Surveyor Plans

The Ultimate Guide to Measured Building Surveys

November 8, 2019

Using a mixture of traditional surveying methods and the latest technology, measured building surveys provide surveyors with the ability to produce highly accurate and detailed floor plans, sections and elevations for existing buildings and structures.

Building surveys can be carried out on a variety of buildings, including properties, schools, offices and listed buildings. A measured building survey will cover the following:

  • Floor plans
  • Roof plans
  • Internal elevations
  • External elevations
  • Reflective ceiling plans
  • Sections

What Is A Measured Building Survey?

A measured building survey is an accurate representation of a building, showcasing all the structural elements and architectural features of the building. A floor plan survey is an essential piece of information to provide an accurate representation of a building, which can be backed up with elevations and cross sections.

Surveying equipment will be able to record all structural elements, including walls, columns and beams. All features such as doors and windows are then added with floor levels, heights and descriptive text to give a clear understanding and representation of the building.

When Would You Need A Measured Building Survey?

A measured building survey is required for the redevelopment of a property or when you’re looking to extend a property. Measured surveys are also useful for homeowners who require detailed information for a safety plan, as a survey records internal floor plans, internal and external elevations and a buildings cross section.

What Equipment Is Used in A Measured Survey?

Laser Measure

A laser tape measure is an electronic counterpart of the conventional metal tape measure. The laser tape measure is used to calculate the width and height of a structure, measuring up to 200 meters with an accuracy of 2 millimeters.

To use a laser tape measure, the surveyor will put the device at one point of the structure and point the beam towards the second point of the measurement. When the beam hits the second point, the sensors will convey the information to the calculating device attached to it. This form of measurement is fast, accurate and easy to use, making calculating the lengths of tall buildings, domes or any other large structure easy!

Tape Measure

A traditional tape measure will also be used for a measured building survey. Surveyors will carry and use old-styled tape to take small measurements quickly.


Digital cameras with very high resolution and infra-red vision are extremely useful for measured building surveys. They are used to snap clear and detailed photos of a building. The cameras used will often have built in Wi-Fi so that the images can quickly be shared to a device.

Protective Gear

Surveyors will often wear protective gear, including a helmet, safety shoes and hand gloves. Protective gear is vital for surveyors who are working at building sites that are halfway prepared, very old or have a risk of falling objects.

What is the purpose of a Measured Building Survey?

A measured building survey can help to detail the structural and architectural elements of a building to create an accurate representation of the space to scale.
We use laser scanning to obtain the most accurate measurements and to create an exact image that can be made into 3D image with full detail. The level of detail can depend on your needs, from a simple floor plan to a detailed 3D model.

This can be used to help plan for renovation or for understanding the space available. For example, floor plans are often provided for home buyers or renters, so they can plan if the space will fit their needs and furniture. For a commercial building, renovation may be needed to suit the needs of the new occupant and this detail provides information for those completing the renovations as well helping stakeholders visualise the finished project.

What do Building Surveyors use to measure?

In most cases these days, a building surveyor will use a laser to complete a survey. This helps to provide the most accurate measurement and survey of the building or land by using laser beams to capture all the details of the building – not only size such as length and width but structural elements such as windows, ledges, columns and more.

This laser shines onto the building, land or object and collects the data from the light which is bounced back – creating cloud point data which can be converted to 3D XYZ coordinates to build a 3D survey or model. Laser scanning is one of the easiest, fastest and most accurate ways of producing a 360 degree angle photo of a building as well as a building plan and can be used both indoors and outdoors to create an accurate survey of the building or area.

How Much Does A Measured Survey Cost?

Measured building surveys can differ in cost, depending on the scale of the building and the level of surveying that is required.

At South West Surveys, we offer a free quotation service. This free service allows people to give us all the relevant information that we need to carry out an initial assessment of the building, so that we can give you the most competitive survey price.

How is a Topographic Survey performed?

A topographic survey is carried out with a range of survey equipment to allow distances and angles to be measured accurately. Using GPS, we can identify fixed points on the land to use as references to measure the height and base of the area. We use laser scanning to produce a CAD drawing with the features of the land such as any inclines, areas of woodland or landmarks.
We use high-tech equipment to detail surveyed points and to accurately map measurement, so you can plan your work or assess the land to the highest degree of accuracy.

For areas that can be difficult to reach, we use a drone to provide the laser scanning, this allows us to scan areas such as offshore islands, dilapidated structures, railways and motorways. We can even penetrate tree canopies for a detailed and accurate lay of the land.

Do I need a Topographic Survey?

If you need to measure and assess land, then a topographic survey is right for you. Think of the UK Ordnance Survey as a reference, this provides information on an area and the makeup of the land, helping walkers to assess the condition and incline of the land so they can plan accordingly.

When it comes to planning a development on certain land, especially where it may not have had development before, you may need to gage more information on the condition and elements of the land, so you can plan your development and account for anything that may disrupt it or need to be addressed before construction can begin.

Having this information from the beginning, will allow architects, designers, construction specialists and all those involved in the investment to know about and plan around any issues rather than encountering them down the line and facing costly mistakes or issues.

Contact the Survey Specialists Today

South West Surveys specialise in measured building surveys and offer the service across different locations in the UK including Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

We cater for all property types, including flats, apartment blocks, hospitals and historic buildings.

To find out more about our measured building surveys, please contact us today for a free quotation!


What is a measured building survey?

A measured building survey is an accurate representation of a building structure, which details all the structural elements and architectural features.

What is the purpose of a measured survey?

Measured building surveys are carried out for verification and record purpose, and they’re also used for measuring floor plans, elevations and sections.

What type of buildings can be surveyed?

Any type of building can be surveyed, including flats, shops, warehouses, retail spaces and historic and listed buildings.

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