Measuring floor plans is an element of a measured building survey, which may be undertaken as a stand-alone item or as a part of a package that could include elevations, a land survey and possible sections.
Many architects commission us to undertake measured building surveys because they can obtain a more accurate measured survey than by doing it themselves. It is also more cost and time efficient to do so.
As professional land and measured building surveyors, we always use a survey instrument (total station) to accurately control the building’s external footprint and key internal structure positions.
Floor plan building footprint, Plymouth, Devon
Once the building footprint is fixed the internal detail can be measured. We will usually undertake this using a tablet pc loaded with specialist floor plan software which accepts measurements directly from a blue tooth enabled total station survey instrument and / or a hand held laser measuring device. We also use tape measures!
Floor plan with measured detail, Plymouth Devon
Many try to measure floor plans but few seem to do it well. This is probably because measuring floor plans requires a lot of time and skills that not all land surveyors have. It takes much longer to train a surveyor to measure floor plans than it does to survey land.
A good measured building survey should have floor plans that ‘stack’ and match on top of each other via a common reference point. Any elevations should match into the floor plans (eg. a window opening should be the same size on all drawings) and the building footprint should perfectly fit the topographic (land) survey.
Many of the buildings we measure have angled walls and walls that taper from top to bottom, so the distance between two walls varies notably depending on how high up the wall the measurements are taken. Armed with all this information it is then the task of the land and measured building surveyor to draw the land survey and the floor plans, elevations and sections and to rationalise all the data to make it work.