As a Strata Council develops both Annual and Long Term Maintenance Plans, one of their most important references is a set of the buildings’ blueprints. There are potentially three types of drawings made up for a property, each with its own purpose.
The Design Drawings are made up for the developer to submit to a municipality in order to obtain the permits and approvals required before he can start building. These Design Drawings can be, and often are revised as the approval process unfolds but, no matter how detailed, they only convey the developer’s general intent. They are not a reliable reference that shows how the buildings have been built and of the three types of drawings, these are the least reliable.
Once the development has been approved, a new set of Construction Drawings is produced, and these are the plans that the General Contractor will follow in order to build the structure(s) and install all the different systems that make up the building(s). The Construction Drawings will have several different sections that will include Structural, Plumbing/Mechanical, Electrical, and Heating & Ventilation (in a condominium building) among others.
However, there is a third type, commonly produced for larger commercial buildings, called As Built Drawings which, as the name implies, shows exactly how the structures were built and how the various systems were installed.
Given the many similarities in the management of maintenance requirements between Strata and commercial properties, we would encourage any developer to fund the production of As Built Drawings. It would incur extra work and cost and, unfortunately, we consider this unlikely, however desirable.
The Construction Drawings are generally as far as any developer will go, and they are certainly better than the Design Drawings as a reference. Often these drawings disappear at the finish of construction but any developer would be providing a tremendous service to the Strata owners if he printed an extra set to accompany the obligatory Maintenance Manual. Any Strata Council is well advised to ask for them.
John Grubb is a Property Maintenance Consultant serving Strata Corporations and building owners on Vancouver Island.
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