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Key Benefits of As-built Documentation in Construction

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as-built documentation using reality mapping technology

Key Benefits of As-built Documentation in Construction 

In construction, inspection, and engineering, stakeholders rely on as-built documentation for precise measurements of a finished structure. This article will define as-built documentation, touch on why reality mapping has made as-built documentation more accessible, and then review three of as-built documentation’s top benefits.

What is as-built documentation

As-built documentation is a duplication of design documents but edited or adjusted to match the reality of a completed structure. For example, a room in a high-rise condominium may have been designed to be 15 feet by 10 feet, but after construction, its actual measurements are 14 feet, 10 inches by 9 feet, and 8 inches.

As-built documentation captures these deviations so that the actual measurements—and other details—are reflected in the final documentation, even if that documentation does not match the original plans. Typically, after the completion of construction, an expert walks the structure or building itself and begins to measure the actual dimensions, updating the design document with the new information. While design documents show what construction had set out to do, as-builts reveal what was actually built.

While as-built plans can be completed manually and drawn by hand, more and more construction, inspection, and engineering stakeholders are using reality mapping technology to create 4D duplications of the finished job site. These assets are referred to as online as-builts

Why reality mapping improves as-built documentation

Since reality mapping technology allows virtually any person on the job site to capture job site data using hardware as simple as a 360 camera, smartphone, or drone, it's easier than ever before for construction stakeholders with even the most limited of budgets to maintain a digital archive of their construction project not just upon completion of work, but throughout the entire construction life cycle. 

Prior to the advent of reality mapping tools such as Reconstruct, an architect or other expert would complete as-built documentation in person. To avoid human error when taking measurements, tools such as laser scanners were often used as well. While these experts and this equipment remain excellent choices for highly accurate as-builts, advancements in photogrammetry have made the creation of online as-builts easier, faster, and far less expensive.

Moreover, construction monitoring software such as Reconstruct allows stakeholders to blend reality capture footage from every type of device into one digital twin for construction. The result is a 4D site survey perfect for facility condition assessment, physical asset inspection, infrastructure inspection, and any other post-construction use cases, including preparing for tenant improvements or responding to legal claims.

Key benefits of using as-built documentation

There are various reasons why stakeholders rely on as-built documentation at the end of the construction process. Benefits include:

More expedient payment applications

Many contracts between owners and contractors stipulate that payment will be per square foot or meter. This means that at the beginning of construction, costs are only an estimate. At the end of construction, owners don't pay the estimate but for the work performed on the square footage that was actually built.

In the past, this often meant that payment applications could not be finalized until manual, as-built documentation was complete. However, with frequent, highly intuitive construction progress monitoring software, stakeholders can now measure square footage and other completed work on an ongoing basis. This allows all parties to handle payment that much sooner.

Accurate documentation of what was actually built

The next benefit speaks for itself: actual, realistic duplications of a project as it truly exists, not just how it was originally designed. What's more, if construction stakeholders have been using reality mapping technology like Reconstruct throughout the entire construction lifecycle, on-site and remote teams (including owners and owners’ representatives) will have access not only to the project’s visual as-built at completion but at every date and time from the very start of work. 

This “time machine for construction” is exceptionally useful if stakeholders need to know what's behind a sealed wall, what's underground, or what's in the ceiling panels above them. Often, the as-built plan alone can answer a crucial question so that no demolition (or even disruption) is required.

Other times, time-stamped as-builts can answer critical questions about underground utilities, especially for buildings, campuses, and municipalities. For example, whenever digging is required on a job site, stakeholders must reach out to confirm what's underground. Electricity companies, internet companies, gas companies, and more all maintain online as-builts of the underground utilities they've installed in their territories. With the click of a button, they can discern whether digging could affect any installations or infrastructure at essentially zero cost. 

As-builts jump-start renovations

Whether a national corporation is retrofitting dozens of old convenience stores or a new tenant is taking over several floors in a high-rise office building, online as-builts can speed up renovation by providing stakeholders with a current conditions assessment that features accurate measurements. What's more, solutions such as Reconstruct allow stakeholders to overlay design drawings and BIM atop as-builts, empowering designers and field teams to envision changes to the site more rapidly and without the hassle or expense of constant travel.

About Reconstruct

Reconstruct has set the gold standard for online as-built documentation, allowing stakeholders to rapidly capture reality data using any device and then blend all footage together to create an accurate, measurable representation of a job site as it was actually built. 

To learn more about Reconstruct’s reality mapping capabilities or to see your project in Reconstruct, schedule a personalized demo.