During any construction project, designers and architects go to great lengths to perfect the plans before the contractor ever breaks ground on the foundation. They plan for every contingency they can think of.  

However, once construction begins, there will be changes made — some because the owner changed their mind on a feature or dimension, and some out of contractor necessity. When the project is finished, the builder can furnish a set of “as-built drawings” that reflect those changes. Generally, these include more specific details than the original construction plans. 

What Kinds of Changes Are Reflected? 

There are two different post-construction plan types available. The most common are called “as-built floor plans.” These contain structural changes and basic layout variances from the original plans. They include things like the location of walls, doors, windows and staircases. 

If you need more detail, consider requesting “existing condition plans.” These contain exact locations of things like electrical outlets, HVAC ductwork, plumbing runs and sprinkler lines. Cross-sectional plans of each floor are a valuable resource and can also show things like the model and serial numbers of built-in features like furnaces and hot water tanks. Electrical circuits are often called out and show what items and outlets are on each one. 

When Are As-Built Plans Completed? 

Either of the above types of drawings can be ordered immediately upon completion of a construction project. They can come in the form of simply marked-up copies of the original plans or, if the changes are more extensive, a new set of professionally produced plans can be produced. In most cases, as-built drawings cost extra, but sometimes they are included in the original contract with the construction company. 

If you need plans for an existing structure, you can order them and a survey of the building can be done, even if you don’t have the original plans. 

Who Uses As-Built Drawings and Why? 

These plans are a valuable resource for many people. Building owners looking to sell a property can use them to get an accurate estimate of square footage and also to provide to a commercial appraiser. 

Real estate agents can order as-built floor plans if they are representing an owner in a sale or if they are acting as a leasing agent for rental space. Knowing the layout of each unit makes them easier to market and are a nice thing to provide prospective and new tenants. Older buildings may have had several layout changes over the years as tenants come and go and upgrades are made. Having an accurate representation of the current layout is invaluable. 

Architects, interior designers and contractors often require as-built vs. record drawings when planning a build-out or remodeling project. This allows them to know what they are dealing with before they finalize their designs. 

Homeowners can also get a set of as-built plans for their homes upon construction completion. This can be helpful when adding things like security systems or even outdoor fencing, or when pricing out insurance. 

The Bottom Line for As-Built Plans 

As-built plans are a great resource for a variety of professionals as well as property owners. They give you a current view of the layout of a building, whether it’s new construction or an existing dwelling. These plans come in handy when buying, selling or renovating a structure.

Contact Houston Plans and Permits if you need a set of as-built floor plans for your property.