Many architecture firms ask their design staff to perform building surveys and field work, and the line between designer and surveyor (data collector) often becomes blurred or confused. Much time can be wasted dreaming about the possibilities, instead of collecting raw data. Survey data must be collected accurately, consistently and clearly and the best way to do this is to hire a pro.
The most obvious reason to hire a pro building surveyor, is that they do this kind of work all the time. This means that they have the necessary experience, equipment, and coverage to get the job done, and get results quicker.
At the end of the day, we all want to control staffing and production costs on our projects. We know that the more hours spent on each job, the deeper it can dig into profit margins. It’s in everyone’s best interests to be efficient in all project phases and hiring a pro can save you a lot of time. They are efficient, having done correct pre-survey prep, using annotations and short-hand in the field, and taking photos to ensure accurate work. You will also receive a written cost estimate for all phases of work at the very beginning, making it easier to budget throughout the project.
If you decide to do the work yourself or a team leader does the work, it means time out of the office, which could be spent designing and managing jobs, staff and client relations. Often junior staff will be sent out in the field and while this means you can stay in the office, it can mean the work takes longer to get done.
A junior staffer might take three days in the field to document a building, and then another week to draw it up, which means you’ve lost precious time and potential profit. Having your own staff in the field can also be very disruptive to the office and mean they can’t help on other projects for a few days. While this may be inconvenient, there are some bigger factors to consider when sending junior staff into the field.
- Will they be doing on the job training or collecting real survey data? Will there be confusion between data collection and design?
- Do they have liability insurance? Is the employee and your firm covered for accidents or property damage outside your office?
- Did they prepare for the survey properly?
- Do they know about potential site hazards?
- Are they properly equipped?
- Are they an experienced survey photographer?
- Can they draw a building plan to scale from scratch in field notes?
- How long do you think the field work should take?
If you can afford to have someone out of the office for a few days doing the work, go for it! Just keep in mind, if you’re sending someone junior, mistakes can be made. You may have to send staff back a few times to go back over something they missed. Sometimes it’s just something small, other times it’s a hidden column that was missed and can’t be moved without great expense. Hiring a pro means you get a second set of eyes, and are guaranteed less mistakes with another professional looking at the job.
After having measuring millions of square feet, in thousands of buildings, for hundreds of clients since 1984, we’ve probably seen what you need measured before, and if we haven’t, we’re not deterred! We will measure any building, any time, any place.