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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: March 2024

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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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.

Video Explainer

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

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. The aim of the survey is to accurately measure and capture spatial data that can then be drawn up in a program such as AutoCAD.

Low-tech surveying equipment includes:

  • Tape measures
  • Laser disto meters
  • Rulers
  • Measuring wheels

High-tech equipment includes:

  • 3D laser scanners
  • Total stations
  • GPS equipment
  • Ground penetrating radar

Typical Measured Survey Equipment

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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 Much Does a Measured Survey Cost?

The cost of a measured survey depends on a number of factors including size of property and specification required.

We have written a more in depth guide to how much a measured survey costs here, including example costs.

If you are looking for a fixed price cost then feel free to get a free measured survey quote by THS Concepts.

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
  • Elevations
  • Sections
  • Roof Plans
  • Street Scene Elevations

Measured Survey Case Studies

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