How to Use Your Survey

Image of woman working at computer

So now you know what “Three steps to take before starting your next as-built survey” and “How to pick a survey company” (if you don’t – give us a heads up, and we will send over insightful tips on those topics).

Now get ready to explore how to USE your survey. Some might say – “Isn’t that obvious?” or “Just use it” (Nike fans here?). However, the difference between knowing how to use your drawings and just using them reflects how efficient you could be if you knew a couple of tricks about how to get the most out of the survey results.

I am happy to share those with you here.

1. Pictures are worth a 1000 drawings.

Pictures are the most important tool to understand and trust your survey drawings.

Use photos to verify that the drawings set are accurate and complete.

Good photographs show both the relationship between items as well as their color, texture, and condition better than drawings do.

I suggest reviewing the photos before you review the drawings. Photos give you context that drawings can’t and if something is off, you’ll probably see it.

  • Use Photos to verify drawing accuracy.

  • Use Photos to understand the condition, color, and texture of items.


2. How to trust drawings?

It’s also important to understand your survey drawing presentation. Most surveyors nowadays deliver some kind of CAD drawing set as their final survey.

  • If something is in CAD, it means that everything is drawn to accurate; shape, size and location. Assuming your survey company has done a good job. Just because something isn’t dimensioned doesn’t mean it wasn’t measured. If it’s in CAD you can assume every dimension you take in CAD will be accurate to real life (again assuming your survey company has done their job).

  • Floor plans should match ceiling plans and elevations. Company could use floor plans as the base to build our ceiling plans and elevations. If your survey company does so they will match. The vertical lines on your elevation will be taken straight from your floor plan so they’ll match exactly. If they don’t line up, you have a problem.

  • Notes on a drawing are very important in a survey and often used to explain finishes or out of the ordinary items. Look for the notes identifying the out of the ordinary situations and even go as far as ask your survey company to make them more identifiable in the drawing set by using another colour or box around the note.


3. Workflow

Ideally, your survey is presented in the same format (AutoCAD, Revit, etc) that your team uses.

Further, hopefully, the CAD layering and block standards match your team’s standards. This upfront customization provides your team a giant leap forward in efficiency when the completed survey arrives. Ideally you want to receive survey documents (drawings, checklists, photos) that are formatted exactly as if your team did it themselves.

I would go as far as asking your survey company to use your symbols, layers, blocks, and file naming convention to avoid all aspects of human oversight or confusion on your end. Only let organized survey documents into your office, and your team can stay in sync and focused on the work they alone can do.