Before moving forward, it’s important to consider the past. This truism applies to many elements of life, including construction. After completing a structure, the natural inclination is to move on to the next project. However, there are many reasons to invest time in properly documenting the As-Built conditions of your project.
A clear understanding of how a facility was constructed, including scope changes, measurements, materials installed, etc. or an as-built model is valuable. However, the effort to produce such documentation is often incredibly time-consuming and error-prone. Automating parts of the as-built model process will make the model easier to create, retain, and review. With Avvir, you can automate the alignment of BIM geometry to LIDAR scans and export As-Built models – reducing turnaround time, and increasing accuracy of the end deliverable.”
The Importance of As-builts
As-builts are useful for owners and general contractors. The reasons why models are valuable, however, differ. Let’s consider their usefulness for owners.
A great project does not end when the last nail is hammered or when the facility opens to its intended users. For owners, a great project is realized with a payback of the capital expended and a profit on top. This typically is after years, for example, of collecting rent from tenants of the facility.
Maintaining a facility in good condition requires daily and long-term attention. Some upkeep elements require knowing the guts of the building. Institutional knowledge regarding the nooks and crannies of a facility is something only the general contractor and their team have.
However, once construction is complete, the general contractor moves on. An as-built can hold this valuable information so it’s accessible to the facility management team, enabling them to properly maintain the facility.
Owners may have the original building plans. Although useful, such plans don’t account for changes and the reality that is the completed facility. Original building plans lack the inevitable changes that occur during construction: Details are left out. And, as they say, the devil is in the details.
An as-built can help in creating a digital twin, so the owners will have a replica of the structure when completed. The accuracy level of the twin could be vital when repairs and/or additions are needed. When teams go in with complete knowledge of a structure they are better able to handle repairs and other activities.
Maintaining an accurate view of your portfolio of assets
Owners want to know what they paid for and what they have. This information may be necessary for tax purposes, ensuring regulations are met, or considering future investments.
An as-built provides details on the actual structure. Owners can take a deep dive into every building element and share the information with whomever they choose. It can also guide them when considering future investments. Something as simple as having an accurate view of square footage across your portfolio can enable better business decisions and have a significant financial impact.
For General Contractors
Meeting contractual requirements
The construction industry has become prone to commercial litigation (the reasons why are beyond the scope of this post). As a result, general contractors (and owners) may need to substantiate their decisions and provide evidence to back their actions if they are sued.
As-builts can confirm that contractual requirements have been met. They are a record of the final structure and what scope changes were made, which can be useful in proving or disproving claims.
An as-built could minimize litigation and acrimony because all parties have an accessible record of what transpired and why.
Accurate information is valuable if returning to perform work at a property
The general contractor who oversaw the original construction of a structure is the most logical hire to perform future work on the property. They retain knowledge of the structure and may feel connected to the property due to their role in the construction.
However, even those with the best memory can’t remember all the details. If the general contractor has an as-built of the structure, they can quickly bring themselves back up to speed regarding the structure. In addition to being helpful for construction, an as-built is useful when determining pricing and scheduling of repairs, additions, or other work.
The current manual process
So, as-builts are so useful, they're created for every structure – right? Nope.
One of the main reasons as-builts are not commonplace is because of how they are developed. The traditional manual method involves professionals walking a job site and performing measurements, making inspections, and reviewing photographs. The team creates the as-built with this information.
There are multiple drawbacks to manual production.
The manual process is time-consuming. Pulling staff off other tasks so they can walk around a facility and take measurements (before building the model) may not be the best use of their time. Depending on the size of the facility, this could take hours or even days.
Allocating a lengthy amount of time to manually perform an as-built might be out of the question for short-staffed firms. Firms are focused on the next project, and thinking about the what-ifs for a recently completed project is off their radar, even if they prefer to create an as-built.
Mistakes happen, and they’re more likely to happen if tasks are done manually or when work is rushed. The large amount of documentation required to make an as-built creates a recipe for errors. In addition, firms want to handle the measurements, etc. as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next project.
Even when measurements and notes are created carefully, accuracy may still be off. An article from IFMA, the world's largest international association for facility management professionals, notes another reason accuracy may be off. “Field surveys may not cover all areas at the same time and may be conducted in a specific space at a time.”
Creating an as-built is a costly process. The IFMA article cited above notes a 2004 report that found $4.8 billion was spent per year on labor used for verifying and validating as-built documents.
Budgets are still tight, and inflation continues to be above its traditional rate. So, finding the money to spend on a primarily preventative model is a tough ask.
In addition, as noted above, it pulls professionals away from revenue-producing activities.
Avvir’s Automated Solution
Clearly as-builts are valuable, but creating them is costly and time-consuming. And once created, their accuracy may be questionable.
Avvir has the solution: an automated streamlined solution of the as-built process.
Avvir compares the BIM to the scan data to determine if elements have been installed correctly. The deviation analysis enables a team to see the changes from the original plans and when they were implemented. Avvir develops as-builts in near real time, which helps with detection analysis and reducing rework.
The deviations Avvir tracks can be captured and written back to an IFC as-built model that can be downloaded and utilized throughout construction. It can also be retained and viewed post-construction.
The as-built, along with the BIM, serves as a single source of truth and a central data repository, telling the construction story. The as-built has the details of the construction, so it’s useful for facility maintenance. Plus, its accurate information benefits contractors working at the property post-construction.
The as-built is also easily accessible and in a digestible format. This may not be the case with as-builts developed manually. IFMA estimates that $1.5 billion is lost annually because of delayed access or lack of access to as-built documents.
As-builts provide value long after construction is complete. When as-builts are maintained, their usefulness can span the lifetime of a building.
Having an as-built helps maintain a building and therefore, increases its value.
With Avvir, you can forget the hassles of manually creating an as-built. Save money and time and increase accuracy when you use Avvir Inspect to automate the As-Built process. And, putting it to work when you need it will be a snap.