What to ask for in a survey – Part 1

Often, a client will approach a surveyor and request a quote for “just a survey of my property”.
Without arming themselves with the correct requirements, the odds of getting the best value and correct type of survey are lowered significantly. A survey may be assumed as an ‘on-site only’ operation, however the process begins in the office and most of the time is spent turning the raw site data into a usable survey.
Whilst most surveyors will always do their best to guide the client toward the right survey solution for them, there are so many options that it pays to do the research ahead of making the order.

In this 4 part instalment, we’ll help you know what to ask for and get what you need!



First, assess the use of the survey
Most of the time, the client and the user of the survey are different people. Always order a survey for the person who will be using the survey most!
If your architect has asked you to get a survey done, make sure you liaise clearly between surveyor and architect, and get the correct number of drawings and areas surveyed, in the format that will make the work easiest and quickest to use.

For example, if you are having a rear-extension added to your home, speak to your architect about whether you need a survey of the entire house, or just the rooms adjacent to the new construction.

Do you need planning permission or are your works within permitted development?
Planning permission may require a topographical survey to show neighbouring buildings and proximity, as well as all elevations and full floor plans vs. just a survey of the affected area and elevation. This could be the difference between a £600 survey and £1500!

Do you need a simple areas diagram for property sale?
This can save you ordering a full survey as well. Is your property listed? Often a standard survey will focus on structural measurements, and so a more detailed survey may be required to show period features, which could hold up planning applications if the heritage officer needs more detail.

Are you an interior designer requiring internal elevations of the property?
It may be worth marking-up an existing sketch plan to show the elevations required rather than asking for ALL internal elevations. You probably won’t need internals of a boiler room, and it may inflate the cost of the survey beyond budget.
Now that you’re aware of the survey use, in the next instalment, we will cover the type of survey required.

– Part 2 –

What to ask for in a survey – Part 2

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