Glossary of Surveying & Drawing Terms
Article By: Francesca Burke
We know that land & architectural surveying can be confusing – here’s a glossary of common terms!
Here are some technical terms and phrases used in surveying.
Architectural Survey | Also known as a measured survey, architectural surveys capture how a building is arranged, including structural features (e.g. walls) and architectural features (e.g. doors, toilets).
Building Survey | Also known as structural surveys, a building survey comprehensively inspects a building’s structure, including the materials, window frames, roof condition and integrity of walls and foundations. They note defects and repair/maintenance options. Building surveys are recommended for large, old or rundown properties. Please note THS Concepts do not currently offer building surveys! Read more about building surveys on the RICS official site.
Flood Risk Assessment | Planning applicants may require flood risk assessments for their development site. Find out more about flood risk assessments, and whether you need one, here. Please note THS Concepts does not carry out flood risk assessments, but we can assist with flood risk topographical surveys!
Flood Risk Topographical Surveys | A flood risk topographical survey can support a flood risk assessment document.
Floor Plan | A floor plan is a scale diagram of the arrangement of rooms on one storey of a building, including permanent features such as levels, doors, stairs and kitchen counters.
Land Registry | Government department registering the ownership of land and property in England and Wales
Land Survey | Also known as a topographical survey. Covers the outside of your property, and details natural features (e.g. trees, ground contours) and human-made features (lamp posts, boundaries, neighbouring buildings)
Lease Plan | A lease plan is a scale drawing of the area of land included in a lease
Leica | Leica is a leading manufacturer of surveying equipment. We only use Leica equipment as we think it’s the highest quality brand (Leica also make cameras!).
Level Surveys | check levels of a surface relative to one another (this could be the screed inside a building). Tends to be construction industry-specific
Measured Survey | Also known as an architectural survey, measured surveys capture how a building is arranged, including structural features (e.g. walls) and architectural features (e.g. doors, toilets)
Ordnance Survey | Britain’s national mapping agency and map producer
RICS | The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the world’s leading body for standards and qualifications in construction, infrastructure, land and property. We recommend using a RICS-approved surveyor if you are looking for a structural/building survey.
Structural Survey | Also known as building surveys, structural surveys comprehensively inspect a building’s structure, including the materials, window frames, roof condition and integrity of walls and foundations. They note defects and repair/maintenance options. Structural surveys are recommended for large, old or rundown properties. Please note THS Concepts do not currently offer structural surveys! Read more about building surveys on the RICS official site.
Topographical | Relates to the arrangement or accurate representation of the physical features of an area
Topographical Survey | Topographical surveys cover the outside of your property, and detail natural features (e.g. trees, ground contours) and human-made features (lamp posts, boundaries, neighbouring buildings). Also known as a land survey
Plan Drawing Glossary
Here is a glossary of features of a floor plan drawing. Scroll down for a visual glossary!
AutoCAD | Commercial computer-aided design software
CAD | Computer-aided design; accurate, precise software used to draw up surveys
Dashed Lines | Dashed Lines represent objects above 1-metre cut point on a drawing, e.g. loft hatches, beams
Doors & Windows | Doors and windows are shown using standard templates (please see our visual glossary below). ‘CH’ stands for ‘cill height’ and ‘WH’ for ‘window height’
Drawing Titles | Every drawing has a title, including a scale and scale bar
Elevations | After surveying a building or area, we produce a 2D ‘plans and elevations’ drawing. The view from the sides are called the elevations (the view from the top is called the plan)
FFL | Indicates a finished floor level
Fixed Furniture | Permanent, fixed furniture and features of a room, e.g. toilets, cookers, basins. We do not precisely survey these as standard
Hatching | A shading technique used to show shrubs, hedges and areas of dense vegetation
Numbers With Crosses | Numbers with crosses are spot heights. The cross represents the location of the measurement; the number shows the level of land or surface in relation to another (in metres). Sometimes we survey spot heights to Above Ordnance Datum (AOD), sometimes to arbitrary datum
PDF | Portable Document Format, a file format containing all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else.
Plan | After surveying a building or area, we produce a 2D ‘plans and elevations’ drawing. The view from the top is called the plan (the view from the sides are called the elevations)
RWP | Indicates a rainwater pipe
Section Lines | Section lines represent a cut line through the building for an accompanying drawing. The numbers and letters indicate drawing number and specific section
Stairs | Arrows on stairs and ramps are in the direction of up. Lines through the middle of stairs are break lines, representing a cut-off point as the stair goes above a certain height
SVP | Indicates a soil vent pipe
Thick Lines Thick lines indicate significant structural and internal partition walls
Click here to download a PDF of the drawing glossary.