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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25805.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25805.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1 Construction as-built plans have been an integral part of the transportation network management process for decades. While the process varies from state to state, as-builts have traditionally been “marked up” plan sets that denote any changes to the project that occurred during the construction project development phase. Initially, these modifications and notes were recorded on a physical set of drawings that were then stored in a designated location to be accessed when future needs arise (e.g., roadway improvement, significant maintenance activities). Over time, the storage of as-builts has shifted from paper copy to microfilm or microfiche and now to electronic and digital storage. As-builts contain information that is important to highway design, structural design, and road and bridge maintenance. As highway system management has evolved, the as-built processes at most state trans- portation agencies (STAs) have lagged behind. Despite the efforts of agency personnel, as-built information is often not recorded, or, even worse is recorded but remains inacces- sible to users of as-built information. Construction divisions are most often tasked with creating as-built plans, yet the information they collect is used by others. As-builts are typi- cally created at the end of the project at a time when all project stakeholders are transition- ing to the next project. The time between as-built creation and as-built use is measured in multiple years or decades. Over time, the use and need of as-builts has evolved as well. Commercial software such as Google Earth provides designers with a street-level view of most roads in the United States. LiDAR can provide survey-grade point clouds of a potential project in a few days of effort. Information technology (IT) systems allow the near-instantaneous flow of data between project stakeholders. In light of these advancements, the traditional as-built process may not meet the current needs of infrastructure management. Collecting different types of as-built data than have historically been collected might be considered. In human resource–constrained STAs, the current as-built creation and distribution processes may not be efficient. This synthesis examines the current state of the practice in as-built development and use across the United States. The state of practices was examined through a review of literature related to as-built creation and usage, a review of publicly available STA policies and procedures related to as-builts, an online survey of STAs, and case examples describing the as-built process at selected agencies. Forty-two states (84%) responded to the online survey. The information gathered from the literature review and the survey was used to select states to be showcased as case examples. The key findings of the synthesis are as follows: • Of the survey respondents, 68% indicated their agency has a documented process for as-built development. S U M M A R Y Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation

2 Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation • States indicated that handwritten notes (86%) were the most commonly used method to capture as-built data, followed by electronic notes (76%) and then photographs (33%). Some states use more than one option to capture as-built data. • Advanced technology has changed the accuracy and detail of project plans; however, it seems new technology has not had the same effect on as-built plans. • As-builts are typically created by the construction division within STAs. Approximately half of the respondents indicated that as-builts were developed by only agency personnel, and the other half indicated that as-builts were developed using a mix of agency staff, contractors, and/or construction, engineering, and inspection (CEI) consultants. • The majority of respondents indicated that as-builts were stored electronically, but 57% indicated that as-builts are also stored on paper hard copy. The synthesis identifies several gaps in knowledge that could be addressed through future study, including the following: • Improvement in as-built data capture methods was the most frequently cited (94% of respon- dents) area of needed improvement in current STA as-built processes. • Improving the overall process of the as-built creation process is currently a focus for STAs. • The most significant obstacles that STAs face in improving their current as-built process are limitations in staff knowledge and technology and the availability of human resources to complete as-builts.

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Sixty-eight percent of the states who responded to a survey indicated their agency has a documented process for as-built development. They said handwritten notes were the most commonly used method to capture as-built data (86%), followed by electronic notes (76%), and then photographs (33%). Some states use more than one option to capture as-built data.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 548: Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation examines the current state of the practice in as-built development and use across the United States.

Over the years, as-built plans have been the method used by the construction industry to capture and record construction changes and additions that are not represented in the original plan drawings. The accuracy and completeness of these plans are essential for operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation of current transportation infrastructure.

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