The Importance of Having As-Built Drawings for your Commercial Properties


WHENEVER YOU EMBARK on any form of construction work in an existing building, you’re first request from the Design Team should be for As-Built Drawings — for review, and to form the basis of the design process.

More importantly, the availability and compilation of As-Built documents (after a project is complete) should form part of your due diligence process at the completion of project.

Because, this provides the full scope of work undertaken, and allows for easy assessment of existing buildings — to help eliminate any surprises that may arise down the track, during future alterations.

Unfortunately, more often than not, the chance of retrieving documents is near impossible … when a building has been there for many decades.

What are the ramifications of NOT having them?

Without As-Built Drawings, building owners will find themselves investing far more time in additional preliminary investigations — before commencing any design changes. This will result in increased costs; and could jeopardise a project, if you have a tight budget.

For a simple architectural fit-out with no structural works involved, a survey of the space is needed to ascertain critical dimensions; and this doesn’t cause you too much of a headache.

However, if the work involves structural changes to the base building design, these investigative works can be a long, drawn-out and costly exercise.

Extensive investigation throughout the whole building would be necessary to determine the strength of the building structure. And this provides your Engineer with appropriate information to use in the new design.

When this happens, preliminary investigations can take weeks or even months to complete — particularly, if the building is tenanted (requiring restricted working hours).

Bottom Line: If you endeavour to acquire an existing building (or pursue refurbishment works) … make sure you :

  1. Request for As-Built Drawings for review.
  2. Inspect the site and conduct spot checks to ensure what has been recorded is in fact accurate.

Latent design conditions will always pose a potential cost risk; and could change the overall function of your building.

After completing a new project (or upgrade works) … undertaking detailed and accurate As-Built Drawings creates a solid documentation trail. Plus, this will also help in selling new and refurbished projects — because it ensures comprehensive information is at hand, for the building’s ongoing operation and maintenance.



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