OK, so you just had a new building, or an addition, or a remodel project completed. Everything is up and running smoothly. The building architects and engineers never provided you any building plans, drawings, “blue prints”, and/or specifications. Or maybe you threw extra copies away. Why would you need them though? Everything seems to be running fine.
You need to ensure that the architects and engineers working on your project provide you with your building plans (both printed copies and PDFs). We have seen various things happen down the road that create problems. The engineering firm goes out of business. Whoops, no chance of ever getting plans from them. Or suppose you have a falling out with your architect or engineer. You fire them. This isn’t a good position from which to negotiate for plans only they have. I have even run into cases where the engineers complain about all the time and money it is going to cost them to put the plans together, even though it is something they should have done when the project was completed five years ago!
It’s best to avoid this situation by ensuring that you receive building plans upon completion of any substantial modification to your facility. In fact, as-built plans are also another thing that should be pursued. As-built plans are simply plans that represent how things were actually built, which is not always the same as how they were designed. I have seen ductwork runs that are completely different from what the original design building plans show. This can be a big deal down the road if changes need to be made to something, only to find out it isn’t where the plans say it is.
So, let’s say its time for a building renovation, and the building plans are nowhere to be found, due to any number of the above reasons. Depending on the scale of work, many architects and/or engineering firms will require existing building plans to complete their design work. If these don’t exist the firm will have to walk through the building and re-create them. And believe me; they won’t do this for free. This cost will be passed right on to you, the building owner.
For Both our Sakes
To make a long story short, ensure that you receive building plans for any construction projects immediately after the work is complete. I would recommend not skimping on getting as-built plans either. It may cost you a bit more up front, but I guarantee down the road if things need to be re-created, it will cost a lot more in the long run. Not only will this save me, the engineer, headaches, but this will also save you, the building owner, money, and I think we can all appreciate that.