including smoke detection devices, fire alarm systems, and emergency lighting. If these details differ from the original blueprint and aren’t recorded, lives could be at risk. Therefore, as-built drawings should have a zero margin of error. 

Future Work and Demolition 

If future engineers are given the mandate to demolish a building, it’s crucial to have an accurate view of the building and its components. For instance, most old buildings were constructed with asbestos, which is harmful to human health. If the initial blueprint doesn’t have asbestos, but the contractors used them, ensure they’re included in the as-built drawing. This reduces the risk of various health issues that might occur during the demolition process. 

Improves Contractor’s Reputation 

Developing as-built drawings can improve the quality of your services. Clients are looking for a reliable contractor with an impressive reputation in this field. As-built drawings show a contractor’s ability to complete projects successfully.

Top Strategies to Improve As-Builts 

Make As-Builts Part of Project Culture 

The management plays a significant role in making as-built part of the project culture. The project managers and supervisors should educate contractors on the benefits of as-built drawings. It’s essential to train contractors how to create as-built drawings and set smart goals. These drawings should meet certain standards. In addition, the teams should have sufficient knowledge of how to input data into the system. 

Include Photos

A picture can increase the effectiveness of as-built drawings because it contains detailed information. The construction relies heavily on the blueprint of a project; therefore, capturing pictures of different changes will save time and money. You can utilize construction photos with GPS data to determine the exact location of the changes. 

Data is Essential 

The quality and viability of data play a remarkable role in creating as-built drawings. Currently, there are high-tech equipment and tools that can help you record the right data as the construction process continues. Below are some of the best technologies that architects should consider:

  • Building Information Modeling
  • Laser Scanning 
  • Connected Construction Data

These systems will help you record the exact data in the as-built drawings. In addition, you can use these systems for future reference. 

Set Up a System For the Success of As-Built Creation

Most people fail to come up with a feasible as-built drawing because they don’t have a reliable system that guides them. You should have systems ready before the construction process begins. Avoid creating as-built drawings when the project is complete because you’ll have a higher margin of error. Ensure you have a system that can capture, store, edit, and distribute data throughout different phases of construction.

Factors to Consider When Creating As-Built Drawings?

  • Scale: You should ensure the scale and proportion of the as-built drawings are the same as the original blueprint of the project. 
  • Physical Features: You should take into consideration updates to grades, elevations, and other essential physical features. 
  • Color Coding: As-built drawings use various standard color variations: blue for special information, red for deleted items, and green for added items. 
  • Obstacles: During the construction process, you may encounter various obstacles due to government agencies and environmental factors. In addition, record the exact location of underground utilities and include these obstacles in the as-built drawings.

There are various types of as-built drawings for architects, including roof plans, floor plans, electrical plans, reflected ceiling plans, and exterior elevations plan. As-built drawings portray the final specifications of a building project.