Errors or omissions in a drawing can result in serious consequences which can manifest themselves into confusion and disagreement, delays, additional costs and ultimately disputes. These problems can be avoided by ensuring that those who undertake measured surveys are adequately trained and supervised. It would be very unwise to assume that undertaking a measured survey is a simple process and a skill that everyone should naturally have. This is because buildings differ significantly in size, construction and form and the amount of information needed will vary depending on the scope of the project. One thing however that is for certain is that undertaking a measured survey is far more than just obtaining dimensions! A common issues I often found with my surveyors when undertaking an internal measured survey would be that they would sometimes miss key information such as floor to ceiling heights, window cill height, joist direction, services intake of a building, diagonal check measurements and sometimes even forgetting to note wall construction. If a re-visit is necessary to collect missing information then this will be a cost to the business and can impact on profitability.
Whilst undertaking a measured survey on site the Surveyor must appreciate that either they, or maybe somebody else like an Architectural Technologist will have to interpret the information that has been collected on site in order to prepare the drawings. Many times I have witnessed Surveyors and Technologists look with complete dismay at a piece of paper in the office that has been given to them by someone who has undertaken a measured survey. This is because what they are looking at is a rain drenched, smudged, excuse for a drawing that is so 'busy' with lines, dimensions and other information that it is difficult to tell the difference between each!, and they are expected to produce an accurate drawing from this!
To help minimise omissions and errors in drawings there are some simple basic techniques that can be very useful when undertaking measured surveys. Firstly, I always advised my Surveyors to draw the building footprint (in pencil) first, before taking any dimensions, The pencil could then be overdrawn in pen later. This would ensure that the drawing was well proportioned and avoid 'squashing' information into a small corner of a piece of paper, because there is no room left on the sheet, toward the end of the survey. Next, use different colour pens for recording information. It is much easier to interpret a drawing if say the building outline is in black, dimensions are in red, construction details are in green, sockets, switches and radiators are in blue etc. Next, when using measuring tapes particularly for longer distances, ensure that there are no twists in the tape and that it is a tight as possible to avoid deflection. Surveyors must also ensure that dimensions are taken at the same height. For example is one Surveyor is holding the tape just above the skirting board and at the other end the Surveyor is holding the tape half way up the wall this could result in a significant inaccuracy in a single dimension.
The importance of a comprehensive and accurate measured survey cannot be understated, which can only be achieved through appropriate training and supervision. Organisations should ignore this at their peril!
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