The U. S. Institute for Building Documentation has published the first standards for specifying contracts for as-built building-measurement capture. The documents are designed to complement previously developed standards specifying 3D building-information-model level of development but are not limited to any measurement-capture technology.

"In the building documentation industry, there is really nothing that people doing the work could rely on and quote to their clients," says Bryan A. Merritt, a principal associate with engineering consulting firm Erdman Anthony, Rochester, N.Y. "It gives owners and clients assurance that you are doing it to some level of accuracy and specification, instead of being willy-nilly."

Merritt, who is vice president of the USIBD, says advances in technologies for capturing building-measurement data drive the need for standards. "It could be a CAD plan [or] it could be 2D or 3D—we're not advocating that it be 3D—just put together some standards so that, when owners go out to engineers, surveyors or service providers, they can accurately say, 'I want you to as-built my building to this level of accuracy,' "

The standards include templates to help prepare requests for qualifications and proposals and specify 3D- imaging level of accuracy (LOA). A user guide helps architects, engineers, contractors and owners to articulate clearly the accuracy level and means to be used to represent and document existing conditions.

The standards follow the Construction Specifications Institute's Uniformat scheme for identifying building systems. The LOA dovetails with the Associated General Contractors' BIM Forum's scheme for classifying 3D BIM-model level of development.

John Russo, USIBD president, says the project began two years ago. The organization circulated drafts among 250 members for comment and review. Teams then used revised templates on a series of mock projects. "We had a facilitator, an owner's rep and three bidders on each team," Russo says. "The owner's rep was responsible for taking the documents and putting together a bid package."

USIBD members approved the final templates and released them on Jan. 5. They are available for free download at the USIBD website until March 15, after which there will be a charge. The cost has not yet been set.

The USIBD was founded to promote and facilitate building documentation as a distinct industry and provide guidance and protection to clients and practitioners. It also seeks to establish a building-documentation professional certification program.