Guide – How Much Does A Topographical Land Survey Cost?

Topographical Land Surveys | How Much Do They Cost?

Discover how much a topographical land survey can cost and top tips to help save you money.

Article By: Tom Ayre | Last Update: November 2020

In this guide, we explain how much a typical topographical survey / drawings can cost along with what aspects affect the overall price of the work.

This guide will hopefully shed light on how much a survey costs, how they are quoted for and what you can do to reduce the cost of your topographical survey.

In this article we discuss the following:

  • How much does a topographical survey cost?
  • How to save money when obtaining topographical survey quotes.
  • Example pricing that THS Concepts have charged.

Let’s get started.

How Much Does a Topographical Survey Cost?

In the UK land surveying companies typically charge between £300 and £1000 for a day’s surveying work on site. Once back in the office the information that has been collected whilst on site will be drawn up using computer aided design (CAD) software such as AutoCAD.

A typical cost to draw up the topographical survey would be between £300 and £600 per day. As a rough rule of thumb, for every day on site for 1 surveyor, expect a day in the office to draw up the topographical drawings.

Example Topographical Survey Costs

Here we give you three examples of how much we charged to undertake three fairly standard topographical surveys. The land surveying costs quoted included a site survey and producing a topographical survey drawing in CAD and PDF format.

Please note that the surveying costs quoted are heavily based on the distance to the site. Our travel costs are charged from our office in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Residential Site

aerial photo of a house showing the boundaries of a topographical survey

£750 + VAT

Parcel Of Land

aerial photo showing a red lined area for a topographical survey

£1850 + VAT

Parcel Of Land

Topographical survey extent image large area

£3300 + VAT

What Can Influence The Time / Costs?

The number of hours or days to survey a piece of land can vary based on several factors, these include:

  • The extent of the land to be surveyed.
  • How overgrown the area of land is.
  • The level of detail you require.
  • The level of accuracy you require.
  • The location of the plot of land.

Once back in the office the hours/days to draw a topographical survey heavily depend on:

  • The extent of the survey, is there a lot of information to show?
  • The detail required. If there is a lot of features to show then this takes time to complete.
  • The desired CAD output, do you need elements in 3D or 2D etc.

The topographical survey company undertaking the quote will typically work out how many days to survey on-site and draw up in the office. They will then produce a quote based on these time frames. Most land surveying companies typically charge VAT which is another cost to factor in.

How To Save Money On Your Topographical Quotes?

Working out how much a topographical survey can cost is a difficult task for someone looking for a quote as well as the company pricing the works. Many factors can influence the price of a survey such as:

  • Extent of the land you need to survey.
  • The level of detail you require.
  • The location of the works.
  • In this section we give you simple tips that will help you get better value topographical survey quotes. This should either reduce your costs, or give you a survey drawings that are exactly what you need.

Reduce The Size of the Land To Be Surveyed

How big is the area of land that needs surveying? Sometimes it might not actually be necessary to survey the whole of the property. If you are building an extension, for instance, it may be that you can reduce your survey area to within 10 metres of the existing structure!

Practical Tip: Utilise a tool such as Google Earth to mark up a satellite image. This way you can show exactly what you need surveying and what you do not.

Aerial image of a survey extent for a topographical survey
Aerial image of a survey extent for a topographical survey

Do You Need All That Detail?

The level of detail required can have a massive impact on your topographical land survey costs. If you need a large area of land surveyed then a good tip is to specify the areas where you need more detail and where you need less.

There is sometimes no need to survey all areas in high detail. This will save your surveyors’ time and ultimately lower your costs.

Practical Tip: When specifying the area of land to be surveyed, consider marking up a google maps overhead image. Using a program like MS Paint to simply mark up the boundaries of what you need surveying as well as areas where you need less / more detail will help reduce costs.

Can You Make the Survey Process More Efficient?

The location and type of land that needs surveying can make a huge difference in your land survey costs. For instance, surveying a big open field in comparison to a remote forest with limited visibility.

If you have an area of dense overgrowth that needs surveying a good idea may be to reduce overgrowth making the site more open. Your surveyor will thank you and your bank balance will too!

Practical Tip: If it is cost effective, reduce the foliage where possible and make the site more open where you can. Take photos of the site before and send these with your quote request to show the survey company the lay of the land at ground level.

Give a Detailed Specification to Avoid Doubt

A topographical land survey is an important part of any building project and serves as a key component when planning out your land development projects. If you want to save on future costs then ensure the land survey company you employ is:

  • Experienced Are they a new company that has just started out? This may be a sign of inexperience.
  • Suitably insured If things do go wrong then it’s comforting knowing that the company you are dealing with is insured.
  • See drawing examples Have a look at examples of work they have produced, does it come across as professional?

Practical Tip: A legitimate survey company should be able to demonstrate their level of customer service through positive reviews from clients, good quality drawings and they should be able to provide insurance certificates.

Thoroughly Check Your Quote to Avoid Costs That Aren’t Required

When you receive a quote from the surveying company, check that it contains all the relevant information you need for your survey. It’s crucial your company has understood your specification – you don’t want them coming back and asking for more money because they either didn’t understand your specification or they misunderstood it.

It is also worth checking terms and conditions to check there are no additional fees for revisions to the drawing or returning to the site if they haven’t picked something up correctly.

Check the Surveyor’s Credentials & Don’t Get Ripped Off!

When getting in contact with a land surveying company for a land survey cost it is crucial you give them all the information they need to accurately price the required works.

Outlining your exact requirements will potentially save you money as the company will know exactly what you need and don’t need out of the survey.

In the specification, it’s important you state elements such as the area of land that needs surveying, the drawings you need, which features are important, etc. Another great idea is to provide photographs of the site if you have them. Photos are really helpful as it gives the survey company a better idea of what the site is like at ground level.

Request Example Drawings in PDF & CAD Format to See What You Will Receive

When getting quotes for your topographical land survey ask for example drawings in both PDF and CAD format. You can then have a little look at the drawing to see how organised they are, level of detail they typically pick up etc.

Having a poor quality survey drawing will cost you time and money as you may need to send the surveyor back to site to pick up more detail, thus causing delays!

How To Get A Topographical Survey Quote

Send Your Survey Enquiry
Find a reputable surveying company such as THS Concepts and request a quote for your project

Check Your Quotes & Pick Your Surveyor
Analyse the quotes and check the credentials of the survey company prior to selecting them for the work.

Wait For Your Drawings
Sit back and relax whilst your topographical survey is undertaken and the drawings completed.

Get Your Free Quote

Get your project off the ground and get a quotation, proposed start date and when you can expect your completed survey / drawings back.