Happy new 30th year of land surveys – full speed ahead

As we entered our 30th year in business as land and measured building surveying there is just time to reflect on a few things.

Full throttle into 2020

How the devil did 30 years pass so quickly ? Perhaps even more astonishing is the 12 years that have passed since we opened our South West office, offering land and measured building surveys across Devon and Cornwall, from our office in the South Hams, near Plymouth.

We have always stuck very much to providing the same product with exacting standards, regardless of the project size or complexity, but always with an eye to the client’s needs and budget. With an ex-bank manager and Yorkshire man at the helm, value for money and honesty are key principles.

The surveying kit we used has changed, some of our staff had not been born when we started (yikes !) but most of the boys and girls have been with us for longer than the furniture.

Whatever the post Brexit years look like we are sure it will still need surveying.

Land surveying devon

Quite often clients change architects, or put a project on hold for a while. This means we frequently have requests to send copies of the CAD drawings back to clients, or to their new consultants. Whether it is a land survey, a floor plan or elevation survey, we still archive everything, just in case.

It’s not that often though that we are asked to send copies of a survey that we did 20 years ago…..as funding had finally been found.

Not too many changes have been made to this 200 year old church

The clients only had paper plots, the new architects doubted that the surveyors would even exist anymore…..and to brace themselves for paying for another full survey to be undertaken.

It took a little finding, but pleased to report we were able to assist and send the new architects copies of the survey we did in 1999.

Who knows where the next 20 years may take us, but we will still have you covered. Just in case.

South West land surveys

Time moves on, surveying equipment changes, software updates.

It is now over 10 years since we established our dedicated South West office. In that time we have expanded our South West office and now have a band of loyal customers and highly skilled team of surveyors and assistants, working on land and measured building surveys in Plymouth, Exeter and everywhere between and beyond!

Land surveying in the South Hams

There is definitely a different pace to life down here and we have noticed that sometimes it can be hard to open doors, but once we do and a client samples our surveys, they realise what they have been missing.

So if you are looking for a surveying professional for your land or measured building survey project, whether it is for a small garden or a massive hotel, we are the team to trust.

A D Horner Land Surveys Always on the right track

There is no one in our Worcestershire office today. All our staff have been dispatched to sites, to undertake land and measured building surveys across Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and we have a team today in Shropshire, working on a rather overgrown site. (More on this measured survey of a barn to follow in our next post).

So why have we abandoned post today ? Our office on Bridge Street in Pershore, is slap bang in the middle of today’s Tour of Britain Time Trial Cycle Event.

No land surveyors or tri-pods in sight

Although a slight pain in terms of organisation, it’s a great opportunity to show the town and local area off.

Today the staff are still busy handling enquries as normal in our Devon office. Tomorrow we will be back to normal, providing the highest quality land and measured building surveys.

Worcestershire Land Surveyors in action

How are we nearly 3 months into 2019 ? More to the point how can A D Horner Limited have been providing land and measured building surveys for the last 30 years across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Oxfordshire and beyond?

This year so far has seen us undertaking floor plans and elevations of numerous barns in the Forest of Dean, a shopping centre conversion in Gloucester, a Worcester city centre measured building survey and so much more.



uilding survey, Worcestershire
Measuring elevations for a measured building survey Worcestershire

Land Surveyors Devon

We are a modest bunch. Maybe too much so, but twice this week so far we have heard praise for our land surveys, because unlike so many of our competitors, they are comprehensive and accurate.

That’s just the basics surely ? How can some competitors have been in business for so long and yet produce frankly shoddy work ?

The answer is of course that, you don’t know what you don’t know…. until you have worked with a proper land survey, you don’t realise what you have been missing out on. Devon Land Surveys – it’s just what we do, clearly so much better than most.

When we talk to new clients they mention time and time again the same competitor names, along with the comment that they will never use them again, because of issues that they have had with their survey work.

Thankfully we would like to think we make a great alternative !

Devon Land and Measured Building Surveys

Our Devon office continues to grow it’s reputation, as providers of the best measured surveys in the area. We continually hear complaints about the general quality of survey work produced by some of our competitors.

So what have our Devon based teams been up to recently ?

Hotel floor plan survey

We have been busy measuring floor plans for two large hotel projects in Cornwall, elevations and floor plans on the Hoe :-



Lovely elevations of this property on The Hoe Plymouth 

We have also completed many smaller projects too, including land surveys throughout Plymouth, Exeter and the South Hams area. We’ve measured boathouses in Salcombe and barns in Yelverton and all sorts of houses and cottages in between.

For more examples and information on the difference we can make to your project, see our main website www.adhorner.co.uk


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

Land Surveyors