Measured Survey, What, How and Why?

Measured building surveys are carried out for verification and record purpose. They are also used for calculating the area and identifying gaps between the original plan and actual construction, and also to measure floor plans, elevations, sections, etc. Architects, surveyors, and builders appoint expert agencies to carry out the work effectively and efficiently. With a plethora of agencies providing services to the clients on the Internet, the task of searching measurement survey becomes quite simple.

What is the Measured Survey?

As per technical definition, a measured survey is nothing but the comprehensive survey (internal and external) of standing structures and buildings. When you appoint the surveyor, the output would be anything from a full-fledged 3D model of the building to the basic floor layout.

Surveyors follow the latest edition of RICS guidance note to carry out the survey. It is the framework of rules for measured survey of buildings, utilities or land. The data capturing methods and survey details depend on the intention of the survey.

Earlier, it was done using paper and pencil but with the advancement of technology; surveyors carry smart devices such as Tablets. They also use new-age Bluetooth laser distance meter or steel tapes. Survey controls can link all the floors so that the results can be available in real-time. Measured surveyors produce a comprehensive and detailed report about the floor plan, roof plan, elevation and cross sections.

Details of the floor plan report depend on the purpose of the survey. In some cases, they give only the details of outlines or openings. They are elaborated up to the level of fittings or fixtures in some cases.

Details of elevations nowadays use scanners that add details to the drawings. It is possible to produce effective representations of outer elevations, surrounding details, etc.

Details of cross sections show the structures that are visible along with the cutting lines.

When do you need measured building surveys?

Measured building surveys are required for redevelopment of the property or when you extend it. It is also useful when home owners want detailed information for designing the safety plan. Since it covers the internal floor plans, internal and external elevations, and also building cross sections (optionally), owners get the complete record of the property. When the report is linked to the topographic survey, the report is comprehensive and useful.

UK Property Survey

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How do they perform Measured Survey?

When you call an experienced surveyor who has several surveys under his belt, it is guaranteed that the survey results are excellent. The surveyor has been busy in measuring buildings, elevations and sections for several years; she or he develop a superb command over the subject.  He comes with a thorough preparation and uses a systematic approach in the work. Right from the essential things such as clipboard, pencil, and paper to Bluetooth Scanner; you can sense their perfection. A few tools used in measurement:

  • Laser Measure: Laser tape measure is the electronic counterpart of the conventional metal tape measure. It is used for calculating width and heights of the structure. It can measure up to 200 meters with an accuracy of 2 millimeters. They are easy and handy. Surveyors put the device at one point of the structure and point the beam to the second point of measurement. When the beam hits the second point, the sensors convey the information to the calculating device attached to it. Using precision optics concepts and phase-shift method, the distance is calculated. Laser tape is fast, accurate and easy to use. Calculating lengths of tall buildings, domes or other humongous structures is easy with this device.
  • Tape Measure: In spite of the use of modern devices, the importance of conventional tape is still there. Surveyors still carry the old-styled tape to take the measurements quickly.
  • Camera: Surveyors use cameras for taking snaps wherever is required. Digital cameras with very high resolution and infra-red vision are useful in taking clear and detailed snaps in the buildings. Nowadays, the cameras can be attached to other devices so that images can be transferred within a blink.
  • Protective gears: At times, surveyors need protective gears such as helmets, safety shoes, or hand gloves. If the building site is halfway prepared or very old, there is always a risk of falling objects.

The Process

Measurement surveyors make a few preparations before they get on the job. A seasoned surveyor takes as much information as possible about the building structure. He uses state-of-the-art techniques such as Google Maps and other GPS tools to know about the layout, surroundings, obstacles, and orientation. He tries to make him comfortable before arriving at the site. The more prepared a surveyor is, the higher is the accuracy.  The very purpose of measurement is important before the survey takes place.

When the building is too large, the survey takes place in sections. Surveyors use one page for one section so that enough details can be accommodated in the figures. Draw measure and move to the next area; this process continues till everything gets over.

Measurement takes quite a long time if the conventional method is used. With new-age Laser measures, it happens pretty fast.

Typically, the surveyors start from one corner of the building and continue taking the measurement in the clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Some diagonal measurements are also taken for accuracy. Running dimensions and full measurement are taken to eliminate the error.  Ceiling heights and floor thickness helps in the measurements of elevations and sections. Wall thickness is also measured internally and externally.

Why should it be done accurately?

When surveyors take the measurement, accuracy is critically important. Errors or omissions may cause severe implications. Unnecessary delays, disputes, disagreements and additional expenses are to name a few. Therefore, it is extremely important to appoint adequately trained and expert surveyors. Drawings are important in the whole process and correctness of initial and detailed design drawing is vital.

When you assign the task to a seasoned measurement surveyor, rest assured about the quality of the output.



Having served 16 years in the army Colin re-educated during the early 1990’s including two years at the Camborne School of Mines reading Mineral Surveying and Resource Management achieving a first class Diploma (Dip CSM). This allowed direct entry to the second year at The University of the West of England, Bristol reading Valuation and Estate Management. Training and experience was gained with Exeter City Council Estates Department and Sheperds Chartered Surveyors qualifying as a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in June 2003. Colin set-up the company in May 2009 and covers the complete range of services.

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