Land survey quality and prices

‘I have this great price and it is £x cheaper than yours.’ That’s a comment we hear sometimes, from a client or from a consultant who has not worked with us before. There is of course a reason for this.

We also get ‘We have inherited this measured survey, but we do not trust it’ and also ‘we had a survey done, but it is lacking the detail our consultants need.’

Look at this example extract from a very small survey site.


It looks okay doesn’t it ? It’s a land survey of a bit of garden with a stream along one side.

It shows the trees, but no detail like height or species. It has a few levels, but no contours. Descriptive text is always very useful, as often consultants work on projects, without ever attending site.

Did you realise that the blue shape was a stream ? Can you guess which way it flows ?

Is that a pristine paddock in front of the stables ? Is it level across it ?

Are the stables single storey / flat roof ? What about the gate and hardstanding areas by the stables?

Are there any neighbouring buildings that the planners might need to see in context ? What height are they at ?

Planners like information. They cannot throw out your application and say ‘how will this fit in with what is next door ?’ Or if you are replacing a building ‘how will this compare with the volume of the existing building ?’ as all the information is already there.

This saves you delays and hopefully money. Your architects spend less time visiting the site and adding information to it, they spend less time trying to work out what is actually there because we believe in labeling our drawings.  Send the drawings to a builder and they have more information to work with, again there are cost savings.

This is what a comprehensive site survey of the same area looks like. All our surveys contain this much detail as standard (unless for some specific reason you tell us otherwise.)


Our survey of the same site, but with all the detail. It’s a bit like buying a car with just three wheels. You might get there but…


Land and measured building surveys – quality v cost

We are not big enough to undertake all the work that we are asked to quote for. Competition is fine, as long as it is fair competition and all the surveys will be of the same standard.

Unfortunately if the quotation brief only requests ‘ a land survey of the area marked in red’, then there is likely to be a large difference in quality as well as price. Imagine if you asked the builder to build you a house, but specified nothing further……

   you might end up with either 

Sadly it is often only after the completed survey comes back that the designer realises that the level of detail included is not fit for the purpose that they had intended. This is why we always issue a detailed brief which covers what we will include. Nearly 30 years of working with architects and designers means we have a fair idea of what information is likely to be required.

Don’t tell anyone, but we keep a folder, into which we place ‘questionable quality’ surveys, which we are sometimes sent. Often these are forwarded to us by regular clients who do not   ‘trust’ the previous survey, or need the original survey to be supplemented with additional information, as the original survey failed to gather everything required.

The annoying thing is that someone has already been paid to undertake this work.

Caveat Emptor

Highest price does not necessarily mean the best, but if you get more than 3 prices for something and the lowest is much lower than the others then you should really ask yourself why ?

Effectively you are buying time from us. Typically a degree educated surveyor with several years of experience,  a technician to assist and then maybe £20 000 worth of surveying kit, plus then insurance and the costs of processing and drawing the data.  This is true for anyone in the industry and with several teams of surveyors our fixed costs are pretty low.

We maintain very extensive records as to our productivity, so we have great faith in our quotations. Thus it suggests that if someone is charging half the price, then they are spending a lot less time than we were going to and it infers either the accuracy or the content (or both) will not be to the same standard.

It is such a shame to only later realise that the levels are not correct, or that you need to pay for someone to return to site to gather height information on surrounding buildings, or tree diameters for example, which we would have included as standard.

Further discussion on this topic can be found at the following link:

Pricing of Land and Measured Building Surveys

Snow Land surveying in Worcestershire

There are times when no matter how much planning you do, the weather still gets the better of you. Fortunately our fantastic staff were well prepared and although there was not much land or measured building surveying completed on site on Monday, by our midlands based staff, there was plenty of drawing completed. Of course our Devon office was totally green.

Interesting land surveying conditions

Summer land surveys

Don’t forget when you are out and about to put on sun tan cream and a hat and take plenty of water with you. Such are the perils of land surveying in the summer time.

As lovely as it is to be outdoors in the summertime there are different weather hazards (under snow it is very hard to see features on the ground!) like wasp nests and waste high nettles. Thankfully we can often move inside where it is cool and dry and measure some floor plans !

Traditional OS benchmark to Newlyn Level Datum

New Career Opportunity – Land and Measured Building Surveyor

We are looking for an assistant to join our team team full time as an assistant. This is a great career opening for the right candidate.

You need to have a good level of english and maths, be interested in maps and buildings, IT literate and a car owner. We work anywhere in the UK so sometimes the days will be long and occasional overnight stays should be expected. Initially you’ll be on site helping to gather site data, but we hope you would progress to drawing and surveying elements of your own. If interested please send CV to

It took 9557 days (just over 26 years) to reach the milestone but Wednesday 15th February 2016 saw an order placed for our 5000th land or measured building survey.  We were hoping that when the 5000th order came in it would not be a 1960’s takeaway restaurant, but rather something more fitting. We are pleased to report that indeed it is a lovely thatched cottage, in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Steady’s Lane

Beautiful to look at and interesting to measure, this makes a noteworthy 5000th survey.

We have never counted the exact split, but would imagine that we have completed over 3000 land surveys and approaching 2000 measured building surveys (either floor plans or elevations or both).

Land and Measured Building Surveys in 2017

2017 sees us at the start of our 27th year as a company. How did that happen ?
Well mainly we would like to think on the back of our excellent, highly skilled staff and management team. Our attention to detail means that the end user of our surveys usually ends up with less work to do maybe this is why people like working with our drawings so much that we have such a loyal customer base.

Last year sadly we lost one of our colleagues after a short illness. Donald had been with us for 20 years so you can guarantee that there are still plenty of survey drawings out there with the initials DGCC.

Moving forward we are lucky to have found the next generation of talented surveyors and we are busy developing them in our own in-house standards of measurement surveying.

January sees us with several large projects on the go including a school in Gloucestershire, another in Oxfordshire, a football stadium, a racecourse and a preserved railway, plus the usual land surveys, floorplans and elevations of steel barn structures, Cotswold cottages, town houses, retail and industrial sites, like this recently surveyed bio-plant. There’s certainly plenty of variety.

Our first Bio Plant survey

Maybe not the cleanest site, but the most green.

Land Surveyors in Warwickshire

The start of 2016 has seen several teams of our surveyors busy in various locations in Warwickshire, from Leamington Spa to Studley, Warwick to Alcester, undertaking both land surveys and land and measured building surveys.

One man and his tri-pod
Surveying in Leamington Spa

Recent projects have included a former shopping centre, soon to be a prestigious retail store, a residential care home, a former glove factory,  a drinks factory, several hospital car parks, a couple of schools and the usual array of gardens and measured building surveys of residential properties.