Construction Survey

construction surveyorConstruction surveyors are called on to oversee the location of any work done on a construction project. Extensive planning has to be carried out. Throughout the construction process a construction surveyor guides the work as necessary to make sure that the buildings and improvements are constructed in the correct location. This type of surveying is called a construction survey and it is an integral piece to the whole construction project. The construction surveyor keeps a regular check on the control points previously established on the site in order to guide the construction of the new installations.

So, what is Construction Survey? Here is a short introduction of what a construction survey is.

A Construction Survey is completed in order to guide the alignment (horizontal lines) and grade (elevations or vertical lines) of some type of construction activity. Construction surveying is carried out before, during and sometimes after a construction project. The initial layout for the engineering and construction works is usually called construction staking. Measurements are done from reference control points which determine the location of the planned structure or improvements, vertical and horizontal positioning, dimensions, configuration, and to control the elevation of the new structures. During construction the surveyor will check in to the control points and provide additional supplemental staking to guide more detailed construction activities. After the construction is completed, the construction surveyor may undertake an “as-built” survey to document the location of all of the improvements. These are also sometimes called a topographic survey.

The construction surveyor may also provide intermediate measurements or as-built surveys to determine the quantity of certain items for payment to the contractors.

Some of the tasks that are involved in construction surveying are:

Establish Project Controls in the project area. This is a preliminary survey which is mainly the collection of data and establishing the survey control points that will be used throughout the construction phase to “control” the position and elevation of each improvement.

Enter the design data (surfaces, points, and lines) into the surveying software so points may be staked according to the design plans.  Sometimes this is a very meticulous chore for the surveyor. When the designer furnishes a CAD file with this information already in, this will speed up the process AND help to eliminate transposition errors.

The field work includes recovering the control points, setting new control closer in to a particular construction item, performing random checks of the constructed items, (checking both vertical and horizontal coordinates), comparison of the as-built locations with the planned locations, collection of intermediate points to check the terrain being built, document the site conditions, and performing utility relocation surveys as necessary.

construction surveyorHere is an illustration of how a complete Construction Survey might look.

How to Choose a Construction Surveyor

In order for a construction project to be successful, a competent construction surveyor should be on the project from start to finish. Prior hiring the construction surveyor, the owner must ensure that he possess the necessary skills and experience for the particular job. Below are some of the essential things to be considered in order to ensure that your construction surveyor is qualified:

1. A construction surveyor should have experience on similar construction projects.

The main purpose of the construction surveyor involves taking accurate measurements to ensure that constructed objects are in the correct location on the site. In order to ensure that you are relying on the right person, it is not enough to merely check his license (and you should always insist on a licensed construction surveyor) but, you must verify that the surveyor has experience on construction sites and that he/she can think on their feet. Situations change very quickly on a construction site and your construction surveyor should be able to adapt.

2. A construction surveyor must know how to deal with other professionals

Construction surveyors advise contractors, engineers and other professionals while the construction process is going on. While communication is important in most jobs, it is especially so on a construction site. The construction surveyor must have a wide range of knowledge in what the other professionals on the site are doing. This understanding of the job and what is required of the other professionals helps the construction surveyor to anticipate the needs of the other members of the construction team. Sometimes there are also competing interests on a site. For example, the curbing contractor might be different than the paving contractor. Differing grades on the curbing can cost the paving contractor a significant amount of money. This situation can lead to a lot of finger pointing. A diplomatic construction surveyor can smooth out some of these conflicts.

3. A construction surveyor must pay attention to details

Even the slightest errors in major construction projects are magnified by the time the project is completed. This usually translates to significant sums of money. This is the reason why the construction surveyor must ensure great precision in calculating points and in providing instructions. For instance, if an existing building is being expanded, it is extremely important to check the exact location of the building before the addition is begun. This is one of the most common errors in a building addition project.

4. A construction surveyor must be used to multi-tasking

A construction surveyor’s task involves a lot of demands. These demands include initially collecting information regarding the existing site, comparing these existing site conditions to the plans and previous surveys, and preparing to and staking out multiple site improvements. These site improvements may be for multiple contractors, who all make the requests at the same time. Again, it is common for mistakes to happen at this time because of the construction surveyor possibly rushing the work to satisfy everyone. And, as stated above, site conditions change suddenly which requires sudden alterations in the project and in coming up with an immediate response or an appropriate remedy. Upon the completion of the project, the construction surveyor checks whether or not the resulting work has been built according to the plans.

Overall, a construction surveyor’s job demands a lot of knowledge, time, skill and energy. So, it is very advisable to look for someone with all the these qualities to ensure that you are guided through the construction process. It would be wiser to hire someone who is well-experienced especially in dealing with major construction projects in order to assure success.

If you are looking for a reliable and highly qualified construction surveyor for your Construction Surveying needs, please call Alexander City Land  Surveying at (256) 392-8208 or better yet, fill out our contact request form.