Getting What You Pay For With As-Built Drawings

Engineering Geek
5 min readMar 29, 2022


ne of the most important stages in Plant Design Engineering, or any engineering project, is As-Built Drafting. They comprise essential documentation to report and record alterations. It is because no construction project can kick-start perfectly & according to plan, the contractor must keep meticulous records of any changes to the drawings and contractual specifications during construction.

In this article, I will discuss as-built drawings, why a plant needs it, and other related things.

What are As-Built Drawings?
As-Built Drawings are the final set of drawings created after completing an engineering project. These normally include handwritten notes and sketches outlining the changes, adjustments, field changes, design changes, extra works, and any other approved and made during the construction and commissioning phases. It demonstrates how the final building was carried out and depicts the “as-is” conditions instead of blueprints or intended conditions. It is critical for those who use the finished product or building because it provides a legacy of what was built. Moreover, it aids in transferring all plant parts and engineering knowledge, especially when staff is replaced due to attrition.

Also, as the contractor encounters challenges with materials, the site, or regulatory authorities during the course of a project, the building’s features are likely to change. In particular, for commercial construction projects, as-built drawings are required to record these changes and retain an accurate picture of the building as it currently stands.

What are the advantages of As-Built Drawings?
There are numerous advantages to utilizing As-Built Drafting and having current drawings of your facility. As-Built Drawings provide details such as component locations and sizes, hidden features, pipe and duct routing, terminal unit positions, and control system sensor locations, among other things. As a result, they can ensure that future rehabilitation projects are more efficient and on time since they enable confident planning of plant expansion, additions, alterations, and plant turnarounds. Further, as-built drawings are useful for new construction, renovation projects, and building upkeep.

Contractors will face various problems when constructing a new building that previously existed only on paper and needs to change their building designs in response. These drawings record changes to the building as they happen during construction so that when it’s finished, you can see an accurate representation of it. Also, before beginning a renovation project, it is critical to have a thorough grasp of the current state of the plant or structure. Working with current designs is therefore critical for a safe and effective restoration.

Further, Process Safety Management and Process Hazard Analysis require detailed information from built drawings. It efficiently adds to employee emergency preparedness within industrial facilities by illustrating safety concerns and potential hazards while displaying equipment listings and shutdown switches and keys.

Things Important in As-Built Drawings
Any changes to the following elements must be included to have comprehensive and useful as constructed drawings:
• Changes in the location of doors, window casings, plumbing, millwork, and other vital characteristics should be noted.
• Make a list of any changes to the dimensions of any architectural elements.
• It is mandatory to list any changes made to installing building elements such as HVAC, electrical, or windows.
• It is important to keep track of any changes made to the fabrications, such as columns, beams, and handrails.
• A standard color legend is used on as-built drawings, with red indicating deleted things, green indicating additional items, and blue indicating certain information.
• Any changes to drawings must maintain the same scale and dimensions as the originals.
• Any changes to the building designs should be recorded and accompanied by extra paperwork if necessary.
• All impediments encountered along the road, whether caused by environmental elements, governmental bodies, or anything else, should be documented in addition to the designs.
• Take specific note of any adjustments to elevations, slopes, or other physical features discovered or changed throughout the construction process when working with earthmoving equipment.
• Make a note of the precise locations of any subsurface utilities installed throughout the construction process.

What is its Typical Build Cost?
It is determined by several factors, including the project’s size, type, location, complexity, and deliverables. As-built prices range from 4 cents per square foot to more than $6 per square foot.

What are the Factors affecting Price in As-Built
As discussed earlier, numerous factors influence the cost and time. We arrive at pricing and a timetable for completing your job after considering the parameters stated below.
• Some places, such as large cities and isolated regions, simply cause differing mobility expenses. Due to the cost of mobility charges, the same project with the same scope of work but in a different location can have a different price per square foot.
• The number of hours and days available to complete the assignment determines how much time will be spent in the field collecting data.
• Because of lower mobility costs and increased efficiency in our office for CAD and administrative work, larger projects cost less per square foot for services.
• A client may occasionally provide an outdated set of drawings that is out of date and erroneous, but it aids us in determining the structure’s complexity.

Who creates As-Built Drawings?
In most cases, the general contractor and the project architect or designer collaborate to develop as-builts. They’re more akin to construction-related interpolations. The contractor writes the as-built changes in red ink on the original construction documentation and drawings. As a result, as-built drawings refer to the alterations made by the contractor to the original design. The contractor may frequently color-code revisions directly on the original blueprints during the construction phase. The architect then inserts the adjustments into the final, as-built drawings.

It’s worth noting that the final architect-created drawings are sometimes referred to as record drawings, while the contractors’ remarks are called-built drawings. The terms “as-builts” and “record drawings” are sometimes used interchangeably.

As-built drawings are an essential component of any successful building project. Changes to the original building designs will inevitably occur during construction, and smart usage of as-built drawing services will result in satisfied stakeholders and an expertly completed project. If you follow all of the guidelines above, making sure to employ a precise procedure and keep track of any changes, you’ll have a great as-built drawing that will serve the building for many years.