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Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

  • 1.  Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-17-2018 13:00
    We were asked to design an ADA upgrade for a large affordable housing complex. The project was funded by the state, so a state agency reviewed and approved the design before it was submitted for building permit review.

    The construction was done by a different division of the same company that owns and manages the housing complex.

    The contractors/owners have asked us to provide "As-Built Plans and Specs certified by the architect as a part of the place in service package, which shows the "State housing finance and development corp" that we have done everything we proposed under our application to them. They will provide the 8609's and regulatory agreement once they sign off on our package".

    We visited the site and discovered significant discrepancies between the approved design, and what was actually built. We slammed on the brakes, and have asked for full compliance with the design before producing as-built drawings.

    Our team includes civil and MEP engineering.
    - Does the architect stamp and certify all drawings, with written approval of the consultants, or must each consultant produce their own as-built drawings?
    - Besides "AS-BUILT DRAWING", what verbiage should be included in the stamp?

    The owners/managers/contractors are chafing at the delay, saying to "just do it", because there's almost no liability.

    Thoughts?


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    Dennis Glynn AIA
    Dennis Glynn Architects, Inc.
    Bellevue WA
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  • 2.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-18-2018 17:48
    I also work for State Agencies and we are required to produce "Record Drawings" from the "As Built" Drawings.  The "As Built" drawings are provided to us by the contractor and should show all changes made during construction.  We always put a disclaimer on our "Record Drawings" that states they have been produced based on information provided by others.  We do not warrant the accuracy. The owner always keeps file copies of both the "As Built" drawings and the "Record Drawings."  For this to be fairly accurate, you should check the contractors set when you do an observation and should note in your report that the GC is required to keep the drawings up to date with any changes.

    This system has worked ok for me.

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    Gail Pelsue AIA
    Principal
    Pelsue Architecture, LLC
    Denver CO
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  • 3.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-18-2018 18:07
    Dennis,

    Normally when I provide Drawings and Specs for a projects there is an inclusion in the specs for the Contractor to provide the AS-Built-Drawings, under separate contract with the contractor that includes indemnification language protecting the Firm from and errors or omissions to actual field conditions, I have made drawing revisions based on red line markups (on the contractors record field construction set), and on every page the revisions are clouded and noted as changes made per General Contractors red line prints. I keep that set of prints in my files with my original drawings. These revisions are stamped and signed as I would any plan revisions that are to be submitted to the City as part of the ongoing permit process.

    I have never been asked to provide a set of as Built Specs. First question would be were the Specs competitive or proprietary? If competitive specs then there are several manufacturers listed as well as the preferred or design to products, if there were no exceptions taken prior to construction start or during the construction phase there would be no change to make. Are they asking you to rewrite the specs to include only the products used? The contractor provide maintenance and warranty manuals should provide all the proprietary information that the complex owner/managers would need.

    As to certifying anything written or drawn it makes you responsible work you did not see placed, unless you were on site everyday and saw all parts of the ongoing construction.

    As for submitting to ""just do it", because there's almost no liability", means there is risk of Liability and they want you to be responsible for it.

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    Robert Woodhull AIA, Principal
    Robert L. Woodhull, A.I.A. Architects
    Plano TX
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  • 4.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-18-2018 18:30

    Dennis,

    I would not even think about creating "as built drawings" of any kind. Nor would I certify them.

    This is not typically a contractual service for architects to provide.

     

    Did you clear this with your insurance carrier? They may have a significant objection to this request.

    Did you sign a contract promising this?

     

    I believe this is a bad idea. We are not contractors.

    Unless you were there every day observing the work – I would strenuously object to this request.

     

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    Christina Schessler

    Architect

    McKinley Architecture and Engineering

    32 20th St, Ste 100 Wheeling WV 26003

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  • 5.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-18-2018 18:46

    There are also Fair Housing Act concerns to worry about.

    Keep the parking brake on until you are happy.  Call your professional insurance broker and ask for their (free, preventive service) advice and consultation.

    Also talk with them about the difference between labeling things "As-Built" (may imply that you have exhaustively inspected every step of construction and everything that you have included in the "As-Built" is how it was built) and "Record" drawings.  Your "stamp" should state that changes (which you "cloud" on these documents, right?) to the Contract Drawings are based on observations of the completed work or include information provided by the Contractor (name them on the stamp) and might not include all differences between design/permit and as-constructed.

    I wouldn't touch the consultants' documents.  If you do, you might be considered "practicing engineering", and let them and their liability insurance carrier sort it out.

    Some will advise that you not include your firm's identification / titleblock; I'm not so certain on that level of avoidance.  But, do put as many labels on as you can fit that state exactly, on each drawing, the purpose of the "Record" Drawings.

    Fortunately, we're in a part of the US where the Federal Court's interpretation of liability for AIA compliance is limited to Owners and Constructors, not the design professionals (there's a big piece of the central US where designers also get stuck).

    Best wishes, and tell us how it turned out later.



    ------------------------------
    Joel Niemi AIA
    Joel Niemi Architect
    Snohomish, WA
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  • 6.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-18-2018 21:57
    You should tell your client that you and your consultants will document what has been built and nothing else, and can "certify" nothing which is not apparent from a visual inspection. Ask for a copy of the letter or guideline requesting the As-Built drawings - perhaps the state agency has discovered or suspects the discrepancies and you are being set up.

    Don't make your client's problem your problem, and don't expect them to change a thing. Of course, if the variances create a life-safety issue, you must deal with that issue independent from any "As Built" drawing issue.
     
    -Douglas F Julien, AIA



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  • 7.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-19-2018 11:32
    I would not sign then either. Usually you are there once a week or so reviewing the construction. The contractor is usually the ones creating the As Built Drawings. You are correct.
    They went too far before getting your approvals. Work it out with them. Teamwork.


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  • 8.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-19-2018 15:19
    Your Stamp does NOT certify as builts and that should not be apart of your basic services. You pick-up huge liabilities when you do certify as built documents so check with your insurance.

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    Stanford Britt FAIA
    President
    Sulton Campbell Britt & Associates
    Silver Spring MD
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  • 9.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-19-2018 18:18
    ​I fall back on my work with engineering firms. My boss questioned the ethics of providing "As Built" drawings if you have not overseen the construction as much of what happens during construction is invisible on completion. In such cases he would provide "existing condition" drawings. Sounds like a semantics issue but most contract issues turn on wording. Very often we have been asked to provide "As Built"
    drawings and after posing this position to the requester have learned that they had no knowledge of the distinction nor any interest in "As Built" drawings. They just wanted to see the final condition of the project for various reasons from plant operations to marketing.

    They savvy  practitioner will draw this distinction into the contract negotiations. It is part of our due diligence to understand the clients' interests. Often that may mean questioning their assumptions and definitions. Anyway when would it ever be a good idea to certify what you can't substantiate? Ω

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    John Dugger AIA
    Principal Architect
    J S Dugger, AIA & Associates
    Gloucester MA
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  • 10.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-20-2018 10:30

    Dennis,

    I would not even think about creating "as built drawings" of any kind. Nor would I certify them.

    This is not typically a contractual service for architects to provide.

     

    Did you clear this with your insurance carrier? They may have a significant objection to this request. Will you be covered if you do this? There most certainly is liability if you do this.

    Did you sign a contract promising this?

     

    I believe this is a bad idea. We are not contractors.

    Unless you were there every day observing the work – I would strenuously object to this request.

    Christina



    ------------------------------
    Christina Schessler AIA
    McKinley & Associates, Inc.
    Wheeling WV
    ------------------------------

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  • 11.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-20-2018 10:31
    ​Sorry to repeat myself - I thought it didn't make it to the thread.
    Christina

    ------------------------------
    Christina Schessler AIA
    McKinley & Associates, Inc.
    Wheeling WV
    ------------------------------

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  • 12.  RE: Architects asked to produce and certify as-built drawings

    Posted 05-21-2018 08:25
    Your questions raise more questions.

    Did you provide drawings and then not visit the construction until it was complete?  No in progress site visits?  Did they ask to make changes due to unknown existing conditions?  Or did they just change things to save cost?  Do the changes still meet ADA requirements?  Do the changes affect the structure or code compliance?  The Owner says there is no liability.  Will they put that in writing to you?  Because it was an ADA upgrade if it doesn't meet ADA that opens liability to an ADA lawsuit which could drag you in as not designing to the ADA.

    With all that, I would say whoever sealed the original drawings needs to stamp the As-Builts.  


    --
    Timothy J. Wall, AIA, LEED AP
    20570 CR 38
    Goshen, IN 46526

    cell: 574-370-3623



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