What is a Measured Survey?
Find out what a measured building survey is, how they are undertaken and why they crucial prior to any building / design works taking place.
Article By: Tom Ayre
Last Update: August 2022
In this article we explain what a measured survey is and why they are crucial when undertaking building work.
Before beginning any construction project, large or small, it is critical to conduct a thorough measured survey. A measured survey is the process to accurately survey and produce detailed drawings such as floor plans, elevations and section drawings. The data and drawings that are produced form the basis of any design work.
Find out about measured surveys and why they are so important before beginning any project.
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THS Concepts undertakes measured survey projects for architects, engineers and construction professionals across London & The UK.
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What Is a Measured Survey?
A measured building survey is a digitalised model of your building to help Architects and Designers with their building design proposals. Measured surveys entail taking accurate measurements in order to produce CAD drawings. They’re usually specified to a certain level of detail, with acceptable tolerances for accuracy, scale, delivery times, and costs.
Measured surveys can vary in detail. A basic survey will include elements such as walls, doors, windows, and level changes. A more complex survey may include electrical layouts, plumbing and more precise information.
Do I Need A Measured Survey?
A measured survey is critical to begin a construction project correctly. A measured survey is an important part because it serves as the foundation for the design process. Issues that arise at this stage will be repeated and amplified throughout the construction process.
A measured survey is usually commissioned prior to any building or refurbishment work and forms the basis of the proposed designs. Without an accurate measured survey, future problems can occur. These could be:
- The proposed design not fitting or incorrectly sized.
- Over/under ordering of materials.
- Issues with local planning authorities.
Potential Issues When Starting With Poor Data
Inadequate information can cause a whole range of problems. As the project develops, drawing errors cause more and more problems that increase costs and delays. Poor quality drawings can also cause major disappointment to people working on their dream project.
Incorrect measurements of room sizes can lead to problems such as furniture not fitting, windows in the wrong place, floor levels not aligning etc.
A measured building survey can alleviate these problems, as your architect can work from a highly accurate set of plans, elevations and sections. Their designs will be accurate and a true reflection of existing property features, which will assist the building contractor in their work.
When undertaking building work, it’s important to control costs wherever possible! Inevitably, throughout a construction project, costs increase and issues arise.
When pricing up construction work, contractors typically ask for your architect’s proposed drawings. This is to check the specifications of the design. If your architect’s drawings are based on an inaccurate plan, your contractor may find a problem onsite and temporarily halt construction.
The issue will most probably be that the contractor underestimated the required work, so you will inevitably pay more for extra labour hours. Alternatively, your contractor may have overestimated the time or materials required, so you may have wasted money on non-returnable materials such as concrete. You may pay for workers you no longer need.
A measured building survey ensures that your architect’s plans are accurate, which in turns means floor areas, room widths, heights of rooms, etc., are precisely drawn. Trust us, a good set of measurements will reduce headaches during the building process.
How Properties Are Surveyed
The on-site survey is undertaken to capture the required detail specified by the client. Depending on the survey company, an on-site survey may use a variety of equipment.
Low-tech equipment includes:
- Tape measures
- Laser disto meters
- Measuring wheels
High-tech equipment includes:
- 3D laser scanners
- Total stations
- GPS equipment
- Ground penetrating radar
Typical Measured Survey Equipment
A 3D laser scanner is a modern piece of surveying equipment that sends out millions of light beams. These beams of light reflect off of surfaces, return to the scanner, which then forms them into a 3D representation called a point cloud.
3D scanners are an extremely effective way of gathering a lot of survey data quickly and accurately. Once back in the office, the data is then stitched together using bespoke laser scanning software.
The point cloud data can then be translated into traditional drawing types such as floor plans, elevations and sections.
Do You Need a Measured Survey Quote?
• Quotes within 1 working day.
• Estimated drawing return dates.
• Fixed-price quotations.
How Long Does A Measured Survey Take?
The time it takes to undertake a measured survey drastically varies depending on the detail and size of the property to be surveyed.
On average, a survey of a 3-bedroom house would take 4 hours for a surveyor to 3D scan and take a few hand measurements.
Once back in the office it can take a few days depending on the drawings requested. Typical drawings include floor plans, elevations, sections and roof plans.
How The Office Work Is Done
Following the on-site survey, the surveyed information is analysed and sorted. To electronically draw up the surveyed information, a CAD (computer aided design) software package is used.
Typical CAD programs include AutoCAD, Revit, Microstation etc. There are a lot of different CAD packages. The most common is Autodesk’s AutoCAD.
The CAD program is utilised to produce a range of drawings depending on the project requirements. These include:
- Floor plans
- Roof Plans
- Street Scene Elevations