Case Study: How As Built Survey Plans Can Maximise Space Efficiency in a Distribution Warehouse
WHAT ARE AS BUILT PLANS FOR A DISTRIBUTION WAREHOUSE?
An as built plan is a measured drawing that is created using a property survey that shows all the existing conditions of a property. Realserve is a survey company in Australia that specialises in creating as built existing condition plans for industrial properties warehouse or distribution facilities.
They are critical when it comes to dealing with situations that involve property renovations because you will have documentation that is current for the present day vs using materials from an initial building design which may have been 20 years prior.
Realserve has surveyors in every state of Australia that can measure and create as built plans that help with site re-development or refurbishment. These can include;
- Base building and services
- Show things such as walls, doors, windows and columns
Additional services and products are usually also provided to give stakeholders a full picture of the site. These include:
- Internal elevations
- External elevations
- Reflected ceiling plans
- Overall Site Plans
- Matterport 3D Virtual tour for commercial properties to share with multiple stakeholders or those working remotely or in an interstate head office
AS BUILT SURVEY PLANS INCREASE EFFICIENCY IN DESIGN AND REFIT PROCESSES
Realserve regularly works with state or national procurement managers who will typically coordinate the engagement of product and service providers. Typically we are hired to aid various departments in the planning stages of a facility refurbishment. For this project we helped a major Australian retailer when their national procurement manager, who was based in Melbourne, engaged us to provide the information they needed to decide whether to renovate or relocate. The facility and property that they were contemplating either renovating or vacating was a distribution warehouse based across the country in Western Australia.
Their WA distribution warehouse had storage space in the main warehouse and offices that needed a remodel if they were to stay, so the procurement manager needed a current set of survey plans. The plans were initially used to finalise their decision to stay, and subsequently used to work with and engage stakeholders such as builders, engineers, landscapers and traffic management consultants.
Based on their brief the initial request included;
- As Built Plans
- Reflected Ceiling Plans
- Internal Elevation
Then once they had received these plans they decided they required further information for their planning purposes so a Site Plan was also provided. Realserve is a survey company in Australia that specialises in creating as built existing condition plans for industrial properties including warehouses and distribution facilities.
WHY DID THIS DISTRIBUTION WAREHOUSE NEED AN AS BUILT SURVEY PLAN?
Many distribution warehouse property owners experience the same issue when it comes time to make changes to their site. Typically the current plans and documentation on file for the buildings are either the original design drawings or completely out of date due to various changes that have been made over the life of the building since construction.
It is quite common for an as built survey plan to be referred to as an existing conditions survey plan. The idea is essentially about creating a current set of documented plans that are based on what is actually on the site at that precise moment.
So for the procurement manager to effectively manage the remodel and fit out changes to the distribution warehouse they needed actual, as built survey plans with the appropriate CAD files to help with their design & costing process. Realserve helps a number of property owners or tenants to produce existing conditions, or as built plans that help for any number of project types from redeveloping a building, doing refits or even planning major building extensions.
For this warehouse refit the plans that the client had on file were construction plans, dated as far back as ‘October 2006’. Using plans that were more than 10 years old was not advisable so we confirmed their suspicion that an up to date survey should be undertaken to avoid potential problems down the track. Our recommendation for as built survey plans to be created was because;
- Construction plans don’t always accurately reflect what has actually been transferred on site during the building phase. As trades progress with their works on new builds or renovations, often conflicts can arise that require deviations from the original plans. These deviations are typically not documented.
- For a lot of industrial properties their building layouts will frequently evolve to suit the ever changing requirements of the businesses operating within them. As commercial tenants change the layout and how the space is being used, these changes can happen rapidly but not be documented with new or updated plans.
HOW DID WE PRODUCE THE SURVEY PLANS?
Realserve were able to facilitate our clients needs and carried out as built building surveys to accurately determine position of all key elements contained within their brief & to deliver PDF plans and CAD files efficiently.
- Our surveyors in Western Australia went to the site to conduct the initial building surveys required. The survey drawings could then be supplied to their designer as a starting point for the proposed changes. By using an as built plan they would be working with the exact structures in place on the site.
- Realserve also created a reflected ceiling plan for the Western Australia warehouse’s office to show all the major visible ceiling services including sprinklers, lighting, air conditioning units, spitfires, smoke detectors etc.
This enabled the client’s designer to identify potential limitations to their design and budget for removing or relocating services where they could not be incorporated into the new floorplan.
It also assisted with identifying where ceiling services, such as new emergency exit signs, would need to be added to ensure compliance & safety for staff members.
We also created an Internal Elevations survey plan of the office area and adjacent roller shutter that wasn’t being utilised. The roller shutter and its relationship to the adjacent office was crucial in determining whether the roller shutter could be used as an additional truck access point which would help create an additional loading area.
The design team set about coming up with a successful solution that could create another loading dock for the distribution warehouse. This type of reconfiguration of the site would facilitate a refit that would enable improve space efficiency on the site.
To achieve this they required an As Built Site Plan to accurately document the layout of the site including;
- Existing loading docks
- Kerb lines
- Garden beds
- Ground finishes and, the overall traffic flow throughout the warehouse site.
This plan helped the design team identify that a garden bed would need to be removed and the existing traffic flow management plan changed to facilitate the refit changes while making the site as safe as possible.
HOW WAS SPACE EFFICIENCY MAXIMISED IN THIS DISTRIBUTION WAREHOUSE?
The procurement manager was able to work with interior designers, an architect, local council and internal stakeholders to present a range of solutions to refit the warehouse to maximise space efficiency levels through the creation of an extra truck loading space.
By using as built plans it meant that very precise calculations could be made to facilitate budget provisioning and decision making. Most importantly the mixture of survey plan documentation was able to be used to reconfigure the existing site usage.
Realserve created the following plans for the warehouse;
- As Built Floor Plan of office area.
- Reflected Ceiling Plan of office area.
- Internal Elevations of office area and adjacent warehouse roller shutter.
- As Built Site Plan
Realserve helped make the warehouse refit process cost effective & efficient
- The procurement manager was based in Melbourne & the refit site was in Western Australia but the Realserve offices in Melbourne and Perth helped overcome this location challenge to make it efficient.
- The lack of current plans made it impossible for the procurement manager to efficiently budget or plan for any refit to take place. The plans were actually so old they didn’t include improvements that had been made a few years prior to the office areas. By using Realserve surveyors in Perth it meant less guesswork or site visitations were needed by the procurement manager (or stakeholders) which saved time and money as they could all use a current set of plans.
The Realserve surveys help improve cost containment
The procurement manager wanted to work with a national surveyor company like Realserve who specialised in accurate as built surveying and documentation services. By engaging Realserve to prepare their as built plans, the procurement manager enjoyed the benefits of reducing the costs for their refit as well as a faster project turnaround time.
The benefits of using as built plans included;
- The builder’s quote was minimised. With the up to date plans, the procurement manager realised that less work was needed to be carried out than originally expected. Some walls had already been demolished which meant that when the builders were quoting the refit, they did not inadvertently quote to demolish walls that did not exist.
- Limitations to the redesign were identified, thus reducing time and costs that would have otherwise been incurred to navigate these roadblocks during construction. Potentially troublesome and conflicting ceiling services were outlined on the reflected ceiling plan, which meant that the designers could allow for these and avoid delays on site. By knowing the existing conditions on site, the client was able to start confident; knowing that they were mitigating the risk of works having to be stopped mid-construction.
- Knowing where services were that could not be incorporated into the new design meant that time was saved by planning for these services to be moved in advance, rather than as they ran into the conflicts during the construction phase.
- Having accurate plans allowed designers to incorporate existing walls into their design to save on demolition and reconstruction costs.
- The detailed reflected ceiling plan ultimately saved costs on light fittings. The plans gave designers an understanding of the existing lighting arrangement and how it could be incorporated into the new layout, as the client’s brief and budget did not allow for new light fittings throughout the whole office.
CAN THE AS BUILT SURVEY PLAN PROCESS BE APPLIED TO AN OFFICE REMODEL?
The process we’ve outlined above can be applied to an office remodel as well. Generally speaking a remodel of any commercial environment can be extremely timely and that is why it is so important to be able to start confident with accurate and up to date documentation. No matter the size of the organisation, whether an individual or a panel of stakeholders is involved in the decision making process, the process is usually as follows;
- An issue with the current composition of a property is identified and a decision is made to do a reconfiguration rather than vacate the premises
- An estimated budget is set
- A designer and builder is contracted
- Realserve is contracted to undertake an As Built Survey, providing the level of detail and file type(s) required for the project.
- The As Built Documentation is provided to the designer. This can be in the form of 2D Plans (PDF), 2D CAD file, a 3D Revit Model or a Point Cloud.
- Compliant proposed designs are formulated by the designer, in consultation with the client
- A design is finalised and relevant approvals are sought
- Building works are carried out in compliance with relevant state and territory codes and standards
CAN AS BUILT SURVEYS HELP WITH TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT ON A INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY?
The As Built Site Plan information collected by Realserve was analysed by the client and relevant stakeholders including traffic management consultants. This resulted in issues pertaining to the usability of the site and related potential hazards being identified & rectified. Two potential major hazards on the site were negated with the help of our precise site plans.
- Realserve’s accurate, scaled drawings showed that access to the offices inside the warehouse was going to be a potential hazard. The existing pedestrian pathway was within a planned designated forklift area.
As a solution to this potential issue, a new pedestrian pathway was created, and the main access doorway was moved to a safer location in the new office redesign.
- The site plan showed the location of all car parks, driveways, and line markings associated with the traffic management of vehicles and pedestrians in the car park & loading docks.
By having a measured site plan, it was identified that access to a large number of carparks was across what was about to become a high traffic thoroughfare. As Built plans enabled our client to explore solutions to their issues and decide to relocate some car parks, add a pedestrian crossing, and redirect traffic by converting a garden bed to a usable driveway.
Influencing factors were shown on our plans, including: the location of doorways and roller shutters, the widths of driveways, locations of kerbs, gates and other major features such as raised garden beds and fire hydrants.
WHAT OTHER SURVEY SERVICES COULD HAVE BEEN USEFUL FOR THIS WAREHOUSE REFIT?
BEFORE WORK BEGINS
- Matterport 3D Virtual Tour; could have been taken to visual the spaces available more easily while trying to ‘see’ and plan the steps for the remodel to reduce travel costs & improve collaboration with designers.
ON COMPLETION OF A REFIT
Upon completion of the refurbishment it would have been important to have updated documentation created for;
- Evacuation Diagrams; updated to reflect the changes made to the site, office floor plan & warehouse loading areas.
- Car parking Plan; a plan that depicts the designated staff and visitor parking areas as well as the revised traffic management plan for the site.
If the tenant was going to be vacating the warehouse so that a new tenancy could be started then;
- A Matterport 3D Virtual Tour could have been created which could demonstrate the new office area, truck access and traffic management solutions put in place for the site. A commercial real estate agency could use this to share with interested parties as part of their property marketing activities.
- A Gross Lettable Area Plan could be prepared for an adjoining / combined warehouse and office space in accordance with the Property Council of Australia Guidelines, to ensure that an accurate square meter area was quoted in any future lease or sale negotiations.
- Marketing Drawings for the sale or leasing of the property, including the number of carparks, the approximate boundaries, the awnings, roller shutter heights, building and site areas, as well as minimum and maximum clearance heights in one easy to read plan could also have been prepared.