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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." 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:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." 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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Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." 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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3 Introduction Background Over the years, as-built plans have been the method used by the construction industry to cap- ture 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, mainte- nance, and rehabilitation of current transportation infrastructure. As-builts also provide a base- line for new design projects by providing information on current transportation infrastructure and other facilities such as underground and overhead utilities. The purpose of this synthesis was to canvas state transportation agencies (STAs) and establish the state of the practice for as-built development, preservation, and usage. The United States is facing an infrastructure crisis, as current transportation infrastructure is deteriorating and failing. The 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Report Card gave America’s overall infrastructure a score of D+ with roads and bridges receiving grades of D and C+, respectively (2017). As engineers begin to rebuild the current infrastructure, as-built plans can provide important insight into existing infrastructure systems. While the importance of as-built plans is widely recognized, current as-built development practices are often outdated and inefficient. According to a virtual design and construction engineer and affiliate member of ASCE, “Significant losses have been noted because of the dif- ficulty in obtaining information about existing assets, such that over US$5.4 billion is wasted per year on operations and maintenance engineers verifying the accuracy of existing information and transferring information related to existing U.S. capital facilities” (Randall 2011). Over the last decade, the construction and transportation industry has adopted advanced data collec- tion methods utilizing technologies such as LiDAR, three-dimensional (3-D) information mod- eling, ground-penetrating radar, and e-construction tools. These technologies have changed the format, accuracy, and level of detail available for transportation projects, and have allowed designers to include more accurate information on construction plans. While electronic and 3-D technology is becoming the norm for engineering practices, some entities still choose to hand-draw as-built information on the original construction plans. This work examines current as-built practices within STAs and offers suggestions to future work needed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of as-built collection. Project Scope and Objectives The scope of this study objective was limited to the analysis of information collected from literature, survey responses, and case-based interviews. With this in mind, the research team, with guidance from the research panel, developed data collection tools with the goal of C H A P T E R 1

4 Development and Use of As-Built Plans by State Departments of Transportation collecting the following types of information relative to as-built development, preservation, and usage: • How STAs define as-built plans; • Information being documented and included on as-built plans; • Methods used to capture and document changes to design plans during construction; • Platforms used to establish the as-built plans (e.g., paper markups, electronic models); • Entity used to develop as-built plans; • How as-built plans are approved; • How as-built plans are retained and preserved; • How as-built plans are used once approved (e.g., asset management); • Since approved as-built plans are legal documents, how STAs store and retrieve information from approved as-built plans for legal purposes; • How STAs capture information for as-built plans from third-party agencies; and • How as-built plans may differ for various types of delivery methods, including design–bid–build, design–build, construction manager/general contractor, and public-private partnerships. The objective of this synthesis was to document how as-built plans are developed, used, and updated for various delivery methods by STAs. This synthesis focused on as-built development practices and successful application of new technologies and methods in as-built development and usage. This synthesis also looked to understand the coordination between as-built developers and end users. The synthesis highlights the state of the practice so that efforts can be made to fill study gaps and establish a path to improvement. Some issues facing as-built development include IT issues, a lack of technical staffing, a lack of management support, uncertainty about where to begin, and a lack of available technology. Study Methodology The fundamental aspect of the study methodology was the survey of STAs to establish a state of the practice regarding as-built development, preservation, and usage for various delivery methods. The survey was sent to voting members on AASHTO’s Design and Construction Committees and received a response rate of 84% (42 of the 50 STAs surveyed). To support the development of the survey and the compilation of this synthesis, a literature review was conducted on topics related to as-built development, preservation, and usage. Much of this review focused on as-built practices at STAs found in publicly available manuals and guidelines, but it also included a review of as-built practices throughout other segments of the construction industry. With regard to the surveys, the full questionnaires can be found in Appendix A. The survey gathered information regarding the following: • As-built development processes, • As-built approval processes, • As-built storage methods and formats, • As-built usage, • Future opportunities for as-built processes, and • Study and knowledge gaps. Concurrent with the final stages of the survey questionnaire, STAs were identified for follow-up interviews via literature review and initial survey responses. Representatives from six states—Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin—were interviewed.

Introduction 5 The interviewees were selected not only to achieve diversity in size and complexity of the agen- cies, but also to question those with varied and innovative as-built procedures. The goal of the interviews was to provide depth to the information gathered from the survey. Specific details collected in the interviews include the following: • Differences in as-built procedures based on project delivery method; • Incorporation of as-built data into asset management; • Recent development of as-built web pages, databases, and management systems; and • Overall as-built procedures. This report synthesizes the findings about the state of the practice of as-built development, preservation, and usage. The authors’ charge in this report is strictly to present information collected void of opinion and bias. The opinions expressed in the synthesis from detailed case examples are those of the as-built professionals and should be viewed as such. The report is organized as follows: • Chapter 2 is a review of Department of Transportation (DOT) manuals on as-built process, • Chapter 3 summarizes survey results, • Chapter 4 provides six case examples of current as-built processes, and • Chapter 5 draws conclusions based on findings in previous chapters. • Appendix A contains a survey questionnaire for STAs. • Appendix B contains the results of the survey questionnaires. • Appendix C contains case example interview questions.

Next: Chapter 2 - Review of State DOT Literature on the As-Built Process »
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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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