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BIM & Design

How to Leverage AASHTOWare Project™ Data to Create Digital As-Builts

May 09, 2023

The current as-built record-keeping process at the majority of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) remains entrenched in a siloed, electronic version of the paper-based plan set world. This process is full of manual data entry inefficiencies, challenges from not capturing all of the data, redline drawings (PDF markups), and major communication silos across business disciplines. But there is a new sheriff in town: the digital as-built (DAB).

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently promoting the deployment of digital as-builts. The effort really took hold as part of Every Day Counts 6 and has continued to gain significant momentum across the country. FHWA defines DABs as an accumulation of the data used during digital project delivery that provides a living record of built infrastructure for agencies’ future business needs. A DAB transforms the two-dimensional (2D) world into a three-dimensional (3D) one, providing much more accurate, up-to-date information that all stakeholders can access from anywhere at any time. DABs aren’t solely focused on changes from a project’s original design - as paper\PDF markup ones historically have been; instead, they also include data that documents many aspects of a project’s life cycle.

This is where the conversation turns to what is known as a digital twin. A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world object. As such, the digital twin pulls us further into the digitized realm of the information-rich Building Information Modeling (BIM) world. The BIM world provides multiple dimensions (3D – 5D) that contain layers of information stored in a connected data environment crucial for agencies to have the most current, comprehensive, and accessible data that reflects a real-world picture essential for construction, asset management, and beyond.

AASHTOWare Project™ and Digital As-Builts

So how does AASHTOWare Project™ fit into the matrix described above and why is it so crucial to the capturing of a digital as-built? AASHTOWare Project isn’t 3D modeling software. It doesn’t include design or survey information, but it does contain a wealth of information that ties the design to the constructability of the project. Remember, DABs aren’t solely focused on changes in design, instead they are supposed to provide a context rich digital record using different types of data and data gathering methods as what’s been constructed.

A few essential elements are needed to create a DAB: data must be searchable, spatial, and extractable and accessible by other systems to support post-construction activities. AASHTOWare Project offers all of this.

AASHTOWare Project supports these by built-in, auditable, configurable workflows and data capture of what’s being constructed, eliminating many of the challenges that have plagued both the analog and digital world of as-builts. AASHTOWare Project holds and shares this data through an open API that can facilitate the breakdown of information silos between functional (construction and materials) and departmental (design, construction and asset management) business areas.

Depth of Data Collected in AASHTOWare Project

To illustrate the depth of information available in AASHTOWare Project and how its ability to capture and share data with other applications is essential to an as-built, let me start with a little background. AASHTOWare Project is a suite of products that work seamlessly together to advance and manage a construction project through different phases of its life cycle. Along the way, it tracks and stores information on how the owner estimated the construction work, how the project was put out for bid, which contractor was awarded the work, what contractors were involved in the project’s construction, and if they were compliant with all the contractual obligations set forth by the owner (i.e., specifications, time, materials). Each project item in AASHTOWare Project provides access to funding, installation, payment, change orders, cost adjustments (price index – fuel), materials, and time elements – and these project items can be geospatially located.

Much of this data is captured directly in the field as part of the daily work report (DWR), where the inspector creates the report in the field as work is occurring. The DWR includes notes on what contractors were on site, what equipment was available and what the site conditions were. The inspector also includes information about the project items as they are being constructed. The best part is, all of this information can be captured using a rover and Infotech’s Mobile Inspector app. In this workflow the inspector starts a daily inspection report, selects what items to measure and makes them available to the data collector to gather measurements and location information using the rover. Once collected, the data collector returns the information to Mobile Inspector in the form of quantities, locations (XYZ), accuracy information, and a raw data file that is attached to the item posting record supporting audits. This allows the capture in real-time of a geospatially located DAB. This information is managed in AASHTOWare Project showing the progress of the item; as designed vs. installed vs. paid, the item’s funding breakdown, any change orders, any materials, etc. All of this data can easily be exchanged with other systems such as GIS, Asset Management and a Connected Data Environment (CDE).

Materials Data Key for Digital As-Builts

There are many data elements from different systems outside of the contract that are needed to capture a true as-built. An area key to the DAB that assists with true asset lifecycle management is the capturing of material information. AASHTOWare Project offers an extremely robust material data set tied directly to each project item – and this is critical to bringing together construction installation activities with material testing and usage. This includes information on sampling and testing requirements, approved material certifications, and quality control data used in payments and approvals. This is vital information used not only to track progress, performance, and quality, but also to use as forensic data should issues arise and stakeholders need to locate where specific materials were placed.

Being able to utilize construction project data, including the DAB information it captures, is foundational to more efficient construction and to support full digital project delivery and full asset lifecycle management needs. While many systems contribute to this, AASHTOWare Project is pivotal and will continue to serve as an integral part to producing and providing high quality data that results in a searchable, rich DAB record that DOTs can rely on to support their decision-making processes and true lifecycle management.

If your agency is interested in discussing how to best leverage AASHTOWare Project data for enterprise lifecycle management, please contact Infotech today. As the official contractor of AASHTOWare Project, we are ready to support your digital as-built efforts.


Jim Ferguson
Associate VP of AASHTOWare Products Analysis and Support
Jim is a firm believer in collaborative and mindful communication between co-workers, clients, and customers to create quality deliverables. With over 35 years in both public and private sectors, Jim has experience in requirements analysis, software development, resource management, strategic implementation, and company collaboration efforts. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Nebraska. While this degree may not seem to fit where Jim is today, it serves as a reminder that hard work and passion for that work determines your path, not a piece of paper.